Follow Nicole Masters
Nicole Masters is an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She’s founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil. We talk about how to apply regenerative agriculture practices for health and profit–and how these practices can have a positive transformative effect on both our well being as growers, eaters, and members of the planetary ecosystem. Nicole has been a keynote speaker in the past at the REGENERATE Conference and this year will be offering a workshop called “Getting to the Root of Quality Food Production” as part of REGENERATE 2019.
1’50 started studying great white sharks, which somehow led to soil science
3’02 experiences that led her to regenerative agriculture, including pesticide poisoning
4’19 parallel between her own healing and healing the land
5’06 how do you define regenerative
6’08 the five Ms–mindset, management, microbes, minerals, organic matter
6’37 the problem with black/white right/wrong thinking
9’23 examples from the field
10’15 turning an expense into a resource
11’25 building back topsoil a lot faster than happens naturally
12’11.1412 working with soil that blew away in the 1930s
13’38 reaching true and optimal sustainability
14’47 climatic stressors, and how to help soil repair themselves
15’51 water infiltration, making use of every bit of water
17’41 putting seed in cow minerals so that they poop out and thereby germinate native plants
18’48 seeds that lie dormant for decades and then come up when conditions are right
20’27 methods for growing topsoil
20’58 salting the fields — really! — to improve soil
22’32 “underground livestock” i.e. microbes
23’37 breakthroughs in soil science
26’29 people who need peer reviewed science if they’re going to make changes
27’59 universal and specific features of healthy soil
28’55 “rastafarian root systems”
29’41 many have normalized poor soil
30’10 colonialism led to poor soil very fast
30’41 what does the transition look like when you stop using farm chemicals
32’34 nitrogen fertilizer is incredibly inefficient
34’42 how do we close the loops and make inputs on the farm
35’17 a healthy system needs few or no inputs
35’57 ranches sometimes need soil augmentation
36’35 fallacies in conventional agriculture
38’19 thirty feet of topsoil in Montana
38’54 green revolution farming is like hydroponics
39’35 great soils on bison lands
40’19 the sounds of root systems breaking under the plow
40’45 can we make regenerative the majority way of doing agriculture
42’31 Dr. Richard Teague — drawing down large amounts of carbon
43’58 cows giving birth in mud
44’56 regenerative ag leads to stress reduction
45’49 can regenerative ag help society to shift into a more balanced state
48’00 the Regenerate 2019 conference
Many food producers spend so much on interest to banks that they can’t pay for improvements to make their farms more resilient and regenerative. Zach Ducheneaux talks about an alternative that’s already having some success in Indian country.
In her new book, Judith Schwartz takes us to five continents and tell us stories of people restoring devastated landscapes–and overcoming deep conflicts that stem from degraded ecosystems. The results are phenomenal.
“What’s good for the bird is good for the herd”–that’s the basis of a win-win initiative to preserve bird habitat on ranches and grasslands. We speak with Audubon Society VP Marshall Johnson about grassland ecology and their successful conservation collaborations.
Vanessa García Polanco is from a farming family that emigrated to the US when she was a teenager. She explores the challenges that young and beginning farmers, and farmers of color, are dealing with–especially during the global pandemic.
The Eastern Shoshone people traditionally survived with the buffalo, and their way of life suffered when tens of millions of buffalo were killed by the US government. But now they’re returning to the land–and starting to renew a culture.
When the “green revolution” offered the promise of better agriculture through chemical-intensive farming, J.I. Rodale was skeptical. He started an organic farm and then an institute to study how farming could improve the land and human health. Now they’re doing great work from coast to coast.
Hopi farmers must be doing something right: they have survived and grown their own food for hundreds of generations. We talk to Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson about their regenerative farming and cultural practices––and the challenges to maintaining them.
Betsy Gaines Quammen has been researching the history of Mormonism and its relationship to Western landscapes for years. We talk about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.
Water expert Brian Richter walks us through the history of these great man-made lakes, and how we can ensure that they will continue to provide water through man-made crises like climate change.
There’s plenty of food, but with Covid-19 it’s not getting where it needs to go, and everyone–especially farmers–is paying the price. Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons walks us through the problems–and some solutions–to the many dilemmas facing the food system.
Grazing on public lands is controversial–for good reason. But when it’s done right, adaptive grazing can greatly improve land health–from overgrazed land, to former oil fields, to bombing ranges. Gregory Horner tells the stories.
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz didn’t know they were cultivating soil health when they started doing Holistic Management of their livestock. But as they learned to work with nature rather than fighting it their soil–and their farm–began to thrive in ways they’d never dreamed of.
Farmer and writer Stanley Crawford got involved in a legal action that challenged a huge firm that wasn’t paying duties, and was “dumping” garlic onto the US market. What was supposed to take one year turned into a multi-year drama that is still ongoing.
Ronnie Cummins analyzes what’s not working about our food system and lays out a blueprint for change — while reminding us that regenerative agriculture is ultimately a necessity.
Kelsey Ducheneaux is a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher, and she works with the Intertribal Agriculture Council helping producers to work within the current system–and reinvigorate native foods and practices.
Brennan Washington is an agriculture Renaissance man. He farms, promotes farmers markets, provides resources to limited-resource producers, and produces the Sustainable Ag Rider podcast.