Click here to listen to the hour-long audio from Audm and The New Yorker.
Why do we love the idea of small family farms? Female Farmer Project's guest, Sarah K Mock says it’s because we’ve been told the stories about family farms from an early age through nursery rhymes and picture books. But does that bucolic ideal exist? Sarah provides an agriculture insider’s critique of the romantic agrarian ideal of the small family farm. She lays bare the shortcomings of that narrative — not all is as virtuous as it seems. In this thought-provoking conversation, Mock challenges the many conceptions about farming and farmers and asks the hard questions about the viability of the current systems. (originally seen on FemaleFarmerProject.org)
The seed for Sarah K Mock’s passion for farming was planted on her family’s farm in Wyoming. As it grew, so too did her need to find the answer to a critical question: is it possible to farm without exploiting farmers, farmworkers, the environment, or communities? Mock’s search for answers took her around the globe, working in and around agriculture for non-profits, government organizations, Silicon Valley companies, the national news media, and directly with farms.
Farm (and Other F Words)-- We love The American Farmer. We trust them to grow our food, to be part of children’s nursery rhymes, to provide the economic backbone of rural communities, and to embody a version of the American dream. At the same time, we know that “corporate farms” are disrupting the agrarian way of life that we so admire, and that we’ve got to do something to stop it. So what’s our plan for saving the farms we love?
In Farm (and Other F Words), Sarah K Mock dismantles misconceptions about American farms and discovers what makes small family farms work, or why they don’t. While exploring the intersection of farming and wealth, Mock offers an alternative perspective on American agricultural history, and outlines a path to a more equitable food system moving forward.
Ultimately, Mock suggests a solution without putting the onus for change on struggling consumers and reminds us that, “the future of American agriculture is not yet decided.”
Purchase Sarah's Book from a small & Black owned bookstore
Among the 200 or so breeds of goats across the United States, the San Clemente Island goats are one of the rarest. Nebraska Public Media's Dennis Kellogg reports on one Nebraska couple that is doing what they can to save them.
They get their name from San Clemente Island off the coast of California. There used to be as many as 18,000 of them. But after they overran the island's natural ecosystem, most were eradicated.
Now more than 1,000 miles away on a 40-acre farm, Chad and his life partner, John Carroll, are doing everything they can to save the breed at Willow Valley Farms.
John at email@example.com
or Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Notice the ways Native people are achieving and surviving." - Derek DeRosier
In Glacier National Park, Misha learns about what it means to be indigenous to a place from Derek DeRosier, Tom Rodgers and David Treuer. She learns about the Blackfeet Nation tribe and their experience with Glacier. Derek then leads her on a tour of the east side of the park, to Two Medicine Valley, and tells her how his dad fought to become a park vendor. Misha also talks to Vivian Wang about what it takes to become a park ranger, and how hard it can be for people of color.
Glacier is the land of the Blackfeet, Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenal tribes. Visit native-land.ca/ to learn more about these tribes and the land you live on.
More about the Hello, Nature podcast:
Hello, Nature host, Misha Euceph, didn’t know about the National Parks until she turned 21. But after an experience in Joshua Tree and watching 12 hours of a national park documentary, she sets out on a road trip to answer the question: if the parks are public, aren’t they supposed to be for everyone? In this podcast, she goes out to see America and tell a new story of our national parks.
Hello, Nature can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
Learn more about the podcast and our season sponsor, Subaru.
On this week's How to Save a Planet episode, we meet two farmers who, at first glance, seem very different. One is a first-generation farmer in upstate New York raising fruits and vegetables for the local community. The other is a third generation farmer in Minnesota who sells commodity crops—corn and soybeans—to big industrial processors. But they share something in common. They’re both bucking modern conventions on how to farm. And they're paying close attention to something that is frequently overlooked: the soil. We explore how making simple changes in the way we farm can harness the incredible power of soil to help save the planet. (This episode first aired on January 7, 2021.)
Thanks to our guests Leah Penniman and Dawn and Grant Breitkreutz
Calls to action
Want to learn more about regenerative farming?
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Check out our Calls to Action archive here for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Sign up for their newsletter here. And follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg. Our reporters and producers are Kendra Pierre-Louis, Rachel Waldholz and Anna Ladd. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music by Emma Munger. Our fact checker this episode is James Gaines.