The holiday season is right around the corner. Whether you’re planning expansive meals, hunting for holiday decorations or fixing up the farm and home for visits from family and friends, you’ve no doubt got some big plans ahead for the season.
And you know what’s great to help pass the time while testing string lights or stirring batter? Podcasts!
In case you weren’t aware, we’ve got our own podcast here at Hobby Farms. It’s called Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good, and every other week, host (and former Hobby Farms editor) Lisa Munniksma talks with farmers, food activists and other agriculture influencers and enthusiasts about the good work of growing food to feed communities.
Growing Good is fast approaching 50 episodes of frank, fearless farming conversation, but below you’ll find a quick roundup of our favorite episodes to get you started. Like what you hear? Check out all our past podcast episodes, and make sure to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform so you don’t miss a single chat!
Author, artist and farmer Arwen Donahue discusses her life on a Kentucky farm and her new book, Landings: A Crooked Creek Farm Year. Arwen tells us about her and her husband, David Wagoner’s, Three Springs Farm. You’ll hear about how they searched for their niche and revived themselves from burnout in small-scale farming, from 18 years of having a vegetable CSA to growing food for a local restaurant group. Learn about some of the foragable goodies on Arwen’s farm and how you can incorporate foraged items into a CSA.
Arwen discloses the struggles of writing and illustrating a book while farming and also the beauty in combining a farming life and a creative life. Listen to her read a page from Landings and explain how this book depicting drawings and daily journal entries of the farm came into being.
Listen as Rasheed Hislop, a Master Composter, offers you his best tips for small-scale vermicomposting. Get your worm bins ready! Hear about how this Brooklyn-raised farmer’s grandparents, in the Hudson Valley and in Trinidad and Tobago, instilled in him an interest in food production by way of gardening, fishing and cooking from scratch.
Rasheed talks about his work supporting farmers, first with urban farmers and community gardeners through NYC Parks GreenThumb and now with farmers in California’s Central Valley, particularly Black, indigenous and farmers of color, through Community Alliance with Family Farmers and African American Farmers of California. He also gets into the racial equity and planning work being done behind the scenes at nonprofits like CAFF. (Plus, this is your chance to make plans to attend, virtually or in person, the CAFF conference, coming up Feb. 27 to March 3, 2022!)
Learn about the Black Zocalo cooperative’s efforts to teach about growing food, planting native plants and fostering farm-related businesses, including Rosalba Lopez Ramirez’s (Rasheed’s wife’s) Dau Butter skincare line and Rasheed’s seed production for Truelove Seeds. All of this is ultimately to create a movement toward a Black and Indigenous-owned land-based learning center.
Through her work with Practical Farmers of Iowa, Celize Christy organizes farmer-mentorship, land-link and Spanish-language farmer education projects, and she tells us how you can take advantage of these innovative programs. Hear about her work with poultry farmers in Uganda and Rwanda and her thinking on the intersection of livestock and livelihoods.
As a people person who grew up without a farm background and felt the isolation of being unlike others in her early farming education, Celize has taken on the role of supporting folks not always represented in food and farming systems in her community work. She shares with us some success stories coming from small-scale farmers, women farmers and farmers of color in Iowa, as well as tips for homeopathic care for our home flocks and the secret to the brightest egg yolks.
Aaron De La Cerda
Aaron De La Cerda talks about the Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm Project, fruit gleaning, growing cannabis as a teenager, and why he prefers to be a “lazy” farmer.
You’ll learn about how a life decision he was asked to make in third grade led to him being known as “the plant person” among his family and friends and shaped his career and life trajectory. Aaron talks about growing up with a family full of educators and how this, plus his green thumb and an interest in social justice eventually brought him to nonprofit urban farming work. Hear about his work with unhoused folks, helping the shelter with a garden, and plotting out fruit gleaning opportunities in Merced, California.
Then, get up to speed with the work of Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm Project and its kids and family programs. Hear about the community farm at the Oakland A’s baseball stadium, as well as two other urban farms, and the wild growth of ANV’s Beet Box CSA program.
Finally, get Aaron’s advice—hat tip to Masanobu Fukuoka’s book One-Straw Revolution—for hands-off, natural-systems farming, consider the current crisis of “local” food, and hear Aaron’s thoughts on the role and future of urban farming. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t to feed the whole city’s population.)
Land steward, Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance Executive Director and Hopi Tribe member Lilian Hill talks about dryland farming, traditional foodways, farming systems and more.
Hear about Lilian’s family and community heritage and how she connects with traditional agriculture methods, foodways and food sovereignty work. She tells us about her and her husband’s founding of the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute—which provides outlets to explore areas of food production, energy, water and small-scale food cooperatives—plus the 15-acre area of farmland her grandparents once farmed and another 2-acre permaculture demonstration site that she and her family continue to steward. Learn, too, about the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance’s work in restoring food systems that support tribal self-determination and community wellness.
Lilian shares an indigenous point of view—and is real about the difficulty of accessing and sharing this knowledge—on the major weather issues we’re seeing right now and how we can work to restore a balance in nature. Take note of Lilian’s dryland farming advice, from seed selection to soil conditions to water retention and conservation. Stay tuned to the end to hear about what Lilian finds inspiring in the food system today.
At Virsylvia Farm in the high desert of New Mexico, Tyler Eshleman and his wife raise goats for dairy and fiber; sheep for dairy, meat and fiber; alpacas for fiber; laying hens; and some vegetables. Hear about the realities of regenerative farming at 8,000 feet above sea level, from the challenging growing and land conditions to the cooperative workings of fellow farmers. Learn about Tyler’s innovative marketing means to get more local food into the hands of more people in his area: a year-round pay-what-you-can farmstand for his and other farmers’ products, a multi-farm meat CSA, and a goat- and sheep-dairy herdshare. (Also, when you visit him at the farmers market, you can make your own goats-milk ice cream using a bicycle-powered ice cream churner!)
Listen in for Tyler’s best advice for bringing dairy goats to your farm, from goat breeds to feed sourcing and knowing your state’s raw-milk laws. Tyler also talks about his off-farm work with the Quivira Coalition and New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands, bringing together agricultural and conservation organizations to support farmers and ranchers who are contributing to healthy soils, clean waterways and vibrant communities. And stay tuned until the end to hear Tyler’s favorite ways to eat goat cheese.
Check out more episode of the Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good podcast here! And make sure you subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.