Mike Kwasniewski runs a whole-diet CSA farm in rural West Virginia as part of a larger operation. He farms several hundred acres including beef cattle, hogs, chickens, and vegetables, with his mother and business partner, Pam. Mike reflects on the whole-diet CSA model in a relatively low income, rural environment, and how it fits into a beginning farmer’s diversified farm.
Amigo Bob Cantisano is one of the most widely experienced and influential figures in California organic agriculture. Founder of Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, the Ecological Farming Conference, the first organic advisory business in the United States, and a number of farming operations around California. If you’ve never been on Amigo’s bus tour of Central Coast organic farms as part of the EcoFarm Conference, you’re missing out. In this episode, we talk about the basics of organization and planning as they relate to organic farms, the connection between paying attention and top yields, and Amigo’s recent work with another organization he founded, the Felix Gillet institute.
John de Graaf is an environmental filmmaker and activist who has had a significant focus on agriculture for many years. 2015 is the 170th anniversary of the Irish potato famine, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about the history of one of my personal heroes, John Niederhauser, who worked on the development of blight-resistant potatoes in Mexico, and his encounter with genetic giant Nikolai Vavilov in the 1930’s. In addition to potatoes and genetics, we get to talk a little bit about baseball, and John’s current work as executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization challenging overwork and over-scheduling – and John’s analysis of over-work’s impact on farmers and their customers.
Bob Cannard is one of the farmers that I think of as a first-generation visionary in the world of organic farming. For over three decades, he has been at the forefront of the local farming movement in California. Farming just north of San Francisco Bay at Green String Farm, Bob has a farming process that flies in the face of a lot of what I, at least, “know” to be true. His natural process farming system relies on sharing time, space, and resources with the weeds, insects, and other organisms that the rest of us consider problems, and using weeds, minerals, and native soil inoculants to encourage healthy plants that simply aren’t bothered by these “problem” plants and critters.