The most important challenge of our generation will be to regenerate the earth back to health and abundance from the degraded and polluted state that it's in now. The Abundant Edge podcast is here to show you how you can make changes in your life that will create a regenerative future for you, your family and community, and for the earth we all call home. Join host Oliver Goshey every Friday as he interviews innovators and leaders on the cutting edge of regenerative movements in business, land management, ecosystem restoration and much more.
The Abundant Edge is becoming Regenerative Skills. Thank you for all your support!
Welcome friends and family to the very last episode of the Abundant Edge podcast. I know I’ve built this up to feel a little final, but the truth is that this is just the beginning.
I personally feel like I've hit the limit of what I can present and the value I can bring to the podcasting space through the hour long interview format, and while I’m so grateful for all of the life changing insights and even connections that I’ve gained by speaking to my heroes and teachers in the regenerative fields, I think it’s time for a change.
The other side of this is that there are so many both new and established shows that are rocking the interview format. I’ve especially loved and highly recommend Sustainable World Radio with Jill Cloutier, The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann, Green Dreamer with Kamea Chayne, and Regenerative Agriculture with John Kempf.
While there are tons more great shows with regenerative messages out there, those have been the ones I’ve gone back to and gotten ideas and inspiration from time and again, not only for the quality conversations with great guests that they feature, but for the excellent sound and production quality, which really makes a difference when you listen to as many podcasts as I do. So by changing formats in the next season, I know the bases for longer form interviews about regenerative topics are still well covered.
On the other hand, I’ve been motivated lately to bring more storytelling and condensed actionable information to those of you who don’t have as much time to commit to 30 minutes or more of an interview and are looking for the cliff notes and tangible steps that you can take right now, today, to strive for a regenerative future.
I also keep hearing from those of you listening that you want to participate and get involved, and for that reason I’ll be creating resources beyond just the podcast so those of you who learn better with visual aids, to-do lists, and note packets can revisit the information in the show without having to go back and listen to the whole show again. But I’ll tell you more about those bonus materials in a bit
The joy and liberation of growing food in your own home, with Claire Ratinon, author of How To Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving The House
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you friends and family around the world! I know that this has been an unusually trying year and though many of you may not be physically near the people you most want to spend time with during this season, I sure hope you’re all finding ways to show your appreciation and gratitude for the special individuals who’ve made these confinements and lockdowns, just a little better and easier than they had to be.
I myself am a long way away from my family who live in different parts of the USA, Kuwait, Australia, the UK, Canada, The Isle of Man, pretty much as far away from me as you can get on this little blue marble careening through space. But even with that challenge I will say that my wonderful partner Alba has been the most supportive, patient, and thoughtful woman I could ever hope to have by my side in times like these. Her parents as well have become some of my closest friends in this last year and I’m so grateful to have been welcomed into this family by them and her brother David as well.
This is technically the last interview of the season and of The Abundant Edge podcast ever. After four seasons of speaking to leaders, innovators, and pioneers in the regenerative fields, I’m retiring this format of the show.
The good news is that I’ll still be coming back in the new year with a brand new show called Regenerative Skills. Starting on February 6th the new show will focus on actionable information and steps told through stories of the people and teams that are putting in the work to build the future they want to see. I’ll also be offering a lot of new resources beyond the show itself to help build a community around the exploration of these concepts and to help strengthen the knowledge and insights that you can use in your own life.
But back to the interview. I’m really glad to have saved this one till the end because though Claire and I spoke months ago, this was one of those rare first encounter conversations where I just hit it off with someone right away and just started geeking out on indoor and small space gardening, because that’s what I was really getting into for the first time as well.
But let's do the introduction before I get carried away.
Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower in the UK and has grown edible plants in a whole range of roles all the way from growing crops for restaurants, to delivering growing workshops throughout London to audiences from schools to community centres and even for corporate clients. She’s also been invited to share her growing journey and experiences in writing, talks and workshops for organizations like The Garden Museum, the Royal College of Art and publications like Waitrose Food Magazine, Bloom and The Modern House and even features for BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.
In our talk today I got a deeper look into her new book How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving the House.
Now, I never thought I’d be the person to get excited about growing food indoors and in little apartments, because, well, I used to work on big farms and had a permaculture homestead in the mountains of Guatemala. I always thought of house plants as a cutsy hobby for people cooped up in cities, but guess what happened to me? Like so many people who live in cities and suburbs, I got confined to our little piso with a small terrace during the lockdowns this year.
I had to decide between going to the grocery store for things I was always used to harvesting, or get wise about making use of every last centimeter of sunny space to figure this small scale gardening thing out. Well, I’m here to say that I was surprised by just how much y...
The link between regenerative farming, health and longevity, with Jennifer Maynard of Nutrition for Longevity
One thing that’s happened more frequently as this podcast has grown and gained more listeners is that marketers and promotional agents have reached out to me to try to get their clients featured in an interview on the show. I get the appeal and value of having a long form interview to express an idea and tell the story of how you founded your company or project, but the truth is that the integrity of the messaging and things that I help to give voice to here mean everything to me so I always start out really sceptical and do a lot of research about the person and their business model before agreeing to do the interview. Especially because I’ve heard other shows which end up basically just running like a long form infomercials and that’s not at all what I want this podcast to be.
I’ve ended up rejecting a lot more of those kinds of offers than I’ve accepted, So when I was approached to speak with Jennifer Maynard I figured I’d use it as an opportunity to try and dissect and pick apart her business Nutrition for Longevity, a farm to fork meal kitting company that focuses on bringing nutritionally tailored meals direct from her farm.
What I didn’t expect that this would become one of my favorite interviews about regenerative farming and how it relates directly to improved health through nutrition. I really wish I had been able to include this talk back in the series I did earlier in the year because of how well Jennifer explains some of the core concepts of regenerative food production and its potential to restore our individual and collective health.
I guess I should have suspected that she’d have such a nuanced understanding of these topics because of her unusual background. Jennifer actually worked in the biotech and Pharmaceutical specialty medicine areas for over 20 years, which is not a very common employment history for farmers of any kind. After putting two decades of her passion into changing people's lives through modern medicine, she felt her knowledge and experience would be better served focusing on "Food as Medicine." Even though progress has been made with medicine, the battle with chronic illness is being lost. In order to address this, she founded Greater Greens, a regenerative organic farm, as the first step to bringing this movement front and center and to help focus on the root of our health challenges.
The meal kitting bit is one of the more original marketing and sales strategies I’ve yet heard of for a farm to take on and I think could become a new option in the tool belt for farm business managers looking to create added value direct to consumer sales.
What I’m trying to get at is that this conversation is really worth making time to listen to all the way through, and hopefully I’ll be collaborating with Jennifer again in the next season to explore more of these topics in further detail.
The furture of Environmental leadership, with the winners of the Brower Youth Awards 2020
Today is a very special episode because it will be the first panel discussion that I’ve hosted with three inspiring guests. It’s also the first time that I’m speaking with leaders and change makers who are a little over half my age.
It’s incredibly humbling to see the progress, tenacity and perseverance that these young activists exemplify, and I know you’ll find inspiration in their journeys and work too.
But first, to give a little backstory
The Brower Youth Awards is an annual contest from The New Leaders Initiative which provides programs that honor, support, and sustain young environmental leaders. The contest has recognized outstanding youth leaders in the environmental movement for more than 20 years and each year, six young people based in North America are awarded the prize. The winners for 2020 will join a growing movement of young awardees recognized for their sustainability projects, innovative ideas, and excellent leadership.
For this episode I was grateful to be able to speak to 3 of the 6 winners Dannielle Boyer, Alexandra Collins, and Diego Arreola Fernadez, to explore, not only the work and success that they’ve found, but also to try and understand the obstacles they’ve overcome and the support they’ve had along the way. The idea was to get a sense of what all of us can do to foster and assist the young leaders of tomorrow on their path towards a brighter future.
All three of them have incredible backstories and long lists of accomplishments which we touch on briefly in their introductions, but I’d highly recommend that you read in full in the longer bios that I’ve posted in the show notes for this episode. There you’ll also find links to their websites and ways that you can support them directly and learn more about the Brower Youth Awards as well. I’ve also posted bios of the other three winners who weren't able to join us on the call but are just as deserving of their titles as activists and leaders.
Be sure to stay tuned until the end where the panelists give their advice to other young people who may be doubting their ability to make change or have an impact. This may be something you want to pass on to your children, nieces and nephews, or young community members who you see potential in and could benefit from hearing these inspiring messages from people their own age.
Bios of the guests:
After teaching her first kindergarten science class at age 10 in Troy, Michigan, Ojibwe youth Danielle Boyer became acutely aware of how disparate access to quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education among low-income students disadvantages them and impacts the future of our Earth. She’s been working to increase STEAM education accessibility and affordability ever since through innovative programs that promote technical competency and develop a tangible love for our Earth. In January 2019, Danielle founded her own educational organization, The STEAM Connection, to further this cause.
The STEAM Connection prioritizes work with communities of color, particularly Indigenous communities, providing free classes and events on recycling, innovation, and sustainable design. By making engineering and environmental education more widely available, Danielle is helping children realize their true potential as environmental innovators and simultaneously garner int...
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about silvopasture, with Steve Gabriel, author of “Silvopasture”
Today’s interview was one that I was looking forward to for a long time and tried my best to include in the regenerative farming series earlier this year, but as luck would have it, our schedules didn’t match up in time to include it. At least I get to put it out before the end of this year and before I wrap up Abundant Edge as a show and move to the new format, because this is a discussion that’s really worth listening to in its complete form.
Steve Gabriel, author, along with Ken Mudge, of Farming the Woods, and his new volume titled Silvopasture is an ecologist, educator, and a forest farmer who has lived most of his life in the Finger Lakes region of New York. His personal mission is to reconnect people of all ages with the natural world and to provide the tools for good management of forests and other landscapes. He currently splits his time between working for the Cornell Small Farms Program, and developing the farm he runs with his wife Elizabeth, called Wellspring Forest Farm, which produces shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, nursery trees, and maple syrup.
In today’s interview we focus on Silvopasture, and Steve explains the main components, and benefits of this historic land management practice. We cover a lot of ground including choosing animals for the system, good grazing practices, hedgerows and living fence barriers, options for tree crops and timber, and a whole lot more. Be sure to stay tuned all the way to the end where Steve and I revisit the question that has come up so often in different agroforestry conversations, which is, how do you survive the transition to slow maturing perennial crops when it takes years before they begin to start producing and making money. Silvopasture offers some great solutions to this challenge, and many others
Don't forget to vote for Climate Farmers with the hashtag #climatefarmersxecover in all your comments and posts before this Sunday to help us win an essential grant to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe. Thank you in advance for your support!
Working with nature to build soil health, with Robert Pavlis
After last week’s session with Matt Powers, I want to add a second perspective on soil and the new science behind how we can restore it to health in our own gardens. For that perspective I got back in touch with Robert Pavlis who was first on this show a few seasons ago to talk about building natural ponds. Robert has been an avid gardener for over four decades. He is the owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a 6-acre botanical garden that features over 3,000 varieties of plants. As a specialist in soil science, he has been an instructor for Landscape Ontario and is a garden blogger, writer, and chemist. He teaches gardening fundamentals at the University of Guelph and garden design for the City of Guelph, Ontario, where he lives.
One of the things I most appreciate about Robert’s work is that he’s not afraid to challenge any entrenched gardening belief or myth. He is always looking to get to the bottom of what helps plants to grow and what’s just marketing scams.
In this episode we really dive in deep on the fundamentals of soil composition and understanding the nutrients that plants need to thrive. We talk about looking at soil as an ecosystem unto itself rather than a living material, and why striving for ideal soil is not as important as making sure that you have the components necessary for the life inside it.
Robert also helps me to understand what happens in the ground after tillage, mulching, and other amendments. We go over simple tests you can do to diagnose your soil without special equipment or needing to pay for laboratory testing, and by the end, how to use the results of those tests to develop your own personalized soil plan.
This episode alone is like a short but thorough course on soil health, so you might want to keep a notebook handy.
For those of you who want to really expand your knowledge on soil science, I’ve teamed up with New Society Publishers to give away a free copy of this book. If you want to win a copy of Soil Science for Gardeners, just message me through our dedicated facebook group called Abundant Edge weekly regenerative skills and write a post about why you want to amend the soil on your site. I’ll select a winner one week after this episode comes out and send a hard copy of the book to you if you live in the US or Canada or a digital copy if you live anywhere else in the world. It’s that simple, plus you’ll be joining an incredible group of listeners like you who are sharing their regenerative living journey and learning experiences with the community.
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