Learn about the people, processes, and policies that shape how food is produced today, from the latest agricultural innovations to the day-to-day challenges of running a viable business growing vegetables and grazing cattle. Host Lisa Elaine Held is an experienced journalist who covers food, agriculture, and the environment for Civil Eats, The Guardian, and many other publications. On The Farm Report, she engages in conversations with farmers, farmworkers and the people who work alongside them—like chefs, researchers, activists, and investors. Expect from-the-field insights paired with real-world context as guests explore how producing fresh, delicious food relates to environmental and community sustainability, equality and justice, politics and policy, and better health.
From Harvest to Vinegar
Humans have used fermentation to preserve crops and add flavor and health benefits to their diets for thousands of years. Since 2015, Sarah Conezio and Isaiah Billington have been putting their own stamp on that age-old tradition with Keepwell Vinegar. Together, they partner directly with small, organic farms to turn apples, ginger, and persimmons into specialty vinegars, farro into miso, and soybeans into soy sauce, bottling the Mid-Atlantic’s seasonal bounty. Home cooks and the best chefs in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia—and increasingly far beyond—now use their products. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to the Keepwell founders about making vinegar, working with farmers, and why they do what they do.
Butter and Meat—from the Same Cows
Whether they’ve grazed on grass their entire lives, been raised in an organic system, or lived on a conventional dairy farm, the vast majority of dairy cows get sold into the commodity beef system when they’re retired and get integrated into the same cheap meat supply. With Butter Meat Co, Jill Gould is betting on a different model. By selling retired organic dairy cows directly in her local community in Western New York and online, she’s working to get struggling organic dairies higher prices for their animals while getting more flavorful and environmentally friendly beef to consumers. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to Gould about eating beef from dairy cows, the economic proposition for farmers, and what the model might mean for the planet.
One Million Acres for the Future
America’s farmers are aging rapidly, and those looking to sell their land are finding no shortage of buyers. Billionaires, global corporations, investment firms, and developers are all buying up farmland for profit at a quick clip, driving up prices and making it nearly impossible for young and beginning farmers without accumulated wealth to afford their own acreage to plant and harvest. “Farmers Need Equitable Access to Land Now” is the message behind the National Young Farmers Coalition’s One Million Acres for the Future Campaign. In this episode, NYFC Land Campaign Director Holly Rippon-Butler talks to host Lisa Held about the factors driving land access challenges, historic and ongoing injustices that make accessing land even more difficult for BIPOC farmers, and the long-term policy solutions NYFC is pushing for.
Growing Biodynamic Botanicals for Skin Care
Adrien de Botin and his wife Carolina Prioglio are the husband-and-wife founders of Maison/Made, and to make the certified biodynamic skin-care products that they sell, they grow their own medicinal herbs on a family farm in Burgundy and have built a network of small farm suppliers around the world. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to de Botin about the couple’s efforts—from the specifics of biodynamic practices and why they matter, to how biodynamic farming, a system focused on minimizing inputs, building healthy soil, and working with local ecology, compares to systems like organic or regenerative agriculture.
The (Regenerative) Chickpea Connection
Over the past decade, hummus has exploded in popularity in the U.S, but compared to the many brands that now line shelves at every supermarket, Little Sesame is doing things differently. The Washington D.C. fast casual restaurant, which now also sells its hummus at Whole Foods and other stores in the region, gets all of its chickpeas from a single Montana farmer who is pushing the envelope on climate-friendly farming with his organic, regenerative practices. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to Nick Wiseman, co-founder of Little Sesame, and Casey Bailey, regenerative farmer, about their unique partnership, how chickpeas are grown, why they’re a particularly beneficial crop in terms of climate impact, and more.
Cornucopia Institute and the State of Organic
While USDA-certified organic food still accounts for a small fraction of total U.S. food sales, it’s now big business. In 2020, data from the Organic Trade Association showed sales of organic food rose at a record rate to a new high of $56.4 billion, and as the industry has become more lucrative, fraud and cheating have increased. The Cornucopia Institute is a non-profit watchdog organization that has been working to hold companies and the USDA accountable to organic’s original ideals around soil health, animal welfare, and more. In this episode, host Lisa Held speaks with executive director Melody Morrell about the organization’s organic scorecards, a new Living Soil campaign, and what’s happening at the USDA right now to close loopholes and strengthen the standards.
Correction: In this episode, Melody Morrell's statement that 25 operations produce 75% of the organic milk in the country is false. The correct statistic is: 22 operations produce 25% of the organic milk in the country.
Solid and thought-provoking
I’ve been listening to The Farm Report for a few years now, with good reason. Solid, thought-provoking two-way dialog about sustainable agriculture and the good food movement, with compelling sources and a knowledgeable host. Something to think about every time.
Informative & Interesting!
This podcast has great information about the growing sustainable food industry, with really interesting guests doing a lot to improve our food in the world!
At the forefront of urban farms
The Farm Report is clearly THE source for the future of framing in NYC!