79 episodes

Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good is a podcast with and about hobby farmers, small-scale farmers and sustainable farmers. More than that, it’s about the important work these folks are doing for themselves, their families and their communities on and off the farm. Each episode, host Lisa Munniksma sits down to chat with someone doing the good work to discuss how they started, what they're doing now, and what drives them to keep growing. (A presentation of Hobby Farms® magazine, an EG Media company.)

Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good Hobby Farms

    • Leisure
    • 4.7 • 26 Ratings

Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good is a podcast with and about hobby farmers, small-scale farmers and sustainable farmers. More than that, it’s about the important work these folks are doing for themselves, their families and their communities on and off the farm. Each episode, host Lisa Munniksma sits down to chat with someone doing the good work to discuss how they started, what they're doing now, and what drives them to keep growing. (A presentation of Hobby Farms® magazine, an EG Media company.)

    Episode 79: Pattie Baker

    Episode 79: Pattie Baker

    Pattie Baker talks about WWOOFing — traveling to work on farms — gardening and finding hope.
    Hear about how 9/11 spurred Pattie on to start gardening, from zero interest to a need to plant a seed in the name of hope. She tells her story about how she went from growing food for her family to now traveling to learn about farming and to share her knowledge with others.
    In 2008, the city Pattie lived in became the newest city in the US: Dunwoody, Georgia. From here, Pattie started following this burgeoning city’s development and was quickly named the Sustainability Commission Chairperson to help pursue Atlanta’s Green Community Certification, which included developing a community garden. (It’s now the largest volunteer-run community garden in Georgia!) 
    Pattie tells us about growing nearly $2,500 worth of vegetables per year from her suburban property. She talks about having witnessed the loss of the majority of her pollinators over the past 10 years and what she’s doing to educate others about this. With her daughters now out of the household, Pattie decided it was time to travel, and at 56 years old was scheduled to go to Uganda with the Peace Corps. COVID changed those plans — you have to hear about the drama of this situation — and left Pattie with a new travel plan.
    If you’ve never planned to leave your garden behind for two years, Pattie talks about this process and then reversing the process when she realized she wasn’t going to Uganda after all.
    Listen to Pattie’s tales of traveling around the U.S. for five months in 2023, working on farms and riding bus, bike and train. She explains the WWOOF concept — sometimes called Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms or Working Worldwide on Organic Farms — and how this educational exchange operates. Pattie talks about her $20 per day budget, traveling 10,000 car-free in the U.S.. Her book, Round America with a Duck, outlines all of this in a colorful and engaging way.
    If WWOOFing has ever interested you, Pattie offers her advice for valuing your time and expertise while outlining your goals to get the best experience. She talks, too, about preparing yourself for a WWOOFing experience, whether you’re 60 years old (like her) or a college-age explorer.
    Links from this episode:
    Round America with a Duck website
    Round America with a Duck on Instagram
    All of Pattie Baker’s books
    WWOOF USA
     

    • 46 min
    Episode 78: Bonnie Warndahl

    Episode 78: Bonnie Warndahl

    How to find your dream farm, with Bonnie Warndahl!
    If you are searching for your dream farm, this podcast episode with Bonnie Warndahl has you covered. Bonnie searched for years to find the property that is now her Winnowburrow Farm and Florals, in Colfax, Wisconsin. Listen to Bonnie’s story about how she came to be interested in gardening and stewarding land. (Thanks, Barbara Kingsolver!) Follow her journey through various programs to learn about farm business, renting farmland as a beginning farmer, losing a farmland deal, and finally finding and purchasing her dream farm. 
    Warndahl talks about the Renewing the Countryside nonprofit that she works with as a farmland access specialist. From food hubs to farm-to-childcare and connecting farmers with farmland, the organization is building a regional network to prop up farmers of all kinds. The Farmland Access Hub helps assess farmers’ readiness for land access, guides farmers in their loan applications, and provides resources to help farmers with their land search and purchase.
    Dive into the facts about why farmland access is so hard as well as why it’s so vital. “It’s important for people to understand how dire of a situation we are in, unbeknownst to so many people,” Warndahl says. She continues, talking about an impending food crisis facing the US, given the confluence of the advancing age of farmers, farmland real estate prices and fewer new farmers coming in to replace those who are retiring. Hear about federal and state policy solutions that may help ease some of the issues complicating the current farmland-access crisis.
    Get Warndahl's best advice for your farmland search, from her lived experience as a beginning farmer trying to purchase land as well as her professional experience as a farmland access specialist. Start by preparing yourself, knowing how and why you’re farming, and exploring all manner of outlets to search for land. Best of all, find out how you can get connected to farmland access assistance! 
    Finally, hear about Warndahl’s Winnowburrow Farm and Florals. While Bonnie is currently focusing on her farmland access specialist work, she has big plans for this farm and retreat space.

    Renewing the Countryside
    Farmland Access Hub
    Women, Food and Agriculture Network
    Episode 23 with WFAN executive director Jules Salinas
    Community Farm Alliance
     

    • 50 min
    Episode 77: Lauren Manning

    Episode 77: Lauren Manning

    In this podcast episode, Arkansas rancher Lauren Manning talks about responsible grazing, lessons learned from starting a grazing operation from scratch and financing to support a regenerative food system.
    Learn how CrossFit — the popular fitness and lifestyle program — helped shape the focus of Lauren’s legal career, from civil litigation in California to agricultural law in Arkansas. An internship at an agri-food-tech venture capital investing firm further turned her career on its head, drawing her attention toward farming and ranching. After interning with Ozark Grassfed Beef, Lauren realized how rewarding it is to work with the land and animals. Hear about how Lauren uses all that she’s learned with hands-on farming experience to benefit her legal and financial work. 
    Lauren’s career is an illustration of her philosophy to follow your curiosity. She talks about how just showing up and continuing to show up has led to so many opportunities for her and how you can do it, too. 
    Lauren talks about her work as associate director of Food System 6, a nonprofit that is working to change how financing firms choose to finance agricultural operations. She explains how they go about encouraging underwriters to see agricultural output from a more holistic mindset and gives examples of what this uphill battle looks like in practice. She even talks about the new book, Food Inc., 2, in which she coauthors a chapter on this subject. 
    Get excited about a project that Food System 6 is working on to create an EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) bridge loan. This would allow farmers to apply for NRCS EQIP funds without needing the capital to finance their project upfront, which is a major barrier to small-scale farmers utilizing this federal cost-share program.
    Switching gears from ag-industry details to on-farm details, Lauren talks about using the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to finance her first farm: goats on the side of a rough hillside. Through telling her story, she gives her best advice for anyone to get started with grazing animals and purchasing a farm property in general. (Also see her advice in this article online.) Spoiler alert: Patience, mentorship and experience are central to future success — also buying used equipment.
    Listen to the end to hear about Lauren’s current 35-acre property as she talks about pasture development, pasture-management for horses and the uncommon practice of rotational grazing for horses.
    Episode links:
    Lauren Manning on LinkedIn
    Lauren on Instagram
    Food System 6 on LinkedIn
     

    • 42 min
    Episode 76: Florentina Rodriguez

    Episode 76: Florentina Rodriguez

    Urban farmer and seed advocate Florentina Rodriguez talks seeds, seeds and, you guessed it, seeds.
    Hear about how Florentina started her Flora Seeds, all thanks to seeing the need for a community seed library in her village of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her interest in seed education and in helping people save, share and grow seeds grew from there. As more people started becoming more aware of the vulnerabilities of our global food system, they also started paying attention to where their food comes from, which invariably leads back to seeds, seed keeping and seed sovereignty. Florentina explores the multiple pathways that bring people into having an interest in seeds, ranging from food security to political resistance and cultural interests.
    Learn how the Yellow Springs Community Seed Library works and how people can “check out” and donate seeds. Florentina explains how she checks in with seed library users to be sure they are getting along with their seeds and to improve the system for everyone. She tells us, too, about some of her favorite seeds that have been contributed to the seed library. (Have you ever heard of elephant dill?)
    With sights set on having an even larger impact than what a seed library offers, Florentina is also working with seed commons—communal resources of seed collections, seed keepers and seed protectors on a regional level. She talks about farmers, gardeners and community people who are building these networks to exchange seeds, share skills and continue specific seeds’ stories. Florentina also discusses how university and government interests are impacting the spirit behind seed commons and why it’s important to have both regionally based community seed commons and university/government programs but not necessarily the two combined. She also makes the case for when and why you might want to work with folks in your region to start your own seed commons.
    Listen to the end to hear about Eden’s Harvest urban farm in Dayton, Ohio, which is a certified native wildlife habitat and center for growing food and educating neighbors and local students about food and farming.

    Flora Seeds on Instagram
    Email Florentina
    The Utopian Seed Project
     

    • 33 min
    Episode 75: Michele Thorne

    Episode 75: Michele Thorne

    From Oregon, Michele Thorne talks with show host Lisa Munniksma about support and resources for livestock farmers and meat consumers from The Good Meat Project, the challenges of farming on rented land, the finding value in “failure” and more.
    Hear about all the ways that Thorne engages with the food system through what she refers to as “choice, trade and destiny.” She talks all about The Good Meat Project, a nonprofit building pathways toward responsible meat production and consumption for consumers, producers, processors, and food professionals. Learn about how they bridge gaps and break down barriers between all of these stakeholders in the food system and how you as a farmer can plug into the free resources and education the organization offers. Also hear about the Real Burger of Earth Day promotion happening in April each year—bringing together and promoting grassfed-beef producers—and a number of other promotions and learning communities meant to uplift all “good meat” farmers.
    Thorne talks about her background in gardening and then keeping livestock, beginning with inheriting ducks and chickens and progressing through just about every type of poultry there is, plus pigs. We cover the ecosystem services animals provide to the land and to the farmer and the value in that over and above the eggs, meat and milk they provide. Thorne talks, too, about how her farming mindset changed after evacuating her property from wildfires with 200 animals in tow. Conversation turns, of course, to land access and the challenges associated with that, as so many farming conversations do.
    Thorne gets vulnerable about failure and how we can learn from it — a lesson that endures in farming and elsewhere. She talks about how her experience in farming and her decision to back away from making a living farming helps her in her work with The Good Meat Project now.
    Listen to the end to hear about Food Slain, the podcast that Thorne hosted for a few years focusing on food chain issues, from the adulteration of honey to the U.S.’s food-labeling laws. Hear about her thoughts on starting in our backyards to understand and ultimately change the food system for people, animals, the environment and the economy.

    Real Burger of Earth Day website
    The Good Meat Project website
    The Good Meat Project on Instagram
    Donate to The Good Meat Project
    Food Slain podcast
      
     
     

    • 54 min
    Episode 74: Hillarie Maddox

    Episode 74: Hillarie Maddox

    Homesteader Hillarie Maddox talks about returning to the land, building community and mental health for farmers.
    Hear about Hillarie’s upbringing visiting her family members’ original homesteads in South Dakota and how her life came full circle, back to the land herself on Whidbey Island, in Washington. She talks about how she and her husband are balancing their differing interests in landscaping versus gardening on their property, ultimately arriving at a food forest approach.
    Learn about Heavy Nettle Collective, a diverse group of farmers, creatives and healers who are growing food, producing local events and building community together. This group has formed organically and changes in response to the needs of the people coming together — having grown from 5 to 20 — and they are slowly bringing the group into a more formal structure. 
    While everyone contributes their own strengths to the collective, some of Hillarie’s gifts are facilitating community and wellness. Since launching her wellness experiences through an REI business incubator program, Hillarie has been offering nature immersion, movement and breathwork to reconnect people to themselves and the world around them.
    Hillarie offers a thoughtful definition of the concept of community and illustrates how that looks in her own life. Get her best advice for how to actually build the community that so many people talk about wanting.

    Hillarie Maddox on Instagram
    Hillarie Maddox on Substack
    Black Girl Country Living podcast
     
     

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

salleeomallee ,

Solid gardening podcast

I really enjoy the topics covered, I feel like I learn about the nuts and bolts of gardening as well as greater gardening culture (food justice, etc). Really smart and accessible. Five stars!

Regina from Kentucky ,

New perspectives with a dose of hope

I am finding that this podcast has me looking at the food on my plate and the plants in my yard in new ways. The variety of guests doing interesting and important work provides much needed hope in a world dominated by corporate farms. It also has me thinking about ways I may want to get more involved in my community to support sustainable and healthy farming and gardening.

Barefoot_in_the_Bluegrass ,

So Fresh and so Green

It’s refreshing to hear a woman’s voice from the farming world. Thanks for bringing more to this space than simply on growing/raising food. I’m inspired by the above-and-beyond work of your guests in growing a better world, as well. Looking forward to hearing more!

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