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‘Select the best, discard the rest’ – plant breeding was a farmer’s responsibility for agriculture’s first 10,000 years. Today, the purview of scientifically trained professionals, USDA’s Philipp Simon is among the best. For some forty years, Phil has developed and trialed modern carrot varieties at University of Wisconsin, Madison. Simon shares his and the carrot’s interwoven histories in conversation with “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey.
For six years, citizen scientist Peter Donovan has crisscrossed the continental United States in a converted school bus-soils lab to spread knowledge and passion for transforming atmospheric carbon into soil carbon. Peter’s Soil Carbon Challenge touches down in Fresno to evaluate soil-building efforts hereabouts and to engage “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation. Learn how your farm or garden can become part of the solution.
Reared in a Montana family devoted to education and guitar, young Liz Carlisle’s Harvard education curiously spawned a country music career, and the realization that rural America did not reflect her songcraft’s idealized images. Fascinated by her own state’s hardscrabble grain farmers, Liz soaked up graduate geography and journalism skills at UC Berkley while authoring Lentil Underground, a history of Montana’s upstart organic farming movement. Now lecturing on food and agriculture at Stanford, Liz Carlisle joins “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation.
In conversations with several pioneering UC Davis rural sociologists who tilted at California’s agribusiness windmill throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, we learned scholarly activism was then a harrowing activity. In this new millennium, Jonathan London, UC Davis Associate Professor of Human Ecology, directs that land-grant institution’s Center for Regional Change. Join “Down on the Farm” host, Tom Willey, when we’ll learn from Jonathan London if advocating for social justice across our Central Valley’s farmscape is still a risky business or, a more successful one.
Hanford native, Tim LaSalle long piloted California’s renown Agricultural Leadership Program, then headed The Savory Center and Rodale Institute. He is currently co-founding Chico State University’s Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, an agenda focused on transforming farmlands from net emitters of greenhouse gasses into carbon sinks that rebalance Earth’s atmosphere. Join Tim in conversation with “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey.
Isao Fujimoto’s immigrant family found refuge amongst Washington State’s Yakima Indians, farming until forcibly removed to a World War II concentration camp. As a freshly-minted rural sociologist hired by UC Davis in the turbulent 1960s, Isao was hot for some world changing. Fujimoto’s emboldened students ignited farmers market and organic food movements, confronting Central Valley agribusiness power. Join Isao and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation.
In 1975 PhD Rural Sociologist Dean MacCannell joined UC Davis’ faculty with little knowledge of the controversy in which he soon became embroiled. MacCannell’s reaffirmation of Walter Goldschmidt’s theory that large-scale agribusiness degrades the wellbeing of Valley communities nearly cost him his job, and threatened his life. Join Dean and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation.
Since 1977, co-founder Don Villarejo’s California Institute of Rural Studies has investigated our agricultural economy’s impact on the wellbeing of rural communities, research the state’s land grant university long refused to conduct. Insisting that facts shape conclusions, CIRS reports have variously angered agribusiness and labor advocates over the decades. Join Villarejo and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation.
Don Villarejo joins “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey.
Senior Vice-President Vernon Crowder peers into a crystal ball for Rabobank, the $800 billion cooperative financier of food and agriculture activities on five continents. Join Vernon and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey while they review the San Joaquin Valley’s just-completed 2016 harvest and chew over issues that cloud our agricultural future hereabouts. Eavesdrop on this “front porch” discussion.
Vernon Crowder joins “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey.
In this episode of the Fall Speaker’s Series: “In the Struggle” we will examine the democratic purposes and civic values of extraordinary scholars who conducted research and advocated for change in the San Joaquin Valley over an 80-year time span as our unique rural agricultural economy consolidated and industrialized.
Daniel O’Connell and Trudy Wischemann join “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey.