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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.
I did not set out forty-some years ago to be a hippy, organic or alternative farmer of any sort. Deeply disillusioned after a few years of striving to reform society’s miscreants in California’s prison and parole system, I ached to produce something of unquestioned value for myself and my community – growing food seemed to fit that bill. Though it’s been a jolly good ride, the journey proved to be not as simple as it looked either. Let me share a “thing or two about a thing or two” that I learned along the “way of the dirt farmer”. [Read more…]
After four-decades with our National Park Service, citizen-scientist John Austin now studies Tulare Lake Basin’s climate history, an expanse into which flow the Kings, Kaweah, Tule and Kern Rivers.
Austin joins “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey to argue that 1987 marked a climatological milestone, contributing to diminished stream flows and our current drought which dates from this millennium’s dawn.
Nature designed earth’s soils to harbor twice the carbon that her atmosphere does. California’s novel carbon trading scheme will incentivize farmers to remove climate disrupting carbon dioxide to their soils for safekeeping.
Host Tom Willey speaks with guests California Climate and Agriculture Network’s Renata Brillinger, and University of California Vegetable Crop Specialist Jeff Mitchell.