After a year that put large swaths of New England in prolonged severe to extreme drought, reporter Kori Feener devoted episode two of her new podcast series to ask: what is the future of farming in New England in an increasingly erratic climate? Feener speaks to our a small farmer, the head of environmental studies at Brandies University, and our own Severine. The experts agree, the challenges are daunting but hardly insurmountable. Realistic and yet incredibly hopeful, this is great listening for long days of seeding in the greenhouse.
To that point, the new series, Under Reported, is sleek, smart, and incredibly engaging. Based out of Boston, Feener goes beneath the headlines to give voice to the personal narratives of today’s news cycle and draw attention to what the mainstream media often ignores. “Through in-depth interviews, and audio storytelling Under Reported connects with those on the front lines of change in America.”
The project is a collaboration between writers, photographers, and farmers (of course!). FFP is working on highlighting women in agriculture and is setting about chronicling the rise in female farmers across the world. We feel it’s necessary to point out the obvious, which is that women have always been farming and have actually played a pretty central role in agriculture for, basically, ever. But the historical narrative often focuses on men (we like you guys too).
From the Female Farmer Project blog:
“I spent the weekend visiting friends who live in rural Minnesota. Though they aren’t farming, they are surrounded by farms and live on a farmstead. I was reading to their 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy and a book mentioned “the farmer’s wife” but I instead just called her “the farmer” because, duh. And the little girl immediately piped up and said “I thought only boys were farmers”. So I told them that girls can be farmers too and lots of girls are farmers.”
What is it about young farmers that makes them such fanatic podcast listeners? Is it the lonely nature of their tractor work? A need for brain food during otherwise mind-dulling tasks such as hand-weeding the parsnips? Do they have a desire to remain attune to the otherwise distant goings on of popular culture? Or is it an obsessive need to meet the pinnacle of multitasking in all moments? Regardless, every farmer I know can rattle off their favorites list
On Being with Kristina Tippet marks the top of ours: a little bit of soul food during some of the the more patience-trying, faith-testing, energy-zapping moments of the summer. Tippet makes intelligent and deeply engaging conversation with some of the greatest contemporary thinkers from scientists to seminarians– such as Nikki Giovani, Yo Yo Ma, Thich Nach Hahn, to name just a few– on subjects ranging from everything from Buddhist practice to the language of whales and elephants.
Two weeks ago, Tippet interviewed philosopher of ecology, climate activist, author, translator, and environmental activist Johanna Macy. The conversation delves heavily into the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, and (because, as before-mentioned, poetry may just be the thing to carry us up) we recommend this as a great starting place.
“And one of those farmer’s said, ‘you know we can do this work. This is our lives. We have pride in what we do, this is hard work: building these terraces year after year for a thousand years. This is a part of our culture and that’s why we can do it.’ Now, the whole world is going to have to do that pretty soon. Where are we going to build these resources? So those resources are only going to come out of people who are accustomed, only going to come from farmers, farming families, people accustomed, campesinos, people who work, the small farmers, the millions and millions of small farmers all over the work. The farmers are going to have to reshape the earth and we are going to have to support those farmers to do that.”
-Mark Freeeman, found of CREAR on the Agricultural Innovations podcast. A fascinating conversation about climate change, rural infrastructure in the Dominican Republic and New Mexico, skepticism of new technology, distrust of institutions, and the difficulty of finding hope.
Greenhorns Radio is radio for young farmers, by young farmers. Hosted by acclaimed activist, farmer and film-maker Severine v T Fleming, Greenhorn Radio is a weekly phone interview with next generation farmers and ranchers, surveying the issues critical to their success. We hold no punches. Greenhorns is a six year old grassroots cultural organization with a mission to recruit, promote and support young farmers in America by producing media, events and stunts that connect and and inspire.
Fugitive Waves is part of Radiotopia, a collective of some of the best story-driven podcasts —99% Invisible, The Truth, Love & Radio, Theory of Everything, Strangers, Radio Diaries and us, The Kitchen Sisters.
On Episode #5, we talk with Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm out of Brenham, TX. Home Sweet Farm is unique, in that they not only own and operate a highly diversified farm – fruits, veggies, and animals – but work cooperatively with other farmers in the area to help distribute their goods through Home Sweet Farm’s CSA (300+ strong) and retail storefront. Brad is truly a jack of all trades, with lots of practical advice, tips, and stories to share. Real talk!