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The Farm Report

Author: Heritage Radio Network

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The Farm Report is a show 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 engages in conversations with farmers and 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.
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Chris Starkus owns Lost Creek Micro Farm in Denver, Colorado, where he is a beekeeper and grower of vegetables. He’s also the executive chef at the restaurant Urban Farmer, where he’s created a “locally focused, sustainably sourced steakhouse menu influenced by the bounty of Colorado.” During a trip to New York City to cook at the James Beard House, Starkus stopped by the studio to talk to host Lisa Held about his own farm, how he supports other farmers in Colorado as a chef, and what agriculture looks like in and around Denver.
This week's show is a special collaboration between The Farm Report and Cutting the Curd. Together, host Lisa Held and fellow Heritage Radio Network host and producer Elena Santogade talk to farmer and cheesemaker Celeste Nolan. Nolan and her husband purchased a family dairy farm 15 years ago. After struggling to sustain the farm business based on fluid milk production alone, they added cheesemaking to the operation. The Nolan family’s farm and cheese will soon be featured on Farmsteaders, an episode of PBS's POV series. In advance of that portrait, Nolan talks to Held and Santogade about the realities of revitalizing and running a dairy farm, how making cheese fits into the farm’s economic and day-to-day picture, and more.
Created by renowned chef Dan Barber, breeder Michael Mazourek, and seedsman Matthew Goldfarb, Row 7 is “a seed company grounded in the notion that deliciousness might just change the world.” In this episode, host Lisa Held sits down with Mazourek to talk about how the company has been working with a network of chefs and farmers to develop vegetables like the Badger Flame Beet and the Purple Beauregarde Snow Pea. They also tackle why breeding for flavor can produce more nutritious vegetables, how to breed plants for resilience in the face of climate change, and what seed farming really looks like.It's HRN's annual summer fund drive, this is when we turn to our listeners and ask that you make a donation to help ensure a bright future for food radio. Help us keep broadcasting the most thought provoking, entertaining, and educational conversations happening in the world of food and beverage. Become a member today! To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have brand new member gifts available. So snag your favorite new pizza - themed tee shirt or enamel pin today and show the world how much you love HRN, just go to heritageradionetwork.org/donate
Jonathan Sumner has a unique job for a farmer. At Riverpark, one of celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s restaurants, he runs what is likely Manhattan’s biggest outdoor farm, organically growing around 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers in 3,200 milk crates. His predecessor, Zach Pickens, now runs Farm Tournant in upstate New York and provides the restaurant with whatever the city farm can’t grow. In this episode, Sumner, Pickens, and Riverpark executive chef Andrew Smith to host Lisa Held about the unique design of Riverpark’s farm and how the farmers and chefs work together to craft menus that revolve around the harvest, both in the city and upstate.
“Brownsville is a food desert,” one student says while standing against a backdrop of dozens of giant cucumbers ready to be harvested. “We want to help the community by giving them healthy food access.” In this episode, student farmers give host Lisa Held a tour of the hydroponic farm they built inside an empty classroom at their Brooklyn middle school, where 25,000 pounds of produce now grows annually. After the tour, Teens for Food Justice president Katherine Soll is in studio to talk about what went into building the farm, how it has impacted the students and community, and how it fits into the bigger picture of the organization’s work.
Meriwether Hardie is the chief of staff at Bio-Logical Capital, where her work focuses on developing new models for regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, and climate-positive land use. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to Hardie about how the company invests in farms and projects that “un-scale” the food system, how small farms and diversified, regenerative agriculture operations can compete for investment when up against commodity agriculture and ag-tech operations, and her upcoming participation in “The Innovative Farmer” summit at Slow Food Nations, the food and agriculture festival happening in Denver, Colorado July 19–21.It's HRN's annual summer fund drive, this is when we turn to our listeners and ask that you make a donation to help ensure a bright future for food radio. Help us keep broadcasting the most thought provoking, entertaining, and educational conversations happening in the world of food and beverage. Become a member today! To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have brand new member gifts available. So snag your favorite new pizza - themed tee shirt or enamel pin today and show the world how much you love HRN, just go to heritageradionetwork.org/donate
Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats, a “daily news source for critical thought about the American food system” that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to Starkman about how agriculture and conversations about farming have changed over the past decade, how media companies should be covering agriculture and the many important issues it intersects with, and what she thinks the next ten years have in store for farmers and eaters.
Based in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Shenandoah Valley Organic sells USDA-certified organic chicken grown on a network of small farms. In this episode, host Lisa Held sits down with Jefferson Heatwole, chief sales and marketing officer, and Jason Daugherty, a fourth generation farmer who raises chickens for SVO. They discuss how the company’s “Farmer Focus” model is designed to give growers more power in an industry known for taking advantage of contract farmers, their “Farm ID” program that traces each chicken back to the farm it was raised on, and more.
Founded by former Blue Apron co-founder and COO Matthew Wadiak, Cooks Venture is a “next generation food company committed to regenerative agriculture and a truly transparent supply chain for the future.” The company launched March of 2019 and its “pasture-raised, slow-growth, heirloom” chickens hit the market soon after. In this episode, host Lisa Held talks to Wadiak and EVP and farmer Blake Evans about the overall agricultural model, Cooks Venture’s chicken farming practices, and the company’s bigger plans to impact the food system and address the climate emergency.It's HRN's annual summer fund drive, this is when we turn to our listeners and ask that you make a donation to help ensure a bright future for food radio. Help us keep broadcasting the most thought provoking, entertaining, and educational conversations happening in the world of food and beverage. Become a member today! To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have brand new member gifts available. So snag your favorite new pizza - themed tee shirt or enamel pin today and show the world how much you love HRN, just go to heritageradionetwork.org/donate
In this episode, Saveur editor-in-chief Stacy Adimando joins host Lisa Held to talk about the magazine’s recently released “Grower’s Issue,” which features stories of the intricacies of hop farming in San Diego, how India’s saffron farmers are suffering during a multi-year drought, and how sheep farming could revive rural regions of the US that once relied on coal mining. According to Adimando’s Editor’s Note, “When you look at the world farmer-first, you’ll find a story behind every bite.”
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