Join me Thurs, 10/16, 7:00-9:00AM CT on WPCA Radio – a voice of the people

Hi, I’ll be sitting in with morning jockey Dave Corbett tomorrow at WPCA Radio to share a couple of hours of conversation and inquiry. If you join us, you’ll be able to answer these questions: – What’s community-supported radio, anyway? Same as National Public Radio? – Is WPCA part of the Wisconsin Public Radio network? – How much government support does WPCA get every year? (Hint – the answer rhymes with bureau.) – How much am I paid to host Deep Roots Radio every week? – Is radio free? – How big is my herd of BueLingo beef cattle? – … Continue reading

Live, Sat., Oct. 11, 9-9:30AM Central – Rebuilding food hubs w food, farmers and education

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Bobby Maher, Director of Hungry Turtle Learning Center
When: Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. 9:00-9:30AM Central Time.
Where: Broadcast 93.1FM, and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio
Why: The demand for local, sustainably-grown foods continues to grow all across America, Wisconsin included. What’s it take to redesign a local food system? The food hub planted and growing in Amery, Wisconsin (pop. 2,960 and just 65 miles northwest of the large metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.) has three strong legs: farmers growing delicious, nutrient-rich foods; a brand new Farm Table Restaurant; and, an educational/outreach component in the form of a new nonprofit, the Hungry Turtle Learning Center.

One of the three legs in the food hub stool

One of the three legs in the food hub stool

Hungry Turtle Farmers Coop - an essential component of the new food hub

Hungry Turtle Farmers Coop – an essential component of the new food hub

Delicious, nutritious, local

Delicious, nutritious, local

Deep Roots Radio - connecting the dots between what we eat and how it's grown

Deep Roots Radio – connecting the dots between what we eat and how it’s grown

What’s Facebook and Twitter got to do with organic food? Sat., Oct 4, 9-9:30AM Central

What: Deep Roots Radio chat with Soon Gunther, website designer, social media activist, good-food lover When: Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, 9:00-9:30 AM Central Where: Broadcast and streamed live on WPCA Radio, 93.1FM and Why: Sustainable growers want to provide healthful, delicious foods to the marketplace. Consumer demand for sustainable, local foods continues to grow. Social media plays a role. Tune in!! Sylvia … Continue reading

Harnessing sun, dew and grass

I was walking out to the chicken coop in the early morning, a pail of seeds and cracked corn swinging on my left and my right hand raised to shade my eyes. The sun, just a few degrees above the trees, hit the dew-drenched grass and sent spears of bright light into the air. It was like a white fireworks: busy, slightly chaotic, riotous. But the air was soft around my ears. The loudest sound came from my rubber boots swishing through the tall, wet grasses. What a difference from last year, when drought reduced our fields to short dry … Continue reading

Chickens: devastation and 3-step proposal

Mad. Upset. Determined. Our farm is in rural Wisconsin. Although we’re just 70 minutes from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, predators are everywhere: coyotes, wolves, bear, hawks, eagles, owls, weasels, muskrats, badgers, fox, raccoons, possums, stray cats and the occasional house dog turned hunter when allowed to roam the countryside. It’s amazing any livestock or songbird makes it. The challenge is made even greater when you raise animals on pasture – wide open spaces where threats lurk under leaves, in borrows beneath the grass, and in the skies above. Although we sometimes hear packs of coyotes yipping close by, we’ve never … Continue reading

Putting my money on the beat-up trailer

Sometimes we stand together quietly – me and the cows. The air is still and filled with green smells: grass, hay, leaves, fresh herbs. I lean against the metal gate and watch as some stroll from one patch of fresh grass to the next, others recline and chew their cud, and calves run in what looks like a game of tag. It’s what grass-fed/grass-finished cows do every day, every growing season. It’s late summer, time for harvest. On Thursday, Dave and I loaded two beefy steers (altered males) into our “new” cattle trailer. It’s an investment we made this spring … Continue reading

Food scare. Ag hype. What’s the truth? Live, Sept. 6, 9-9:30AM Central w Ag Insider

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Chuck Abbott, Ag Insider journalist. When: Saturday, Sept. 6, 9:00-9:30AM Central Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio, 93.1FM and Why: The Internet, social media, emails and water cooler conversations are all about the latest hype, scare or boast about America’s food and the system that produces it. Where’s the truth, and how do you find it? This Deep Roots Radio conversation features Chuck Abbott who posts daily on the Ag Insider. A project of the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN), Ag Insider is available free of charge. … Continue reading

Rain – at last

Farm Update – Monday It was the downpour that woke me this morning. What a welcome sound! After four weeks of dry – only 1/4” rain that entire stretch – we needed this inch-and-3/8 on our fields. The seasonal pond just below the house has gone from dust to ripples. And, somehow, a small flock of geese knew it would reappear. It’s stopped now. Clouds scurry overhead and the air is filled with the rustle of grasses and leaves pushed by cool gusts from the north. Everything feels scrubbed clean, refreshed. Calves are kicking up their heels and running circles … Continue reading

Elvis is in the building!

The herd sire returnith Although I’ve witnessed the scene several times now, the simplicity and unvarnished single-purpose of it continues to amaze me. Dave and I met the cattle hauler at a neighboring farm late in the afternoon. The hauler had, in fact, gotten to Turnip Rock farm five or ten minutes ahead of us and had already backed the long, aluminum trailer to the cow barn. He and Josh, owner of Turnip Rock, were in the old barn coaxing my BueLingo bull, Full Throttle, away from the Jersey cows he’d been “keeping company” with since late May. I stayed … Continue reading

Learning to talk – and eat – like a farmer

Growing up in New York City meant being able to speak at least two or three languages, each reflecting the mindset and philosophies of a distinct group. I spoke ‘Bronx’ of course, Puerto Rican Spanish and spanglish (mix of English and Spanish), Bronx High School of Science Yidlish (Jewish expressions and inflections mixed with English), and a bit of Italish (Italian expressions mixed into the English). My brother, who was a little kid when we moved into an mostly Italian neighborhood, is much more fluent in Italish. He took to the inflections like a duck to water. When I first … Continue reading