I think this is the point. Farmers grow our food and tend our land. What could be more important than that? And, it's all too easy to take farmers for granted. You shop for food and even if you do that at a farmer's market, it is easy to overlook the intricacies of the day-to-day, the year over year, the hardships and the challenging weather, the early mornings and the late nights -- everything that farmers do to make our food happen.
I began Talk Farm to Me in my head a few years ago. I think it all started at a meeting in the NRDC offices in New York City. Honestly, I don't even know how I ended up in this meeting, but a small team of lawyers were talking about free legal services for farmers. Wow, I thought. How cool. What kind of legal services do they need? And how the heck, if you are out toiling away on your farm, do you find out about the free legal services available to you? This is not a very sexy start (sorry lawyers), I realize. But it got me thinking. Maybe they (the lawyers with the free stuff) needed to be on the radio talking to farmers. And wow, farmers sure do need to wear a lot of hats to make it all work.
Anyway, this little seed of an idea turned over and over in my head and the more farmers I met, the more steam the idea gathered. At some point in 2018, I realized that I would never get it going unless I just got it going. So, I interviewed Jennifer Grossman, a lawyer, a conservationist and a farmer... and also a friend. I mean, who would sit still and tolerate me figuring out what the heck I was doing if not a friend like Jen? We talked for over an hour and in putting together a 20 minute podcast episode, I have listened to that interview more than 100 times. I could recite it by heart. Jen is one of the most articulate people I know and oh so passionate about so many important issues. (If you know her, you are nodding along.) What a privilege!
Following my interview with Jen, I took to the editing room and after making 100s of mistakes and doing and redoing the tracks, I decided I needed another voice for the story. So I interviewed Peter Mauer, the farmer featured with Jen in Episode 1. Peter, too, is articulate and clear. I'd ask questions and he'd get right to the point. Peter and I only met that one time, but his voice follows me everywhere. Peter and Jen are important. They are doing such difficult work and making such a difference in our lives. You can hear it. You can feel it when they talk about their farm's journey. And it continues. We will have to come back to them later and get an update. It's like that with a lot of farms. Always something.
I also interviewed Jen's brother, Ben, a NYC chef and very successful restauranteur who recently opened his famed Smoke Joint in Livingston Manor, NY after seven hot years in Brooklyn. Ben has amazing experiences and some incredible farm and chef stories, but ultimately did not make the episode. That was a tough decision, but I thought the only way to get you to come along on this journey was to keep it tight -- 20 minute episodes. No excuse not to listen! And I didn't want to shut anyone off from the whole farmer story by making it too long. Sorry Ben! I still worship you!
Since Jen and Peter and Ben, I have interviewed many other farmers and every interview is a thrill. Every farmer has a special story to tell. There's sad stuff and funny stuff and stuff that makes them roll their eyes. There's the 35,000 foot view of farming and the micro view of milking a goat. In the first ten episodes, I hope to introduce you to a swath of farmers that cover different disciplines -- micro greens, goat cheese, lamb, raw milk, fish, cow dairy, veggies, bees, chickens and eggs -- all with different personalities, stories and missions. Later I will cover some bigger farming operations and some interesting innovations. I hope you will stay tuned.
Those of you who have tuned in already have left some great reviews on iTunes. A million thanks! It proves that you get it too. (And it helps others find the podcast!) With this kind of thinking, we can all walk a mile in a farmer's shoes and come out being more connected, more aware, more together on a topic that affects everyone on the planet. Looking forward to bringing you more farm talk soon.
xoxo Farm Girl
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