Today we dive into the heady world of industrial hemp. Hemp is no longer just for Canadian cereal companies and scratchy beige t-shirts. This low-THC strain of cannabis, think of it as the well behaved fraternal twin to marijuana, is as of the 2018 farm bill a legal crop in all 50 states. And the hemp hype is real, mostly because of CBD, a hemp extract that's popping up in everything from $8 cans of seltzer, to medicinal tinctures, and even Carl's Jr hamburgers. But if there's such huge consumer demand for hemp, and it doesn't even get you high, why was the crop criminalized in the first place? And now that it's legal, what does this mean for farmers across the country who want to start growing it? We talk with Michael "Mr. Hemp" Bowman and Ben Banks-Dobson of Hudson Hemp and Old Mud Creek Farm.
Special thanks to our podcast editor, Hannah Beal, producer, Jessica Manly, Ben Banks-Dobson, and Michael "Mr. Hemp" Bowman.
More on industrial hemp and CBD:
Karen Washington is one of the most influential food and farming activists of our time. From starting the Garden of Happiness in the Bronx, Black Urban Growers, and now Rise and Root Farm, Karen is modeling a new food system based on equity, social capital, and health.
New York State has over 57,000 farmers, and less than 200 of them are people of color, and this disparity holds true in every state across the country. Karen challenges Governor Cuomo to meet with black and brown farmers to talk about the policies and programs needed to support their success in agriculture.
Black Urban Growers:
Rise and Root Farm:
Karen in the press:
Bright Spots in the Food System, Annette Nielsen, Edible Bronx. April 29, 2016
Bronx Urban Farmer Receives Earth Day Award for her Years of Work, Advocacy, Metro. April 19, 2016.
Women in Food: Karen Washington Forges Path for Black Farmers, Laura Hurst, SeedStock. April 11, 2016
Ten Questions with Karen Washington, Co-Owner of Rise & Root Farm. FoodTank. April 9, 2016
Karen Washington, Queen of Urban Gardening, Adrien Schless-Meier, Civileats.com. August 20, 2014.
EBONY Reveals 2012 Power 100! Ebony Magazine. November 1, 2012.
The biggest problem faced by farmers across the country is access to land. Who owns it, who rents it—it all has a big impact on the kind of food we grow and who has economic opportunity in rural communities.
Young Farmers' Land Access Program Director, Holly Rippon-Butler, sits down with Megan Horst, professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University, to talk about who owns U.S. farmland, and whether or not this is shifting.
National Young Farmers Coalition land access programs:
Follow Holly's ice cream making on Instagram @farmersconecreamery!
Lindsey speaks with Matt Russell, and Iowa farmer and executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that brings people of all faiths together in conversation about critical issues, like climate change and the future of rural America. Matt sees an opportunity for farmers to be on the forefront of climate innovation and mitigation, and being in Iowa, he's in a great place to influence policy and the 2020 presidential debates-he's already influencing them, in fact, as co-author of recent New York Times Opinion piece, "What Democrats Need to Know to Win in Rural America."
Recorded at the studios of Radio Kingston, edited by Hannah Beal, produced by Jessica Manly. Big thanks to our podcast intern Maia Banayan.
"We need to understand the challenges young farmers are facing regionally in order to create solutions." Lindsey checks in with Karen Gardner, National Young Farmers Coalition's Pennsylvania Policy Associate, about what she's hearing from beginning farmers in PA, and the upcoming Pennsylvania Young Farmers Report, "Growing Pennsylvania’s Future: Challenges Facing Young Farmers and Recommendations to Address Them." Join the #morefarmers movement at youngfarmes.org/join. The Pennsylvania Young Farmers Report hits the internet later this month!
Become a member and join the #morefarmers movement at youngfarmers.org/morefarmers
Recorded at the studios of Radio Kingston.
Thanks to our amazing editor, Hannah Beal, producer, Jessica Manly, comms manager, Bilal Sarwari, and podcast intern, Maia Banayan.
Special thanks to Margaret Schlass, a busy PA young farmer who took the time to chat with us for this episode, but whose audio we very unfortunately lost due to a major tech glitch!
Lindsey talks with Kate Greenberg, Colorado's new Commissioner of Agriculture, and former Western Program Director with the National Young Farmers Coalition. Lindsey and Kate check in about what it's been like to be the youngest person, and first woman, to hold this role in Colorado, as well as Colorado's plans to address climate change, land access barriers, and to support its next generation of farmers and ranchers.
Kate's advice to young people looking to move into roles of leadership in food and agriculture? "Just do it." Surround yourself with people that love and support you, and don't wait until you feel ready, because you probably never really will.
California produces more food than any other state in the nation. Over one-third of U.S. vegetables and two-thirds of U.S. fruits and nuts are grown in California. But drought, wildfire, and the impacts of climate change are increasing across the state. How are the farmers doing? And how are the young farmers doing? Lindsey talks with Mai Nguyen, Young Farmers' California Organizer, based in San Diego, who is also a heritage grain farmer, activist, and former climate researcher. Mai authored the 2019 California Young Farmers Report for the National Young Farmers Coalition which drops later this week.
Last week, the USDA's NASS released the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the first count in over five years of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who run them. What do we know now about the state of agriculture in this country? Lindsey talks with Erin Foster West, Young Farmers' federal policy director, about the rise in female farmers, decrease in farmers of color, and what the 6.4 million data points mean for the future of farming.
The 2017 Census of Agriculture: https://www.nass.usda.gov/
Young Farmers Census press release: https://www.youngfarmers.org/2019/04/census2017/
On February 7th, 2019 Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introduced a resolution in Congress recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.
The resolution starts by listing the many ways that climate change will devastate this country, including mass migration, wildfires, a trillion dollars of economic damage, and then it puts forward ideas to simultaneously reduce emissions and build a just and prosperous society.
Farmers are in there of course. Agriculture is estimated to contribute up to 1/4 of global greenhouse gas emissions, and farmers are on the front lines of global weather changes. Lindsey interviews Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First, who recently wrote "The Green New Deal: Fulcrum for the farm and food justice movement?"
Lindsey is joined in the studio at Radio Kingston by freshman Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) to talk about his hotly contested race for office, representing the needs of beginning farmers in DC, and how he's trying to reach across the aisle in an era of "political tribalism." After the show, Lindsey and Jessica debrief.
National Young Farmers Coalition is proud to have our VP of Policy and Campaigns, Sophie Ackoff, as well as several member farmers on Rep. Delgado's 19th Congressional District Agriculture Advisory Board, including Wes Hannah and Bryn Roshong, Solid Ground Farm; Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition, Tianna Kennedy, Star Route Farm; Greater Catskills Young Farmers Coalition, Ben Tyler and Greta Zaro, Unadilla Community Farm; Leatherstocking Young Farmers Coalition and Bari Zeiger, Frost Valley Farm.
Photo from left: Michelle Hughes, Lindsey Lusher Shute, Rep. Antonio Delgado, and Sophie Ackoff in Washington, DC.