Sustainable World Radio- Ecology and Permaculture Podcast
Jill Cloutier
Learning From and Working With Nature- Interviews, news, and commentary about ecology, permaculture, organic gardening, sustainability, green living, and ethnobotany. Since 2004, Sustainable World has interviewed experts from around the globe; experts who learn from and work with nature. Tune in to discover positive solutions to environmental challenges; solutions that adhere to the Permaculture Ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Visit us at www.sustainableworldradio.com
What if we could heal broken ecosystems, toxic landscapes, and poisoned water?  My guest today is Dr. John Todd, ecological designer and author of the new book, Healing Earth- An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship. John boldly travels to places that others try to avoid: toxic waste sites, oil spills, leaking landfills, and damaged waterways. Using the tools of nature to remediate these areas, John and his colleagues do good things in bad places.

Join us for a mind and heart expanding conversation with Dr. Monica Gagliano about her research in plant cognition and her direct experiences with the botanical world. A pioneer in the field of Plant BioAcoustics, Monica's peer-reviewed work has furthered the concept of plant sentience. Monica's experiences with plants have altered her life, her research, and are the subject of her new book, Thus Spoke the Plant.

Incredible Edible's co-founder Mary Clear tells the story of how she and her friends turned their worry and fear into action by planting food in public places. With a motto of, "If you eat, you’re in," Incredible Edible turns neglected, unloved places into beautiful food-giving gardens, complete with signs that say  "Help Yourself!"

Sanandi Farm is an organic, biodynamic, Permaculture farm located near Valle de Bravo, Mexico. In 1998, two brothers, Dieter and Andreas le Noir, purchased the land and began the work of regenerating the health of the soil. Sanandi is now a beautiful farm with a thriving medicinal herb pharmacy and line of herbal remedies. Communications Director Yolanda Suarez del Real shares with us the story of Sanandi, the importance of biodiversity, and why she believes that agriculture holds a key to human health.

How can we mend our broken relationship with the Earth and create a world where people and land are good medicine for each other? In this interview, plant ecologist, author, and professor Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about what she has learned from plants, plant intelligence, and how the simple and profound act of paying attention to the living world can change our lives.

Learn about the field of arboreal archaeology and why historic fruit trees are important in this interview with horticulturist John Valenzuela. John is a Permaculture Teacher, Designer, and Educator who specializes in tropical permaculture, rare fruit, and ethnobotany.

Have you heard about Paw Paws, North America's largest indigenous fruit? Paw Paw fruit can weigh up to two pounds each and have a delicious and unusual tropical flavor, reminiscent of a mango, banana, pineapple, and cherimoya blend. In this fun and informative interview with Edible Landscape and Permaculture Designer Michael Judd, we learn how to propagate, grow, harvest, and prepare Paw Paws, from seed to table.

Do you live in a city and want to grow your own herbal medicine? In this episode, urban farmer and community herbalist Bonnie Rose Weaver shares the joys of growing medicinal plants in an urban environment. Bonnie believes that medicine is all around us, even in the heart of the city and that taking herbs grown locally can be potent medicine.

How would Nature farm? Can degraded, infertile land be regenerated? Can agriculture become a healing beneficial system that mitigates climate change? To answer these questions, I speak with farmer Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farm located in Swoope, Virginia. In this inspiring and uplifting interview, Joel shares the joy of being a visceral participant in healing land, why he believes that good farming should increase the commons, and how we can become beneficial participants in legacy ecology.

Have you ever thought of going to the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC)? Held every two years, switching between continents at different locations, the IPC is a gathering of Permaculture designers, teachers, and enthusiasts. This year, the IPC is held in India, which is celebrating 30 years of permaculture!

Larry Kandarian is an organic farmer and ancient grain advocate. In this episode, Larry takes us on a whirlwind tour of Kandarian Organic Farms where he grows over 200 varieties of plants. Larry Kandarian has been farming for over 25 years and grows ancient grains in the most ecological way possible.

Episode 140: Before 2006, Andrew McMillion wasn’t thinking too much about plants, soil health, or ecology. He was living the American Dream, spending a lot of money, and commuting to work at his job for a large corporation. The only catch? He felt miserable. After taking a test to see how high his carbon footprint was, Andrew committed to make a change. Now residing in Ornes, Norway, Andrew lives on a small ecological farm where he focuses on earth care, people care, and increasing and protecting plant biodiversity.  In this thoughtful and inspiring interview, Andrew shares his journey from knowing nothing about plants (in 2013) to growing over 200 varieties of vegetables, trees, and herbs. We talk about some of his favorite plants including Tree Collards, Shetland Kale, Habblizia or Caucasus Spinach, Syrian Homs Squash, Lambsquarters, Ashitaba, Udo, and Achocha (Bolivian Cucumber).  Andrew shares his experience of the positive effect of building relationships to individual plants and the many cycles of life in which we are embedded and how changing his focus from matter and production to connections and life quality has been pivotal for the thriving of the web of life on his farm. Andrew also shares his experiences from the Norwegian Seed Savers, the Green Party and the Refugee Greenspace Initiative, the new nonprofit Andrew co-founded, which sets up kitchen gardens at refugee centers. For more information and to contact Andrew, visit: RefugeeGreenSpace.org

Episode 139: Dr. Vandana Shiva, author, activist, and scholar, talks about the forgotten richness of pulses and how growing these plants can help us practice a more biodiverse and permanent agriculture.  In this short interview, we talk about Pulses, the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Common pulses include chickpeas, lentils, beans, and dry peas. Vandana says that growing pulses is an excellent way to begin farming nonviolently. Pulses fix Nitrogen, increase soil fertility, are drought tolerant, and are an excellent source of protein.  Vandana talks about the "violence" of fossil fuel-based agriculture, the Green Revolution in India, Bt Cotton, and how she became an activist.   Vandana believes that our role is to protect natural systems and to be co-creators with the earth. In one of my favorite quotes from the interview, Vandana says that, "Making peace with the earth means recognizing our creative abilities and not being proud of our destructive capacity." To learn more about Vandana Shiva, visit her website: VandanaShiva.com and Navdanya.org.  To read Vandana Shiva's book  Pulse of Life: The Rich Biodiversity of Edible Legumes, click here.  Special thanks to Camilla Becket of Becket Films for setting up this interview. To see a preview of their new film about Vandana Shiva, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, click here. 

Episode 138: Natural building is good for both people and planet. In this episode we hear from natural builders who are committed to their craft and who create beautiful structures using natural locally-sourced materials. Recorded at the Natural Building Colloquium at Quail Springs Permaculture Center in New Cuyama, CA, I speak with many natural builders including Sasha Rabin, Linda Smiley, Patrick Hennebery, Liz Johndrow, and Bob Theis.  I visit projects at the Colloquium including a feral straw bale office- created to be an affordable replacement for a trailer,  a cob bench and Rumford fireplace- part of an outdoor gathering space, and a plaster wall- a gorgeous butterfly with layers of color derived from natural pigments.

Episode 137: Take a ride around the world with aromatic explorer John Steele. In this interview John talks about the sacred use of fragrance in ancient Egypt and Amazonian shamanism. John draws upon his decades of experience as an archaeologist and aromatherapist to delve deeply into the shamanic use of fragrance. John talks about smell as "direct intuition", how certain plant fragrances can be used to restore flow when stuck in negative thought patterns, and how fragrance can be used as an aromatic tool for conscious transformation.  John Steele urges us to think "outside the perfume bottle" and open up to the "floral highway of awareness." John is the owner of Lifetree Aromatix and teaches workshops about the aromatic domain around the globe. To contact John you can email him at info (at) lifetreearomatix.com.

Episode 136: Beth and Shawn Dougherty have been farming together for over thirty years and practice grass-based homesteading in Eastern Ohio. In this interview, Shawn and Beth explain how they use intensive pasture management on a small scale to increase soil fertility, regenerate land, and grow delicious, nutrient-dense food. When the Dougherty's first spotted the place that was to become their home, they weren't impressed. It  was "in worse than bad shape" and had been deemed not suitable for agriculture by the state of Ohio. Using grass-based farming, they regenerated this neglected piece of land into a thriving independent homestead where they now grow 90% of their food. In this interview, the Dougherty's explain how to harness the power of the sun into grazing ruminants, how to choose the right animal for your property, (hint, let the land tell you), and the joys and challenges of homesteading with animals. They also talk the detrimental effects that "animal-free" agriculture has had on the world. Shawn and Beth wanted to farm like their great grandparents did and often asked themselves, "How can this be more beautiful and appropriate?" By working with Nature and in partnership with farm animals, they discovered that contrary to modern agriculture (which depletes soil fertility), land farmed properly becomes more capable of supporting the life on it and grows in fertility, biodiversity, and health. You can find the Dougherty's new book,  The Independent Farmstead- Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management, online at Chelsea Green Publishing and at local bookstores.

Episode 135: Starhawk is an internally renowned activist, feminist, writer, and Permaculture Designer and Teacher. Founder of the Earth Activist Training, Starhawk travels the globe teaching about Permaculture Design, Social Permaculture, and Earth-based spirituality. In this interview, Starhawk talks about how Permaculture changed her life, how to design beneficial relationships, and why she feels that there is no more vital work we can do than to heal our damaged earth. We learn about the regenerative land management practices that she is doing on her land in Sonoma, CA and why she feels that "trees and veggies are the easy part of Permaculture." We talk about Social Permaculture and the many challenges of working in groups, cultural diversity and sensitivity, group cooperation examples in Nature, and how Permaculture ethics and principles can help us navigate the murky waters of working with others. Starhawk also talks about her latest book, City of Refuge, a sequel to her perennially popular best seller, The Fifth Sacred Thing.  To hear the interview I did with Starhawk in 2010, click here.

Episode 134: Have you ever wanted to grow a cornucopia of organic fruit at home? In this episode, Permaculture and Ecological Designer Michael Judd teaches us how to plant a food forest in easy to follow steps. Michael recommends a "patch method" for starting your food forest, shares his recipes for sheet mulching, and talks about how to incorporate existing trees into your new food forest. Michael covers guilds (a selected group of plants that form a small ecosystem to support trees) and talks about the plants he loves to incorporate into food forests including: Comfrey, Strawberry, Lead Plant, Yarrow, Wild Blue Indigo, and many others. Michael shares his favorite Uncommon Fruits and "Edible Landscaping All Stars" which include: Hardy Kiwi, Gooseberry, Juneberry, Goumi, Autumn Olive, Paw Paw, Che Fruit, Elderberry, and Currants.  You can read more about Michael and his amazing work at EcologiaDesign.com.  Michael is the author of Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist.  You can taste some of Michael's uncommon fruit at his 1st Annual Paw Paw Festival on September 17th, 2016 at Long Creek Homestead. The Fest is a celebration of North America's largest (and many say most delicious) fruit.  To hear more from Michael on my podcasts, click here: Have Your Yard and Eat It, Too!, Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation, and Goumi, A Beautiful Bush With Benefits. If you have the Sustainable World Radio App for Mac or Android, included in this interview is a short segment with Michael's recommendations for nurseries that sell uncommon fruit. 

Episode 133:  Is it time to turn your lawn into a biodiverse meadow? In this interview with John Greenlee, we learn about the many benefits of meadow gardens. An expert in grass ecology and sustainable design, John is the author of the books The American Meadow Garden and The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses. John Greenlee says meadows are the "places you want to be, sunny, soft, and human-friendly" and are an excellent replacement for the typical turf lawn. In this interview, John asks a fundamental question, "Are we just decorating the planet or are we creating habitat?" He outlines how he readies land for planting a meadow, inorganic and organic methods of soil preparation, what grasses work where, plant driven design, and why meadow lawns are a boon to the ecosystem.  John also talks about different types of meadows and how to add an edible component to meadows including Heirloom Grains, Berries, and Root Herbs like Salsify.  To learn more, visit John's website Greenlee and Associates. com

  Episode 132: Can planting lentils be a radical act? Yes, if you live in a small conservative farming town in Montana, circa 1976. That was the year David Oien moved back to his family’s farm and planted a crop of lentils. This marked the beginning of the Lentil Underground, a group of farmers who created a new way of doing business both on the farm and in their community. It wasn’t always easy. Planting lentils in a county known for wheat created waves and they weren’t amber waves of grain. But, what disapproving, wheat-loving onlookers didn’t know, was that the short, squat lentil plant is the “Robin Hood” of the plant world. A Nitrogen fixer, it creates fertilizer and increases soil health by sequestering Nitrogen out of the atmosphere and putting it in the soil in a plant available form. This fixing of Nitrogen is a valuable service to farmers and to plant and soil life.  In this interview with author, teacher, and lecturer Dr. Liz Carlisle, we learn what happened when a group of farmers shifted from industrial agriculture to a more ecological farming method. This transition from a “farming up” to a “farming down” model, with a goal of regenerating soil health, is the story of the Lentil Underground.  It's also a story about community, agricultural policies, and our food system. Dr. Liz Carlisle is the author of the book Lentil Underground. Liz is a Lecturer in Food Systems at the University of California, Berkeley and in the Thinking Matters program at Stanford University. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography, from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. from Harvard University.  You can buy lentils and other products from the farmers mentioned in this interview by visiting their company Timeless Food.     

Episode 131: Dr. John Todd is a pioneer in the field of ecological design. The inventor of the Eco-Machine, John Todd works with nature to heal degraded waste sites often thought irreconcilably damaged. John Todd and his associates have worked on projects on five continents dealing with waterborne waste streams of both domestic sewage and industrial waste.  John believes that there are ways to heal our damaged earth and designs machines that work with nature to reduce the amount of nutrients and pollutants in water and manage and transform them into beneficial forms. In this episode, John Todd tells us why he travels to the places most people don't like to go- polluted landfills, contaminated oil fields, and sewage plants. John talks about the first Eco-Machine he designed to mimic the genius of nature and how armed with a bucket and turkey baster, he filled it with life from over a dozen wild environments. When polluted water was poured into the machine, it moved through different tanks on a 10 day journey. The end result? Clean water.  John talks about his project at the Omega Institute where he designed an Eco-Machine that treats up to 52,000 gallons a day of wastewater. The Eco-Machine is located in a beautiful greenhouse that doubles as a classroom, event space, and yoga center! John also talks about his latest project, designing and building a fleet of Ocean Arks. As the Arks travel through the sea or lake, they clean the water, while onboard, students learn about the ocean.  

Episode 130: Permaculture teacher, poet, and author Patrick Jones talks about his family's epic journey, how they took Permaculture on the road, and some of Australia's indigenous plants. In 2013, Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones embarked on a 14 month, 6,000 km journey by bike, cycling along Australia's East Coast from Daylesford to Cape York. Their travel companions were their sons, Woody and Zephyr, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Zero. Patrick and Meg wrote a book about their journey called The Art of Free Travel: A Frugal Family Adventure.  One of the goals of their four hundred day journey was to document some of the edible wild plants of Australia and to eat and enjoy free and foraged food along the way.  Patrick also talks about pre-1788 indigenous Aboriginal land tending and shares some of the history and science that demonstrates reciprocal agrarianism across Australia pre-contact. Learn more about Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman by clicking here. If you'd like a list of the Latin names of the many plants, insects, and mushrooms that Patrick talks about in this interview, visit the Sustainable World Radio blog by clicking here. 

Episode 129: Fungi are absent from our awareness, but are everywhere around us. In this interview with Peter McCoy, author of the book, Radical Mycology, we learn about fungi and its influence and effect on all life.  Did you know that fungi are the "grand chemists of nature"? That fungi are more closely related to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom? Or that fungi is a high protein functional food that boosts your immune system?  Peter McCoy shares with us some of his knowledge gleaned from years of working with fungi. We talk about how many plants need fungi to grow and thrive (including orchids), how to grow mushrooms at home, and "Survival of the Most Symbiotic." Peter McCoy is the co-founder of Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization that educates about the importance of mushroom cultivation and mycoremediation. Peter is a writer, artist, mushroom cultivator, and educator.   

Episode 128: Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc. guides us on this podcast journey into the world of soil. The meeting place of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, soil contains vast numbers of species.  Like most places where “edges” of different worlds meet, the soil is a dynamic interface. Fertile soil is alive with the biodiversity of a thriving forest; complex ecosystems connecting, growing, living, co-existing, and dying. In this episode we learn about the cast of creatures that comprise the Soil Food Web, including Bacteria, Fungi, Nematodes, Protozoa, and Arthropods and the many ecosystem services that they provide.  Elaine talks about how to take dirt- soil that has no life- and transform it into soil. She details techniques that you can do at home and on the farm to increase soil life, resulting in healthier plants, people, and planet. Are you trying to grow broccoli in a fungal- dominated soil? Why does your yard only grow weeds? What is living in your soil? Why is rototilling a bad idea if you are trying to increase soil health? What is the connection between healthy soil and climate change? Tune in to learn the answers to these questions and more from Soil Food Web expert Dr. Elaine Ingham.  For more information about Elaine visit her website. 

Episode 127: How can we apply Permaculture ethics and principles to our lives and relationships? In this episode Delia Carroll and Rachel Kaplan, co-founders of 13 Moon CoLab, talk about Social Permaculture, designing your life for resiliency, and how tending to your inner landscape can lead to cultural repair.  The 13 Moon CoLab's Permaculture From the Inside Out Design Course is intended to grow Permaculture people and places. The 100+ hour course includes the traditional 72 Hour Permaculture curriculum, as well as somatics, place-making, community art, and ceremony. The 13 Moon CoLab teaches permaculture and somatics in the same course because they see both as practices of repair, with somatics tending to the inner landscape and permaculture tending to the outer.  Rachel and Delia are Permaculture teachers and designers. Rachel is the co-author of the book Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. Delia is a past producer of the West Coast Women’s Permaculture Gatherings and the Northern California Permaculture Convergences. 

Episode 126: Joseph Simcox is a botanical explorer, ethnobotanist, international lecturer, and expert in food plants from around the world. In this free-ranging conversation, Joseph talks about the potential that we have to transform the planet in positive ways, how we can become "Giant Enrichers", acting like the "new earthworms of the planet." Joseph shares his knowledge about resilient plants and climate change, the agriculture industrial complex, and how we can re-integrate foodways from the past into our modern food system.  Of course, Joseph also talks about plants, including three that he is really excited about: Manroot, (Ipomoea leptophylla), Prairie Turnips (Pediomelum esculentum), and the Queen of the Night Cactus (Peniocereus greggii). For more information about Joseph Simcox, click here.

Episode 125: In this interview with Irina Stoenescu we talk about the re-discovery of food traditions, how regional foods are going global, and how Millennials and their interest in food with a story is shaping our food system. After the taste standardization of the fast food era, we are in the middle of a food revolution. We are living in a time where the story of food and its ingredients (the community growing or raising it, its nutritional benefits, and traditions), are as important as the food itself. The revitalization of food traditions fuels culinary innovation and creativity. Chefs searching for “forgotten” ingredients and “ethnic” foods are merging tradition and innovation and sharing their discoveries with the world.  In this interview, Irina also talks in-depth about several Eurasian foods that she is excited about, including Arugula, Sea Buckthorn, and Cornelian Cherry.  Irina Stoenescu is a Food Researcher and Consultant whose work focuses on healthy food, trade and nutrition issues. Irina is dedicated to educational programs, focusing on  the revival of food traditions, balanced nutrition, and sustainable food systems. Currently, Irina is working on a project to introduce Euarasian specialty foods to a larger audience.

Episode 124: In this episode we dive into the world of Natural Process Farming with Bob Cannard. Bob grows highly diversified food crops by working with nature and natural systems. In Natural Process farming, crops are grown 50% for people and 50% for Nature. In this interview, Bob talks about the value of "nature support plants," why weeds need to be managed, not eradicated, the digestive systems of and in the soil, how to feed the soil, and why we should strive to give plants a "life of choice."  Bob also tells us how home gardeners can begin practicing Natural Process Farming on a small scale.  Bob has been farming for thirty years in Northern California and is the co-founder and operator of Green String Farm and the Green String Institute which offers internships in farming the Green String or Natural Process way.

Episode 123: In this episode I speak with Mary Alford of Rabble Housers. Mary Alford is a professional engineer and expert in energy optimization and sustainable building practices.  The Rabble House is a 600 square foot home designed to be built by individuals, groups, and/or volunteers. Modeled after the Craftsman Home Kit that was available from Sears in the early 1900s through 1940, the Rabble House is a home designed for efficiency, comfort, and affordability. The Rabble House can be built in 20 weekends with two people working fifteen hours each. To see the plans of the house, click here.  This version of the Rabble House is designed for the hot and humid climate of the southeast, but Mary promises more Rabble Houses in the future!   

Episode 122: In this episode we dive into the world of Vetiver. With powerful roots that grow 12-15 feet deep, Vetiver is a valuable plant that acts as a living infrastructure. Vetiver is planted around the world to remediate polluted soil and water.  To learn about this multi-faceted plant, I spoke with Vetiver expert Jason Fox of Vetiver Farms Hawaii. Jason fills us in on vetiver's many uses including slope and erosion control, wastewater treatment, toxin absorption, water diversion, and flood prevention. Vetiver is the plant that keeps on giving. It's roots yield an aromatic and medicinal essential oil, it sequesters excess atmospheric carbon, and Vetiver mulch is mycorrhizal-rich.   

Episode 121: Learn how to grow your own organic veggies and fish in an Aquaponics system. In this episode, I talk with Sylvia Bernstein, the President of the Aquaponic Source and author of the book Aquaponic Gardening: A Step By Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together. Aquaponics is a closed recirculating system. Using only 10% of the water of conventional agriculture, Aquaponics can be done almost anywhere, even in times of drought. Aquaponics uses the waste byproduct of fish as a beneficial organic input to grow plants. Sylvia tells us what fish and plants thrive in an Aquaponics system. Vegetarians can grow "ornamental" fish like koi and fish eaters can grow tilapia, catfish, or trout to harvest.  According to Sylvia, some of the other benefits of Aquaponics include a lack of weeds, waist-high beds for gardening ease, and no costly inputs like fertilizer and herbicides.  

Episode 120: Seaweed is a superfood from the sea! Terry d’Selkie of Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company tells us about the many benefits of seaweed. An algae, seaweed is high in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and fiber. Terry introduces us to many different types of seaweed, including Kombu, Sweet Kombu, Ocean Ribbons, Sea Palm, Pacific Coast Wakame, Wild Nori, Fucus, and Turkish Towel. Terry tells us how to ethically harvest, dry, and cook with seaweed. Seaweed is also medicinal and can be used in compost tea and fertilizer.    Many people are concerned about the safety of eating seaweed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. All of the seaweed that Terry harvests is tested by an independent lab for radiation and so far has tested negative for radioactive isotopes.   To learn more about seaweed, visit Terry’s website: SeaweedMermaid.com. 

Episode 119: Eric Scott Bresselsmith is an herbalist, wildcrafter, and artisan distiller of essential oils. Owner of the House of Aromatics, Eric uses Conifers and Brushes native to the intermountain region of Southern Utah to create medicinal therapeutic grade oils.    Believing that "the medicine you need is always just a few steps away," Eric creates oils from local ethically wildcrafted material and trees damaged by humans or weather.   In this episode, Eric talks about the medicinal and psychological effects of the essential oils of conifers and brushes, including Great Western Sage (Artemesia tridentata), Pinon Pine (Pinus edulis), Rabbit Brush (Ericameria nauseosa), Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma/utahensis), Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and Grindelia (Grindelia squarrosa). He also discusses Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), a great remedy for muscle trauma, which he thinks one day may be called "the Arnica of the desert."     To learn about these plants and many others, visit Eric's website: House of Aromatics.com.

Episode 118: Can plants learn? Do they have memory? Can they make decisions? In this episode, Monica Gagliano, Research Associate Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Western Australia, talks about her research with plants. Monica has pioneered the new field of plant bioacoustics and recently extended the concept of cognition to plants. Monica talks about her research exploring whether plants can learn and if they have memory and decision-making capabilities. Monica also talks about plant time vs. human time, the chemical vocabulary of plants, and why she treated plants as animals and not as objects in her experiments.  To learn more about Monica's work, click here.     

Episode 117: How can a cook stove change the world? Three billion people burn traditional biomass and coal indoors in cook stoves. These stoves are having a tremendous impact on our environment and on the health of those who use them. Some of the health problems associated with non-improved cook stoves include increased rates of asthma, indoor air pollution, (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide), and respiratory infections. Cook stove use also contributes to climate change and deforestation.  For over thirty years, the Aprovecho Research Center has been designing and implementing improved biomass cooking and heating technologies in more than sixty countries. Aprovecho is the world leader in open source development of all aspects of improved cooking stoves. In this episode, Dean Still, Aprovecho's Executive Director, talks about the benefits of improved stoves, Stove Camp, and why it's important to "find a problem that entrances you". 

Episode 116: My guest for this episode is Josh Trought, author of The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm: The D Acres Model of Creating and Managing an Ecologically Designed Education Center.   Josh Trought is the co-founder and current director of D Acres, a Community-Scale Permaculture Farm located in New Hampshire. D Acres is a hub of learning, an educational center that researches, applies, and teaches skills in Permaculture, organic farming, and sustainable living. (D Acres stands for “Development Aimed at Creating Rural Ecological Society.”)   In this interview Josh talks about the beginning days at D Acres, the challenges and rewards of living in community, working with animals on the land, and his goal of creating a perennialized farm that lasts for centuries. Josh also gives advice to those who want to start a farm or educational center.    For over twenty years, Josh and the D Acres staff and farm have been creating positive change on a community-scale. To learn more, visit DAcres.org.  

In this episode, we talk about the weeds that surround us with forager, chef, writer, and plant lover Katrina Blair. Author of the book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival Katrina talks about the wild integrity of weeds, their medicinal and nutritional value, and how to harvest and prepare them. Katrina shares recipes for their cosmetic and culinary use. Some of the plants that we cover include Mallow, Dandelion, Mustard, Clover, Purslane, and Thistle.  Katrina Blair also runs the nonprofit Turtle Lake Refuge whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands.   

Episode 113: Melanie and Jeff Carpenter are medicinal herb farmers. The co-owners of Zack Woods Farm, a 30 acre organic farm and botanical sanctuary located in the green mountains of Vermont, Jeff and Melanie grow over 50 species of medicinal plants.   In this episode, they share their passion and knowledge about herb growing, how they use Permaculture on the farm, and how they grow healthy plants with high bioactive compounds. The Carpenters talk about the increasing need for medicinal herb farmers and the burgeoning market for medicinal plants. Growing local medicine for your community can be rewarding and profitable. It can also protect wild herb populations. The authors of the new book The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs, on a Market Scale, Jeff and Melanie can be found at ZackWoodsHerbs.com.

Have you ever wanted to grow your own grains? In this episode, farmer and author Gene Logsdon tells you what you need to know about small-scale grain growing. Gene talks about the most resilient crop for beginning grain growers and shares his knowledge about corn, wheat, sorghum, and buckwheat. A longtime farmer, Gene explains why you want to alternate growing legumes with grains, how much space is necessary, the tools you need to get started, and planting and harvesting. Gene also shares his wisdom and humor about how to create fertile soil, why he thinks doing what you love is more important than making a million bucks, and how he realized that he wanted to be a farmer while living at a seminary.  Gene Logsdon is the author of numerous books including Living At Nature's Pace, All Flesh Is Grass, Holy Sh**, and The Contrary Farmer. To learn more about Gene and his work, visit his blog at The Contrary Farmer.wordpress.com.    

Can taking a slow walk in nature improve your health? How can you cultivate a better relationship to the natural world? If forests are therapeutic, what effect does deforestation have on us? In this episode, I talk with wilderness guide and educator Amos Clifford about Forest Therapy or Shinrin-yoku. Also known as Forest Medicine or Forest Bathing, Shinrin-yoku is beneficial for your health and has been shown to increase white blood cell counts, decrease stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and improve people's moods. No forest nearby? Amos also talks about how to connect with Nature no matter where you are and shares tips and techniques for slowing down and improving your relationship with the natural world.  Learn more about Amos and his work at his website: Shinrin-yoku.org

My guest for this episode is Zea mays, also known as Corn. In this exclusive interview Corn speaks about its long history, its beginning as a wild grass, and how humans and corn have influenced each other. Corn also talks about hybridization, propagation, and genetic modification. The interview includes a cameo appearance by Bt Corn, Zea Mays' genetically modified brother.  Bt who goes by the nickname StarLink (which was a GM product that was recalled) defends genetic modification and gives its side of the story.  Both Corn and Bt were voiced by Chris McClellan. Chris is a writer, photographer, and natural builder who is raising free range organic children in Northeast Ohio. Chris teachers natural building and sustainable living, mostly as an excuse to play in the mud! To learn more about Chris, visit his website www.UncleMud.com.

Growing Moringa oleifera is like growing a botanical apothecary. Most parts of the plant are edible, medicinal, and useful. In this Sustainable World Radio Podcast episode, organic farmer and Moringa grower Mariko Gifford talks about the plant that has become her life work.  In this interview, we learn about Moringa's many benefits. Morniga leaves are delicious and highly nutritious. The seeds can be pressed into an oil that is used on the skin and in industry. The seed cake can clarify water. Moringa is also an excellent animal fodder and can be made into a nitrogen-rich foliar spray. Tune in to learn how to plant Moringa and why it's such an important plant to grow at this time. Although Moringa is a tropical plant, Mariko speaks about how to grow it in colder climates.   For more about Mariko's trainings, farm tours and moringa products, visit her website at: http://moringaforlife.com

Learn how you can optimize plant and soil health with ecological agriculture. John Kempf is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture- a leading crop nutrition consulting company. An expert in the field of biological and regenerative farming, John Kempf teaches farmers how to grow healthier, more nutritious food. A lifelong farmer who grew up in and remains part of the Amish community, John Kempf received his Pesticide Applicators License at age 16. In this interview with Jill Cloutier, he talks about his journey from conventional to ecological farmer, the fastest way to rebuild soil and plant health, and how agriculture is the foundation of health care.   

Aquaponics is a food production system that is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. In this episode, Kevin Childerley, owner of Santa Barbara Aquaponics gives us a tour of his thriving aquaponics system located in a parking lot! Kevin is growing a variety of leafy greens, tomatoes, and the prettiest heirloom lettuce I've ever seen (called Grandpa Admires). His organically produced plants grow in water that is fertilized by Channel Catfish.   The promise of Aquaponics is that a lot of food can be grown in urban areas or in places with little or no soil.  Since the interview, Kevin has made some changes at Santa Barbara Aquaponics. He's making his own compost tea and is well on the way to making his own fish food. He's capturing rainwater onsite to use in the system and he's expanded his operation by building more grow beds and a much larger pool for his beloved catfish.    

Renowned aromatherapist, archaeologist and author John Steele talks with Jill Cloutier about essential oils, plant wisdom and the world of scent. John Steele is an aromatic consultant and owner of Lifetree Aromatix, a select line of botanical essential oils and exotic floral absolutes.  In this interview, John speaks in depth about our sense of smell, using oils in self-empowered first aid, how incense was the "aromatic email of early civilization" and floral/plant communication. John talks about the terroir of essential oils, why he calls Lavender the "Swiss Army Knife of Oils" and the important differences between authentic essential oils and "natural" synthetic oils. John Steele also shares his knowledge about the sacred use of fragrance and perfumeros- shamans who heal with scent.     

Courtney White is the author of the new book Grass, Soil, Hope- A Journey through Carbon Country. A former activist and archaeologist, Courtney co-founded the Quivira Coaltion, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists and environmentalists.  In this interview Courtney talks with Jill Cloutier about the soil beneath our feet and how soil, plants and the carbon cycle may be the most viable solution to climate change that we have. Courtney talks about land management strategies that create the conditions  for longterm atmospheric CO2 sequestration in our soils. Climate-friendly agriculture and grazing will create a healthier planet for all, with more nutritious food, improved ecosystem services, habitat protection, increased food production, water conservation and a remineralization of our soils and bodies. Learn about how you can become a carbon caretaker. Let's all work together to create healthy soil! After listening to this episode you will gain a new appreciation for wetlands, bogs, grasslands and beavers!  If you'd like to see Courtney White in our documentary The Soil Solution To Climate Change click here. 

Now in its forth year, the West Coast Women's Permaculture Gathering is a weekend of discovery, skill-building and connection. With a focus on taking Permaculture beyond just an interest or hobby, this year's gathering focuses on finding right livelihood. The event takes place on September 18th-21, at Camp Hamilton near Seattle, Washington. To learn more, I spoke with Delia Carroll, co-organizer of the event along with Jeanine Carlson and Karen Taylor.  With a stellar lineup of presenters, including Permaculture teachers, designers, ehtnobotanists, herbalists and farmers, this year's Permaculture Gathering promises to be the best yet! For tickets visit their website: WestCoastWomensPC.weebly.com

Lloyd Kahn is a builder of books and homes. Editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications, Lloyd  is the author of many books about handbuilt shelter including Home Work, Tiny Homes, Builders of the Pacific Coast and the classic book Shelter that documented handbuilt housing around the world. Lloyd was the Shelter editor of the early Whole Earth Catalogs and has been writing about building and people who build for much of his life. In this interview with Jill Cloutier, Lloyd talks about why he became interested in in the art and craft of shelter, the benefits of creating your own home, the resurgence of interest in handbuilt homes and his new book Tiny Homes On The Move:Wheels and Water. Read more about Lloyd Kahn at his personal blog. Read more about handmade homes at the Shelter Publication blog.

Ed Mendoza is a Permaculture designer, teacher and lifelong gardener and farmer. In this podcast episode with Jill Cloutier, Ed talks about his love of gardening, soil and why he sings to plants. Ed also tells us about a few of his favorite plants, including peaches and chiles.  

What can you do to ensure agro-biodiversity? How can you participate in creating a more secure food future?  In this Sustainable World Radio episode, we speak with Irina Stoenescu food researcher and consultant, whose work focuses on healthy food, trade and nutrition issues. Irina is also a coordinator for the National Heirloom Expo.  In this interview, Irina talks about how our food choices affect food security, the importance of heirloom plants and the upcoming Heirloom Expo. Held annually in Santa Rosa, California, the Expo is a cornucopia of pure, non-GMO and heirloom plants and seeds. For more information about the Expo, click here.  I've also included an episode from The Plant Report , my new podcast. Recorded at last year's Heirloom Expo, botanical researcher John Glavis of BoTierra Biodiversity Research Gardens talks about Ashitaba, a medicinal and nutritious plant.