Friday, October 24, 2008

National Public Radio?

Okay, just let me say upfront that I'm not usually one to toot my own horn, and normally I probably wouldn't mention this until after I really know that it happens... But, there is a possibility that I will be on the National Public Radio show "Weekend America" this Saturday. Like I said, normally I would just like to wait and make sure that it shows up and then just send a link to where you can listen online, but now that we are living the life of "slightly faster than dial-up" internet I realize that listening online isn't really an option for every one.

Here is the deal. Weekend American is a show that is carried by quite a few public radio stations across the country, in fact you can see if there is a station near you by checking out this list (notice not many stations in Iowa...). I don't know exactly when I'll be on, if I'm even on at all, but I do know that I spent some time recording an interview earlier this week and had to send in a picture.

The short interview will include some "sound bites" from the farm and a bit of me talking about farming, faith, and the upcoming election. But, really I'm not sure what they will pick out because we talked for quite awhile and I believe they are going to condense it down to just a few minutes. Hopefully it is a neat little deal...

So, there is your heads up... If it really happens I'll post a link whenever it is available. In fact I'll probably have to listen online because I don't think I'll be able to pull in a station at the farm!

11 comments:

Walter Jeffries said...

Congrats on the exposure!

G.J. Gardner said...

Ethan,

I was very pleased to hear your interview on Weekend America this morning. The local food movement is part of a future that you and many other across the nation are helping bring to life. Those of us who aren't very agriculturally inclined are in your debt.

I wanted to recommend two books to you. You said on the radio that you haven't studied economics recently, but there is a famous economist who would agree with everything you said. I think you would enjoy "Small Is Beautiful" by E.F. Schumacher. And if you like that, try "Small Is Still Beautiful" by Joseph Pearce.

Keep up the good work you do.

Tim said...

Convenient link to information about the interview:

http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/10/25/conversations_book/

Anonymous said...

Really nice piece - It seems so logical to eat local but even one as I who understand all the reasons to do so still I find the ease, convenience and price of my neighborhood Trader Joes or Ballard Market generally outweighs my higher conscious. I did start gardening this year so that's a start!

John
Seattle, Wa (formerly an Iowan)

C4 said...

My wife and I enjoyed listening to your interview. While we're even smaller scale, having just our garden, it gives us a glimpse into the challenges farmers face. Good luck with your endeavors.

Tracy said...

John, we must have traded places (I am formerly of Seattle, and now am an Iowan). I think that the convenience factor is an extremely strong pull, especially when you live in the city! I can't believe how much I have changed my focus out here in the country out of a new idea for convenience (I would rather have a freezer full of meat than take the 45 minute trek into town). That distance encourages me on a daily basis to tend the garden, be thankful for my small flock of chickens, and consider supporting local farms to fill freezers. Congrats, Ethan, on your interview!

Jenny G said...

Dear Ethan,
I just happened to catch your interview on Weekend America. You spoke eloquently. I live in LA, CA and we were are currently trying to pass a proposition to limit factory farming practices that are inhumane to farm animals. I feel like many of the problems we face as consumers and conscientious citizens could be solved if we could get back to our "roots" of supporting local farmers and buying local. You mentioned that many of the obstacles you face as a small farmer are due to legislation meant for the factory, or larger scale farms. How do you think these humane laws will affect small farmers like yourself? Do you have advice or insight on how small farmers can provide better (technically and ethically)products than the larger factory farms? Also, how can people like myself, which live in large cities like LA, find small farmers to buy local produce? Thanks for the discussion!

Yeoman said...

I wish I had heard it. Congrats!

Yeoman said...

Speaking of NPR, did anyone catch Michael Pollan's interview on NPR? I caught only a snipped of it, but they referenced this article. It reads like it was written by, well. . . us.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1

Seth - said...

yeoman - I did not hear that NPR piece, but I did read Pollen's article (just emailed Ethan about it before I noticed your comment) and can only hope that the next president has the guts to take some, if not all, of the steps he suggests. I also read in a Time interview that Obama did read the Pollen article.

Yeoman said...

"yeoman - I did not hear that NPR piece, but I did read Pollen's article (just emailed Ethan about it before I noticed your comment) and can only hope that the next president has the guts to take some, if not all, of the steps he suggests. I also read in a Time interview that Obama did read the Pollen article."

I didn't hear all of the NPR piece either (I have a real knack for driving right out radio range on interesting NPR interviews), but the part I did hear closely reflected his article. He was expounding on the "solar" fields, as opposed to "petroleum" fields. It was extremely interesting.

I fully agree with you about hoping the next President implements some of these suggestions. But I'd phrase that more in the context, I think, of perhaps praying that he does. I don't place a lot of hope in either John McCain or Barack Obama to read this and take away anything from it in concrete terms. That's highly cynical, but it's my feeling that the experience of both of these candidates is far outside of agriculture, and they almost certainly understand agriculture in the "big agriculture" sense, which would have come from exposure to lobbyist. McCain comes from a district where ranchers are likely to have fairly significant influence, so he's more likely to understand agricultural problems than Obama, who hails, politically, from Chicago. And Obama tends to politically fall in the section of the political spectrum which has traditionally been quite influenced by the supersized agricultural entities. Everyone is going to claim they're for the small family farm, of course, but I'm not terribly certain that one of these candidates would really recognize or care what that was.

That being said, I would feel that any farmer or rancher probably ought to make up their minds this election based on other issues, of which there are plenty. The courts and abortion, the courts in general, the 2nd Amendment and the courts, the wars, the economy and the combined GOP/Dem bailout, are all issues in play in this election. Agricultural issues aren't, and there's no reason to fool ourselves otherwise. And a lot of these issues are so significant (and obviously you can probably tell which one I fee is pretty significant, or the ones I felt to be significant, by the order I wrote them in)that we likely really ought to think it out. This election seems to raise a moral issues like no other in recent memory, in my view, and I'm afraid that I'm not even considering agriculture in my decision.

What we'd rather hope for, therefore, is that some influence can be pitched towards those who are likely to be Secretary of Agriculture, and that our current economic situation might give small farmers a bit of room to argue for a return to small farming. I'm not too certain that a person can predict either party in this direction, but I do think that perhaps there's some opportunity presented here for the first time, no matter who wins, in a long time.

Straying away from this, it strikes me that the small farmer has been really on the downside of policy ever since FDR's Depression era policies hurt him unintentionally. We've been left with the current big direction ever since, even when we did have, very briefly, some folks high up in the Depart of Agriculture who viewed things in another direction. Perhaps the combination of a new economic crisis and environmental concerns might help us change this, irrespective of who gets in.

And, in one further random thought, it seems to me the last President I can think of who actually had some agricultural background was Theodore Roosevelt. Is that correct? Man, that's been a long time.

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