Show cover of Sustainable World Radio- Ecology and Permaculture Podcast

Sustainable World Radio- Ecology and Permaculture Podcast

Sustainable World Radio brings you interviews with experts from around the globe; teachers, designers, environmentalists, and earth activists who learn from and work with Nature. Listen to episodes about Permaculture, organic gardening, herbal medicine, plants, fungi, earth repair, natural building, regenerative farming, sustainability, and ethnobotany. Tune in to discover positive solutions to environmental challenges; solutions that adhere to the Permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. We hope you feel inspired after each episode! Visit us at


Life Design and Cultivation
In this stimulating conversation with Regenerative Land Designer and Educator Javan Bernakevitch, we discuss life design and why it's important. According to Javan, if we don’t design our lives, someone else will. What are the signs of an undesigned life? Some of them include: not knowing what you’re good at, a lack of direction, being directed by past events, problems saying no, and having a hard time making decisions. In this interview, we talk about practicing values-based decision making and the impact that can have on taking charge of our time and prioritizing what’s most important to us. Don’t worry, if you’re unclear about your values, Javan gives tips on how to discover them! Since 2013, Javan has worked with individuals providing assistance on life design and how to design your life to work with, not against, your nature. Javan Bernakevitch is the founder and operator of Permaculture BC, an education and community hub in British Columbia, Canada. The principle consultant at All Points Land Design, Javan works on small to large scale landscapes. For information on Javan and his work visit: All Points and I interviewed Javan about Spilanthes for my Plant Report podcast a few years ago. You can listen here.
71:14 12/3/23
Cultivating Seeds of Regeneration at Beejvan
Join us on a journey to India to explore the inspiring Beejvan project, a remarkable two acre demonstration farm and community-based initiative in Karjat, Maharashtra, India. In this interview with co-founder Sanjana Krishnan, discover how Beejvan is revitalizing the land, promoting biodiversity, and empowering the local community. Sanjana was inspired to start Beejvan when she returned to Karjat a, a place she had loved as a child, to find that the rivers had dried up, soils were depleted, the forest was mostly gone, and that local farmers were suffering. Sanjana then made it her mission to repair what has been broken through Beejvan, a farmer-led project dedicated to seed saving, land regeneration, ethnobotany, reforestation, and holistic agriculture practices. An integral part of Beejvan is working closely with the local inhabitants of Karjat, the Thakars who are traditional herbalists, healers, and keepers of sacred groves. Get ready to be inspired by this incredible story of hope and renewal and find out how you can help grow this beautiful project. To read more about Beejvan, visit them at: You can also follow them on Instagram at: More on Sanjana: Sanjana Krishnan is a Political Sociologist with a passion for regeneration. Her work focuses on the potential and impact of local initiatives in dealing with socio-environmental concerns for India. She is the cofounder of the Beejvan Biodiversity and Collaborative Research Foundation. Sanjana has worked/volunteered with a range of conservation/permaculture projects across India and Germany. A winner of the Erasmus scholarship, UGC Ph.D. Fellowship, and the German Chancellors' Fellowship, Sanjana has a Master's in Rural Development and a Ph.D. in Political Science. Beejvan recently won a Lush Spring Prize for Intentional Projects. The Lush Spring Prize honors those who repair the earth’s damaged systems and leave the world lusher than they found it. For more information and to see if your project is eligible for a prize, visit:
43:12 9/8/23
Permaculture for Our Changing World
Episode 169: Is Permaculture the best option that we have to meet the demands of an unpredictable future? In this lively conversation with Rosemary Morrow, Margie Bushman, and Wes Roe, we discuss the potential Permaculture holds in restoring degraded ecosystems around the globe.  Rosemary Morrow is a Permaculture designer, teacher, and earth restorer. She is the author of numerous publications including Permaculture Teaching Matters and The Earth Restorer’s Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary is the co-founder of the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute and Permaculture for Refugees. We hear about Rosemary’s work in places she calls crowded margins- including refugee camps and areas greatly impacted by climate change. We learn why Rosemary still believes that Permaculture is the most valuable tool we have to in Earth restoration. We chat about the importance of the Permaculture ethics (Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share), some of the challenges of Permaculture, and the biggest misconceptions people have about Permaculture design. Margie Bushman and Wes Roe are the co-founders of the educational nonprofit the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network and founding Board Members of the Friends of the International Permaculture Convergences (FIPC). Enter Our Giveaway from June 2nd to June 9th, 2023! Visit: I’ve partnered with Melliodora Publishing to give away a copy of Rosemary Morrow’s incredible new Earth Restorer’s Guide to Permaculture PLUS a collection of other titles from the ethical publishing house:h Earth Restorer’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow 470 a novel by Linda Woodrow Permaculture Pioneers: stories from a new frontier edited by Kerry Dawborn and Caroline Smith Our Street (Retrosuburbia for Kids) by Beck Lowe and David Holmgren 2023 Permaculture Calendar, curated by Permaculture Principles Open to listeners in Australia and the U.S. only due to shipping purposes. There will one winner (of the entire book pack) who will be chosen at random and notified by email. Good luck! Links:  Permaculture for Refugees Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute Melliodora Publishing SB Permaculture Network                        
76:40 6/3/23
Water Always Wins- Slow Water Solutions for Drought and Deluge
What does water want? What happens when we allow water to be water? Author Erica Gies explores the concept of Slow Water in her new book Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge.  Slow Water approaches are unique to each place and work with natural systems. Slow Water is key to greater resiliency and offers multiple benefits including reducing floods, droughts, and wildfires. The Slow Water movement asks where our water comes from and examines the impact that our water treatment methods have on the environment, other people, and animals.  In this episode, Erica talks about Slow Water projects around the world and what happens when water is allowed to slowly flow, meander, and linger on the landscape.  We discuss the indigenous view of water as a “who,” a relative, and a being worthy of respect and compare it with the industrial idea of water as a commodity or a threat. We discuss how this skewed modern world view affects our relations with water, influences how we build our infrastructure, and imperils life on the planet.  Water has critical relationships with creatures, insects, plants, microbes, rocks, and soil. Many animals including water voles, prairie dogs, and the rock star of the water world, beavers can be our allies in the Slow Water movement.  Wetlands, bogs, and marshes are also allies when it comes to slowing water and sinking excess atmospheric carbon. Peat is the super sinker of CO2- covering only 3% of the earth and holding 30% of the soil carbon. Wetlands restoration is a powerful climate change mitigation tool and asset to the Slow Water movement.  Have you heard of the Hyporheic Zone, also called the “Liver of the River?” This ecotone found in rivers and streams is a hidden universe rich in biodiversity, fertility, and action. Erica shares a story about a Hyporheic Zone restoration project in Seattle that is having profound impacts on water quality and stream health.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that our attempts to control water are failing. Our cities and concrete infrastructure speed water away as quickly as possible, yet water seems to be reclaiming its territory more frequently. By participating in the Slow Water movement, we can cooperate with nature and water to create a more abundant world for all.  Erica Gies is the author of the new book Water Always Wins- Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge. Erica is a National Geographic Explorer and an award-winning independent journalist who writes about water, climate change, plants, and critters for The New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic, and many other publications. Erica cofounded two environmental news startups, Climate Confidential and This Week in Earth. You can find Erica online at: and
53:41 1/25/23
Gardening Like Nature
Learn how to garden like nature from writer, horticultural consultant, and educator Dr. Lee Reich. We start with an audio tour of Lee’s award winning “farmden," which is more than a garden and less than a farm. Packed with plants, including Paw Paws, Hardy Kiwi, Gooseberries, Figs, and Filberts, Lee uses his land as a test site for showcasing his gardening techniques. After 40 years of tending the land, Lee not only grows healthy fruits and vegetables, but also lots of fertile soil and compost.  Lee and I discuss the art and science of building soil from the ground up following his easy low impact approach. Lee explains why he believes it’s important to pay attention to the top few inches of soil and let nature take care of the rest. Lee advocates gardening like nature by using a system that's good for plants and people and that emulates natural conditions.  We chat about mulch, the importance of compost, and why Lee loves to repurpose what others might call waste in his quest to improve soil fertility and grow vibrant and resilient plants. Dr. Lee Reich is a writer, horticultural consultant and educator with graduate degrees in soil science and horticulture. Lee’s farmden has won awards from National Gardening and Organic Gardening magazines and has been featured in many publications like the New York Times and Martha Stewart Living. HIs books include Weedless Gardening, Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden, and Growing Figs in Cold Climates. Lee was a former plant and soil researcher for the US Department of Agriculture and Cornell University and wrote a syndicated gardening column for the Associated Press for nearly 30 years. Learn more about Lee and his work at
55:39 9/13/22
Why the Ocean Matters
Episode 166: Did you know that oceans make life possible on our planet? Even if we live far from the coast, our lives are influenced by the ocean. Oceans generate oxygen, capture carbon, shape weather, and provide habitat for countless creatures.  To learn more about these vast, yet fragile bodies of water that make our planet unique, beautiful, and able to support life, I speak with world renowned ocean scientist and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle. In this inspirational interview, Sylvia shares her thoughts about what we can do to help our oceans and why urgent action is needed now. We discuss some of the threats that oceans face including acidification due to climate change, industrial fishing, and pollutants.  Sylvia reflects on a lifetime of learning and exploration and shares why she is so positive about the future. She tells us what it’s like to live underwater for weeks at a time, how fish have different personalities, and why Menhaden matter. Sylvia calls upon each of us to be part of the solution and stresses that what we do has an impact. Sylvia believes that we have the power, knowledge, and technology necessary to save our oceans and to honor the living world that makes our existence possible. This is an all hands on deck moment. We live on a miracle, a blue planet that functions in our favor and provides us with water and air. Each of us has a part to play in preserving, restoring, and celebrating our oceans, and in doing so, saving ourselves and the environment. Dr. Sylvia Earle is called "Her Deepness" by The New Yorker and the New York Times, a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress, and the "First Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine. Sylvia is the author of more than 200 publications, including the new book National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey which was written as a love letter to a gravely imperiled friend and a call to action to humans everywhere. Sylvia is the Founder of Mission Blue, a nonprofit that inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. She is also a National Geographic Explorer at Large and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Links: Hope Spots
69:54 7/5/22
Introducing the Regenerative Media Alliance
Episode 165: This special episode introduces the Regenerative Media Alliance, a project I have been working on for quite some time with fellow podcast producers Oliver Goshey and Scott Mann. The Regenerative Media Alliance or RMA is a cooperative group for podcasters and media creators working in the Permaculture, sustainability, and regenerative fields. Podcasting can be a bit lonely. If you're like me and you produce your podcast in your "Shoedio" (also known as a bedroom closet),  you know how isolating it can be talking into a microphone and not knowing if there's anyone out there who is listening. When Oliver first approached Scott and I about his idea for the RMA, I thought of how valuable a group like this could be. And I was right! It has been refreshing and fun to share notes and experiences with Scott and Oliver about interviewing, equipment, editing programs, and many other aspects of podcasting. We envision the RMA as a place for podcasters and other content creators to share their knowledge and to learn from one another.  We will be offering quarterly calls, online summits, and more! To sign up for our email list and for more information about the RMA, visit our website at: Now a bit about my colleagues: Oliver Goshey is a designer, educator, and consultant for regenerative social and land based projects. Regenerative Skills is Oliver’s effort to create a larger and more engaged community around regenerative living by making the most cutting edge knowledge and techniques accessible to everyone. Scott Mann: With a background in radio, broadcasting, and technology, Scott started his podcast- The Permaculture Podcast-  the same week he graduated from his permaculture design course back in 2010. Thanks so much for listening as always! I hope you like this conversation between Scott, Oliver, and I about the RMA, how we first got started in Permaculture and podcasting, and what keeps us creating. 
50:02 5/18/22
Raptors and Rodenticides- the Unintended Consequences of Rat Poison
Episode 164: Are you a fan of Raptors or birds of prey? Members of this large group of magnificent birds include hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. For many of us, seeing raptors in cities and in the wilderness is awe-inspiring.  To learn more about these amazing birds, I am joined by Lisa Owens Viani and Allen Fish, co-founders of the nonprofit Raptors Are the Solution (RATS).  We begin by chatting about the wonders of raptors and why Lisa and Allen have devoted so much of their lives to helping these birds. We then discuss the impact that anticoagulant rodenticides is having on raptors and wildlife. Used worldwide, rodenticides (or rat poisons) affect not only rats, but also large numbers of non-target animals including raptors, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, bears, and fish. Rodenticides enter the food chain when animals eat poisoned rodents and receive secondary exposure. Anticoagulant rodenticide ingestion can lead to immune suppression, rodenticide-induced mange, internal hemorrhaging, and death. The overgrowth of rats is caused partly by a lack of predators. We talk about how the poisons we use to control rats end up harming or killing the very predators that are efficient at keeping rodent populations in check.  This interview contains vital information about how we can be better caretakers of our shared environment. All of us can take action to protect raptors and wildlife from anticoagulant rodenticides. What can we do? Start with avoiding the use of toxic rat poisons. Don’t make your yard a rat haven. Exclusion, sanitation, and trapping are effective nontoxic methods of rodent control. Visit the Raptors are the Solution website for tips on how to make your yard less attractive to rats, educational resources, an activist toolkit, and more at  Guests: Lisa Owens Viani is a long time environmental writer and wildlife advocate. Lisa co-founded and directs Raptors Are The Solution- or RATS, a project of Earth Island Institute.  RATS educates about the ecological role of raptors and the enormous danger that they and all wildlife, as well as pets and children, face from the wide use and availability of anticoagulant rat poisons. RATS partners with other agencies, scientists, municipalities, and NGO’s to work toward eliminating toxic rodenticides from the food web. RATS’ multi-pronged approach includes public education as well as legislative and legal work to achieve better regulation of these products.  Lisa was honored as the Fund for Wild Nature's Grassroots Activist of 2021 and received a Special Achievement Award on behalf of raptors from the International Owl Center in 2018. Allen Fish is the Associate Director for Conservation and Community Science at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.  Allen is also the director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory since its founding in the mid 1980s. The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory is a four-decades-old community-science program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in cooperation with the National Park Service. It’s set up to monitor the largest migration site for birds of prey in the Pacific Flyway.   Allen was a Lecturer at UC Davis from 2003 to 2011 where he taught Raptor Biology. Allen has a long history of writing and public speaking on raptor biology and conservation, urban wildlife ecology, climate change impacts, and the power of community science. Allen was awarded Bay Nature’s Environmental Educator of the Year Award in 2016 and Golden Gate Audubon honored Allen with the Elsie Roemer Award for Conservation in 2020.   In 2011, Allen assisted Lisa in founding Raptors are the Solution. Allen lives with his family in Berkeley, and has recently become obsessed by the lives and ecology of dragonflies. Note: I was inspired to pursue this topic when I noticed that I wasn’t hearing as many owls at night in my neighborhood. When disoriented rats began stumbling around our yard during the day and several were found dead in our yard, I did some research and discovered that rat poisons or anticoagulant rodenticides were the likely culprit-not only responsible for the dying and dead rats, but also for the decreased owl numbers. I decided to write an article Silent Night- The Unintended  Consequences of Rodenticides and in doing my research, I discovered Raptors Are the Solution (RATS). Links: Raptors Are the Solution or RATS Link to RATS Pilot Project in Seattle Article: Silent Night- The Unintended Consequences of Rodenticides
68:05 4/1/22
The Generosity of Meadows
Episode 163: What if you could replace your monocrop grass lawn with a “solar powered regenerative system that stores carbon while creating habitats”? You can! Learn how in this informative episode with Owen Wormser. Did you know that the average lawn is a a biological desert that needs vast amounts of resources to stay alive? By replacing your lawn with a meadow, you can sink carbon, retain water, provide habitat, attract pollinators, create beauty, and save money.  Owen fills us in on how to transition your lawn to a biodiverse meadow and what a meadow needs to thrive. He shares some of his favorite meadow plants, like Needle Grass, Echinacea, and Black Eyed Susan. These plants tend to be resilient and don’t need rich soil to grow well, so you don’t have to use a lot of amendments, a stark contrast to the average lawn. Another benefit of meadows is that you only need to mow them once a year- that alone may be enough to make many of us make the switch! Owen also talks about a few of the challenges of meadow-making, including the time it can take to fully establish a meadow, which can be up to two to three years.  Hearing Owen Wormser talk about meadows, you can’t help but want to create one! Owen is a landscape designer with a focus on sustainability and low-maintenance design. He is the author of the book Lawns into Meadows. Owen’s work is rooted in perspective and expertise drawn from landscape architecture, horticulture, permaculture, organic agriculture, and ecology.  Owen is the owner and founder of Abound Design and the co-founder of Local Harmony, a nonprofit focused on encouraging and creating community driven regeneration.  Thanks to Owen for teaching us about meadows, nature, and the abundance of the natural world!  Other links and mentions: Lawns into Meadows.  Prairie Moon Nursery
53:50 1/31/22
The Future is Nuts!
Episode 162: Is the future nuts? According to our guest Michael Judd, it definitely is, but in a good way! In this fun and informative interview, Michael shares his vision of a bountiful and food secure future where nut tree orchards and farms abound.  Resilient perennial crops with a multitude of ecosystem services, nut trees improve soil health and stability, provide habitat for animals, increase diversity, and offer nutrient rich food. Michael is an advocate for the Chestnut and we talk in detail about the promise that this tree holds for our nutty future. We chat about “Bread” nut trees and “Butter” nut trees, nut tree guilds, and the ecological and economic potential of nut trees. If you are looking for a crop to grow or want to diversify what you already produce, nut trees may be a good bet. Michael Judd is a Permaculture and Ecological Designer and the co-founder of Silvoculture, a nonprofit focused on perennial food security. Michael has worked with agro-ecological and whole systems design throughout the Americas for nearly two decades, Author of the books Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist and For the Love of Paw Paws, Michael is also the founder of two other nonprofits Ecologia Edible and Ecological Landscape Design and Project Bona Vide. Michael puts his teachings into action on his own property Judd’s Long Creek Homestead located in the Appalachian foothills of Frederick, MD where Michael and his family steward 25 acres of mixed woodland, food forests, and a nursery all designed to promote sustainable agriculture.  Michael mentions the following links in this episode: Future Scenarios by David Holmgren Greg Miller Route 9 Cooperative University of Missouri, Chinese Chestnuts Red Fern Farm Savannah Institute Plantra Tree Tubes Episode on Goumi: Goumi, A Beautiful Bush With Benefits.
66:18 8/23/21
Grow Your Own Apothecary Garden
Growing an herbal apothecary garden at home is fun and easy. Learn how to start your own in this informative interview with longtime organic farmer Alena Steen. We begin the episode by talking about the benefits of growing medicinal herbs and then move into the nitty gritty of soil preparation, watering, and harvesting. Alena explains the concept of "benevolent neglect" and talks about how this type of growing can actually increase the medicinal qualities of herbs.  Alena shares some of her favorite plants with us including Tulsi, Calendula, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm, Yarrow, and Rosemary. We chat about how to make herbal medicines like oxymels, tinctures, salves, and herbal honeys.  Whether you have a large piece of land, a garden, or a small pot on a patio- we hope this episode inspires you to grow your own herbal apothecary!  Alena Steen has been farming and gardening organically for over ten years. She and her partner Danny are the owners of the herbal medicine company Night Heron Farm. Night Heron Farm offers an herbal and flower CSA with plants and products from their farms in Carpinteria, CA. Learn more at 
64:06 5/4/21
Building a More Resilient World
Episode 160: Lonny Grafman has worked with hundreds of communities around the globe assisting them with projects across a broad spectrum of sustainability. In this inspiring episode Lonny reflects on his decades of work and shares his knowledge and experience about how to build more resilient communities.  Lonny talks about his early beginnings as an activist, how he became a “practivist,” and why he believes that empowering community resilience is the most vital component in creating and implementing lasting and successful design solutions. We chat about the value of Point Positive Design, the importance of listening and observation, and how we can all participate in the great and necessary work of increasing the health and resiliency of ourselves, our communities, and the ecosystems that we depend on.  Lonny is the founder of the Appropedia website and author of the books To Catch the Rain and the forthcoming To Catch the Sun.  Lonny Grafman is an Instructor of Environmental Resources Engineering and Appropriate Technology at Humboldt State University; the founder of the Practivistas full immersion, abroad, resilient community technology program; the Advisor and Project Manager (and at times fundraiser) for the epi-apocalyptic city art projects Waterpod, Flock House, WetLand, and Swale; the managing director of the north coast hub of BlueTechValley, supporting energy saving entrepreneurs; the director of the AWEsome Business Competition for groups working on Agriculture, Water and Energy in Northern California; and the Founder and President of the Appropedia Foundation, sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives. Lonny has taught university courses in six countries and presented in dozens more. He has worked and led teams on hundreds of domestic and international projects-from solar power to improved cookstoves, from micro-hydro power to rainwater catchment, from earthen construction to plastic bottle schoolrooms.  Learn more about Lonny here: Other Links:  Paul Polak website Out of Poverty book by Paul Polak To Catch the Rain To Catch the Sun
61:43 3/9/21
The Wondrous World of Living Color
Step into the vibrant and beautiful world of living color with natural dyer, designer, and artist Sasha Duerr. Sasha takes us on a journey from Soil to Studio. We learn how creating and working with dyes made from plants, seaweed, and other natural materials can increase our ecological and botanical knowledge, foster collaboration, and have a beneficial impact on ecosystems.  Natural dyeing offers us multiple opportunities to participate in solutions. Food scraps and green waste can transform old clothes into “new”. Instead of being buried at landfills and emitting VOC’s, organic materials like onion skins, pomegranate rinds, and citrus peels can be re-purposed into natural dyes that revitalize our wardrobes and lessen our carbon footprint. Some dyes can even be poured into the garden when finished and used as a fertilizer. Unwanted weeds in your yard or invasive plants in your neighborhood can also be turned into color. One of my favorite dyes is Sour Grass. I look forward to seeing this ubiquitous plant every winter. I collect loads of it and dye old clothes a neon yellow that really glows. (Note: Be sure to identify plants before using them as dyes- just in case they are toxic.) Sasha talks about a few of her favorite dyes including Loquat, Eucalyptus leaves, and Redwood Cones, all very appropriate plants for beginning dyers. We also learn about some of the palettes from her new book Natural Color. I especially loved the Pollinator and Perfume Palettes. They will make you swoon! What color story would you like your clothes to tell?  Sasha Duerr is an artist and designer who works with plant-based palettes, natural dyes, and place-based recipes. She is an Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts with a joint appointment in textiles and fine arts where she designs curriculum and teaches courses in the intersection of natural color, slow food, slow fashion, and social practice. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and abroad. In 2007, Sasha founded the Permacouture Institute to encourage the exploration of regenerative design practices for fashion and textiles. Her extensive work with plant-based palettes and ecological principles through local land-based sources and community has been featured in many publications She is the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes, Natural Color, and Natural Palettes.Discover more about Sasha and her work at Sasha mentions the following references in this episode: Books by Kate Fletcher Fibershed Greenpeace  Botanical Colors
65:09 1/5/21
How to Create Living Compost
Episode 158: Longtime organic farmer Mark Sturges believes that when we create a better habitat for beneficial insects, we create a better habitat for ourselves. Mark is a master compost maker whose compost is filled with life. When Mark creates compost, he encourages the "whole neighborhood" to move in. The cast of characters in Mark's neighborhood are vast and include beetles, rotifers, fungi, nematodes, springtails, enchytraeids, and Beauveria bassiana- an insect "eating" fungi. Mark and I chat about compost tea and how its application can re-invigorate plants, soil, and large areas of land. You'll hear about Mark's successful use of compost tea in a vineyard suffering from a Phylloxera infestation. Mark's tea was sprayed on a Pinot block and the grapes were saved! Mark is a so-called entrepreneurial "Entra-Manure" who fills us on the importance of manure in the compost loop. He tells us why we shouldn't use chemical de-wormers on our animals and what effect these products have on beneficial insects, especially beetles. In turn, a lack of beneficials can lead to devastating impacts on pasture land, soil, animals, and climate. After hearing Mark talk about beetles, maybe you'll obtain Beetle Enlightenment like I did! I now have a deep appreciation for these unsung heroes of decomposition who also have an important role to play in mitigating climate change. Mark Sturges makes and ships organic compost and compost creatures nationwide from his Chili Nervanos farm in Bandon, Oregon. Mark is a writer whose work has appeared in Acres USA. His book of poetry The Return of the Fertilizer King and Other Tales is available online. Mark doesn't have a website. His work is all word of mouth. You can reach Mark at: ChiliNervanos382 (at)
50:21 10/19/20
Grow Good Food Without a Yard
Episode 157: Do you want to grow healthy food? Are you excited to start a garden, but don't have a yard? In this fun and informative interview with plant lover and regenerative farmer Acadia Tucker, we learn how to start a verdant and productive container garden at home. Acadia tells us why she feels it's important to grow at least some of our own food and how this simple act can positively impact the world.   Acadia believes that gardening is a civic duty and isn't just for people who have yards. She shares her knowledge and tips on how to start a successful container garden. We talk about pots, compost, mulch, and what plants thrive in pots. We also chat about watering and some of the other challenges of container gardens.  Our interview includes a lot about gardening in general, so there's something to learn for those of you who already have a garden. We end with a discussion on climate change and how gardening can be a climate change solution. Plants we grow and  tend can suck excess atmospheric carbon back into the soil and put it to good use.  Acadia Tucker is a regenerative farmer and climate activist. Acadia founded a four-season organic market garden in Washington State where she grew 200 different crops. When she isn't raising perennials in her own backyard, Acadia lives in New Hampshire with her farm dog Nimbus and grows hops to support locally sourced craft beer in New England. Acadia serves as a Rodale Institute Ambassador on regenerative agriculture and is the author of Growing Perennial Foods: A field guide to raising resilient herbs, fruits, & vegetables, and Growing Good Food: A citizen’s guide to climate victory gardening, Her upcoming book, Tiny Victory Gardens: Growing good food without a yard, is scheduled for release in December 2020.  Find out more about Acadia Tucker at her website:
52:16 9/6/20
Clothes and Climate: The Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion
Learn how your clothing choices can change the world in this episode with writer Elizabeth Segran. Elizabeth tells us the grim news first. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gases? That’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. About 100 billion articles of clothing are manufactured yearly. Clothes that don't sell are often thrown in a landfill or burned at the end of a season. This massive overproduction has a detrimental effect on land, waterways, and workers. With styles changing rapidly, the fashion industry must persuade fashion-conscious consumers to purchase the latest trends. Elizabeth shares some of her favorite ways to resist this push including maintaining a lean closet, thrift store shopping, renting clothes, and supporting companies that manufacture clothes responsibly. We also talk about why Elizabeth believes that the fashion industry should be regulated and how countries should follow the example of France and have a "Minister of Fashion"! Whether you’re a fashion follower or a thrift store shopper, you’ll learn a lot about the fashion industry’s impact on the environment and how we can change our shopping habits. Elizabeth Segran, PHD., is a senior staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs and The Nation. You can learn more about Elizabeth at her website:
36:02 5/31/20
Saving Medicinal Plants
Episode 154: When medicinal at risk plants need help, United Plant Savers (UPS) comes to the rescue! Known as the "consciousness of the herbal products industry" because of their work with at risk medicinals, UPS staff and members have their feet on the ground and their hands in the soil protecting and growing these healing plants.  The former site of a contour mine, the 379 acre UPS Botanical Sanctuary in South Eastern Ohio is now home to nearly 400 plant species. In this interview with John Stock, Outreach Coordinator and Sanctuary Manager for United Plant Savers, we learn why we should be concerned about where our herbal medicine comes from, how medicinal plants are being affected by the $8 billion a year herbal products industry, and how we can get involved with UPS by becoming a member or a grower in their Botanical Sanctuary or Sacred Seeds Networks. There are over 140 botanical sanctuaries across the US and Canada and there's still room for more!  John and I discuss why medicinal plants need our attention and conservation efforts right now, some of the twenty plants that UPS has earmarked as being at risk, and what the biggest impacts on these plants are- think habitat loss, growing demand, over-harvesting, and little accountability in the herbal products supply chain. We learn what we can do to support the continued health and abundance of medicinal plants and how preserving them has the added benefit of increasing biodiversity and sustaining healthy forests.  You can learn more about UPS here: United Plant Take a look at their Species At Risk and To Watch List here.  Become a member by clicking here: I Want to be a Member! Thanks for listening! 
50:56 5/1/20
Gardening the Permaculture Way: How to Create an Abundant Perennial Garden
Episode 153: Put down that shovel and start a no-till perennial garden! In this fun and informative interview, Permaculture Designer and Teacher Morag Gamble shares her tips about how to create an abundant and thriving organic oasis. Morag's garden in Queensland, Australia has more than 200 plants. In this episode she shares some of her favorites with us including Sweet Potato and Pumpkin. Did you know that you can eat the leaves of both? We focus on soil health and how to build fertility through feeding the soil, why multifunctional perennial plants are a good choice for any garden, how to grow living mulches, and why it's important to eat root to shoot. We delve into Morag's in situ composting methods that enliven the soil onsite and learn how to brew Comfrey Tea that is beneficial for plants and a potent soil activator. We also talk about what makes plants "Permaculture plants" and why they  are good bets for your new or existing garden. Working with the principles found in nature, you can start and maintain a beautiful and healthy organic garden that benefits not only you and your family, but also the wildlife in your yard. More about Morag: Morag Gamble is the founding director of the Permaculture Education Institute. You can watch her videos online at her YouTube Channel and read her articles at Our Permaculture Life. Morag offers many courses, including a Permaculture Gardening Course called The Incredible Edible Garden. Morag lives at Crystal Waters. You can learn more about this award-winning eco village here. Note: Our interview was recorded before the devastating fires in Australia. I spoke with Morag recently about the fires and will be posting that conversation as an episode soon. Until then, here's a link to the Ethos Foundation that will support communities in need, by offering free permaculture education once the fires settle. Through the program, participants will work on connecting with their community, creating collective projects like community gardens and focus on regenerating and rebuilding – creating resilient food gardens and wildlife gardens, creating bushfire-safe landscapes and homes with a permaculture design approach. They will also activate teams to help build gardens where needed – permablitz in bushfire communities.
66:12 2/29/20
Fantastic Fungi
Episode 152:  Famed cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg talks about his new film Fantastic Fungi that highlights the fascinating and often hidden world of the fungi beneath our feet.  Renowned for his time lapse work with flowers, Louie has now turned his lens toward the fungal kingdom with astonishing and beautiful results. In this episode, we do a deep dive into Fungi and the many solutions that they offer us at this critical time, including:  Carbon sequestration: Fungi are a climate change solution. Mycoremediation: Fungi are the grand decomposers of nature and can be used to clean up environmental toxins, including oil spills. Health: Medicinal mushrooms support our health and boost our immunity.  Water filtration: Fungi can clean contaminated water. Therapy: Psilocybin mushrooms are being used therapeutically and mindfully to for consciousness raising. Example of Sharing Economy: Fungi are a model and metaphor of a successful sharing economy, based on cooperation, that allows ecosystems to flourish. Louie also talks about what he's learned from his forty years of filming flowers, how pollination is the love story that feeds the earth, and why it's time to change our narrative about nature-  from survival and competition to partnership, cooperation, and interconnectedness. Louie Schwartzberg is a voice for nature, plants, animals, and now fungi. An award winning cinematographer, director, and producer, Louie is the only filmmaker to be inducted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A visual artist who tells stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, Louie Schwartzberg is a true environmental advocate. Learn about Louie's new film Fantastic Fungi at and look for a showing near you here.  Visit Louie's website at
48:45 12/14/19
Healing Earth: A Diversity of Solutions
Episode 151: 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 Todd 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. An expert in the design and construction of wastewater treatment systems, Eco-Machines, and living technologies, John's projects pair ecological knowledge with biological allies, like bacteria, fungi, and plants.  An internationally renowned inventor and visionary, John's new book offers us a map of how to heal the Earth's damaged places, and in so doing, find the great work of our time. Learn more from John at and 
60:49 10/7/19
Plant Speak
Episode 150: 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. In this interview, Monica talks about her experiments with plants- including her groundbreaking studies with Peas, which provided evidence that plants, at least Peas, are capable of associative learning. Monica tells us about the invitation that she received from the Vegetal World to delve more deeply into direct contact with plants and how her decision to say yes to that invitation changed her life. Monica also explains how listening is a key to establishing a relationship with plants and what listeners can do to connect with the plants in their lives. To hear more about Monica's earlier scientific research, listen to our first podcast together: Learning, Memory, and Decision Making in Plants. To get her new book, Thus Spoke the Plant,visit: Dr. Monica Gagliano's research aims at expanding our perception of animals, plants, and Nature. She is a Research Associate Professor in Evolutionary Ecology and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Research Affiliate at the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney and a Senior Research Fellow at the Biological Intelligence (BI) Lab, University of Sydney.  Monica's website is:
72:34 7/24/19
Incredible Edible: A Revolution of Kindness
Episode 149: Incredible Edible is an urban gardening project in Todmorden, England. Started in 2008, as a conversation between friends and envisioned as a revolution of kindness, Incredible Edible has transformed the market town of Todmorden into an edible oasis. In this interview, 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; potatoes and kale at the Railway Station, runner beans in front of the Health Centre, and corn outside the police department. Mary tells us about the project's economic impact, vegetable tourism, and the power that comes when you have no money, no paid staff, no buildings, and no public funding. 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!" Over 1,000 Incredible Edible projects have blossomed around the world. Learn how you can start your own Incredible Edibleproject in this inspiring and uplifting interview with Mary Clear. Learn more at their website:  
42:57 1/18/19
Regenerating Land in Mexico at Sanandi Farm
Episode 148: Sanandi Farm is a 33 hectare organic, biodynamic, Permaculture farm located near Valle de Bravo, Mexico. In 1998, two brothers, Dieter and Andreas le Noir, purchased the land and then began the work of regenerating and restoring the health of the soil. Using Permaculture principles and Biodynamic Farming techniques, Sanandi is now a beautiful, verdant oasis that is Demeter certified with a thriving medicinal herb pharmacy and line of herbal remedies.  In this interview, Sanandi's Communications Director Yolanda Suarez del Real shares with us the story of Sanandi and some of the ways that the team there has revitalized the land. Yolanda talks about their Wormery, Sanandi's rescue efforts for endangered bees, the importance of biodiversity, and why she believes that agriculture holds a key to human health. Yolanda tells us about some of the plants that are grown on Sanandi, including Mexican Giant Hyssop (Agastache mexicana), Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla), and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).  Yolanda also talks about the Valle La Paz Foundation, Sanandi's non-profit organization. The Foundation works with local children, providing free healthy breakfasts and sponsoring a choir, operates a rural health clinic, and promotes biodynamic organic agriculture with local farmers. To see a beautiful video of the local children in the choir sponsored by the Foundation, click here.  Show Notes: Yolanda mentions the Economy for the Common Good.  For information on upcoming Sanandi Webinars, click here. 
62:53 8/18/18
Our Plant Teachers with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Episode 147: 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. Robin speaks about how human exceptionalism finds its place in language, the grammar of animacy, and the importance of recognizing the personhood of all beings. Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment and the author of the books Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. 
47:56 6/12/18
Historic Fruit Trees Around the World
Episode 146: Learn about the field of arboreal archaeology and why historic fruit trees are important in this interview with John Valenzuela. John is a Permaculture Teacher, Designer, and Horticulturist who specializes in tropical permaculture, rare fruit, and ethnobotany.  In this episode, John talks about the benefits and resilience of trees, fruit history, what to look for in choosing fruit trees for your climate, and what plants he would take to a deserted island. The plants that we discuss include: Carob, Zizyphus, Opuntia, Mesquite, Mahonia, Yacon, many varieties of Apples, Mulberries, Paw Paws, Indian Peaches, Raisin tree, Coconut, Papaya, Banana, Mango, and Cashew.  John lives and grows in Marin County California, where he is diversifying a food forest garden with over 150 varieties of fruit on multi-grafted trees. You can learn more and reach him at his website.
76:02 5/11/18
Paw Paws 101
Episode 145: Have you heard about Paw Paws, North America's largest indigenous edible fruit? Native to 26 states in the US, Paw Paws are immortalized in songs, poems, and place names throughout the country. 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. Found in the woods as an understory plant, Paw Paw trees also thrive in sunny locations and can be integrated into food forest systems and backyard gardens. Once you try one, you may be hooked! Paw Paws fans and followers quickly become fanatics. A tree elder with a long history, Paw Paws hold a "deep woodland magic" and are ready and waiting to take their place, as an "edible landscaping all-star." To learn more about Michael Judd and his work, visit his website Michael is writing a new book about Paw Paws called For the Love Of Paw Paws. To become a supporter, visit his Kickstarter campaign. Click here to listen to Michael on other episodes of Sustainable World Radio and The Plant Report.
60:55 3/13/18
Urban Herbs: Growing Medicinal Plants in the City
Episode 144: 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. In 2014, Bonnie launched the seed to bottle apothecary 1849 Medicine Garden, a project that taught urbanites about the benefits of locally grown plant medicine. 1849 included an herbal CSA- or community supported agriculture program where members receive herbal tinctures created from herbs grown in their area. Bonnie grew her herbs on a 1/16 of an acre in San Francisco, CA. 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. In this interview she talks about how she propagates herbs (sowing seeds in flats - not cells), why it's important to reproduce a wild quality in your plants, and how plants grown in your neighborhood or bioregion face many of the same stressors that you do, making them effective medicine. Bonnie also talks in detail about some of her favorite herbs including Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Grindelia (Grindelia robusta), Milky Oats (Avena sativa), and Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Bonnie is the author of the book, Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis. Find her online at:
53:42 1/15/18
Farming Like Nature with Joel Salatin
Episode 143: 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. When the Salatins moved to the farm in 1961, there wasn't enough soil on the land to hold up a fence post. Over fifty years later, Polyface is an oasis of organic matter and one of the most fertile farms in the US. How did Joel and his family achieve this remarkable transformation? It began when Joel's father William, who out of necessity and with very little money, bucked conventional practices and began to observe how Nature farms. Implementing what they saw in natural systems, the Salatin family began their great task of restoring life and fertility to the land. 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.  Joel talks about the importance of including animals in agriculture, his "Moving, Mobbing, and Mowing Ministry," how to use herbivores as pruners, and what we can do now to heal the earth.  To learn more about Joel Salatin and Polyface Farm, visit their website at
74:14 11/22/17
Be Part of the Change: International Permaculture Convergence
Episode 142: 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! To learn more I spoke with Margie Bushman & Wes Roe of the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network. In this interview, Margie and Wes discuss Permaculture, their involvement with the IPC, and the next one taking place in Hyderabad India, in November and December of 2017. Hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives NGO, the IPC 2017 will be a unique and possibly transforming experience. The whole Aranya organization, including community members, farmers from nearby villages, a dynamic group of international volunteers, and especially the community's women and children are all joyfully preparing to welcome the world to the IPC conference & convergence. Margie & Wes are founding members of the Friends of the International Permaculture Convergences (FIPC) that works to insure there is a diversity of participants at each IPC by providing scholarships for delegates from around the world. Diversity is key here. Delegates come from a wide variety of regions and contribute toward a diversity of ideas and solutions arrived at each IPC. IPC's reach into every corner of the world, local to global, to bring forth and share these ideas. Past host sites have been in Australia, USA, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Nepal, Croatia, Brazil, Malawi, Jordan, Cuba, United Kingdom, and India in 2017, followed by Argentina in 2020. This year for the first time FIPC launched an ambitious worldwide crowdfund, so all in the global Permaculture community could easily contribute using the powerful energy of money to help shape a better world. We are a global society, and more than any other time in history, in order to be resilient, we need a diversity of ideas from all regions and cultures to survive. For more than forty years Permaculture has been leading the way with innovative, planet and climate friendly design strategies, that are just now being fully recognized by the rest of the world as the answer to some of our most pressing challenges.  Margie Bushman and Wes Roe are the co-founders of the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, an educational non-profit founded in 2000 that has sponsored hundreds of workshops and events about Permaculture and sustainability. Margie was the Program Coordinator for the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Center for Sustainability from 2009-2013, where she developed a Cities as the Solution series and an Eco-Entrepreneurship pilot program. Together Margie and Wes teach the Invisible Structures component of the Permaculture Design Course, a credited class, that they are proud to have helped initiate at SBCC. Wes served as a board member of the Permaculture Credit Union for nine years, later as Board President. Margie and Wes have been volunteer coordinators for the IPC Support Group since its inception in 2005. For more information on IPC2017, visit the IPC India website at : Visit the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network/IPC page for the FIPC and crowdfund information:  
32:20 10/20/17
Amazing Grains with Larry Kandarian
Episode 141: 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. As you'll hear in the interview, Larry is a man with a mission- growing the most ancient and nutrient-dense grains he can find and providing the world with alternatives to modern wheat. I first became aware of Larry and his work when I saw an ad for a talk he was giving at our local seed swap entitled, "Ancient Guy Talks About Old Grains." When I read that, I knew I wanted to interview him! Larry Kandarian has been farming for over 25 years. A former mechanical engineer, who worked on the Space Shuttle, Larry is now committed to growing ancient grains in the most ecological way possible. Margie Bushman of the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network and I spent a few hours with Larry last Fall. We talked with him about many plants including: Ethiopian Blue Tinge Farro, Terrestrial Rice, Einkorn, Fonio (also known as Grain of the Universe), Khorasan, Nude Oats, Quinoa, Sonoran Wheat, Tibetan Black Barley, Purple Corn, Kaniwa, Sorghum... the list goes on. Walking around Kandarian Farms is like being at Costco on a Saturday afternoon, there are lots of samples. It was a fun, delicious, and inspiring tour. We also talked with Larry about gluten and why he believes that some of his crops may provide a delicious and nutritious alternative to modern wheat for those with gluten-sensitivity. Note: Since this was recorded outside, you may hear wind and farm machinery during parts of this interview. Learn more about Larry Kandarian and his amazing grains at    
68:52 8/23/17

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