Herm, Eric — Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth

Eric Herm is a 4th generation farmer from Ackerly Texas and author of, “Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth: A Path to Agriculture’s Higher Consciousness.” Herm is transitioning his family farm into an organic farm. He recently returned from a march that began in Baltimore, Maryland and ended in front of the White House in Washington D.C. to oppose the use of genetically modified organisms, GMO’s. We spoke with Eric Herm from his farm in Ackerly, Texas on October 24th, 2011 and asked him to describe his experience in Washington D.C.

The book that Eric Herm recommends is, “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,” by Wendell Berry.

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Feigin, Keith — Liquid Gold on Lovers Lane

This program is about honey. We visit with Keith Feigin, owner of Lovers Lane Farm, at his bee keeping center in Ukiah, California. We discuss bees on the loose, how they orient themselves to a new location, communicate with each other and how Keith harvests the “liquid gold.”  Keith was just leaving to catch up with some bees on the loose when I arrived, and that’s when our conversation began in mid August 2011.

The book that Keith Feigin recommends is the “Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd.  You may contact Keith Feigin via email at loverslanefarm@gmail.com.

This interview was recorded on the streets of Ukiah and at Lovers Lane Farm in Ukiah, California on August 15, 2011.

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Blank, Les — The Chef of Film Making

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Les Blank, film maker extraordinaire. Les Blank will receive the Albert Maysles award at the 2011 Mendocino Film Festival where his films “Burden of Dreams” and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” will be presented.  John Rockwell, writing in The New York Times, describes Les Blank as, “…a documentarian of folk cultures who transforms anthropology into art.”

Though he had a long fascination with films, his career turned to film making after he saw “The Seventh Seal,” by Ingmar Bergman.   Our conversation, which was recorded by phone from his home in Berkeley, California on May 23, 2011, began when I asked him why he makes films.

The films Les Blank recommends are “The Seventh Seal” and “Through a Glass Darkly,” both by Ingmar Bergman.

Les Blank’s website is www.lesblank.com

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Joy, Melanie Ph.D. — Why We Eat Some Animals and Not Others

Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. It is the opposite of vegetarianism or veganism; “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” denotes a belief system. Most people view eating animals as a given, rather than a choice; in meat-eating cultures around the world people typically don’t think about why they find the meat of some animals disgusting and the meat of other animals appetizing, or why they eat any animals at all.  This is the topic of a conversation with Melanie Joy, Ph.D., author of , “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, an Introduction to Carnism.”

The interview with Melanie Joy, Ph.D. was recorded in Ukiah, California on November 29, 2010.  Joy’s website is www.carnism.com The book she recommends is, “Food Revolution: How your diet can save your life and our world,” by John Robbins.

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Clement, Brian R. Ph.D. — Do We Really Need Dietary Supplements?

Do we need supplements to our diet? Does a normal balanced diet of food supply us with the nutrition we need? Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious argues that the supplement industry is confusing and misinformed, encouraging consumers to buy supplements we don’t need. Brian R. Clement is the author of “Supplements Exposed: The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know About Vitamins, Minerals, And Their Effects On Your Health.” His book examines the dietary supplement industry, what so called natural supplements from his perspective really contain and how they can affect our health for better and worse. I spoke with Brian Clement by phone while he was on an excursion in Mexico on November 9th 2009 and began by asking him about the drive to promote the supplement industry.

The book recommended by Brian Clement was “The New Gold Standard,” by Joseph Michelli.

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Fairlie, Jim — Founding Farmers Markets In Scotland

As part of a series of Radio Curious on tour in Scotland,  we interview Jim Fairlie, the organizer of Farmers Markets in Scotland. Jim is a farmer by trade at Logie Almond Farm near Perth in the southern end of the Scottish Highlands. A decade ago, following the mad cow disease crisis, Jim Fairlie saw the need for farmers to market their own produce rather than rely on Government subsidies. After returning from a holiday in France, where he was blown away by the local markets, he set up Edinburgh’s much celebrated monthly farmers market, which now attract as many as 10,000 visitors. In our conversation we discuss how the farmers market movement gained momentum and the trials and tribulations of getting farmers and consumers to understand each other’s needs.

I spoke with Jim Fairlie at his farmhouse kitchen table near Perth, Scotland on May 17th 2009. We began with his story of how farmers markets in Scotland began.

The book Jim Fairlie recommends is “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” by Lionel Shriver

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Baur, Gene — Do You Really Want To Eat Factory Farmed Food?

Do you know how the food you eat is raised? In this conversation host and producer Attorney Barry Vogel visits with Gene Baur, author of  “Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts And Minds About Animals And Food.” Gene Baur is the president and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, the nations leading farm animal protection organization, which advocates the fair treatment of farm animals, a return to the roots of agriculture and the end of animals suffering for our consumption.

I spoke with Gene Baur at our studio in Ukiah, California on March 22nd, 2009 and began by asking what brought him to be involved in food and it’s production.

The book Gene Baur recommends is “Calling All Radicals: How Grassroots Organizers Can Save Our Democracy,” by Gabriel Thompson

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Mendel, Janet — Fine Spanish Cooking

In the story of Don Quixote, the author Miguel Cervantes tells, among other things, what Don Quixote ate for dinner every day of the week. This, in part became the inspiration for a book entitled, “Cooking from the Heart of Spain: Food of La Mancha,” written by Janet Mendel, an American woman who has lived in Spain for approximately 40 years. This book and the name of the author ignited my spontaneous curiosity, so when Janet Mendel and I visited by phone from her home on the southern coast of Spain in June 2007, I asked about her focus and inspiration to write a cookbook centered around Don Quixote de La Mancha.


The book she recommends, not surprisingly, is “Don Quixote,” by Miguel Cervantes, in the English translation by Edith Grossman.

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Damrosch, Phoebe — The Wisdom of the Waiter

Behind the scenes in Per Se, a four star restaurant in New York City, a sister restaurant to The French Laundry in Napa, California, is one of the topics in this edition of Radio Curious.  Phoebe Damrosch, author of, “Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter,” was the first female captain (head waiter) at a New York four-star restaurant. A graduate of Columbia University’s Barnard College, she shares surprising episodes and charm in a story relayed from the always-pleasant server’s point of view that some people spend several hundred dollars each to witness from the diner’s perspective. However, Phoebe sees things that the diners don’t. Phoebe Damrosch was born in a small rural mountaintop cabin next to a pure water lake several hours north of New York City, and grew up partly in Vermont and rural Haiti.

This conversation, recorded on July 15, 2008, began when I asked her to explain what a restaurant must do to receive the four-star nomination.

The book she recommends is “Drown,” by Junot Diaz.

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Golden, Kevin Z. — Lawsuit to Ban Genetically Modified Alfalfa

The consequences of growing genetically modified alfalfa were deteremined by the United States District Court in San Francisco, California to be so uncertain and so potentially dangerous that they were outlawed nation-wide in litigation brought by the Center for Food Safety based in San Francisco. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Attorney Kevin Zelig Golden, who, along with others from the Center for Food Safety, litigated this landmark case which banned the planting of genetically modified alfalfa as of May 3, 2007.  This program was originally broadcast May 7, 2007.

The book that Kevin Z. Golden recommends is “Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” by Michael Pollan.

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