025 A Year of Autonomous Eating - Rob Greenfield

 Photo: Rob Greenfield via  RobGreenfield.tv

Photo: Rob Greenfield via RobGreenfield.tv

People have a hard time wrapping their head around the idea of growing and foraging 100 percent of my food…There are zero exceptions: my salt; my oil; no grocery stores; no restaurants; no taking a nibble at a party; no gifts of food from others; no going to someone else’s garden and eating from their garden; literally growing and foraging 100 percent of the food.
— Rob Greenfield

This week’s guest is adventurer and environmental activist Rob Greenfield, whose societal-boundary-pushing projects have ranged from biking across the United States on a bamboo bicycle for sustainability (three times); to dumpster diving in thousands of grocery store dumpsters to raise awareness about food waste and hunger; to wearing 30 days’ of trash to create a visual of how much trash one American creates. Here, we focus on Rob’s latest extreme endeavor: Growing and foraging 100 percent of his food for One. Entire. Year.

From his 100-square-foot tiny home in Orlando, Florida (hand-built from 99 percent salvaged materials, natch), Rob shares the eating hows and whats of his aptly named Food Freedom project (think harvested salt and golf-course-foraged giant yams; oh, he also grows his own toilet paper). But with no shortage of self-reflection, Rob also digs deeper: into his own impoverished upbringing, the unintended consequences of living with no car or bank account or bills, and finding his true purpose in a life both inside and outside industrial capitalist society. 

Some of what we talk about:

  • What’s behind all the 1s: The launch of Food Freedom on 11/11 and Rob’s 111 possessions

  • The plan to grow and forage 100 percent of his food for one year; building his 100-square-foot tiny house in Orlando (and why Orlando?)

  • Staple crops, salt from scratch and the 160-pound yam 

  • How to make coconut oil; North America’s yerba mate

  • The 11 months of prep that went into the project 

  • Rob’s philosophy on foraging and pesticides

  • A sampling of the 300-500 foods Rob will be eating for the next 12 months 

  • Taking inspiration from subsistence cultures  

  • The paradox of Rob’s impoverished childhood: “We were consumers. My mom was a consumer; I was a consumer.” 

  • His awakening to “not living a delusional life”

  • What it’s like to live with no credit cards, no bank account, no driver’s license, no car, no bills and no taxes 

  • Consumerism and mortality 

  • Rob’s vision for the future 

You can follow Rob’s year of Food Freedom on his website, along with on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.

Resources from the show:

Orlando Permaculture
Berkey water filter
Rob’s post: On Health Insurance, Age and Death
Rob’s post: My Net Worth Is
Rob’s TED talk: Be the Change in a Messed Up World

024 The Woman and the Little Cabin That Could - Ayana Young

 Photo: Ayana Young,  For the Wild

Photo: Ayana Young, For the Wild

If there’s nowhere to hide, then it allowed me to stand where I love, and fight like hell for that place. For me, the temperate rainforest was what called me…This whole ecosystem called me back and said: ‘Now that you’re over your own little life, you will work for us.’ And I said, ‘OK, put me to work. What do you need me to do?’
— Ayana Young

In her mid-20s and a few years past her ecology studies at Columbia University, Ayana Young’s life had the makings of an off-the-grid fantasy. She lived with her partner in a cabin on an organic farm on an Oregon mountaintop. She studied herbalism. Then, Fukashima happened. The two, no longer feeling safe, set off on a journey to find “the promised land”—that untainted wilderness where they could live out their days sheltered from the toxic threats of industrialized civilization. Instead, Ayana found herself awakened to the harsh reality of her anarcho-survivalist quest: that it had clouded her true calling of working in service of something greater than herself.

This week, I speak with Ayana about that remarkable journey and the “something greater” that resulted: her creation of the trailblazing For the Wild collective—which now encompasses the 1 Million Redwoods reforestation project, For the Wild podcast, and a new spinoff series birthed from a preservation campaign around the Tongass National Forest. (She helms this all from yes, her handbuilt cabin in the coastal redwood mountain range of Northern California.)

some of what we talk about:

  • The making of “the little cabin that could”

  • “So lost and damn naïve when I started this endeavor”

  • Ayana’s upbringing in suburban Southern California

  • Living in an 1800s farmhouse in Pennsylvania and the birth of the For the Wild podcast (then Unlearn and Rewild)

  • The cedar cabin in Oregon, the journey to New Zealand and the awakening to the Anthropocene

  • The inevitable consumerist existence of cities

  • Human supremacy

  • The Bill McKibben question and “What are we really trying to save here?”

  • The 1 Million Redwoods Project, biomimetic reforestation and learning how to have a reciprocal relationship with nature

  • The off-the-grid fantasy versus Ayana’s life now

  • “We don’t have the time to be arguing about small things anymore”

Follow Ayana and her mission at For the Wild, where you can learn about the 1 Million Redwoods Project, subscribe to the For the Wild podcast, learn about her new spinoff series, sign up for her newsletter and make a nonprofit donation. She’s also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.

023 The Biophilic Nature of Serenbe - Steve Nygren

 Photo credit: Jennifer Grayson

Photo credit: Jennifer Grayson

We have come into such an intellectual society that we have forgotten the miracle of where we live. And the miracle of our own being.
— Steve Nygren

In this first episode of our second season, I interview Steve Nygren, the founder of Serenbe—a microcosmic urban utopia set on 65,000 acres of preserved forest land, a mere 40 minutes south of Atlanta’s expanding sprawl. Yet to paint Serenbe as the latest picture of the New Urbanist movement (or as a green community, or a nature community, or an “agrihood,” as it’s been called in reference to the 25-acre organic farm the town is centered around) wouldn’t do it justice, as my family and I discovered when we called Serenbe home for two months this past summer.

Here, during an epic walk in the woods, Steve and I delve into the biophilic theory underpinning Serenbe’s design—along with the journey that took him from “having it all” in Ansley Park as a successful restaurateur to a life of deep nature connection for his family and Serenbe’s burgeoning community.

Show notes:

  • Serenbe’s origin story

  • Steve’s farming roots in Boulder, CO

  • Richard Louv and Last Child in the Woods

  • Why 68 percent of people don’t like where they live

  • “We have removed what I think are the two most important things for a vital life: and that’s connection to nature, and connection to each other”

  • The New Urbanist movement and inspiration from the English countryside

  • Preservation, development, and a model for balanced growth

  • The elephant in the room: affordable housing 

  • The problem with “intentional” communities 

  • The biophilic community, the awakening of intuition and Serenbe’s sacred geometry

Learn more about Serenbe (or maybe even plan a visit) on the Serenbe website, events page and Life at Serenbe blog. You can also check out Serenbe on Twitter and Instagram.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.

022 The Everwild Way - Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells

 From bottom, left: Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells of  EverWild . Photos:  Emily Hart Roth . 

From bottom, left: Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells of EverWild. Photos: Emily Hart Roth

Society expects us to go down one path. And then if it doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t feel good, often we don’t know that there [are] other resources available.
— Elizabeth Wells
I think the biggest question that you could ask, and that [the Everwild kids] ask constantly, is: ‘I wonder…’
— Amanda Caloia

Our Season 1 finale is here! I can't imagine a more fitting close to our six-month journey than this interview with Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells, two of the co-founders of EverWild—a Los Angeles-based community that connects city-dwellers to the wild through family adventures, conservancy projects, and a pioneering nature-immersion homeschooling program.  

Amanda's and Elizabeth's journeys to create EverWild (along with Rebecca Chou, not featured in this episode) mirror so much of what we’ve been searching for on this show: a connection to nature, yes; but also a connection to true, human community. After all, the wild places we made our home in our ancient human past wouldn’t have been survivable without the tribe that surrounded us. As I’ve come to recognize over these past 22 episodes, we’re hardwired to be in the fold. While the loss of nature is palpable, community is that unnamable thing we’re grasping for in an increasingly virtualized and individualized world. 

In my LA backyard (over foraged yerba santa tea, homemade pumpkin bread, and a smattering of airplane and mower noise), Amanda and Elizabeth and I chatted it up about the quest for the "perfect" place to live, surfing and skating (Amanda is a Longboard Girls Crew USA skater), homeschooling in the wild, and how they ultimately found “the EverWild way” of life. 

Thank you all for your incredible support this first season! I wish you lots of time to “uncivilize” in your own life until I'm back again this fall.   

Here’s what we talk about: 

  • Surfing, snowboarding and searching for the “perfect” place to live
  • How Amanda and Elizabeth balance living in the city with their need to be near nature
  • Elizabeth’s background: from Cape Town, South Africa to Santa Monica
  • Bee and wasp attacks
  • Navigating risk in Everwild’s classes and “bloops” 
  • Why kids need to learn according to their internal clock
  • Amanda’s aha moment about outdoor education
  • Homeschooling, unschooling, LA Nature Kids, and the creation of EverWild
  • Elizabeth: “Like all of these choices we make, [EverWild] is a way of life.”
  • Child-led learning and David Sobel
  • A surprise guest co-host and a day in the life at EverWild 

Want to learn more about the EverWild way? Check out EverWild’s programs and upcoming happenings on the EverWild website, where you can sign up for a free trial day for the homeschooling program. You can also follow their adventures on Facebookand Instagram. (And don’t miss Amanda’s personal IG page for some rad skating/surfing/snowboarding pics: @pandaskate.)

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Resources: 

Inspire Charter School
Kiss the Ground
Hahamongna Watershed Park
Backbone Trail
LA Nature Kids
Pam Laricchica's Exploring Unschooling podcast 
Red Rock Canyon State Park

021 The Astonishing American History of Cesarean Section - Jacqueline H. Wolf

 Top right, of Jacqueline H. Wolf: Photo credit Joel Prince. Bottom right: Illustration via Wikimedia Commons.

Top right, of Jacqueline H. Wolf: Photo credit Joel Prince. Bottom right: Illustration via Wikimedia Commons.

How, in the modern era, can we perceive so many human births as running into trouble that we have to perform major abdominal surgery in order to make that birth happen?
— Jacqueline H. Wolf

In 19th-century America, cesarean section was a treacherous, last-ditch surgery that nearly always resulted in death of the infant and, half the time, the mother. Fast forward to today, where 1 in 3 American babies is delivered via surgical birth. But even until the 1960s, cesarean section was virtually unknown to the American public, says my guest today, historian Jacqueline H. Wolf, the author of the riveting new book Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence. The book, which will be published this May by Johns Hopkins University Press, was funded by a three-year-grant from the National Institutes of Health. In it, Professor Wolf unfolds an astounding story: How, over the span of a mere century (and most rapidly, a few decades), industrialized America normalized surgery as the means of bringing babies into the world.

Some of you may recognize Jackie Wolf’s name from my book Unlatched (where she transported us to the death-by-artificial-infant-feeding epidemic of Industrial Age America). As a professor of the History of Medicine in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, she is one of the foremost authorities on the history of breastfeeding and birth practices in the United States, having authored two prior books and numerous articles on the subjects in venues such as the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Social History, and The Milbank Quarterly. I was captivated by my conversations with Jackie back then, and I hope you’ll be as captivated as I was by this one, here: From the story of the first cesarean in recorded American history, the myth of Julius Caesar and the racially charged past of early cesareans; to the rise of birth as a pathological process, Jackie Kennedy's role in all this, reclaiming birth in the 21st century (including how to avoid your own C-section) and more, you won’t want to miss this episode! 

Here's some of what we talked about:

  • Jackie’s work as a medical historian, and the path that led her to write Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence
  • Delving into the history of “thousands of accounts of birth” back to the 18th century
  • Cesarean sections in antiquity and the myth of Julius Caesar
  • “Sacrificial midwifery”
  • The astounding story of the very first recorded cesarean in US history
  • Cesarean sections and slavery
  • Vaginal birth of “a double monster” and the “highly unusual” circumstances of early cesareans
  • Historical birth as a social event
  • The truth about maternal mortality through the ages
  • The hospitalization of birth
  • John Wittridge Williams, Joseph DeLee, “prophylactic forceps,” and the rise of birth as a pathological process
  • Jackie Kennedy
  • How the electronic fetal monitor changed everything
  • The three major ways to avoid a cesarean section
  • Elective c-sections and our “don’t shame me” culture
  • Why labor is really really good for babies: the science
  • Jackie’s vision for the future 

An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence will be released in May (pre-order here and below). Want to learn more about Jackie and her work? Check out her professor page at Ohio University. Jackie is also the host of the forthcoming WOUB (NPR) radio show "Lifespan." Check it out on iTunes here

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jackie's books:

Resources

 From     Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence   (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). Credit Jacqueline H. Wolf and Kevin S. Wolf 

From Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). Credit Jacqueline H. Wolf and Kevin S. Wolf 

020 Emulating Our Wild Progenitors: A New Path - Arthur Haines

Arthur Haines Uncivilize.jpg
What are our evolutionary patterns versus how we are living now? Once you really start diving into that question, you learn that virtually everything we do stands in contradiction to what our bodies need for health. And not just our bodies…our emotion, our spirits…everything.
— Arthur Haines

We want to believe that we are living at the pinnacle of human existence; that since hominins first walked on two legs, man has been marching toward our vision of modern civilization. But what if despite humanity's vast achievements, we left behind a way of life that not only served our species better, but actually defined us as a species? So posits my guest today, Arthur Haines, the author of the transformative new book A New Path: To Transcend the Great Forgetting Through Incorporating Ancestral Practices Into Contemporary Living. The book, and today's conversation, is centered around a remarkable premise (first conceived with Daniel Vitalis): that modern-day humans have become a domesticated sub-species of Homo sapiens, our once-wild progenitors. Our divergence from our biologically normal way of life has not only de-evolved us, it is at the root of our current epidemic of ill health and environmental degradation.

But given that we can’t turn back the clock to live as indigenous hunter-gatherers, where do we go from here? Arthur has spent a lifetime ruminating on that question, as a botanist, taxonomist, forager and ancestral skills mentor who runs the Delta Institute of Natural History in Canton, ME. In A New Path, he offers revolutionary answers. Here, we talk about the book that's being called "the bible of the rewilding movement," and putting theory into practice with Wilder Waters, the neo-aboriginal community Arthur and his family are creating on 150 acres of protected forest in the woods of central Maine.

Here’s the rundown of our conversation:

  • The encyclopedic effort of A New Path

  • The lack of cancer in hunter-gatherer societies (i.e., intact lifeways)

  • Arthur’s childhood of fishing, hunting, tracking and mountaineering in Western Maine

  • Les Eastmen and the chance meeting that set Arthur on the path toward botany and taxonomy

  • Daniel Vitalis and the theory of modern humans as a domesticated subspecies

  • The bias against hunter-gatherers: “These were people who needed to be saved”

  • The myth of Steven Pinker’s myth of violence

  • The health of ancestral peoples vs. the health of people today

  • “We have bred the medicine out of food”: wild plants and phytochemicals

  • Raw water, hormesis, community, and a sneak peek at the book

  • “Our genes are still wild animals seeking immersion in nature”

  • Why it’s so hard to emulate historical community in the modern world

  • Learning an Eastern Abenaki language with his 4-year-old daughter

  • Wilder Waters – a neo-aboriginal community on 150 acres of forest in central Maine

  • Shared childcare and the challenges of learning how to live in an egalitarian community

  • What’s next for Arthur and Wilder Waters

Learn more about Arthur, his work and upcoming class offerings on his website, where you can order A New Path. (It's also available from you know where, but the previous link best supports Arthur's work.) Wilder Waters also has a website, along with a must-follow Instagram and Facebook page. Arthur's own Facebook page is here. And be sure to check out Wilder Waters' upcoming Dawnland Gathering, a 3-day/3-night primitive skills gathering in Turner, Maine. 

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

019 Wild Beer and The Ale Apothecary - Paul Arney

One of the reasons that our beer tastes the way it does is because I made a commitment that had nothing to do with the end-result beer I was making; it had to do with…the ideals and the practices that I want to have.
— Paul Arney

Meet Paul Arney, the mad genius behind The Ale Apothecary, a wild-ferment brewery housed in a cabin in the woods of Bend, Oregon. Paul is a master brewer who honed his craft-beer chops for more than 15 years at Bend’s legendary Deschutes Brewery. Now, on his own land and with the magic of the microbial creatures and natural materials that inhabit it (think: black currants, tree parts and an ancient snow-melt aquifer), he has developed The Ale Apothecary into an idealistic, if not utopian endeavor: a hyper-local and sustainable brewery based on the past 10,000 years of our brewing history as humans. 

For the overwhelming majority of that history, the beer we drank was wild (sometimes called sour)—a much different animal than the crisp (or hoppy or malty) libation so many of us think of when we hear the word “beer” today.* As I learned in this eye-opening conversation with Paul, even many of today’s “craft” breweries are still part of an industrial system of beer-making that arose only a couple hundred years ago. Here, we delve not only into the fascinating history of beer and its industrialization, but Paul’s ultimate vision to reclaim community, autonomy and our place-based experience of taste by rewilding one of humanity’s first beloved beverages. 

*I owe my “discovery” of wild beer to my first taste of Ale Apothecary up in Bend, six years ago, and I’m never going back. I hope this conversation sparks your love for wild beer, too! 

Here's the run-down of our conversation:

  • The Ale Apothecary versus factory-style brewing
  • Paul’s brewing background and Deschutes Brewery
  • Beer as historical tie to our human history
  • Paul’s brew cabin in the woods: local malt, local hops, black currants and tree parts and the 11,000-year-old snow melt aquifer
  • The wild fermentation process that’s missing from modern-day brewing
  • The chemicals and waste impact of industrial brewing
  • What is wild beer?
  • Hops throughout history and Prohibition
  • “I tried to take this as far as I could”
  • The historical research that fueled his brewing
  • Paul’s vision for the future: small, localized breweries
  • The unpredictability of wild beer
  • The Ale Apothecary aging process, pine needles and Scandinavian farmhouse beers
  • How to find wild beer in your area
  • What’s next for Paul

Learn more about Paul and his wild beer on The Ale Apothecary website and blog. The brewery also has a great Instagram page: check it out.   

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Resources

Reinheitsgebot
Cantillon Brewery
The Coors Porcelain Company
Tavour

018 The Freedom of Forest Kindergarten - Erin Kenny

 Photos of  Cedarsong Nature School  reproduced with permission by  Erin Kenny

Photos of Cedarsong Nature School reproduced with permission by Erin Kenny

Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.
— Erin Kenny

I am so excited to bring you this thought-provoking conversation with naturalist and educator Erin Kenny, an international leader in the forest kindergarten movement and the founder of Cedarsong Nature School -- the very first US kindergarten based on the German waldkindergarten model. If you haven’t yet heard of waldkindergarten (or forest kindergarten, for that matter), it is very much as it sounds: an entirely outdoors-based early childhood education program which, in Cedarsong's case, goes on rain, snow, or shine on five acres of magical native forest on Vashon Island, a ferry's ride from Seattle.

But forest kindergarten is also so much more: Here, Erin and I talk about the crisis of nature deprivation confronting today’s generation of children and parents; why this unique style of education is a compelling and desperately needed solution; and the remarkable learning that emerges from the deep nature immersion experienced at Cedarsong. Amazingly, forest kindergartens are only just taking off here in the US (despite having existed in Germany for more than half a century and where there are now more than 1,500 in existence), so if you're eager to join this burgeoning  movement as a parent or an educator, don't miss Erin and this eye-opening episode!  

Show notes:

  • Cedarsong Nature School: rain, snow or shine
  • Our modern-day indoors culture
  • The gear: How Cedarsong kids dress for school
  • Erin’s childhood spent outdoors in wild spaces
  • Today’s academic pressure, the stress and anxiety from transitions and overscheduling
  • The importance of unstructured, free play outdoors  
  • “For millennia, the way young children learned was through direct connection with the natural world”
  • The domestication of our children via modern-day education
  • Fredrich Froebel and the history of forest schools
  • A day at Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten  
  • Natural science lessons and place-based exploration
  • Compassion scaffolding
  • Forest kindergarten as “an early intervention program”
  • Where do the kids pee?
  • How to find a forest kindergarten
  • The Cedarsong Way forest school teacher training program
  • Advocating for forest schools at the legislative level, and what’s next for Erin 

You can learn more about Cedarsong Nature School on the school’s website. Erin’s book Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way, documentary DVD and teacher training packet -- along with the schedule of her upcoming teacher trainings and speaking tours -- are available at ErinKenny.com. Cedarsong also has a wonderful Facebook page where you can check out photos and videos of the school in action. 

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

017 Re-creating the Village - Rachel Natland and Chris Morasky

 Top: Photos of Chris Morasky, Rachel Natland via  Wisdom Keepers . Bottom photo:  Elements Gathering .

Top: Photos of Chris Morasky, Rachel Natland via Wisdom Keepers. Bottom photo: Elements Gathering.

I had to go way off into the wilderness for a long time and really live apart from people before I realized that I actually do like people, and that I actually really love people—and that what I really don’t like is the way that people often treat each other. And that it’s because we have been born into a society which is so very strange and so very different from what is normal for our species, if we look at the long history of humanity.
— Chris Morasky
A lot of the things that happened to me as a child would not have happened to me if I was in a community that could have caught me.
— Rachel Natland

For 99 percent of our human history, we lived in small, likely egalitarian societies—tight-knit hunter-gatherer bands of a couple dozen people deeply reliant on their community and on the surrounding environment, for their survival. So where does that leave we present-day humans, now navigating an increasingly virtualized and individualized world amidst the dizzying urban constructs (not to mention vast social inequality) we call modern civilization? In a word: searching, to return to the fold of community and nature in which our species evolved for hundreds of thousands of years. 

My guests today, Chris Morasky and Rachel Natland, know that search well, and for decades pursued it on disparate paths: Chris, as a wildlife biologist who lived for more than 20 years in the wilderness and became one of the foremost Stone Age skills experts in North America; and Rachel, as a single mother who overcame her own inner-city childhood of abuse and addiction to become a spiritual mentor. Four years ago the rugged survivalist and the urban community-builder met, and the rest is history—and the future: Now a pair and living in Portland, they are restoring ancient egalitarian wisdom to the 21st century via their Wisdom Keepers school in Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. Hear their incredible life stories that brought them to this remarkable moment in time, their poignant vision for the future, and how they're re-creating the village with their don't-miss Elements Gathering in the ancient sequoias. Hope to see you there!

Here's the run-down of our conversation:

  • Planning their upcoming Elements Gathering: A week-long village experience in the ancient sequoias
  • How Rachel brought herself up out of the inner city and broke the cycle of abuse and addiction
  • Chris: “I believe that children choose their parents”
  • The disparate paths that brought Rachel and Chris to the world of rewilding
  • The epiphany moment that sent Chris on a 20+-year-long journey living in the wilderness and small communities of British Columbia, Idaho and Utah
  • How Chris navigates life intuitively, and tapping into “our instinctual connection to the perfect system of nature”
  • Why Chris left the wilderness for Los Angeles
  • Overcoming the illness of modern society, and how to get the most out of our lives
  • Rachel’s calling to the West, single motherhood, and classism
  • How Chris and Rachel met
  • Community, autonomy and rugged individualism
  • Why they left LA for Portland, and what comes next
  • Our egalitarian history, technology and exponential growth
  • Wisdom Keepers
  • Rewilding, space exploration, and Chris and Rachel’s thoughts on the future 

You can learn more about Chris and Rachel, along with their current class and workshop offerings on the Wisdom Keepers website, as well as on Facebook. Want to go to Elements Gathering this year? Don't wait, tickets are going fast! (You can also check out the event virtually via the Elements Facebook page.) 

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

016 Eating Unprocessed and the Path to Food Sovereignty - Megan Kimble

 Photo of Megan Kimble, at left:  Steven Meckler . Top right: The celebratory (?) end to her year eating unprocessed. Bottom right: At the book release for   Unprocessed   in Tucson.

Photo of Megan Kimble, at left: Steven Meckler. Top right: The celebratory (?) end to her year eating unprocessed. Bottom right: At the book release for Unprocessed in Tucson.

At the beginning of my book, when I was trying to figure out where to draw the line—what makes food processed?—I stuck with this intuitive sense, which came from a line from Mr. Rogers...‘There is a difference between things people make, and things that are made.’
— Megan Kimble

Meet today’s guest, who might be called the Michael Pollan for the millenial generation: award-winning food writer Megan Kimble, now senior editor at Austin Monthly Magazine and the author of the book Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food. In this deep-dive journalistic memoir into her year-long journey of eating only whole, unprocessed foods, Megan set out to answer some seemingly straightforward questions: What does unprocessed mean in the modern world? Why does it matter? And how can we afford it in an age where time has become perhaps more precious than money? Yet the path to answer those questions proved anything but, sending Megan down the rabbit hole of our industrialized food system (spoiler alert: she learned to slaughter a sheep in the name of book research).

Now a few years down the road from her book journey and living in a new city (Austin, by way of Tucson), I was so excited to have the chance to check in with Megan to hear how she’s putting unprocessed into practice, as well as hear her long-term wisdom gleaned from a life devoted to urban food sovereignty. From food co-ops, equity crowd-funded breweries and tackling food insecurity to home mead-making, ancient bread-baking and respectful meat-eating in a modern society, this is a lively conversation you won’t want to miss! Enjoy!

Here's some of what we get into:

  • Megan’s recent move from Tucson to Austin, and the farm-to-table urban food scene
  • Shopping unprocessed in the city: CSAs and food co-ops
  • Falling down the rabbit hole of what it means to eat “unprocessed”
  • “The money we spend on food matters”
  • Ten Fifty-Five Brewing and the equity crowdfunding model
  • Making mead, bread and connecting to community
  • The problem with modern flour
  • Watermelon warehouses and food waste
  • Being raised by two scientists: Megan’s vegetarian childhood and growing up in a household where good food was a priority
  • Slaughtering sheep and meat-eating in a modern society
  • Food insecurity and cooking literacy
  • Megan’s vision for our food future 

Learn more about Megan and her other writings on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And as we do, Megan loves buying local: Click here to see if Unprocessed is available at your local bookstore. (For those of you in far-flung places, click on the book image below to order a copy from you-know-where.)

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!