#187 | Heartland Deluge: The Floods Of An Unfamiliar Earth w/ Nicholas Humphrey

In this episode, I speak with meteorologist and geoscientist Nicholas Humphrey. I ask him to detail the record-breaking flood in the Midwest United States this season, in particular the impacts this is having on the agricultural center of the country, and how this event is directly tied to the dramatic global changes associated with abrupt climate disruption as a result of human industrial activity.

As Nick and I discuss, there are numerous reasons why this year’s flooding in the Midwest has been as destructive as it has been — with estimated damage, in economic terms, of “$12.5 billion, based on an analysis of damages already inflicted and those expected by additional flooding, as well as the lingering health effects resulting from flooding and the disease caused by standing water.”* Nick’s interdisciplinary research into global climate change, especially in describing its direct impact on the hydrological (water) cycle and weather, helps us understand how this record-breaking event occurred. “Nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states will have an elevated risk of some flooding from now until May, and 25 states could experience ‘major or moderate flooding,’ according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”** Record-breaking snowfall in the Midwest, with severe fluctuations in temperature in late-winter and early-spring, coincided with a massive “bomb cyclone” visiting the region, leading to a rapid and massive overflow of the Missouri River — inundating numerous farms, cities, and towns, as well as overwhelm much of the overall infrastructure and spread toxic waste and pollution throughout the region. This doesn’t even include the impacts this event is already having on the financially-burdened businesses in the region, and what the impacts will be for the region’s agricultural output in the future, as it is severely limiting farmers ability to grow and harvest vital agricultural products this year. Overall, the prospects don’t look good, for the Midwest region, and for the United States. Nick and I take a dive into the science and the implications of this event, and fit it within the broader ecological and climate trends currently unfolding on this planet.

Nicholas Humphrey is a meteorologist and geoscientist, with the focus on extreme weather events and their connection to our destabilizing climate. Nick’s goal is to communicate, in an interdisciplinary fashion, the serious risks from climate tipping points, extreme weather events, and ecological collapse. He graduated with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in societal impacts of extreme weather from South Dakota State University in 2013, and earned a MS in Geosciences - Applied Meteorology from Mississippi State University in 2016. Nicholas is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

*http://bit.ly/2Ua1N5S

**https://nyti.ms/2D2mYkw

Episode Notes:

- Follow and support Nicholas’ work: https://www.patreon.com/MeteorologistNickHumphrey

- Follow him on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2U6tf4n

- Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NTH_met

- I cite these articles in the interview: http://bit.ly/2Ua1N5S / https://nyti.ms/2D2mYkw

- The song featured in the episode is “Country Boy” by "Little" Jimmy Dickens.

#121 | The Regenerative Agricultural Movement: Research, Bias, & Farming w/ Jonathan Lundgren

For this episode, I speak with agroecologist, entomologist, farmer, and beekeeper Jonathan Lundgren, CEO of Blue Dasher Farm and Director of the ECDYSIS Foundation.

At the very beginning of this conversation, Jonathan discusses his time as a top scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, during which time he conducted important research into the wide-scale use of pesticides in U.S. agriculture. After conducting research that indicated that the use of certain chemicals (neonicotinoids) on fields was causing significant and alarming declines in insect pollinator populations (e.g. bees and butterflies), Jonathan began to experience various forms of suppression and censorship from within the USDA, as an attempt to hinder his work and inhibit his ability to publish his findings on the subject.

After spending 11 years at the USDA, Jonathan moved on to his next project, Blue Dasher Farm, "where research, education, and demonstration converge to support the regeneration of agriculture." While Blue Dasher is a for-profit enterprise, it also serves as a project that develops and demonstrates regenerative agricultural methods that require practically none of the intrusive, disruptive, and ecologically devastating practices employed under the dominant agricultural system in the United States today. Jonathan is also the Director of the ECDYSIS Foundation, a non-profit science lab for independent research.

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Blue Dasher Farm and regenerative agriculture at: http://bluedasher.farm

- Learn more about Jonathan's non-profit research foundation ECDYSIS here: http://www.ecdysis.bio

- Follow Jonathan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/buglundgren

- Follow Blue Dasher Farm on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlueDasherFarm

- Watch Jonathan's excellent TEDxBrookings talk "A Six-legged March Toward Regenerative Agriculture" here: https://youtu.be/qRJ0y9LMhI4

- Get more of the backstory on Jonathan's time at the USDA: https://wapo.st/2s8mtQr

- The song featured in this episode is "Tribes" by Monster Rally & RUMTUM from their self-titled album.

#77 | Freshocal: Connecting Local Food Production & Community w/ Spencer Mallett

The guest for this episode is Spencer Mallett. Spencer is co-founder and co-owner, along with Prof. Kory Lloyd, of Freshocal. 

Freshocal is a service that conveniently and effectively connects local, small-scale organic food producers with the average person living in the Magic Valley of Southern Idaho. Through the Freshocal website, you can order healthy, nourishing, fresh food that is delivered directly to your home, or picked up at a local pickup site. Freshocal is establishing a distribution network between the local community and local food producers.

In this conversation, Spencer elaborates on how he and Kory came up with the idea of connecting local food production to the local community in a more direct way. What Spencer and Kory aim to do is re-establish connection between community and local food production, which have been obscured in large part due to the rise and prominence of large-scale agricultural food production in place of local food production. 

Why care about local farmers and dairies? Why care about reestablishing relationships with food and community? We go over these questions and much more in this conversation.

If you live in the Magic Valley of Idaho, start an account at freshocal.com and have access to some of the best food you can get in the region. Spencer and Kory have built something worthy of your support. 

Episode notes:

- Start an account on freshocal.com to get direct access to some of the best food in the region. You can find all the information you need about the company and how to get in contact with Spencer and Kory there.

- Read Spencer and Kory's interview in Magic Valley Times News: https://goo.gl/tAKswj

- Follow Freshocal on Facebook for updates: https://www.facebook.com/freshocal/

- The featured tracks in this episode include "Pretty Polly" and "Eat, Clean, Pay The Rent" by Teebs from the album Collections 01.
 

*Update: Spencer has moved on to Neighborhood Nourishment. Learn more at the website: https://www.neighborhoodnourishment.com/