Jonah Raskin is a writer - a poet and journalist - with a love for food and the people who make it. Jonah is the author of fourteen books on subjects ranging from women in rock n roll, marijuana culture and politics, Jack London, Alan Ginsberg, and a personal exploration of the food and farming culture of Sonoma County called Field Days. One thread that connects these works is a loving, exuberant sense of place. His countless articles in the local press in Sonoma County, where we both live, very often profile the eccentric characters here, and quite often, these people are immersed in lifetime projects of growing and making food. Jonah was raised on Long Island, got a PhD in England, and adopted Sonoma County in the late 1970s, where he taught literature and journalism at Sonoma State University. We met Jonah at a community meeting on oysters in West Marin County, California, and some of my favorite writing of his explores the bitter controversy over the closing of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. He is currently working on a book about the drought. In this episode, Devon and Jonah talk about the oyster wars, what nature is for, and the need for many kinds of creativity in response to the California drought.
Emma Rosenbush is the general manager at Cala in San Francisco, Chef Gabriela Cámara’s outpost of the renowned seafood restaurant Contramar in Mexico City. Before opening Cala, Emma stared an experimental pop-up restaurant in Mexico City called Pichón with Niki Nakazawa (who we interviewed on Delicious Revolution #9) and Kenny Curran. Prior to her time in Mexico, she worked at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, where she decided that if she was ever responsible for hiring workers, she would hire former inmates. She is now leading the way in welcoming formerly incarcerated individuals into full-time, visible positions at Cala. Emma speaks with Chelsea about the changing labor politics in fine dining.
David Asher is an organic farmer, farmstead cheese maker and cheese educator based on the gulf islands of British Columbia, Canada. A guerrilla cheesemaker, David does not make cheese according to standard industrial philosophies - he explores traditionally cultured, non-corporate methods of cheesemaking. David offers cheese outreach to communities near and far with the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking. Through workshops in partnership with food-sovereignty-minded organizations, he shares his distinct cheesemaking style. His workshops teach a cheesemaking method that is natural, DIY, and well suited to the home kitchen or artisanal production. He is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking. David talks with Devon about raw milk, kefir cultures, and how diversity makes cheese and food systems resilient.
Antonio Roman-Alcalá is a food activist, gardener, teacher and scholar. In 2005, with a group of friends, he broke into a vacant lot by the freeway in the southern part of San Francisco to start Alemany Farm. He has taught Ecological Horticulture there and at many other food projects. He managed a food justice project and garden at San Francisco’s Potrero Hill public housing and organized the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance. He made a movie called In Search of Good Food, and worked on forming the California Food Policy Council. He was part of Occupy the Farm. He recently got a masters degree at the Institute for Social Studies at the Hague for research on Food Sovereignty. His current project is a book called entitled An antidogmatist's guide to food systems, and how to change them. He will be writing the book blog post by blog post, and you can read it as Antonio writes it at antidogmatist.com -- starting soon in the spring of 2016. He is a musician and new father, and lives in San Francisco with his family. Antonio talks with Chelsea about coming out of DIY culture, pushing institutions, and transforming the food system at multiple scales.
Niki Ford is an artist, writer and chef. She worked at Chez Panisse for six years, then at the American Academy in Rome as a part of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. As a Culinary Fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California, she spent a year testing out a more “plant driven” menu concept in a community of artists from around the world, where she also kept a menu blog called Mountains in my Spoon. She was the opening Chef of Healdsburg SHED, and now works as a freelance chef and food editor for GFF Magazine. Chelsea and Devon met Niki at Salmon Creek Farm, on the Mendocino coast, where she is working on a place-based cookbook with artist Fritz Haeg. Her website is NikiFordCooks.com, and she posts delicious pictures at nikifordcooks on instagram. In this episode, Niki talks to Devon about plant-driven cooking, getting tired of dining, and food at the nexus of creativity and poverty.
Tim Page runs the Farmers’ Exchange of Earthy Delights — also known as F.E.E.D. Sonoma— a produce distribution company that works very closely with 50 small scale farmers in Sonoma County, California. Growing up in the Orange County, CA of the ‘70s, Tim witnessed the disappearance of farmlands firsthand, inspiring F.E.E.D.’s dedication to creating a food system with efficient practices and pristine raw ingredients, all while practicing the maximization of our existing resources. Chelsea talks with Tim about the origins of this business under an oak tree, supporting a community of farmers, and what to do with the ridiculous abundance of California.
Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez is a social psychologist and community organizer with more than 15 years of experience working in Central America and California for peace, women rights, and food security. Chris Bacon is an environmental social scientist whose work has focused on food security and food sovereignty in Northern Nicaragua, and more recently, in California. He takes a participatory action research approach to his work, and is a professor at Santa Clara University. Mari and Chris work together on a project called Food Security and Sovereignty in Las Segovias in collaboration with the Community Agroecology Network and the PRODECOOP cooperatives in the mountains of Northern Nicaragua. Mari and Chris talk to Devon about their collaboration born of revolution, solidarity, and participatory action research in rural Nicaragua.
Molly Willson and Zack Hemstreet run Bullock Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island, British Colombia, where they grow organic produce, flowers, and pastured livestock. From heirloom apples to bouquets to a new barn that will double as a music venue, they take a diverse approach farming. They sell at local farmers markets, grocery stores, and a very popular Community Supported Agriculture program. Molly and Zack speak with Chelsea about how they became farmers, diverse income strategies on a family farm, and the potential of farms to bring community together.
Liz Carlisle is the author of The Lentil Underground, a story of organic conversion and community organizing in the northern Great Plains. Her book follows a group of farmers from very different ideological backgrounds as they revolt against industrial agriculture, diversify their farms, build soil, and come together to form new markets for their products. Liz holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley, and lectures at Stanford and UC Berkeley. She is a Montana native, former country singer/songwriter and legislative aid to Senator Jon Tester of Montana. In this episode, Liz talks to Devon about The Lentil Underground, farmers as innovators and scientists, and the links between soils, markets, and vibrant rural communities.