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What's for Dinner? with Susan Youmans | Monday & Friday at 7:30pm Eastern

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-25-16)

Tonight's Guest: James Carp (part 2)

Concluding our series on U.S. beginning farmers with more about how locally determined start ups are.

Noelle Fogg matches beginning farmers with land - a multi-player effort" with many moving pieces: farmer, landowner, community members. She sees it as "a fundamental piece of the local food equation" because a sustainable farm is a source of potential community and local food production for years to come. James Carp believes insights that come from the actual work of producing food are critical for making choices to get to the kind of future we want. He describes insights about life raising chickens has brought him, and insists that non-farmers must also "remember where they are from" - if only from volunteering a few hours weekly at a community garden.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-18-16)

Tonight's Guest: James Carp (part 1)

James Carp, last in our beginning farmer series, has extensive agricultural know-how but must save up to start his own farm.

James developed passion for agriculture woofing (Live and Learn on Organic Farms) on several U.S. farms. The most formative was an Illinois farm still being worked by the original settler family. Their particular relationship to a specific place crystallized his desire to start a farm that can be passed on for generations. After interning in California to learn production skills in agriculture, James is now a "climate refugee" in Oregon, where he is not farming now but saving money to start a farm "with deep human roots and insulated from the stress from climate change".

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-11-16)

Tonight's Guest: Jana Carp (part 2)

Our New Year's show celebrates the holidays with the delightful scholar Jana Carp, who makes you want to learn more about resilience theory and gives a credible argument for believing in projects that come from the heart.

Jana divides her time between documenting the development of Cittaslow (Slow Cities) in the U.S.and using resilience theory - which concerns how we live in complex adaptive social-ecological systems. She describes a wonderful cluster of projects in the Sonoma Valley where slow initiatives enabled people to re-establish meaningful connections with each other and the places the live, effectively offering a kind of template for resilience. Jana teaches at St Mary's College of California and specializes in planning, sustainable development, and urban theory.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-21-15)

Tonight's Guest: Jana Carp (part 1)

The first of two holiday-worthy conversations with Jana Carp - suggesting that slow movements needn't be elitist and offering enough sustenance for your moral self to bolster you for 2016.

Using the conceptual framework of resilience theory to understand the Slow movements' roles in social change, Jana's views are liberating for activists. She describes pleasure as a legitimate and necessary objective of the slow movement, implying that the authentic benefits of slowing down make pleasure a legitimate objective for any activist. She makes you realize there's good reason to let go of the need to have your ducks in a row before initiating a project and points to low income people as being the U.S. community where resilience can be found today.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-07-15)

Tonight's Guest: Karen Hansen-Kuhn

Bill Moyers has called the TransPacific Partnership a "corporate/investor rights agreement, not a trade agreement". Debate about threatened citizen rights and national sovereignty began in earnest with publication of formerly secret terms this fall, many worse than expected.

Guest Karen Hansen-Kuhn cut her teeth on trade and economic justice working on NAFTA in the early 90s; she has seen one proposed deal stopped. Now she directs trade, technology, and global governance for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Karen describes the contact with representatives that will matter between January and the up-or-down Congressional vote this spring and gives an encouraging context for US resistance by describing mobilization against TPP in other countries.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-30-15)

Tonight's Guest: Pat Roy Mooney

Pat Mooney, Executive Director of etc Group, is an accredited consultancy delegate at the Paris climate talks and is giving "lots of workshops" for people outside the hall on geoengineering and climate smart agriculture.

Scientists' urgency about climate crisis has been stifled; government commitments will be too low; carbon capture and storage is a dream. But civil society actions - in Africa and Asia developing strategies for food system resilience - give Mooney hope. etc Group is revered for hard-hitting focus where power, technology and vulnerable human and natural systems intersect - e.g. on the new bio economy: "what is sold as a 'green' switch from fossil fuels to plant-based production is, in fact, a red-hot resource grab...".

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-23-15)

Tonight's Guest: Tonight's Guests: Ken Fox and Noelle Fogg

Less than half of principal operators of US farms are under 55. Tonight we begin hearing how people in the new farmer pipeline are getting their start.

Ken Fox is a new farmer working incubator farm plots in eastern Massachusetts. He and a partner still have fulltime jobs; they began with large home vegetable gardens and hope eventually to farm for a living. With resources at Tufts New Entry Sustainable Farming Project they're learning to scale up and will be matched with farmland. Noelle Fogg does this farmland matching for New Entry, and she describes very situation-specific needs of farmers and land owners. Hearing both sides shows how very much goes into recreating farms and farmers on the landscape.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-09-15)

Tonight's Guest: Kristi Behrenbeg-Janzen

Training new farmers and getting them onto the land are pressing challenges in US agriculture. Having the land for them to farm is part of the problem. One-third of owners of U.S. farms are 65 years old or older, and when these farmers retire, going prices for farmland are so high that much intentionality is required if farmland is to be kept in the family or as part of family-sized operations.

Kristi Behrenberg-Janzen married into a farm family that has put attention into preparing the extended family for a "farm transition" for a decade. She describes their approach of establishing an interim management set-up, giving them time to wait for a relative to come forward to farm the property.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-26-15)

Tonight's Guest: Dena Hoff (part 2)

Raising livestock, wheat and non-GM corn, Dena Hoff is a national and international family farm activist and board member of the National Family Farm Coalition who has been a friend of What's For Dinner for many years.

Dena spoke with us this summer about farmers and ranchers work with the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) to protect land from mineral extraction-related environmental devastation. Tonight, With her cooking borscht and Susan describing bits of her family's farming past, they reflect on more facets of Montana farming. Dena discusses local activism around fracking, light-hearted and serious aspects of her family experience with farm transition questions, and exchanges with Thai and Indonesian farmers.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-19-15)

Tonight's Guest: Ben Burkett

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is one recipient of the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize. Its work addressing racial discrimination by the US Department of Agriculture demonstrates a principal form food sovereignty work has taken in the United States.

The Federation emerged out of the civil rights movement in 1967. For decades discrimination againt Black farmers by the USDA contributed to the decline in Black farm ownership from 14 to 1 percent since 1915. In response the Federation's members in 10 southern states helped bring a discrimination lawsuit and supported African-American farmers to become plaintiffs. Guest Ben Burkett, farmer, director of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives and President of the National Family Farm Coalition describes this work.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-12-15)

Tonight's Guest: Mary Hendrickson

Mary Hendrickson is a rural sociologist who has demonstrated "Communities of Practice" in agricultural regions in the American midwest and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Mary has pioneered this non-hierarchical approach to gathering agricultural stakeholders that builds new agribusiness partnerships. And teaching sustainable agriculture to many University of Missouri students from conventional farming families, she addresses solutions to challenges of food production in a changing climate similarly, in non-polarizing ways. She describes how small and large corn and soybean farmers can reduce weather-related revenue losses AND mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. And she recounts market and local economy-building opportunities for commodity producers in consumers' interest in eating more GM-free food - for instance, sorghum, a GM-free grain, as livestock feed.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-28-15)

Tonight's Guest: Wes Jackson (Prairie Festival)

Wes Jackson committed himself and the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, to spend as long as it took to develop perennial grain in polycultures. They succeeded in less than 50 years.

The Land Institute has an annual Prairie Festival at the end of September. We describe this year's festival and then hear Wes discuss why it took 10,000 years for development of perennial grains and where perennial varieties of all the major grains are being cultivated today, part of his remarks at the June ecological conference Seizing the Alternative. We end with Wes and John Cobb comparing old and new scientific paradigms for how nature works.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-21-15)

Tonight's Guest: Nancy Alexander (Part 2)

Previously ran in April, 2015, we will be revisiting our second interview with Nancy Alexander. Nancy Alexander monitors the Group of Twenty (G20), the forum whose member countries account for 85% of the world economy, 76% of global trade, and two-thirds of the world's population, including more than 59% of the world's poor.

Specializing in "economic governance" for the North American Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Nancy stressees the importance of activists' following the money. She focuses on how financing approaches used to achieve economic goals - economic cooperation, financial reform, improved global economy) shape the outcomes and must be carefully framed to meet needs of all proposed beneficiaries. Tonight she describes megaprojects for infrastructure development - the model used now for strengthening developing country economies. She emphasizes the importance of provisions for sustainability, participation, transparency and gender equity.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-07-15)

Tonight's Guest: Sanusha Naidu (part 2)

In August, 2015 in Johannesburg, South AFrica, Third World Network AFrica and Hienrich Boell Stiftung South Africa hosted civil society representatives for discussion of PIDA Program for Infrastructure Develoment in AFrica. Tonight's show is our second covering the 3 days of meetings.

Sanusha Naidu explains how new initiatives calling for inclusive growth in Africa wont eliminate the paradox of Africa being so rich in resources and yet the poorest continent. She describes current economic arrangements that mean new infrastructure will keep supporting resource extraction and export, in particular the way financialization of development in the form of projects identified for PIDA is unlikely to strengthen economic relationships within and among countries so as to build up local economies.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-31-15)

Tonight's Guest: Sanusha Naidu (part 1)

Infrastructure development in Africa has always favored extractive industries and supported agriculture for export commodities. New energy, water, and transportation infrastructure proposed by leading world economic bodies is similar, except project structuring may leave African small farmers even worse off. Development finance institutions propose using public-private partnerships and making projects an asset class (think when food was speculated on as a commodity in 2008).

A specialist on China and emerging powers at Fahamu, Sanusha Naidu works to empower social justice movements to address opportunities and threats posed by competition among countries and institutions to invest in African economies. She opened recent Johannesburg meetings to strategize about civil society responses to the newest thrust for infrastructure development in Africa.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-03-15)

Tonight's Guest: Ben Grosscup

Ben Grosscup coordinates the 41st Northeast Organic Farming Association's annual summer conference, happening in two weeks.

Describing key speakers, events, food, and opportunities for fun, Ben shows how state and regional organic conferences keep driving the evolution of sustainable agriculture as practice and policy. For example, soil microbiology's role in delivering nutrients to plants is a leading topic today; the decisive role of human gut bacteria in maintaining human health is an emerging issue. Conference speakers bring together these topics. And another plenary speaker uses the current state of gm labeling efforts as context for emphasizing the need for cross-issue movement building. Ben also describes sessions on skill-building for farmers and consumers in the upwards of 140 sessions offered.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-27-15)

Tonight's Guest: Dena Hoff

Dena Hoff is a Montana farmer and activist whose activism expresses on the ground the ideas shared by Wes Jackson and John Cobb Jr.in the last two programs.

Dena describes experiences from her work promoting sustainable agriculture, economic viability of small farms, justice for small landholders in the rest of the world, and effective public process for communities defending natural resources from extractive industries. Dena's work crosscuts "silos" and connects values to action for sustainability. She farms in eastern Montana where she has raised sheep, cattle, alfalfa, and non-GM corn with her husband since 1981. She holds leadership roles in the National Family Farm Coalition, the Northern Plains Resource Council, and La Via Campesina North America.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-20-15)

Tonight's Guests: John Cobb Jr. and Wes Jackson (Part 2)

John Cobb wanted Wes Jacksoon as final plenary speaker at Seizing the Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization, because "getting agriculture right", while insufficient for living sustainably, is where to start.

Both are concerned with continued currency of 17th century philosophical views about the relationship between subjects (humans) and objects (nature). They contrast a holistic pre-Enlightenment utopia with Francis Bacon's, which aimed to understand and conquer nature, and thus to accomplish "all things possible". Jackson faults all agriculture for ecological harm but believes the consequences of reductive science - exemplified by GM crops - can be avoided. Perennial grain in polycultures is an example, an ecological approach guarding against harm by taking emergent possibilities among ecosystems into account.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-13-15)

Tonight's Guests: John Cobb Jr. and Wes Jackson (Part 1)

1300 plus scholars and activists gathered in Claremont, CA, in June to discuss the approach they believe can avert worldwide environmental catastrophe. Entitled Seizing the Alternative: Toward and Ecological Civilization, the conference focused on alternatives to free-market capitalism and value-free western scientific thinking.

In our first report, American philosopher, environmentalist and theologian John Cobb describes Chinese policy-makers using Alfred North Whitehead's work to rethink China's industrial agriculture. And biologist, botanist and geneticist Wes Jackson - winner of MacArthur "genius" and Right Livelihood Awards - describes the reasoning behind his successful 50 years of work developing perennial grains in polycultures. Really understanding the systems relationships in ecosystems means working with their emergent properties to make agriculture sustainable.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-06-15)

Tonight's Guest: Jill Lindsey Harrison (Part 2)

Jill Lindsey Harrison describes her book, Pesticide Drift and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice, and 2014 article,"Neoliberal environmental justice: mainstream ideas of justice in political conflict over agricultural pesticdes in the United States".

Jill's subject tonight is the environmental justice activists - farmworkers, poor residents of towns repeatedly affected by pesticide drift, and others who see the problem as structural and racial oppression. Many, unlike traditional eenvironmentalists, lack the choice to buy organic, move away, find other work, or even, if in the country illegally, protest accidents. Jill says observing their work to increase legislative and regulatory protection was the heartening part of her research and gives examples of what this activism entails.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-29-15)

Tonight's Guest: Janet Poppendieck

Agricultural surpluses in the 1920s and massive Depression era hunger eventually led to the first federal food aid, but not before baby pigs ran through midwestern city streets.

Janet Poppendieck recounts the story told in Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression. A highly regarded scholar and an activist, sociologist and college professor at Hunter College, Jan has worked on poverty, hunger, and food assistance in the United States for 40 years. The interview and her books are deep with anecdote and policy analysis, but they don't stint on ironic unforgettable detail - Free for All: Fixing School Food in America (2011) and Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (1998).

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-22-15)

Tonight's Guest: Jill Lindsey Harrison (Part 1)

Stakeholders' accounts of pesticide drift in California differ greatly. Regulators and the crop protection industry see an occasional problem resulting from applicator mistakes. Environmental justice activists and community members see a persistent, daily problem affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Sociologist Jill Lindsey Harrison explains how these discrepant readings of reality result from different understandings of justice and ways to achieve it. She links justice concepts to popular food movement values like knowing your farmer and voting for organic and local food with your fork. She finds that by turning their back on fighting chemical intensive agriculture and preferring voluntary actions, activists effectively spurn tools needed to obtain food justice for all eaters.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-15-15)

Tonight: Various anti-Fast Track speakers

Early in 2015, strong, seemingly successful citizen initiatives to defeat Fast Track made anti-free trade activists anticipate its defeat. But in early June, the Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority, and a vote was expected in the House in mid-June. It passage would transfer Constitutional authority to negotiate trade pacts from the Congress to the Administration, allowing Congress only an up or down vote. A broad coalition of organizations resisted, concerned with the prospect of the US then passing the TPP and TTIP trade agreements. This What's For Dinner show reprises perspectives of Fast Track opponents, based on their deisre to preserve US government sovereignty to protect labor rights, the envirnoment, food safety, intellectural property, and financial reform.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-08-15)

Tonight's Guest: Jaydee Hanson (Part 2)

We return to our interview earlier this year with Jaydee Hanson, co-author of The Principles For The Overesight of Synthetic Biology.

Jaydee does policy work on new technologies for the Center for Food Safety. In the business for a long time, he gives a funny, matter of fact, and cynical account of regulators' machinations to shoehorn new technologies into regulatory frameworks devised decades before synthetic biology came along, and of companies' efforts to avoid them altogether. He also addresses questions of synthetic biology's present scope, its relationship to classic ethical questions (the commons, "playing God"), and equity issues raised by products in the pipeline.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-01-15)

Tonight's Guests: Pilar Trujillo, Patrick Jaramillo

Acequias are a centuries-old way of managing water in arid places, brought to Spain by the Moors and by the Spanish to the US Southwest, where Native American and Hispanic farmers use acequias built 400 years ago.

These human-made watercourses capture and steward water from high mountain snow melt. Their channels to distant fields are maintained and managed as a community resource, shared fairly in wet and dry years. Pilar Trujillo and Patrick Jaramillo grew up in families that used acequias as a primary source of water to farm in northern New Mexico. Now they help maintain the acequia but also work as organizers to resist pressure from development that undermines acequias by undermining land ownership.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-18-15)

Tonight's Guest: Anne Hunt

The Alpujarras, southern foothills of Spain's Sierra Nevadas, have threshing floors and communal ovens, but few farmers. This is agricultural land with a thousand year old system of water courses but terrain unsuited to modern farming techniques.

We are on location in the Alpujarras with Anne Hunt, who was on sabbatical from organizing arts festivals in London, England when she fell in love with a 400 year old house with terra cotta olive oil pots you could hide in. Anne describes 10 years of restoration to create the guesthouse Casa Ana, getting to know and work with craftsmen and neighbors, and gardening in a common meadow using water from Moorish acequias. She makes doing this sound entirely imaginable.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-11-15)

Tonight's Guest: Brett Tolley

For many yearrs fish have been marketed by industrial scale fish producers to make a relative few species familiar and popular. Other species have been so invisible to consumers that even fishermen have called them "trash fish".

Now local food and fishing advocates and the Chef's collaborative are featuring them in community supported fisheries and restaurant menus, and locally available species like sand dabs - each region has its equivalents - are becoming more well known. Brett Tolley, organizer for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and son of a fisherman, explains how the trash fish concept helped cause other species to be overfished and describes names that have been tried in this rebranding effort.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-04-15)

Tonight's Guest: Yan Jairong

There are not as many protests about food in China as about other issues - in all around 180,000 demonstrations a year. But middle class mothers demonstrate against having Genetically Modified Organism's (GMO's) in food, and some grow their own food.

Yan Jairong is a co-founder of the Chinese Food Sovereignty Network and an anthropologist in Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Department of Applied Social Sciences. In this fascinating account you hear concerns surprisingly similar to those elsewhere, as she distinguishes between food security (a huge concern for decades) and food sovereignty. She also describes the young network's efforts to learn from food sovereignty movements in the rest of the world and recent food safety legislation.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-27-15)

Tonight's Guest: Arthur Stamoulis

Guest Arthur Stamoulis, director of the Citizen's Trade Campaign, hopes to see a movement of movements once again deny corporations the degree of power they would get by a "massive power grab" through trade agreements.

The show gives Arthur's take on implications of, and prospects for, Fast Track, the shortcut proponents of the TTP hope will enable them to get the secret treaty terms approved in a mere up or down vote by Congress. He gives reasons for calling Fast Track undemocratic and the TPP bad for the economy environment and democracy. With the Senate passing Fast Track, the alliances Arthur describes and his call to action to work on the Congress is more urgent.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-17-15)

Tonight's Guests: Rosalinda Guillen

Washington State strawberry pickers sued Sakuma Brothers Berry Farm for wage theft, won $850,000, and created Familias Unidas por la Justicia.

The union is supported by Community to Community (C2C), whose Executive Director, Rosalinda Guillen, describes its organizing stance. It follows in the tradition of Caesar Chavez and also employs the international partnerships and ecofeminist values and methods used today to confront global capitalism and empower oppressed people. Familias Unidas is now boycotting Sakuma and its distributor, Driscoll Berries. Rosalinda Guillen grew up and worked as a farm worker in the US and Mexico and began her organizing work when she was 38. C2C won the 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize, and the interview demonstrates why.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-06-15)

Tonight's Guest: Nancy Alexander (Part 2)

Nancy Alexandee monitors the Group of Twenty (G20), the forum whose member countries account for 85% of the world economy, 76% of global trade, and two-thirds of the world's population, including more than 59% of the world's poor.

Specializing in "economic governance" for the North American Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Nancy stressees the importance of activists' following the money. She focuses on how financing approaches used to achieve economic goals - economic cooperation, financial reform, improved global economy) shape the outcomes and must be carefully framed to meet needs of all proposed beneficiaries. Tonight she describes megaprojects for infrastructure development - the model used now for strengthening developing country economies. She emphasizes the importance of provisions for sustainability, participation, transparency and gender equity.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-30-15)

Tonight's Guests: Jill Overdorf

The show tells how Los Angeles got the most comprehensive food purchasing guidelines for food service institutions in the US - and reflects that trade agreements currently under negotiation would do away with local procurement policies.

Jill Overdorf describes the Food Policy Council working group decision to address all its objectives (nutrition, sustainability, animal welfare, worker justice and economic development) and develop its own policy, when it found nothing for a model. Colleen McKinney describes getting buy-in from city departments to assure success when City Administration adopted it as policy. Jill is Corporate Executive Chef and Director of Business and Culinary Development for Coosemans Shipping of Los Angeles. Colleen is Policy Analyst for the LAFPC.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-23-15)

Tonight's Guests: Nancy Alexander (Part 1)

Global south countries have created new development institutions in response to the World Bank and IMF's (Bretton Woods institutions) historic hold on development finance.

Does this improve prospects for environmental sustainability and equity for women and the poor? Nancy Alexander, Director of the Economic Governance Program at the Heinrich Boell Foundation-US, isn't optimistic. Her policy work involves monitoring how powerful countries and corporations make rules in the G8 and G20 that optimize their investment opportunities - at the expense of the public sector and those services that would support non-industrial agriculture. She also describes how trade agreements now under negotiation will have additional adverse consequences - making "pariahs" of and recolonializing the economies of countries left out.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-09-15)

Tonight's Guests: Jaydee Hanson (Part 1)

Jaydee Hanson is co-author of The Principles For The Oversight Of Synthetic Biology and leads the Center for Food Safety's work on emerging technologies (synthetic biology, nanotech, and GM animals).

Jaydee responds to criticisms of the oversight principles as utopian, showing that they promote what consumers reasonably expect safety regulation to achieve. The conversation offers an Unalarmist but frustrated discussion of how plants created by Synthetic biology do - and more often don't - fit within today's regulatory context and approaches. Jaydee also describes the way he regularly discusses CFS concerns with representatives of companies using synthetic biology in developing new food ingredients.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-02-15)

Tonight's Guests: Kathy Ruhf

Kathy Ruhf describes her experience with the crucial topic of farmland access as the former Executive Director of Land For Good, which supports farmland access, tenure and transfer for the spectrum from new to retiring New England's farmers.

The average age of US farmers is now 58 years; in the next decade when many of them will leave farming, will their land remain farmland? Trends (such as the increasing price of farmland) militate against it. Kathy describes all that must happen for farm transitions to work for the benefit of retiring and new farmers, their communities, and consumers. The many interests and skills required recall the idea of its taking a village to raise a child.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-23-15)

Tonight's Guests: Steve Suppan

Steve Suppan (IATP Nanotechnology in food). In early 2015 As You Sow proposed a shareholder resolution to Dunkin' Donuts shareholders about its use of titanium dioxide, a whitening agent that is commonly a source of nanomaterials. The firm commited to change ingredients in its powdered sugar donuts.

Absent any formal specific regulation, Companies, scientists and regulators communicate about uses of nanotechnology in food and food packaging. How close does this come to protecting consumers or examining implications of consumers' exposure to nanotechnology in food? Tonight's show offers a "primer" on how to start understanding the issues, with Dr. Steve Suppan, Senior Policy Analyst for Market Regulation, Trade and Technology at the Institutte for Technology and Trade Policy. WFD spoke to Steve in July 2012 when the US Food and Drug Administration was seeking comments before issuing guidance to industry.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-16-15)

Tonight's Guests: Kathy Ruhf

Kathy Ruhf describes her experience with the crucial topic of farmland access as the former Executive Director of Land For Good, which supports farmland access, tenure and transfer for the spectrum from new to retiring New England's farmers.

The average age of US farmers is now 58 years; in the next decade when many of them will leave farming, will their land remain farmland? Trends (such as the increasing price of farmland) militate against it. Kathy describes all that must happen for farm transitions to work for the benefit of retiring and new farmers, their communities, and consumers. The many interests and skills required recall the idea of its taking a village to raise a child.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-09-15)

Tonight's Guests: Diana Robinson

Diana Robinson is the Campaign and Education Coordinator of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a coalition organizing for improved wages and working conditions for all workers in the food chain and for a more sustainable food system.

More than half of US food chain workers - who make up 1/6th to 1/7th of the US workforce - aren't paid enough to keep them out of poverty; employers retaliate when they join or form unions. Diana describes the food chain worker activism that is making a difference to this picture - bottom up organizing in worker-based organizations, many, many partnerships, and creative media strategies like a comic book called Food Chain Avengers.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-02-15)

Tonight's Guests: Clara Mareschal, Khristian Mendezm (Part 2)

Clara Mareschal and Khristian Mendez are young people likely to work in international non-governmental organizations. They are getting their start attending international meetings as students with their professor - here, at the UN FAO Committee on Food Security (CFS) Rome meeting.

Khristian, College of the Atlantic junior, compares the CFS to UN environment committees he has attended. And, in a time when the UN is no longer the only entity advancing international development initiatives, he points up the important difference between operation of the UN system and the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and IMF) that work in association with the G-20's major economies' governments and central banks.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-26-15)

Tonight's Guests: David Andrews, Clara Mareschal, Khristian Mendez

Clara Mareschal and Khristian Mendez, College of the Atlantic students, describe attending the 42nd meeting of the UN's FAO's Committee on Food Security last October in Rome.

The CFS is a very unusual UN committee for having civil society members both represented and able to speak at its meetings. Being able to talk to - and talk back to - country representatives at such meetings, after 38 years of having no voice, is a very big deal. We also share part of an intervew with a well-loved food leader Brother David Andrews, who did just that at the CFS in 2012. Brother David Andrews, a Catholic priest and lawyer, past away just a few weeks ago.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-19-15)

Tonight's Guest: Rita Stevens

Rita Stevens (Inspiring Food Movement Learner) is a college sophomore at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

An eastern Massachusetts native, Rita helped lead high school service learning about food, agriculture and hunger. At Evergreen she takes multidisciplinary courses on ecology and the food system and gets to critically examine how agriculture is practiced in Washington. She has nutritional science background to understand the implications of Farm Bill and SNAP policy, and knows how much lies behind food labels and food production, and it makes her feel communicating what's invisible to most people is extremely urgent. She also cooks avidly and learns and teaches by doing; she describes accompanying a goose hunt and processing the meat, and teaching her classmates shellfishing.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-05-15)

Tonight's Guest: Eric Holt-Giminez

The year's first guest is Eric Holt-Giminez, Executive Director of Food First, the group founded by Francis Moore Lappe 40 years ago.

Social movements, small farmers, and many policy makers and experts now think agroecology can meet the global south's agricultural development challenges and help restore productivity to the global north's degraded agricultural land. A one-time farmer and researcher working with Latin American small farmers, Eric's entire career has focused on this suite of problems and solutions. Knowing this scene well, Eric believes grassroots work for sustainability, food sovereignty and food justice could make the difference they need to make, as long as local efforts can connect across borders and find supporters to mobilize political will.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-22-14)

Tonight's Guest: Ilene Bezahler

Since Ilene Bezahler founded Edible Boston 9 years ago, Boston area farmers' markets increased from 65 to 300. The magazine's circulation and objectives have grown as dramatically.

80+ Edible magazines in the US and Canada promote local food businesses and sustainability but now seek more multi-faceted impacts. Edible Boston is embarking on food policy coverage in an upcoming series on local farmers' production costs. Ilene isn't stereotypical - her grandmothers weren't good cooks; her food heritage is one of experimentation and no particular ethnic tradition. Describing the magazine's changing stories and her relationships with food businesses, the interview makes you realize that entrepreneurial publishers in the "local foodspace" can help lay the groundwork for food system change.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-15-14)

Tonight's Guest: Adrienne Altstatt

Adrienne Altstatt has been the fulltime farmer at the centuries-old Wright-Locke Farm in Boston's near western suburbs for 4 years.

It's a community farm that serves the multiple roles these farms perform when they're close to large metro areas. It raises vegetables and some livestock, helps meet consumers', farmers' markets' and restaurants' demands for healthy, locally grown food, teaches youth and adults about food and farming, and generally embodies values about community that are associated with local food movements. In late December Adrienne leaves for 2 months of refreshment and refueling before the new season begins. WFD catches her for her reflections on the past year, when everything is in place for the cold weather ahead.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-08-14)

Tonight: Future Farmers of America

When 60,000 FFA/Future Farmers of America youth convened in Louisville and were addressed by Tyson Foods' CEO, a Greenhorns member and young Virginia apple farmer, Eliza Greenman, was there under a banner saying Ban Factory Farming.

The show reveals much about the hearts of future young farmers, big ag's bid to capture them, and the country's stakes in what and how they learn. Eliza notes the integrity and respect shown by the teens. She's shocked by the seductiveness of big ag messaging: youth with access to land (their families' farms) are being primed to feed the world in 2050 and be proud of their role. And the listener may hear the consequences of battling agricultural paradigms on young farmers' self-concepts.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-01-14)

Tonight's Guest: Danielle Andrews (Boston Urban Garden)

Danielle Andrews, urban farmer for The Food Project, describes why urban agriculture requires wearing many hats today.

The farm is a social enterprise using revenue generation to fulfill its mission. Teens raise produce in Boston's Roxbury community; it's sold to EBT purchasers in farmers' markets and to high end restaurants. Danielle, teens and community members create cooking classes, build family gardens, and utilize a 10,000 square foot greenhouse as a neighborhood resource. But The Food Project isn't singlehandedly using agriculture for community development. Danielle facilitates the agriculture side of a partnership with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which provides the organizing expertise, and jointly they use urban agriculture for community development and empowerment.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-24-14)

Tonight's Guest: Diana Robinson

Diana Robinson describes the Food Chain Workers Alliance and its Thanksgiving 2013 actions.

Nearly 20 million men and women in the US grow, harvest, produce and serve food at every stage from field to table. Yet farm workers aren't covered by US labor relations laws; law enforcement to protect immigrants and undocumented workers is poor; and the majority of food chain workers lack benefits, earn poverty wages, and have difficulty unionizing. Diana shows how the US food system, developed on slave labor, still exploits its workers, the majority of whom are members of minorities. Projects she describes are a fine example of what a diverse coalition membership committed to social and economic justice can accomplish.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-17-14)

Tonight's Guest: Sanjay Rawal

The feature length documentary Food Chains opened Friday before Thanksgiving. This documentary examines the plight of United States farm laborers and spotlights the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and its worker-driven Fair Food Program.

"With an eye to expanding people's hearts as to the contributions of the millions of workers that make our meals possible", Sanjay Rawal's film describes huge inequities in the supply chain and what consumers can do to help change it. The interview enables Sanjay to share facts about the improved working conditions for CIW members, the still deplorable conditions and grinding economic insecurity still faced by unprotected farmworkers, and the comparatively huge profits of the grocery stores in the supply chain.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-10-14)

Tonight's Guest: Liz Warran (Fast Track)

Important matters for farmers and agriculture will be considered during the 2014 lame duck session in Washington - country of origin labeling (COOL), the Keystone XL Pipeline, Fast Track and the TransPacificPartnership (TPP).

Tonight's show reviews all 4, concentrating on implications of Fast Track for meaningful debate on the wide-ranging, highly contested and mostly secret terms of the TPP, the massive proposed trade agreement among 12 Pacific rim countries. Fast Track literally cedes legislators' constitutional treaty'making authority to the Executive, limiting debate to a total of 22 hours and permitting only an up or down vote. Guest Liz Warren heads the National TPP Coalition. She also describes the broad alliance of organizations who oppose the TPP - and why.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-03-14)

Tonight's Guest: Hans Muzoora

Hans Muzoora works in public private agricultural development partnerships in Africa, most recently in Zambia, as a Ugandan sustainable agriculture and rural development consultant.

Because farmers need broad based agricultural extension assistance to be able to have sustainable livelihoods (escape poverty), Hans doesn't question whether countries must partner with NGOs and corporations. World Bank-forced structural readjustment programs destroyed their national agricultural extension capacity. But partnerships' results hinge on structures that assure equity for the people they are supposed to benefit. Seeds' suitability and quality are crucial, but much also depends on ways goals are framed, outcomes are assessed, and standards are defined to favor producers as well as consumers. Hans recounts the details equally important for food sovereignty.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-20-14)

Tonight's Guest: Herschelle Milford

After 10 years of fighting forced removals during Apartheid, Surplus People Project (S.P.P.) has worked for 23 years to transform the rural economy through land, water and agricultural reform.

Herschelle Milford is a global south movement leader working toward food sovereignty and climate justice. The interview explores different ways people can lack food sovereignty by comparing South African black farmers, who cannot own land, and US black farmers who have lost land or can't afford to farm. Herschelle was in Seattle for the Africa-US Food Sovereignty Strategy Summit (see www.seattleglobaljustice.org/blog/news-events/). She describes the work of the S.P.P. in South Africa's Western and Northern Cape, organizing and doing participatory action research with small-scale farmers, farm dwellers and women.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-13-14)

Tonight's Guest: Shirley Sherrod

The Food Sovereignty Prize was awarded in Des Moines this week, the 5th year this prize has been given to underline and highlight agriculture practiced with different objectives and values from that honored by the World Food Prize, also awarded in Des Moines at this time and typically given to agribusiness corporations. We re-air a US story chosen to highlight the Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony. A black farmers' daughter in the 1950's, Shirley Sherrod wanted to escape rural life, but her father's murder in 1965 redirected her to civil rights activism and then co-founding New Communities, a 6000 acre land trust modeled on a kibbutz, on which black Americans could farm and live. She describes working with the conditions black farmers faced - during those years, at the USDA, and now, when she is fostering opportunities for women farmers and creating the new site for New Communities

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-29-14)

Tonight's Guest: Peter Wild

Peter Wild, Biochar and Billions of Tree Deaths: When whole species of trees are destroyed by climate change-induced increases of pests and disease, they can be turned into biochar to avoid the release of huge amounts of additional CO2. Peter Wild consults to municipalities facing loss of their street trees - like Minneapolis with millions of ash trees. Biochar production is a way to avoid the emissions problem as well as benefit soil biology, help support local food production, and gradually supplant use of chemical fertilizers. Peter invented the Arborjet infusion tool for treating diseased trees. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Peter is a certified Arborist and owns an organic-based, proactive tree care business outside Boston.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-15-14)

Tonight's Guest: Cynthia Mellon

We preview the September 21st Climate March when 1000 groups and several hundred thousand people march in New York to underline global concern about climate change in advance of world leaders' meetings at the United Nations.

Cynthia Mellon was part of negotiating the lineup of the march and planning the Climate Justice Summit, the "parallel" meetings for civil society during the UN sessions. Her account about organization of the march and summit reveals a lot about participants' commitments to just and innovative responses to climate change. Cynthia is environmental justice organizer for Ironbound Community Corporation, in the New Jersey ward that is home to Newark Airport and incinerates half of Manhattan's garbage, named for its encircling railroad yards.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-08-14)

Tonight's Guests: Fisheries Activists at FarmAid

In addition to music, FarmAid features exhibits that teach but can't distribute ANY paper, groups develop games to get their message across. Barbara Garrity-Blake and Bryan Blake, Christy Shi-Day and John Day act out the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) game with What's for Dinner.

Barbara is a cultural anthropologist who studied the menhaden fishery and works on NC fisheries policy. Bryan is a wooden boat builder. Christy and John live in North Carolina's "Down East" region, an area of fishing villages. Both work for the NC State University's Center for Environmental Farming Systems, he on the supply chain to military bases, she helping all the players in the NC food system to build it together.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-01-14)

Tonight's Guest: Patty Roess

In one of California's driest years ever, Patty Roess has many customers who want to learn landscaping with native plants from Tree of Life Nursery south of Los Angeles.

Patty's account shows how much native plants offer beyond saving money on water. Gardeners can still choose among different garden styles (such as desert or Mediterranean) when using plants whose water needs match California's seasons. Wildlife flourishes, and garden putterers find other ways than watering to enjoy caring for their garden. Looking at reasons for replanting yards and gardens with native plants really highlights the interrelationships among climate change, exotics and natives, wildlife habitat, and ways nurseries and gardeners can adapt to climate change going forward.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-25-14)

Plant conservation should concern everyone who eats. Over 20 percent of US flora are at risk. 80 percent of those are closely related to plants with agronomic importance With some potentially valuable species still to be identified and with climate change endangering more plants, it is even more urgent to identify, prioritize and address conservation needs. But how can awareness of this still arcane problem grow?

Naomi Fragga, research botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA, talks about why people already working in this field care so much about it. Patty Roess of Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano, CA, describes the way drought is helping recruit non experts to restore native species in gardens and landscapes.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-18-14)

Tonight's Guest: Christopher Leonard - The Meat Racket (Part 2)

The Meat Racket author Christopher Leonard reports on the "chickenization" of poultry and meat producers' farm and ranching operations.

Christopher's business journalism in the Midwest took him to small towns where he saw poultry and hog farms and beef feedlots going out of business. He was witnessing emergence of what he calls "broken markets" and an almost feudal relationship between growers and owners of big meat companies. Listen to him describe the real facts behind the graying of rural America, as well as the couple years when he thought things might change, what happened instead, where his hopes for the future lie, and the risk that increasing proportions of supermarket meat will be imported.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-11-14)

Tonight's Guest: Christopher Leonard - The Meat Racket (Part 1)

Whether or not US farming is profitable today depends on a lot more than hard work. Today's show explores what's decisive for poultry farmers - contract terms between them and the corporations they raise bird for.

Once Christopher Leonard learned how contracts with Tyson Foods bankrupts and breaks the spirits of Arkansas poultry farmers, he spent nearly a decade to research and tell their stories. Farmers don't control the quality of the birds they get or the food they're supplied, but they do go into debt for the physical plant to raise them. Christopher says he dream now is for people to understand what vertical integration means, and he explains it with examples you wont forget.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-28-14)

Tonight's Guest: Ben Grosscup (Northeast Organic Farming Association)

Lots of formal and informal learning takes place when the organic and ecological farming associations hold their annual meetings. - The NOFA conference is one among so many that you could learn, see their exhibits, and eat the usually great local food just about any month of the year.

Ben Grosscup, organizer for the Northeast Organic Farming Association describes this year's summer conference, held in the center of the state on the campus of UMass, Amherst. There are "tracks" at this meeting on carbon farming, using draft animals, new farmers, dowsing, cooperatives, and more.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-21-14)

Tonight's Guest: Ben Helphand

Ben Helphand is co-chairing the 35th annual conference of the American Community Gardening Association. He's also executive director of NeighborSpace, a nonprofit urban land trust that preserves and sustains Chicago's community-managed open spaces.

A grassroots form of community development, community gardens' scale and largely urban presence foster new ideas. Somewhere in the world's community gardens there is every permutation of growing things and using space to: grow food, flowers and healthy people; create beauty and foster recreation; teach new skills; and make communities more alive. In what amounts to a survey of cutting edge issues, Ben gives examples of Chicago gardens, describes plans for speakers, tours, and workshops, and conveys these gardens' remarkable contributions to communities.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-30-14)

Tonight's Guest: Jay Feldman

Jay Feldnman, Beyond Pesticides. Consumers reach for familiar brands without much reflection. But the familiar brand of USDA organic has been fought for for 20 years. It requires awareness and protection - today and into the future.

Jay Feldman, National Organic Standards Board member and director of Beyond Pesticides, describes the federal structure that institutionalized (in a good sense) organic agriculture. About more than no-spray produce, it defines and protects the entire alternative approach to conventional agriculture. It stimulates farmers to innovate and insulates the standards from corporate influence. But once organics promised significant growth, more, larger producers became involved. Now the defenses that protect the broad and deep organics program are being attacked. Feldman, present at the creation, recounts this process.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-23-14)

Tonight's Guests: Margot McMillen, George Naylor

Farmers Margot McMillen (Missouri) and George Naylor (Iowa) discuss pesticide drift - when dust, droplets or vapor move to unintended sites and affect non-target species.

Pesticide drift can harm farmworkers, residents, wildlife, plants, and property. Accordingly, with each new pesticide generation manufacturers, regulators, public health experts and farmers continue to address drift management. But herbicide-resistant corn and soy with both 2,4-D and glyphosate - Enlist Duo - significantly raise the risks. 2,4-D volatilizes. This matters because vapor can be inhaled and because wind, temperature, and humidity affect rates of volatilization. Inclement weather makes farmers apply herbicides later in the season, for example, increasing risk of volatilization because the temperature is higher and prompt incorporation into the soil is impractical.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-16-14)

Tonight's Guests: George Naylor, Steve Ellis, Michael Mayer

Pesticide resistant weeds and massive disappearance and death of the U.S. honeybees - a farmer and two beekeepers lay out their perspective on managing weeds and protecting bees in the context of United States GM commodity crops.

Glyphosate and neonicotinoids poison bees' food, kill the bees, and destroy their forage. Even without being combined with 2,4-D into Enlist Duo, their impact is huge. This week's show and the extra interview are with guests George Naylor, who grew up weeding soybeans and now uses conventional herbicides to grow non-GM soy and corn; commercial beekeeper Steve Ellis, who trucks 1300 hives between Minnesota and California annually and works with EPA regulators to protect bees; and Michael Mayer, commercial beekeeper in central Missouri for 42 years.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-09-14)

Tonight's Guest: Linda Wells

The US EPA is accepting comments through June 30th on Dow Agroscience's application for approval of soy and corn seeds containing glyphosate and 2, 4-D. Linda Wells, Associate Director of Organizing at Pesticide Action Network North America, assesses the implications.

Utilization of Round-up Ready and 2,4-D-ready GM seeds involves use of a massive amount of pesticides on a regular basis - and 2,4-D has more serious health effects and is both more susceptible to drift and more harmful to non-target species. She also notes that USDA and EPA are interpreting their mandate to protect very narrowly, giving inadequate consideration to exposures of rural people, both farm families and farm workers. Linda often writes for the PANNA blog, Ground Truth.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-26-14)

Tonight's Guest: Henk Hobbelink

Regulatory agencies in the US, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa are considering applications for approval of a new GM soybean resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a well-documented human health and environmental hazard and an ingredient in Agent Orange.

Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, 2,4-D describes this as part of the agribusiness GM seed strategy to control "the immense market for agricultural inputs and toxic herbicides" and to defeat those who continue to resist agribusiness incursions into their homelands. Henk notes the irony of 2,4-D's re-introduction to counter rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant superweeds that exist by having adapted to survive repeated sprayings of Roundup. GRAIN is an international NGO supporting small farmers' struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-19-14)

Tonight's Guest: Niaz Dorry

Tonight I am joined by Niaz Dorry, who is the Executive Director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA).

NAMA advances the rights and and ecological benefits of small scale fishing communities at the same time it protects global marine diversity a "two-fer" for eaters and local economies. Before she was at NAMA Niaz worked with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities in the US and around the globe as a Greenpeace oceans and fisheries campaigner, for which Time Magazine named her a Hero for the Planet. Niaz demonstrates her gift for story telling, recounting her start as a fisheries activist and explaining why "who fishes, matters".

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-12-14)

Tonight's Guest: Brett Tolley

The 6 year old Fish Locally Collaborative (FLC) unites individuals and organizations who represent 400,000 fishermen and people around the world who want to support fish stocks, fishing communities, and to change policy.

Ideally, managing a resource locally or eating locally is about stewarding and enjoying what flourishes in a distinct ecosystem with its own particular features. Taking this seriously, the FLC's bottom-up approach to fisheries management utilizes the knowledge and power that result when participants with local stakes collaborate - from fishermen to academics and policy makers. Brett Tolley, organizer for the Northwest Marine Alliance, describes FLC's values and its aims to reach beyond its "silo" to others with common interests to sustain local food sources and food systems.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-05-14)

Tonight's Guest: Brett Tolley

The 4th generation in a line of New England fishermen, Brett Tolley started out helping farmers struggle to co-exist with industrial agriculture, because his father had discouraged him from becoming a fisherman. But seeing consolidation doing the same things to fishermen that it has to farmers, he came back to fisheries as an activist.

Catch shares, the current approach used to regulate commercial fishing, is not preserving fish stocks as intended and is making it impossible for local fishing communities to survive. Catch shares have turned the right to fish into a trade able commodity that belongs increasingly to large fishing fleets and seafood processing companies. Brett describes why, when and how catch shares were introduced and their ramifications for owners of small boats.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-28-14)

Tonight: The players in Policy making

The conversation captures the multiple roles of a state legislator - and by implication, the several ways food activists can collaborate with other players in policy-making.

The legislative roles include: individual with particular values and concerns and student of those he cares about; pivotal member of networks where activists and lobbyist learn about each other's positions; and participant/strategist during the approximately six years between introduction to law. Better known for concerns with healthcare, education, and economic support for working families, MA State Senator Jason Lewis strongly opposes cruelty to animals and the ecosystem destruction it usually involves. He has proposed legislation banning sale of shark fins in MA and banning certain animal confinement systems.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-21-14)

Tonight: State legislatures are a crucial battle ground for food rights issues. By mid-April, 2014, Vermont had passed the first Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling bill in the US, and the Grocery Manufactures' Association had gotten a bill offered in the US House to preempt state GMO labeling.

Pete Kennedy, Board President of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, describes beating back an article slipped into an unrelated bill in Illinois to ban raw milk sales to consumers on farms. Pat Fiero, Lead Regional Organizer, Move-On New England, tells how the MA GM labeling law is one committee away from the floor of the legislature. David Gumpert, writer on raw milk and food rights, describes raw milk as a food rights lightening rod for consumers and the FDA.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-14-14)

Tonight's Guest: Christopher Leonard - The Meat Racket (Part 2)

The Meat Racket author Christopher Leonard reports on the "chickenization" of poultry and meat producers' farm and ranching operations.

Christopher's business journalism in the Midwest took him to small towns where he saw poultry and hog farms and beef feedlots going out of business. He was witnessing emergence of what he calls "broken markets" and an almost feudal relationship between growers and owners of big meat companies. Listen to him describe the real facts behind the graying of rural America, as well as the couple years when he thought things might change, what happened instead, where his hopes for the future lie, and the risk that increasing proportions of supermarket meat will be imported.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-07-14)

Tonight's Guest: Christopher Leonard - The Meat Racket (Part 1)

Whether or not US farming is profitable today depends on a lot more than hard work. Today's show explores what's decisive for poultry farmers - contract terms between them and the corporations they raise bird for.

Once Christopher Leonard learned how contracts with Tyson Foods bankrupts and breaks the spirits of Arkansas poultry farmers, he spent nearly a decade to research and tell their stories. Farmers don't control the quality of the birds they get or the food they're supplied, but they do go into debt for the physical plant to raise them. Christopher says he dream now is for people to understand what vertical integration means, and he explains it with examples you wont forget.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-31-14)

Tonight's Guest: Rodrigo Marciacq

Rodrigo Marciacq has been a successful pioneer of hydroponics in Panama for the last 15 years of his 50 years of farming. What's For Dinner visited Rodrigo's greenhouses north of Boquete, where he raises 3/4 of an acre of hydroponic lettuces, grossing the equivalent of $250,000 per acre. After attending Texas A & M for a degree in agronomy, he worked for Chase Bank in Panama, grew coffee, and then onions, finally achieving a yield four times the average US commercial harvests, and without pesticide and herbicide use. With the kind of holistic view of farming you'd hear from a speaker at a U.S. organic farming conference, Rodrigo mentors other farmers as well as maintaining his own successful business.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-24-14)

Tonight's Guests: Ron and Kim Miller

While they have U.S. Midwestern farming roots and an auto parts business in the Shenandoah Valley, Ron and Kim Miller grow organic vegetables, fruit and chickens in Panama.

The Millers now sell at 2 farmers' markets on the Pacific side of Panama's central mountain range. In 2003 they began seeking property and making contacts in Panama. Their dream was to create a sustainable organic operation that could model and share techniques they're developing there for organic production of a broad range of fruits and vegetables. With a fulltime staff of 14 and practices based on the scientific and traditional knowledge of Panamanian farmers helping them, the Millers work very hard, enjoy it, and are in sight of their dream.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-17-14)

Tonight's Guest: Price Peterson

This is the first of 3 shows featuring successful farmers in Panama talking about their work and the philosophy behind it. Price Peterson is the man behind the specialty coffee from Hacienda La Esmeralda famous for commanding $350/pound.

Price Peterson had a doctorate in neurochemistry and taught at U of PA before taking over a family coffee farm in the northern Panama highlands in 1973. He and his wife moved [here] and learned the business of raising coffee and cattle before the region became popular and the now famous Geisha coffee bean got its current reputation. Hear how his perspective raising a popular specialty crop in Panama straddles liberal and mainstream US views about agriculture.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-03-14)

Tonight's Guest: Professor Steve Swallow

Professor Steve Swallow describes economics research helping field birds and farmers. This professor of resource economics in Connecticut and Vermont and his students work on the problem of getting people to pay for their share of public goods. E.g. farmers need to cut their hay at exactly the time Bobolinks' very new young will die if the nests lose cover. The project brings together consumers who want to protect birds and preserve farmers' livelihoods and farmers who leave certain fields for the birds in return for payment covering their costs for participating.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-24-14)

Tonight's Guest: Heather Putnam

Heather Putnam partners with small Costa Rican coffee farmers to save their livelihoods from destruction by La Roya, the coffee rust threatening the world's specialty coffee supply.

Large coffee plantations use chemical controls against coffee rust. But they're expensive for small farmers nearly wiped out by recent years' low coffee prices. And these external inputs threaten ecological relationships among plants they raise for food and local markets. Heather co-directs a network of researchers and farmers, the Community Agroecology Network (CAN), working to help rural communities in Mexico and Central America develop self-sufficiency and sustainable farming practices. CAN offers tools and training to use non-chemical alternatives to address coffee rust, and Heather describes farmers' decision process to adopt them.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-10-14)

Tonight's Guests: Kathty Ozer, Ben Burkett

The 2014 Farm Bill is signed at last! To Kathy Ozer and Ben Burkett (National Family Farm Coalition) what it lays out for the next 5 years "could have been better but could have been worse."

Important programs for family farmers and members of southern farmer cooperatives survived but with decreased allocations. (E.g. Value-Added Producer Grants; Outreach & Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers; Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development). SNAP cuts were lower than expected. But it's business almost as usual for commodities: direct payments to farmers were replaced with income support based on commodity prices and income. Crop insurance was expanded. Kathy and Ben deplore missed opportunities to restructure the system to pay farmers fairly for their work.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-03-14)

Tonight's Guest: Steve Gliessman

Steve Gliessman is one of the people who literally coined the term "agroecology."

With a PhD in ecology, Steve did several years of subsistence farming in the 1960s in Central America and then taught agronomists in Mexico, near where new Green Revolution practices focused only on yields and discounted the value of any local knowledge. But in his collaboration with farmers, he realized that their "traditional knowledge" got high joint yields - from intercropping and relying on symbiotic relationships among plants and soil organisms. Since then Steve has taught US students at UC Santa Cruz, helped build the Community Agroecology Network, and helped lead 14 "Agroecology Short Courses" where What's For Dinner spoke to him in July, 2013.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-27-14)

Tonight's Guest: Joel Salatin

Fields of Farmers, Joel Salatin's 8th book, addresses both prospective interns and older farmers he hopes will follow his lead, learning how to make these enriching and complex partnerships benefit both sides.

Joel is a third generation, alternative, full-time farmer in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Passionate about the urgency of the farm succession crisis and well-trained interns as the solution, Joel has refined his methods and materials for training interns over many years. 3 generations of Salatins run Polyface Farm, raising salad-bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products and serving "more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs, using relationship marketing."

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-20-14)

Tonight's Guests: Alexis Baden-Mayer

Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director for Organic Consumers' Association and a lawyer, describes prospects for Grocery Manufacturers of America legislation pre-empting state labeling of GMOs in food.

Did you know US sweet corn is genetically modified? It's because once the GM traits were approved for field corn, they could be applied without returning to the FDA for additional approval. This conversation is an update about GMOs in the US food supply. Baden-Mayer, who has been arrested for trying to deliver petitions for GMO labeling to Michelle Obama, tells how big food influence will result in a watered-down, compromise FDA proposal unless citizens demand pro-labeling stands from their representatives that match voters' preferences to know what's in their food.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-13-14)

Tonight's Guest: Katie Brimm

On a food sovereignty tour you see how small farmers are responding in places where their livelihoods are threatened or lost due to globalized, concentrated industrial agriculture.

Katie Brimm manages Food First's tours to Bolivia, Italy, Korea, Cuba and Spain's Basque country; she describes her work and her own experience on a tour to Bolivia. The food sovereignty movement believes those who grow food and eat have the right to decide how it will be grown. Staying, meeting and sharing meals with small farmers in this movement offers not so many answers about what should happen as a lens on complex forces that both endanger traditional ways of life and sometimes present new opportunities to renew them.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-06-14)

Tonight's Guest: Activist Elizabeth Warren (NOT Senator)

Senator Elizabeth Warren opposes Fast Track because forcing a Congressional vote on the complex Transpacific Partnership without adequate time for open hearings, review, and public scrutiny sets a dangerous precedent.

Tonight we speak to Elizabeth Warren, MoveOn Regional Organizer in North San Diego County and National TPP Team Coordinator for a broad coalition of groups which build on the analytical and resistance work of Public Citizen's Global Tradewatch and Popular Resistance/Flush the TPP. On the Hill the coalition obtained 200 members' signatures on letters opposing the TPP. It holds trainings and meetings in legislators' home districts and challenges biased media coverage. Elizabeth gives a powerful account of how efficient the mid-layer between national groups and local action can be.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-30-13)

Tonight's Guests: Niaz Dory, Jaydee Hanson

Niaz Dory, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and Jaydee Hanson, Center for Food Safety, on 2013's best and worst developments.

Niaz describes pushback against NAMA's work to restore and enhance fisheries and the marine life that sustains them. She illustrates collaborative strategies used to enlarge the movement's base and enable diverse communities to eat local fish and participate in marine conservation. Jaydee leads CFS's emerging technologies work (synthetic biology, nanotech, and GM animals). He weighs US and international concern with GM food safety and labeling against agricultural biotechnology's disappointing results. Jaydee directed The United Methodist Church's legislative program and genetics and bioethics work for 23 years, and he comments on the renewed attention Pope Francis brings to world hunger.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-23-13)

Edith Maxwell, former certified organic farmer, author in the genre of cozy mystery, on her work as farmer and writer.

Hear how Edith wrote a mystery about a CSA, A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die, and note resemblances between her work as author and other hard creative work. What's growing is always on her mind. Mornings she writes and edits, afternoons she blogs, meets and builds a community (of readers). She solves production problems by mulling them over while doing other tasks. Edith presently writes two mystery series with a third is in the planning stage - all within the cozy mystery framework (seamy and bloody parts don't happen "on the page").

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-16-13)

Tim Wise, just back from 9th Ministerial meeting of WTO, on what makes multilateral trade talks important right now.

The 158 WTO members surprised the world by reaching a trade agreement this year. Tim, Director of the Research and Policy Program at Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute, attended the Bali WTO meeting. He also attended WTO in Cancun in 2003, where developing countries also held out against developed countries, and a Korean farmer shouted that the WTO kills farmers and stabbed himself to death. Tim closely follows free trade consequences in Mexico and Latin America, and we discuss ways the past and possible future trajectory of the WTO meetings offer reason for hope.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-09-13)

Karen Hansen-Kuhn discusses TAFTA, proposed EU-US "NAFTA-type" trade agreement.

Karen describes December's simultaneous international trade talks - including World Trade Organization negotiations and meetings on both proposed Transpacific Partnership and US-European Union free trade agreements. Stakes are high. US legislators haven't seen drafts of TPP and TAFTA. Secret horse-trading means negotiators trade off laws and regulations on everything from patents to food safety. Agreements establish permanent rules. Negotiators try to carry their wins from one to another set of negotiations. Describing how trade issues cut close to home, Karen notes how US corporations' attack on European GM labeling could hurt US consumers and looser agricultural imports could allow EU suppliers to undercut US "buy local" programs.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-02-13)

In the US, endangered plant conservation is carried out by a network of 39 leading botanical institutions through the Center for Plant Conservation, and its Executive Director botanist Kathryn Kennedy has brought 750 of America's most imperiled native plants into its care since 2000.

Off-site, hands-on conservation involves collecting live plant material from nature; maintaining it as seed, rooted cuttings or mature plants; and conducting horticultural research to grow and return many plants to their natural habitats. Kathryn operates as scientist, program developer and manager coordinating this work, acutely aware that 80 percent of the at-risk plants of the United States are closely related to plants with economic value somewhere in the world, and more than 50 percent are related to crop species.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-25-13)

Nelson Carrasquillo and Elizabeth Henderson spoke with us after their workshop on "Farm Worker Movements Past and Present" at a summer organic farming conference.

Nelson is General Coordinator of Comite De Apoyo A Los Trabajadores Agricolas, the Farm Workers' Support Committee. Elizabeth represents Northeast Organic Farming Association to the Agricultural Justice Project. They draw parallels between farm workers' and part time service workers' wages under present policy approaches. Under proposed immigration reform, undocumented farm workers will face much greater pressure - required to make 125% of poverty level wages for up to 20 years to get permanent work permits. The conversation explores key ways consumers, farmers, farm workers and citizens share common interests.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-18-13)

Diana Robinson describes the Food Chain Workers Alliance and its Thanksgiving 2013 actions.

Nearly 20 million men and women in the US grow, harvest, produce and serve food at every stage from field to table. Yet farm workers aren't covered by US labor relations laws; law enforcement to protect immigrants and undocumented workers is poor; and the majority of food chain workers lack benefits, earn poverty wages, and have difficulty unionizing. Diana shows how the US food system, developed on slave labor, still exploits its workers, the majority of whom are members of minorities. Projects she describes are a fine example of what a diverse coalition membership committed to social and economic justice can accomplish.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-11-13)

The first new food safety legislation in 70 years, FSMA, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011, after 3 high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks in 2006 and 2007.

Now FDA has prepared regs to implement it, with comments due November 15th. Aimed at preventing micro bacterial pathogens in produce (not at safety issues related to meat, poultry, eggs, pesticides or antibiotic resistance), FSMA is meeting wide resistance. Hear webinar accounts of rule details, Kathy Ozer of the National Family Farm Coalition, and Jack Kittredge of NOFA. They describes a one-size-fits all approach that makes key organic farming practices illegal, omits due process, and may renege on the Tester-Hagan amendment exempting smaller producers from requirements likely to bankrupt them.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-04-13)

Food + Justice + Democracy - Fall IATP Conference models food justice work.

Food activists say effective collaboration among current food system insiders and outsiders is the toughest, most crucial challenge to overcome to create a system that's fair for all. The show offers conversations from the Sept 2012 Minneapolis Food + Justice = Democracy conference organized by La Donna Redmond and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Speakers describe doing unusual self-reflection and believe it was different from any other US food system meeting - starting with the way plenaries all concerned the experience of people of color. The show conveys the careful planning involved and how attendees felt what they experienced here may offer leverage for that core, very hard work.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-28-13)

Pati Mortensen and Terrie Bad Hand are co-directors of the Taos County Economic Development Center, host of the 2013 Gathering of GFJI.

Holding a GFJI meeting to celebrate and share the approach and work of the TCEDC (Taos County Economic Development Center) has been a long-standing dream of its two co-directors and Will and Erika Allen and their organizations (Growing Food with Justice for all Initiative is the food justice organizing arm of Growing Power). The gathering brought together people of all colors and ages with very different spiritual values and manners of doing business, and they discussed water rights, genetically modified seeds, and organizing in powerfully urgent and specific ways. Terrie and Pati describe how TCEDC's mission and programs over its nearly 30 years have embodied Food Justice principles.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-21-13)

Eileen Schell is the co-author of Rural Literacies - Studies in Writing and Rhetoric (2007) and Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy (2011).

Eileen teaches writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University. She and her co-authors grew up on farms --- Eileen on a Washington State apple farm – and have stakes in examining portrayals which further corporate or political agendas. She explains how they distort the complex circumstances faced by American farmers and draw attention away from agricultural policies that caused families to lose their farms. We discuss several “narratives” about farmers, including Jefferson’s idea of farmers as chosen people of God and 20thh century accounts of the “tragedy” of farm losses and farmers as victims.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-14-13)

Shirley Sherrod has worked for change for black Americans in southwest Georgia in the face of extreme racism - and for opportunities for black farmers, because agriculture is the life of rural communities.

This is a US story chosen to highlight the Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony. A black farmers' daughter in the 1950's, Sherrod wanted to escape rural life, but her father's murder in 1965 redirected her to civil rights activism and then co-founding New Communities, a 6000 acre land trust modeled on a kibbutz, on which black Americans could farm and live. She describes working with the conditions black farmers faced - during those years, at the USDA, and now fostering opportunities for women farmers and creating the new site for New Communities.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-07-13)

A-dae Romero, Cochiti Pueblo/Kiowa, and Paul Nicholson, Basque farmer, share food sovereignty experience rarely recounted in the US.

A-dae works as a lawyer to undergird traditional Pueblo farming's role in sustaining community. She highlights food sovereignty's importance for Native American farmers in light of reservations' extreme food insecurity and describes implications of FSMA (the Food Safety Modernization Act). If applied to tribal food enterprises, it would break constitutional and treaty protections of tribal sovereignty and cripple farming done for economic development. Her words and Paul Nicholson's account of the relevance of food sovereignty in the western European country of Spain frame discussion of this year's awarding of the Food Sovereignty Prize and its opposite, the World Food Prize.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-30-13)

Martin Dagoberto, Chris Stockman, and Kalia Lydgate campaign for transparency about GMOs in the US food supply at Lobby Day for GM Labeling in MA.

MA Right to Know GMOs' event was standing room only. Scientist and activist, Marty touches on key reasons labeling is both important and contentious and describes "trigger clauses" authorizing labeling in ME and CT, contingent on similar laws passing in other northeastern states. Also hear Kalia Lydgate effectively wrap up the public session and Chris Stockman illustrate the deep roots in practice that make this movement powerful. She and partner/campaign co-founder Ed Stockman began the learning that culminated in this campaign in 2000 at BIO protests in Boston.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-23-13)

Farm Aid 2013 held its 28th concert on Willie Nelson's 80th birthday - with Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and many more.

Farm Aid is the longest running benefit concert series in America, raising more than $43 million to help family farmers thrive while inspiring millions of people to learn about the Good Food movement. This year more than 26,000 people attended the concert at Saratoga Springs, NY. The show describes some of the good eats available and what farm support groups did. It shares parts of headline musicians' performances, the press conference, and Homegrown Village Stage conversation between Jim Hightower and Charlene Carter.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-16-13)

Max Spoor chairs the Department of Agrarian and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (part of Erasmus University Rotterdam).

Max specializes in economies in transition. He describes the motivations of consumers and the predicament of small food producers who together make up the massive food sovereignty movement around the globe. He sees national and international policy initiatives pushing small food producers into global supply chains, resulting in a tenuous hold on their livelihoods, since the great majority cannot now cover costs of production for their principal crops. Max has recently been involved in institutional capacity-building projects in China, Kazakhstan and Vietnam and consultancy missions in nearly a dozen developing countries.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-02-13)

Teresa Mares is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Vermont and affiliate of its Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Food Systems.

We discuss why citizens engage in tough and complex food justice issues like the fight against corporate promotion of GMOs in Africa and the severe conditions migrant workers experience due to immigration enforcement in New England. The interview draws on Teresa's experience during her Ph.D. studies working with Community Alliance for Global Justice in Seattle and her current development of a new project on food access and food security among Vermont Latino & dairy workers. Teresa's work focuses on food and migration studies and changes in diets and foodways as a result of migration.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-26-13)

Lori Hylton is a Presbyterian Hunger Fellow in the New York Hudson River Presbytery and Jed Koball is Presbyterian mission co-worker in Lima, Peru.

As participants in Joining Hands Against Hunger Peru (JHAH-PERU), an ecumenical and democratic network of organizations and churches throughout Peru, Lori and Jed are organizing to halt Fast Track and the multilateral proposed TPP after seeing investor state protections in the bilateral Peru USA Free Trade agreement invoked against Peru. JHAH-PERU documented poisoning of children in the 35,000 person town of la Oroya by a multi-metal smelter run by the Renco Group. It reneged on an agreement to reduce environmental levels of lead, cadmium and arsenic levels and is suing the state of Peru for $800 million of alleged lost profits.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-19-13)

Jennifer Clapp is Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at University of Waterloo, Canada.

She explains why food leaders wrote How We Count Hunger Matters in response to the UN's FAO's State of Food Insecurity 2012. It underrepresented world hunger, and the trend line implied progress toward meeting the Millennium Development goal of reducing hunger by 2015. Jennifer describes the preferred alternative for counting hunger - including everyone affected by life conditions as they are really lived under current conditions of global change. The interview demonstrates the way defining the goal and the problem shape what you count, and the way these leaders confronted the prevailing aid and development paradigms.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-09-13)

David Gumpert and Ben Grosscup preview Northeast Organic Farming Association's 2013 summer conference, introducing the raw milk workshop and defining this premier meeting's goals.

Much happens in 3 days. Farmers, gardeners, teachers, activists, lawyers, young and old, families and public officials share information about farming as a livelihood and about raising, marketing and using food and forage. They bring experience and strategies for civic engagement to preserve seeds, markets and democratic principles. David came to raw milk research and writing from the business press and has just published Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat. Ben is NOFA's Education Events and Summer Conference Coordinator who comes from student activism.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-05-13)

Ed Fredrickson uses a toolkit from 20 years research with USDA's Agricultural Research Service to help Kentucky farmers develop uses of beef and other livestock to improve Kentucky family farms' profitability and sustainability.

Expert in desert ecology and nutrition/behavior of range livestock, Ed researched desert-adapted cattle in North Africa for a breed suited to hotter weather and desertified, fragile ecosystems. He then collaborated with a researcher from the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua to focus on the Criollo, cattle raised by Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyon region of Chihuahua, Mexico to provide milk, meat and draft in Mexico. Their bodies seem to partition energy in ways more suited to arid areas, and they distribute their impact more evenly across landscapes because they graze more widely in rougher country.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-22-13)

Amber Heckelman is documenting climate resilience of rice varieties developed by Philippine rice farmers and scientists to reverse negative results of Green Revolution practices.

After Green Revolution seeds, fertilizers and pesticides left Philippine subsistence rice farmers a narrower, inadequate resource base to survive, farmers learned to re-hybridize, test and plant native rice varieties. They re-attained food security, and the collaboration grew to include 563 member organizations, 38 NGO and 15 scientist partners. Their rice varieties display superior drought, salt and pest-resistance. Amber is documenting these results as PhD work in environmental studies in collaboration with MASIPAG, which means "industrious" in Tagalog - Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-15-13)

Ernesto Mendez is a University of Vermont professor whose specialty is Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods.

Imagine undergraduates, faculty and graduate students, Vermont farmers, researchers, Latin American coffee growers, and agricultural extension agents all collaborating in a loose network of work and study. They learn how ecosystems where food is grown can produce food without compromising water, air and soil quality. Imagine this happening in classrooms and on farms where they apply on-the-ground farming knowledge plus environmental studies, soil science, anthropology, sociology, ecology, ecological economics, gender and food systems studies. Their mutual work produces results to help farmers adapt to climate change and to make the food system more sustainable. Ernesto describes a real network like this, which is as productive, challenging and exciting as it sounds.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-08-13)

Donnie Nelson is a rancher/farmer experiencing the monumental fracking of the Bakken shale in northwest North Dakota.

His family "has had oil and gas development on our place since exploration and drilling began in North Dakota during the 1950's", but never like this. Fracking is sickening animals. Dust from thousands of truck trips cover crops and landscape. The way of life has disappeared. Nelson chairs the Western Organization of Resource Councils' Oil and Gas Campaign Team. The ranch is 70 miles from Williston, the oil boom town where McDonald's workers get $300 to sign on and Halliburton is using a massive mobile housing complex from the Canada Winter Olympics.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-01-13)

Mark Kastel is the Executive Director of Cornucopia Institute, the watch dog of "big organics."

Organic food is the fastest growing segment of the food industry - but the biggest players are not the sustainable kind that raise food without a lot of off farm inputs. Big conventional food companies have acquired more than 60 formerly independent organic companies and dominate the operations of OTA, the trade association of organic companies. Mark talks about the acquisitions by corporations like Kraft and General Mills, the companies that are still independently owned, and what makes 9000 cow organic dairy farms an oxymoron.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-24-13)

Peter Michaelson & Paul Sobocinski on the Beef and Pork Checkoffs

Cattlemen first put money into a checkoff for product promotion in the 1920's, but since the mid '80s, the checkoffs have been required and also the subject of much dispute with large producers on one side and smaller, family scale producers on the other. In 2011 a rancher and a hog farmer long in the business talked about checkoffs, these industry-funded, generic research and marketing programs meant to increase demand for an industry's agricultural commodity.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-17-13)

Michele Simon (Best Public Relations Money can Buy)
This week's guest is Michelle Simon, a public health lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back (2006). We discuss her "Best Public Relations Money can Buy" report, about the food industry's use of front groups to discredit health arguments as a way to avoid involving their brands in doing dirty work. She gives examples of these campaigns - e.g.fruits and stilettos in vodka ads - and she says citizens overestimate the legal constraints on rebutting false claims. Simon's 2007 report on alcoholic energy drinks led to federal action to ban the products, and her "Food Stamps, Follow the Money" report on food stamps brought attention to industry lobbying.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-10-13)

Pat Roy Mooney (Kickstarter and the Glowing Plant)

Pat Roy Mooney is tonight's guest. His organization, the ETC Group, is waging the 'KickStopper' campaign against Kickstarter's campaign to fund the glowing plant developed by biohackers using synthetic biology. Mooney explains why release of packets of the plant's seeds through the mail is an irresponsible plan. Ahead of the curve for 40 years in fighting to preserve genetic diversity and keep control of the food supply in public hands, Mooney received the alternative prize to the Nobel Prize. He and colleagues target corporate capture and unaccountable use of technological capabilities - nanotechnology, synthetic biology - through intellectual property rights and patenting.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-03-13)

Lorette Picciano

Lorette Picciano is tonight's guest. The 2012 Farm Bill is still being debated in late spring 2013, the 7th time Lorette helped craft the Farm Bill, which is debated every 4 years and covers everything from subsidies to food stamps (SNAP) and organics to programs for veterans. Executive Director of the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural, Lorette works with 70 plus culturally diverse, community-based organizations that represent both farmworkers and small producers from the US and Mexico. They secure civil and human rights in the agriculture and trade sectors - including the lawsuits to gain equity for all farmers and farmworkers from the US Department of Agriculture.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-27-13)

Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy is our guest tonight. For him and colleagues at Food Democracy Now, the year 2013 began with Monsanto - a rider protecting it from lawsuits that was attached to the Continuing Resolution to fund government operations. Tonight we go deeper into what's important about current protests against Monsanto. They are not merely against the GM organisms, but against the way the company is able to control what goes into the food by coopting democratic processes for decision making about food and agriculture. Dave describes the exciting breadth of tactics and worldwide scope of anti-Monsanto protests in late spring 2013.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-20-13)

Peter Carstensen

Peter Carstensen is tonight's guest. Earlier this year, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association lost its lawsuit against Monsanto. Lawyer and law school professor Carstensen talks about the next case people hoped would protect farmers from Monsanto in the courts - Bowman v. Monsanto. Carstensen describes the Supreme Court's finding in a patent infringement against Mr. Bowman, the Indiana farmer who purchased and planted soybeans, not from Monsanto, but from a grain elevator. You hear about the finding and its ramifications, the opportunity it gives Congress to act, and how the court appears to have stepped carefully in terms of future cases.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-13-13)

Kristi Bahrenberg Janzen

Kristi Bahrenberg Janzen is tonight's guest. She is a journalist who married into a Mennonite family that faces the need, faced by many farm families today, to execute a "farm transition" as the generation now farming looks at retirement. Her husband's family own valuable farm buildings, livestock and land in Kansas. Hoping a relative will eventually come forward to farm it, they have already worked for a decade planning for the farm to flourish financially and stay in family hands until then. Karen describes how the family shaped their participative process, and we speculate about whether Mennonite values have facilitated this.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-06-13)

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

Karen Hansen-Kuhn is tonight's guest. 20 years work on trade and trade policy make her feel it's urgent for the public to learn about and address huge deficiencies in the TransPacific Partnership (now in a late stage of secret negotiations). One instance - it would allow industrial agriculture to undermine sustainable alternatives, since the agreement will prevent types of investment required to make alternatives work. Now at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Karen describes the extraordinary, alarming scope of the agreement, and she explains the secrecy surrounding this proposed agreement - past trade negotiations carried out in public failed because the public knew and protested what was coming down!

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-22-13)

Trade issues are Arthur Stamboulis' passion. We discuss what makes trade a major and under-appreciated issue, and we examine the ongoing trade negotiations among countries that border the Pacific Ocean (except China). The TransPacific Partnership (the TPP) will have major implications for the United States and the whole world, since it goes farther than the WTO or NAFTA in curbing national sovereignty, and it will be the model for subsequent agreements.

Arthur directs the Citizen's Trade Campaign and approaches trade believing that international trade and investment are not ends unto themselves, but a means for achieving societal goals like economic justice, human rights, healthy communities, and a sound environment. The national coalition he represents includes a broad range of bedfellows - environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious, and others - with 12 million combined members from 20 national organizations and 12 state affiliate coalitions.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-08-13)

Adrienne Alstadt, Ellery Kimball, and Jennifer Hashley are greater Boston area farmers (organic produce and livestock) who host teen volunteers - partly to get real work done and partly because adults in the young peoples' lives want them to be there. Father Edgar Guttierez-Duarte, priest of St Luke-San Lucas Episcopal Church, Chelsea, MA, also needs to rely on volunteers as he administers its food pantry and weekly Saturday breakfast. These four also welcome volunteers because they, too, hope the experience will enrich the young people - as individuals, as consumers and eaters, and as human beings in a world where there will probably always be vulnerable people. Teens who do service learning really respond when they meet adults who convey passion about their work - Rita Stevens, age 17, describes how it makes her feel - and these adults do.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 04-01-13)

Nathan Holmes helped found and manages a growers' coop among mostly Amish farmers in Pennsylvania. It's a community of family farms using practices that protect the soil and watershed. The coop lets them farm and not worry about distribution. They can satisfy markets by offering a diversity of crops - and at the same time seek to maintain "a natural agrarian family life and facilitate direct personal experiences of connection between customer, farmer, and land". It sounds like many peoples' dream if they were to farm, but it's a story of regular people who found each other and kept taking the next step. It seems to reflect what's possible today.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-25-13)

Maurice Small is a renegade urban gardener and farmer who works to make urban farming an agent of renewal in Rust Belt cities (and now also in Raleigh, NC). He works in neighborhoods and with municipal officials to use urban gardens to do the same things environmental justice activists used to figure EJ should do - address the different pieces of the whole of community well-being - education, jobs, housing, youth empowerment, health... This is the 2nd half of the interview, and he and Susan compare notes about ways gardening works to inspire people and change things for the better.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-18-13)

Dave Murphy is "the big dude from Iowa", a former Dartmouth football lineman, and Food Democracy Now's founder - with 3 others. It helped make Kathleen Merrigan the Assistant Secretary of USDA, and is working to defeat big biotech's newest initiative. Dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act," this rider to the Continuing Resolution would end courts' ability to halt sale and planting of unapproved GMO crops that are waiting for judge-mandated reviews to be complete. Hear about the changes in Iowa that got him active and about their 37 state GMO labeling campaign.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-11-13)

Maurice Small is applying as an adult what he learned from his father in Cleveland public housing as a boy - to use available land to feed his family. His work building gardens and teaching people to garden in poor neighborhoods has led to a cascade of results of neighborhood empowerment and re-engagement in several cities - as well as a deepening and broadening of city policies related to food and sustainability. He talks about the kind of plant knowledge that suits urban gardening to meet the multiple needs of poor communities - and describes with delight working with, through and around systems.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 03-04-13)

Greg Bowman directs a faith-based non-profit working in Youngstown, the Ohio city worst hit by the industrial Midwest's economic slump. Goodness Grows uses agricultural leadership and training to "grow families out of poverty and hunger" and make livelihoods and communities more sustainable. Greg served fifteen years with the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, developed two farms for Mennonite churches, and has researched and written extensively about sustainable and organic farming. His Steel in the Field: a farmer's guide to weed management tools is fascinating reading for profiles of techniques and farmers.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-25-13)

Father Edgar Guittierez-Duarte: Father Edgar Guttierez-Duarte is a native of Colombia, and an activist psychotherapist who followed a lifelong dream of becoming a priest. Now a bilingual, bicultural Episcopal priest, he serves a predominantly Hispanic congregation at St Luke-San Lucas in Chelsea, MA. He talks about growing the food pantry from filing cabinet-size to one that serves two Saturday meals and works with 500 families a month. Anti-hunger programs help frame the church's community relationships, and they reach different hungry people than those coming to the pantry before the 2008 recession.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-18-13)

Peter Carstensen: Peter Carstensen is a lawyer and professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin who teaches, testifies and writes about antitrust and competition. He co-authored an amicus brief for the Bowman v. Monsanto case heard on 2/19/13, and served as a panelist at the DOJ/USDA Madison, WI, Dairy hearing. Peter describes in concrete terms why concentration of buying power in the hands of only a few large coops or processors distorts prices and means growers (ranchers or dairy farmers) receive low prices. He also discusses the dairy settlements against Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-11-13)

Boyce Thorne Miller and Jaydee Hanson: Boyce Thorne Miller, a Marine biologist, is science and policy coordinator at the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). She discusses AquaBounty's GM salmon, its pending approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, and the FDA's comment period. Doubting if facilities can prevent escapes, she is concerned about the detrimental effects on wild salmon populations. Anticipating low priced GM fish, she also expects the market for locally caught fish to be severely weakened. Boyce has carried out public oversight of scientific review processes for several federal agencies and has consulted for national and international NGOs on coastal environmental issues and biological diversity in marine environments.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 02-04-13)

Andy Fisher: Andy Fisher has a long history of research and writing about urban food security and building coalitions to bridge the anti hunger and local/sustainable agriculture movements. He co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Community Food Security Coalition. Andy describes living on a Food Stamp budget during his week-long participation in the SNAP challenge. And he talks about the achievements and "growing edges" of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) as a largely successful income assistance program. Andy is working on a book exploring agriculture book exploring corporate agriculture participation in the funding and governance of anti-hunger and anti-obesity organizations.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-21-13)

Emily Wheeler: Emily Wheeler is a Climate Action Committee and Food Policy Council member in Concord, MA. She describes how this historic New England town did a food systems assessment working with graduate students from the Conway School, a program in sustainable landscape planning. Key here are the town's undeveloped land and many farms and the students' use of novel and concrete ways to demonstrate how citizens could participate in more complete and extensive food production.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-14-13)

David Jacke: David Jacke is a visionary leader in ecological design and award winning author on permaculture. Hear how permaculture goes way beyond just food production to redesigning our whole culture to mimic the principles, patterns, structures and functions of natural ecosystems, including "the whole kit and caboodle" - our social relationships, our economy, our resource use, and our inner landscapes.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 01-07-13)

Jim Gerritsen: Jim Gerritsen is president of the Organic Seed Growers Association (OSGATA). He was heading to Washington, DC, to demonstrate and attend a hearing in the lawsuit brought by 100's of farmers and OSGATA'S members to prevent Monsanto from bringing lawsuits against farmers over "patent infringement" after Monsanto seeds naturally spread to nearby farms. Jim discusses "the right to farm without the threat of harassment by the world's largest biotech seed company" in terms of farmers' and consumers' rights as citizens in a democracy. Jim Gerritsen is the Maine potato farmer we interviewed in January of 2012.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-24-12)

Bill Ayres (Why Hunger)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-17-12)

Sharon Thornberry, Oregon Food Bank

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-10-12)

Last Minute Agriculture Riders in Washington and Putting Wright-Locke Farm to Bed

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 12-03-12)

Hank Herera, Dig Deep Farms and Produce

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-26-12)

(FULL INTERVIEW)Joe Holtz, Park Slope Food Co-op

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-19-12)

Thanksgiving Old Time Food - Pickles

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 11-05-12)

Jan Poppendieck (1930s Pigs and Wheat History)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-29-12)

Food Sovereignty Award Ceremony

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-22-12)

JeomOk Park Korean Women Peasant Assoc.

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-15-12)

Gretchen Maine (Dairy Farmer from New York)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 10-08-12)

Brother David Andrews (Farmer Voices get to the Table)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-24-12)

Michael Skillcorn and Dean's Beans

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-10-12)

Setting the Table, Youth Food & Ag Service Learning

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 09-03-12)

Olga Martha Montiel, Missouri Botanical Garden

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-27-12)

Hank Keogh (Oregon Canola Ruling

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 08-13-12)

Real Pickles

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-23-12)

Steve Suppan (IATP Nanotechnology in food)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-16-12)

St. Louis Universitey Dietetics Department - Going to Town

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-09-12)

Rio Plus 20 Sustainability Conference (Part 2)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 07-02-12)

Rio Plus 20 Sustainability Conference (Part 1)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-11-12)

Sarah Schenck (Parent Earth)

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 06-04-12)

With guest John Donohue

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-28-12)

Local Grain, Malt, and Beer

What's for Dinner? (airdate: 05-21-12)

With guest Ellen Manes (Meunier Community Cooks)

About Susan Youmans

Susan Youmans has a different guest each week with a role in the huge global to local network of food production and distribution. You hear voices of farmers and entrepreneurs; organizers, chefs, and fishermen; policy makers and businessmen. They get across how the high and changing stakes there are in a world where severe draughts in Asia affect food prices in the US and new forms of financial speculation create continuing threats of food crises.

Susan is in her 15th year of working with people on farms and in food-related businesses. She ran an organic raspberry u-pick and a non profit organization whose partner was a Dorchester, MA, church with a city lot-sized garden. Before that she was a management consultant, attended business school and seminary, and grew up in Ohio as a granddaughter of generations of farmers.

Susan is always curious to know why something's happening and who it will affect. She likes getting behind mainstream media stories about big agriculture, local food, and food regulation. She loves tying together the facts and the specific details - what a rancher still has to do in winter on the range, what's on a young farmer's mind, and what gives peasants in a southern hemisphere country hope to keep organizing.

About What's for Dinner?

What's For Dinner? is about the people involved in getting food to U.S. dinner tables. Their stories reveal the workings of economic power, political influence and the hard work of individuals who want to make a difference.

The show has an edge because today everyone has an issue with what they or other people are eating - where it comes from, what's in it, who's profiting from it.

Food and agriculture matter when people want to know how to keep healthy and who's doing what to their food. Susan thinks they also want to know how the world's farms come into play in international negotiations, if US school food will raise up a generation of students who can be good soldiers, if people are hungrier because of US agriculture policy.

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What's for Dinner? with Susan Youmans - Monday & Friday at 7:30pm Eastern

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