May 15, 2019
In this episode, John interviews David Montgomery, Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington. John and David discuss soil regeneration at length, pulling from David’s experience developing new topsoil in dead, stony ground and his deep dive into the science behind it.
David came to the field of regenerative agriculture from a unique position. As a geologist studying erosion, he became curious about agricultural impacts on soils.
When David set out to write his first book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, he imagined it would tie the subject of landscape formation over millennia to how soil erosion affected ancient civilizations. He ended up writing about the history of farming, because that's where soil erosion and degradation connects back to human societies. Spending more than a decade looking at how agriculture has influenced soil loss resulted in an epiphany that led him to see regenerative agriculture as the solution to historically degenerative agricultural problems.
In this thought-provoking interview, John and David discuss:
John and David explore the soil-life effects of glyphosate as an antibiotic and mineral chelator, and conjecture as to it’s human health impacts. There is a fascinating glimpse of a South African farm that doubles as a cheetah rehabilitation area, that may spur new ideas on meshing agriculture with wildlife conservation. David shares about his two musical projects as well. https://www.bandmix.com/bigdirt/
David is the author of two books:
Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations 2007
Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life 2017.
David’s recommended reading list from the episode:
Organic No-Till Farming by Jeff Moyer
The Community Impact Partner for this episode is Jerry Hatfield, director of the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The ARS seeks partners to participate in on-farm research to further our collective knowledge about best farming practices. Please consider getting involved with this important work as a citizen-scientist, and look forward to a future podcast interview with Jerry soon!
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This episode was recorded by John Kempf and David Montgomery, and produced by Nathan Harman, Robin Kitowski, and Anna Kempf.