bm271 Planning Soy Shows and Housekeeping

More talk of soy and the soy industry.

Shifting Focus to Soy

Jetlagged and back in Amsterdam, I wanted to announce an issue that will be one of my primary focuses for the rest of the year. After a very good experience speaking about urban farming at the Last Hope Conference, where I received alot of enthusiastic and warm responses, I’m now looking to tackle something more difficult, that I feel warrants my attention as well as yours.

That topic is the soy industry.? You’ll recall the podcast a few months ago on Responsible Soy, which not only opened my eyes to alot of facts that I had not previously considered but gave me alot of leads as to who to talk to and what rocks to look under.? And when we’re talking about the soy industry, there are plenty of creatures players hiding under the preverbial rock.

From organizations to corporations, from trade unions to government agencies, from activists to scientists, I intend to look at how soy is grown, processed,? and ultimately distributed in your part of the world. Because this industry is much larger than I ever imagined and engaging in practices that have gone without sufficient criticism or scrutiny.

Besides podcasts, I hope to present this issue and my investigation at my most favorite annual gathering in December, the Chaos Communication Congress (25th edition this year).

Why make such an announcement? Because this site is not only dedicated to reporting and commentary, it is also a place where I can present ideas like a drawing board. Only this is a drawing board that is open to you the readers and listeners, where you can know and observe how these ideas develope and (should I be so lucky) you can also suggest tactics or ask questions that will become part of the process.

bm270 Vancouver’s City Farmer in Your Backyard

The cityfarmer project in Vancouver began as a small group of people concerned with energy costs and reducing waste. 30 years later, those concerns have been amplified throughout the world, and cityfarmer is still there in the trenches. My guest, Michael Levenston, executive direction of cityfarmer, has been there since the beginning; in this interview we talk about how it developed.

Besides the link above, further info and resources are available on

We Discuss:

  • Starting it in 1978
  • The concerns at that time
  • Early source of funding
  • Profile of who is involved
  • The backyard
  • Reducing waste
  • Energy
  • Global urban farming
  • Being on the front page
  • and more


  • Aqueduct – The Suggestion Box
  • Eddie Vedder – Long Nights

bm269 Vertical Farming and the New Agricultural Revolution

There is more to urban farming than just growing crops on empty lots in cities. In fact, there is a type of urban farming that involves growing alot more food in tall buildings, making use of the latest innovations of crop growing and energy usage. My guest, Professor Dickson Despommier of Columbia Universty explains what vertical farming is why it is so important for the future of human existance.

The site for all information on Vertical Farming

We Discuss:

  • Types of crops that can be grown in vertical farms
  • Where would they be located
  • The costs
  • The end of flood or disease damage
  • Growing seasons in vertical farming
  • Funding and who is interested
  • Power and outside needs
  • Problem with regular urban farming


  • Tom Waits – Lost in the Harbor
  • Okkervil River – A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene

bm263 CityHarvest, Urban Farming in Bits and Pieces

Paula and Martin run a unique Urban Farm in Victoria, B.C., Canada. They don’t just manage one plot of land, their farm is scattered throughout various areas and its getting more and more popular.  In this interview Paula explains how it got started, their specific method of farming, and the growing popularity in their community and beyond.


Spin Farming


Roots -Rising Down

Mercedes Sosa – Es Sud America Mi Voz

Note: Im posting this podcast just as I leave for the airport en route to Thailand, so any errors or further details, will have to wait.

Farming On Either Side of Pond

The theme this season on the blog continues to be food; the cost, growing, and politics of food.  Recently, while preparing for my journey to Thailand (next week), I’ve noticed 2 big changes coming to the agricultural policies of both the US government and the European Union.  Which could spell a change in how our food is raised and from who and how we get that food.

On the US side there’s the Farm Bill, which was vetoed by GWBush but that veto was overturned by congress. An imperfect text which, as EWG analyists explain it:

throws a couple of small bones to a few grassroots causes but mainly ensures that the big dogs will continue to run agriculture – courtesy of the U.S. Treasury.

The only potentially positive development with this farm bill is that meat will have to be labelled for orgin in the US. Otherwise as indicated by the quote above, the bill will continue to pour money on big agribusinesses who, unfortunately, also play a roll in the nation’s obescity epidemic (through pushing big products like high fructose corn syrup).

Meanwhile in the EU, new policies are being rolled out in relation to farming.  Among their decisions, they’ve increased the size of what kind of farm qualifies as small and therefore deserving of EU funds to protect and preserve such farms.  They also reduced the amount of subsidies to be paid to large farms.

For all the buzz about food prices, it is of interest to see what these two governments decide when it comes to agriculture. Especially in a situation where so many farmers on both sides are paid to NOT farm, despite a global food shortage.