Visiting other farms is one of the great joys of being a farmer. That said, one only has so much time to spend hanging out on farms that aren’t your own. Luckily, a new generation of podcasts give the busy farmer a chance to visit many farms a week without leaving home. These brilliant, listen-on-your-own-time radio shows introduce audiences to new ideas, new strategies, new solutions and provide the next best thing to standing in the field with the farmer telling you their story.
I asked a few professional farmers to tell me which podcasts they couldn’t live without. Have a look, have a listen, and find one (or seven) that speaks to you.
Without a doubt one of the most influential podcasts out right now is the “Farmer to Farmer Podcast.” Chris Blanchard’s conversational interviews consistently leave the listener with a valuable new perspective on farming. Whether he’s speaking with a large organic grain farmer, a compost producer or an intensive vegetable grower, there is something—if not a lot of things—for every farmer to glean in every episode. Jason Hirtz of Box Turtle Farm in Mt. Vernon, Mo., says Farmer to Farmer “is the only farming podcast I listen to.” And indeed, almost every farmer asked listed Blanchard’s show among their favorites.
Another nearly unanimous farmer favorite is Jordan Marr’s “Ruminant Podcast” which, despite the name, focuses more on vegetable growing than livestock. As farmer and author Jean-Martin Fortier put it, it’s more for “us micro-scale growers.” Marr is a Certified Organic vegetable grower who is well-versed in all things farming, bringing soil science, certification and other ideas on the farming peripheral into the conversation in each episode. A great listen, reliably interesting and always educational.
With high recommendations also came the “Permaculture Voices” podcast in which Diego Footer interviews several of the most influential farmers of our time—Jean-Martin Fortier, Joel Salatin, Greg Judy and Curtis Stone, among others—and presents their ideas on a wide range of topics. In fact, Footer keeps up with his goings on of Curtis Stone, owner of Green City Acres in British Columbia, Canada, over the course of a year, checking in weekly and adding his own insightful commentary to bring each episode into the permaculture perspective.
Recommended by Shannon Jones of Broadfork Farm in Moseley, Va., this is one show so useful it definitely couldn’t be overlooked. In his podcast, host and farmer John Suscovich interviews a variety of farmers for what his site describes as a “weekly behind-the-scenes look at family farms from across the United States.” This podcast is a weekly dose of inspiration and an ever-growing catalog of valuable marketing and business ideas for farmers of any skill level. When looking to monetize your farm—or simply increase its viability—this is a must for your podcast queue.
There are few things more refreshing in a podcast than a charming personality except, perhaps, when there’s a lot of good knowledge behind that charm Farmer and host Ethan Book provides gobs of it, while offering the listener a candid look into his life, chronicling “the good, bad, and ugly of starting a farm from scratch.” At the end of each episode, Book gives the listener a “hard lesson learned,” anything from a story to an observation, but always something farmers of any skill level can relate to and learn from.
In three half-hour bursts a week, this incredible and prolific off-shoot of Urban Farm U is a powerhouse among farming podcasts. Host Greg Peterson, along with his wonderful array of guests, provides a new interview and a subsequently new perspective on urban farming in every episode. You will learn the ins and outs of beekeeping, bartering, composting, backyard chicken farming, permaculture, plant breeding and just about everything in between. A farmer favorite, and a great source of knowledge.
Hosted by Jackie Marie Beyer, “The Organic Gardener” podcast is an excellent, enthusiastic and entertaining glimpse into the lives of organic gardeners from all walks of life. From their Montana home, Jackie and her husband, Mike, put together an insightful interview week after week that will leave you inspired and ready for more. With her dedicated list of questions, it is always interesting to hear how many unique approaches there are to growing food.