Down to Earth

Jessica Chiartas is a PhD soil bio-geochemist who’s working to catalyze the transition from “conventional” to regenerative agriculture. She’s a postdoctoral researcher at the Innovation Institute for Food and Health at UC Davis and fellow with Food Shot Global, and is UC Davis partner for the California Farm Demonstration Network. She’s lead Soil Scientist at Kiss the Ground, and the founder of Soil Life Services and a new project called Soil Life.
On this podcast we talk about her work with Regen1, a California-based organization whose goal is to “transition one million acres in northern California to regenerative by 2025 and build an adaptive framework that scales worldwide.” Jessica explains the complexity and challenges of doing this work.

2’58 the many benefits of regenerative agriculture
6’39 what Regen1 is about
12’53 farmers need much specific technical assistance in order to get started
15’25 the cost and risk to farmers of changing their practices, and ways of mitigating risk
17’29 “climate smart commodities”
19’39 the role of the “middleman”
20’47 the price of food
23’19 what are public-private partnerships in the food system
24’27 California Farm Demonstration Network
26’44 consumers voting with their dollars
28’32 the price of regeneratively produced food currently higher…what’s the solution
31’56 how do consumers know how and where to put pressure
32’59 good to know who you’re buying your food from
35’51 using emoticon-like tools to learn more about the farmer
37’46 certifications and labels are a substitute for trust and connection, but there are many technologies that can help verify regenerative practices
42’36 what about regulatory frameworks that incentivize and require regenerative practices
43’45 we are facing existential crises on many levels, and we need to come together to make the necessary changes
46’05 look at getting rid of subsidies for unhealthy agriculture
49’48 what is the carbon sequestration potential of soil
50’53 using monitoring networks
54’21 soil can sequester carbon, but measuring it is costly.
57’19 soil loss is a huge and underrated problem
58’34 farmers as not only producers but as stewards of the environment