Biodynamics Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition Podcast (general)










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Show Notes are at

Welcome to Episode 43 of the Biodynamics Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett Today's guest is Elvira DiBrigit, author of "Why We Farm: Stories from Farmers of the Copay valley." An expert in sustainable living and farming, Elvira has profiled more than a dozen small, family farms in Northern California's Copay Valley in an insightful collection that shines a spotlight on the challenges and rewards of independent farming in the 21st century.

Capay Valley is a narrow slice of farmland nestled in the mountains of Northern California, just north of Napa. The area is home to more than 60 organic farms, one of the highest concentrations in the country. The rich soil produced by the rivers and creeks in the area provides ideal conditions for wine, fruits and vegetables and a booming olive oil crop

In 2000 Elvira Di'Brigit moved her family to Capay Valley, where her passionate interest in sustainable living took hold. While teaching she explored curricula surrounding farming, environmental preservation and nutrition - all in support of sustainable living. She is the editor of and the author of WHY WE FARM. She also serves on the organizing committee for the Hoes Down Harvest Festival, a fund-raiser for the Ecological Farming Association. Elvira holds a BA in international relations from UC Davis, a teaching credential and a Waldorf/Steiner Teaching Certificate. She lives in Rumsey, CA with her husband and 3 children. An expert in sustainable living and farming, Elvira has profiled more than a dozen small, family farms in an insightful collection that shines a spotlight on the challenges and rewards of independent farming in the 21st century. The small/family farm was becoming an anachronism two decades ago, but the surge of public interest in organic and "locally-grown" food has inspired a new generation to explore farming and self-sustainability. The Capay Valley farming culture is a phenomenal example of how this once dying profession has taken on new life; Elvira Di'Brigit and her book, WHY WE FARM: Stories from Farmers of The Capay Valley, highlight the diversity of business models that have brought success to a myriad of 21st century farm. Capay Valley is a narrow slice of farmland nestled in the mountains of Northern California, just north of Napa. The area is home to more than 60 organic farms, one of the highest concentrations in the country. The rich soil produced by the rivers and creeks in the area provides ideal conditions for wine, fruits and vegetables and a booming olive oil crop. From Full Belly Farm – a 350 acre farm founded in 1985 as a pioneer in organic and sustainable farming – to the tiny 1 acre Cache Creek Lavender Farm, the farmers in the Capay Valley are a microcosm of 21st century sustainability and provide the lion's share of organic and toxin-free food and product to San Francisco's booming farm-to-table restaurants and neighborhood farmers' markets.

Elvira Di'Brigit has investigated and chronicled the production of real food while living in farming communities throughout Northern California and Hawaii. She and her family moved to the Capay Valley seventeen years ago and Elvira began teaching the children of local farmers, which allowed her to gain an insider’s view of farming as a business.

Direct download: BDNOW043ElviraDiBridgitWhyWeFarm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42am EST

Welcome to Episode 32 of the biodynamics now Investigative Farming and Restorative nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett.

Our guest today is Dmitry Orlov, author of Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies That Limit Our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom

Shrinking the Technosphere is both a critique of the negative effects of technology on life on earth and is a guide to walk readers through the process of bringing technology down to a manageable number of carefully chosen controllable elements. It is about regaining the freedom to use technology for our own benefit, and is recommended reading for all who seek to get back to a point where technologies assist us rather than control us.

The show notes for today's conversation are at

If you appreciate hearing programs on topics as important as this one, please take the time to leave The Biodynamics Now! podcast a positive review on iTunes, there's a link at the show notes

Direct download: BDNow032DmitryOrlovShrinkingTheTechnoSphere.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm EST

Peter Burke has been teaching garden classes since 2006, when he started presenting workshops on Indoor Salad Gardening, Square Foot Gardening, Extending the Garden Season, and many more techniques that empower gardeners. He also started the website to support the need for specialized seeds for Indoor Salad Gardening. Peter lives and gardens in Calais, Vermont, with his family.

His book is on Chelsea Green. It's called:
Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens

This book is an inviting guide for both !rst-time and experienced gardeners in rural and urban environments. No matter what size home you live in, there’s room for a garden of soil sprouts. In fact, Burke has grown up to six pounds of greens per day using just the windowsills in his kitchen and mudroom. Soil sprouts are also an engaging project for kids and can be used in the classroom to teach students basic educational concepts like math and science.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers detailed step-by-step instructions to mastering Burke’s method (hint: you can’t mess this up), including tools and accessories to have on hand, seeds and greens varieties, soil and compost, trays and planters, shelving, harvest and storage, recipes, scaling up to serve local markets, and much more.

As we look to become more sustainable and self-sufficient, Burke believes this is one small step we can all make and be rewarded for the effort. Give soil sprouts a try and discover the fun and productive world of indoor salad gardening.

Forget about grow lights and heat lamps. Soil sprouts are the easiest and
most productive way to grow salad greens “ all year long. ”

Growing “Soil Sprouts”—Burke’s own descriptive term for sprouted seeds grown in soil as opposed to in jars—employs a method that encourages a long stem without expansive roots, and provides delicious salad greens in less than 10 days. Of all the ways to grow immature greens, soil sprouts are the easiest and most productive technique requiring the least amount of work. The secret: start them in the dark. The result: healthy, homegrown salad greens at a fraction of the cost of buying them at the market.

Direct download: BDNOW026PeterBurkeYearAroundIndoorSaladGardening.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EST

BD Now! Podcast 015 Dr. Kate Rheaume Bleue: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox

The secret to avoiding calcium-related osteoporosis and atherosclerosis

While millions of people take calcium and Vitamin D supplements thinking they're helping their bones, the truth is, without the addition of Vitamin K2, such a health regimen could prove dangerous. Without Vitamin K2, the body cannot direct calcium to the bones where it's needed; instead, the calcium resides in soft tissue (like the arteries)—leading to a combination of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, or the dreaded "calcium paradox." This is the first book to reveal how universal a Vitamin K2 deficiency is, and the risk (in the form of cancer and diabetes, among other ailments) the absence of Vitamin K2 poses.

Written by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a popular health expert on Canadian television and radio, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox sounds a warning about the popularity of the calcium and Vitamin D craze, while illustrating the enormous health benefits of Vitamin K2 in making the body less susceptible to dental cavities, heart disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, diabetes, wrinkles, obesity, varicose veins, and other ailments.

The book demystifies this obscure supernutrient—a fat soluble vitamin that humans once thrived on, ignored by scientists for almost seventy years

  • Details how the consumption of grass-fed animals led to adequate Vitamin K2 intake—while grain-based animal feed helped eradicate Vitamin K2 from our diets
  • Describes how doctors are raising recommended doses of calcium and Vitamin D—without prescribing Vitamin K2
  • Details more damning facts about transfats—and how the creation of a synthetic Vitamin K interfered with the body's Vitamin K metabolism

An essential book for anyone interested in bone health, or maintaining their overall health, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox is the guide to taking the right combination of supplements—and adding Vitamin K2 to a daily regimen.


Publisher's Press Release

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life

Are you taking calcium or vitamin D? This news could save your life. Millions of people take calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone health, but recent research shows that this can actually increase the risk of heart attack and stroke as the added calcium builds up in arteries.

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life is the revealing new book that explains the secret to keeping bones strong and arteries clear with vitamin K2, a little-known super-nutrient that humans once thrived on and that has been ignored by scientists for almost 70 years.

Written by Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, a popular health expert on Canadian television and radio, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox sounds a warning about the popularity of the calcium and vitamin D craze while illustrating the enormous health benefits of vitamin K2 in making the body less susceptible to osteoporosis, heart disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, diabetes, wrinkles, obesity, varicose veins, and other ailments.

  • How much vitamin K2 is needed and how to get it;
  • Why vitamin D and calcium must be supplemented by vitamin K2;
  • The health benefits of vitamin K2, including straight, cavity-free teeth, fewer wrinkles, cancer prevention and strong bones in children;
  • Which delicious “sinful” foods are brimming with heart-healthy vitamin K2 vitamin;
  • How vitamin K2 plays a role in healing almost every major disease of our day;
  • Vitamin K2 as the ultimate anti-aging vitamin;
  • The recent studies on Alzheimer’s and how vitamin K2 may slow or prevent this disease.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Chapter 1: The Calcium Paradox 1

Why you need to read this book, whether or not you take calcium supplements 4

Osteoporosis: Calcium deficiency 5

Atherosclerosis: Calcium excess 8

Why vitamin D won't save us from the Calcium Paradox 10

How vitamin K2 comes to the rescue 12

The calcium cycle of life 18

We all need more: Vitamin K2 deficiency is widespread 19

Chapter 2: The Undiscovery and Rediscovery of Vitamin K2 23

A brief history of vitamin K: A tale of two nutrients 24

The mysterious activator X 27

Finally understanding vitamin K2 after 70 years: What it is and isn't 39

Vitamin K1: Greens and clotting 41

Vitamin K1 deficiency is rare and obvious 43

Vitamin K2: Animal fat and calcium metabolism 44

Vitamin K2 deficiency is common and invisible 45

Vitamin K2: A new essential nutrient 47

Chapter 3 – How Much Vitamin K2 Do We Need, and How Do We Get It? 49

The lack of vitamin K2 in our diet: What went wrong? 50

The grass-fed vitamin 53

The pastured egg hunt 56

Ghee and butter oil from grass-fed cows 61

Yet another reason to avoid trans fat 63

Two types of vitamin K2 65

Natto, the slimy superfood 69

Recommended vitamin K2 intake 74

Vitamin K2 from supplements 76

Vitamin K2: Friend or foe of blood-thinning medications? 80

Chapter 4: Vitamin K2: The Ultimate Antiaging Vitamin 85

The triage theory of aging 86

Vitamin K2 for heart health 89

Rethinking cholesterol 90

Atherosclerosis: Plaque accumulation 92

What really causes heart disease? 95

Vitamin K2 trumps K1 for heart health 96

You can reverse heart disease 97

How much is enough? 100

Even more evidence for vitamin K2 and heart health 100

Vitamin D deficiency: Another risk factor for cardiovascular disease 102

Vitamin K2: Building better bones 102

The renovation of you 103

Calcium alone is not enough 104

Vitamin K2: The missing link for bone health 106

Testing for your vitamin K2 levels 109

Vitamin K2 for Alzheimer's disease 110

Vitamin K2 for wrinkle prevention 114

The way we were 115

Vitamin K2 for healthy veins 117

Aging well with vitamin K2 119

Chapter 5: Even More Health Benefits of Vitamin K2 121

Vitamin K2 for diabetes 122

Vitamin K2 for arthritis 126

K2 for brain and neurologic health 127

Vitamin K2 for cancer prevention 129

Vitamin K2 for kidney disease 137

Vitamin K2 for fertility 138

Vitamin K2 for normal facial development 140

Vitamin K2 for easier labor 147

Vitamin K2 for strong bones 150

Vitamin K2 for dental health 151

Anatomy of a tooth 152

Chapter 6: Measuring Your Vitamin K2 Levels 161

Undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) tests 163

Bone density scanning 168

Tracking your plaque 172

Chapter 7: Vitamins K2, A and D: Better Together 181

A, D and K2: A balancing act 182

Understanding vitamin A 185

Understanding vitamin D 204

Are vitamins A and D hormones? 219

What about vitamin E? 221

Chapter 8: Toward a New Definition of Nutritious 225

Defining a healthy diet 229

A whole grain of truth 230

Calcium and magnesium 233

Endnotes 237

Index 267



Crusading American tea importer David Lee Hoffman supports China's endangered organic farmers by searching out fine, chemical-free teas for sale to the American quality tea market, a market of Mr Hoffman's creation.

Mr. Hoffman, who has been called the Indiana Jones of tea, may be the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. But the county has issues with the 30 or so structures he has built over the years.

"My love of the planet is greater than my fear of the law" David Lee Hoffman

He's been called "The Indiana Jones of Tea" by nothing less than The New York Times, more accurately, though, he's the best candidate I've seen for the title of "The Worlds Most Interesting Man." 

Here's just a few of his qualifications for that title:

As a young man, invented a unique sonic cleaning system for cleaning valueable ancient textiles, artifacts and fine art that is used to this day by major museums

Spent over 10 years as a consciencous objecter wandering over 100 countries

He was amongst the first Americans to visit the remote Tibetan kingdom of Dolpo.

In the early 1960s, Hoffman befriended the Dalai Lama while living in Dharamshala, India. Several Tibetan monks have contributed to the construction and creation of Hoffman's eastern-inspired sustainable research center in Lagunitas, California, which he calls "The Last Resort".[1]

Met and became a friend of  His Holiness, the Dali Lama while living in Dharamshala, India

Started the first quality tea companies in America and pretty much started the modern Tea Movement in the US, single handed finding quality artisinal organic teas in remote areas of China (well before China loosened up), importating them in the US and then conducting 'tea tastings' across the country promoting knowledge of team among Americans and awakening many of today's tea gurus to the wonders of quality tea

He became known in China as the “the American Pu-erh Tea King"

Sold his tea company and started growing heirloom grains and doing artisinal baking. 

Started a new tea company for which he hunts for teas, imports and sell wholesale and direct over the internet

 He is the subject of filmmaker Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht’s 2007 documentary All In This Tea

 As an architect he designed and continues to build THE LAST RESORT, an environmental model of sustainable and harmonious living that attempts to assimilate both natural methods from the past with modern know-how to create a living system that effectively demonstrates possibilities of thriving in a non-polluting healthy environment. Its mission is to discover and perfect practical low-cost sustainable methods for waste management, water re-use, and food security.

 Was trained by acrobats from Circques Sole on how to safely install tiles on the highest roof 

  Several Tibetan monks  contributed to the construction and creation of "The Last Resort"

  Probably the the most interesting: Marin County wants over $200,000 from David Lee Hoffman right now to pay for 40 years of failing to get permits for his projects - - or licensing for his tea businesses

Direct download: 14_BDNowPodcastEpisode014DAVIDLEEHOFFMANteaexplorer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Mark Shepard is an agriforester and permaculturist He founded and manages Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm an 106-acre commercial scale perrennial agricultural ecosystem that was converted  to a self suffecient food forest from a row-crop annual grain farm.

Trained in mechanical enigineering and ecology, Mark has combined these two passions to develop equpment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest-derived agricultural products for human foods and biofuel. Mark is a certified permacultlure designer  who took his training directly from permaculture founder Bill Mollison .  As a student of Mollison, Mark brings a robust masculinty into his permaculture work, working with the larger patterns of the land rather than focusing on the rather dainty features that are often put  forward  by American permies.

Mark teaches agroforestry and permacluture around the world. He lives with his family in Richland County Wisconsin Mark is the author of Restoration Agriculture, Real World Permaculture for Farmers which was published by ACRES USA this past year. It's a remarkable work of agricultural writing, one that I hope everyone will make the time to read in the near future.  You can pick up a copy from Amazon through the show notes at

I want to thanks Anders Skarlin bdnow and Steve Diver of bdnow and for submitting questions for Mark that made this conversation more valuable for everyone. 

As usual, if you'd like to hear more of these podcasts, please take the time to leave a positive comment at or at the bdnow podcast page at itunes which you can link to through the show notes at

Around the globe most people get their calories from annual agriculture - plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs - in your own backyard, farm or ranch. This book, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future.

Direct download: 13_BDNowPodcastEpisode013MarkShephardRestorationAgriculture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm EST

Peg Shafer and Jean Giblette are two of the most important Asian Medicianal herb growers and teacher in North America

Peg Schafer is the author of the  wonderful Chelsea Green book The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator's Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production Including chapters on cultivation as well as herb quality, conservation, and medicinal use. Pegs website is full of resource links for herbalists and horticulturists. (in fact there a link to  a complete course in medicinal herb production taught by Peg and Jean through the University of New Mexico and it's free!)

Jean Giblette is a medicinal plant grower, an Asian medicinal plant conservationist, a teacher, an investigator in Chinese medicinal plant production research, and contributor to Mending the Web of Life: Chinese Medicine and Species Conservation. She can be reached at

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

A leading light in the field of medicinal herb cultivation, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is the first cultivation guide of its kind, and presents invaluable information for growers interested in producing high-quality efficacious herbs in all climates of the US, with the historical connectedness of ancient practitioners.

It has become increasingly important-especially as the market for herbal medicine continues to grow-that we transition to local and domestic medicinal cultivation. Increasingly there are concerns in regards to not only the quality but the purity of imported herbs, and wild herbs picked for medicinal purposes are ever more endangered than in past years both at home and abroad.

Peg Schafer, longtime grower and teacher, guides readers with information on propagating, cultivating, and harvesting Chinese herbs, and presents fascinating new scientific data that reveal the age-old wisdom of nature and the traditional systems of Chinese medicine. Through 79 detailed herb profiles--all tested and trialed on Schafer's certified organic farm-Schafer offers easy-to-follow information, suitable for both growers and practitioners, for growing efficacious wild-simulated herbs. Also included is important information on species conservation, crop integration, and how to avoid the introduction of invasive species. Sidebars on traditional medicinal uses for each herb and delicious recipes are also featured throughout.

Vegetable and CSA farmers will find this book of great interest for adding value-added crops to their repertoire, and beginner growers looking to incorporate medicinals into their gardens will find this an invaluable guide to understanding where herbal medicine comes from, and will make eating-your-medicine more accessible than ever. <Chelsea Green>

BDnow_007 Dr Rob Dunn evolutionary biologist and author of The Wild Life of Our Bodies

We came to Rob Dunn and his astounding book through Dr Al Kapuler’s (See BDNow! Podcast episode 3) enthusiastic recommendations. Dr Dunn makes it pretty clear that our bodies are ‘who we are’ and our minds are ‘who we think we are.’ While our minds have evolved to live in the 21st century, our bodies are pretty much stuck at the point they were in evolution before the neolithic, before civilization. Our mind’s recent requirement for ‘cleanliness’ is denying our old fashion bodies of many of the synergies we co-evolved with. Dr. Kapuler was very impressed by how Dr Dunn explains that our ancestors’ experiences with saber-toothed tigers still colors our psyche and explains much of our current foreign policy. Dr Dunn’s explanations on how a host of modern ailments, such as Chrone’s disease and many allergies, are probably due to the absence of parasites in our bowels. More to the point, he encourages us to “re-Wild” our insides for better health and performance here in the sterilized and monocropped 21st century.
from the publisher:
A biologist shows the influence of wild species on our well-being and the world and how nature still clings to us—and always will.

We evolved in a wilderness of parasites, mutualists, and pathogens, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies and try to remove whole kinds of life—parasites, bacteria, mutualists, and predators—to allow ourselves to live free of wild danger. Nature, in this new world, is the landscape outside, a kind of living painting that is pleasant to contemplate but nice to have escaped.

The truth, though, according to biologist Rob Dunn, is that while “clean living” has benefited us in some ways, it has also made us sicker in others. We are trapped in bodies that evolved to deal with the dependable presence of hundreds of other species. As Dunn reveals, our modern disconnect from the web of life has resulted in unprecedented effects that immunologists, evolutionary biologists, psychologists, and other scientists are only beginning to understand. Diabetes, autism, allergies, many anxiety disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even tooth, jaw, and vision problems are increasingly plaguing bodies that have been removed from the ecological context in which they existed for millennia.

In this eye-opening, thoroughly researched, and well-reasoned book, Dunn considers the crossroads at which we find ourselves. Through the stories of visionaries, Dunn argues that we can create a richer nature, one in which we choose to surround ourselves with species that benefit us, not just those that, despite us, survive.

Rob Dunn is an assistant professor in the department of zoology at the North Carolina State University, as well as an up-and-coming science popularizer. His work appears in Natural History, Scientific American, BBC Wildlife, and Seed magazines. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Direct download: 07_BDNow_007_Rob_Dun_author_of__The_Wild_Life_of_our_Bodies_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am EST

BDNow! 004 Steven McFadden CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Historian, Author of "The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century" and Reiki Master

We talk to author Steven McFadden about the Community Supported Agriculture Movement.

the following is  from

Steven McFadden

Chiron Communications is essentially a conceptual umbrella to unify my diverse work as a writer, speaker, counselor, healer, and also a partner in Good Medicine Consulting.

I'm the author of twelve non-fiction books, including: Legend of the Rainbow Warriors; Profiles in Wisdom; The Little Book of Native American Wisdom; Teach Us To Number Our Days; Farms of Tomorrow; and Farms of Tomorrow Revisited; Tales of the Whirling Rainbow: Authentic Myths & Mysteries for 2012.

I'm also the author of an epic, nonfiction saga of North America: Odyssey of the 8th Fire.

As of 2012 my most active blog is The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century, to support the book of the same title, now in a greatly expanded second edition.

I founded Chiron Communications in the 1980s, but rested the enterprise in the 1990s to serve as National Coordinator for the annual Earth Day Celebration (1993) and later as director of The Wisdom Conservancy at Merriam Hill Education Center in Greenville, New Hampshire.
A Reiki Master of long standing, I have taught the Reiki healing techniques to hundreds of students across North and Central America. It was my privilege to help John Harvey Gray and Lourdes Gray, Ph.D. write Hand to Hand: The Longest Practicing Reiki Master Tells His Story.
I maintain an active interest in farming and gardening in general, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in particular; I've reported on the growth and development of CSA in America since its inception in 1986.

BDNow! 003 Dr Alan Kapuler, Public Domain Plant Breeder

An interview with Public Domain Plant Breeder Dr Alan Kapuler. Dr Kapuler is the founder of Seeds of Change and the founder/proprieter of Peace Seeds.

Direct download: 03_BDNow_003_Dr_Alan_Kapuler_Public_Domain_Plant_Breeder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53pm EST