LU selected as this year’s “Griz Read” to be read by all incoming University of Montana students

From the University of Montana website:

The purpose of the Griz Read is to provide new students with a common connection through a thought-provoking book. Each year, a committee of faculty, staff, and students select a book from nominations submitted by the campus community.
All members of the campus community, especially first-year students, are encouraged to read the book and participate in Griz Read events. First-year students are invited to participate in the Griz Read events and essay contest.

We believe that books forge powerful bonds and we are excited to begin the campus discussion this year!

More info about Lentil Underground Griz Read events and in September (and the essay contest) here:

We Made Food Network’s Best Food in America!

Here’s a great story of grassroots collaboration:

Local organic farmers grew the lentils, chickpeas, and heritage grains;

A local farmer-owned business cleaned and distributed them;

A local chef featured them in creative dishes;

A local independent journalist and photographer captured their beauty.

And that’s how the Lentil Underground made it into Food Network’s Best Food in America!  (See slide 22)

Congratulations to all of you: Timeless Natural Food growers and staff, Chef Claudia Galofre-Krevat, and Photographer Lynn Donaldson for this well deserved nod from the Food Network!

Key Message for the Trump Era: Sustainable Agriculture = Green Jobs

From the Organic Broadcaster (a MOSES publication):

Agriculture needs sustainable ‘belowground ecology’

By Liz Carlisle

As evidenced by the recent presidential election, the economy is on everyone’s mind. Old binaries pitting environment against economy (a battle the environment will always lose) are back in vogue. It’s up to the sustainable agriculture community to spread the good news that there is a hopeful third way: we can create green jobs with “triple bottom line” businesses that prioritize people and the planet as well as profits.

Triple bottom line businesses focused on sustainable agriculture are a hot topic in Silicon Valley, where I moved a year ago to take up a teaching position at Stanford University. For entrepreneurial types, it’s hard not to get excited by the steady growth of the organic sector and seemingly insatiable public hunger for its products. But what is often underappreciated is the underlying framework needed for truly sustainable agriculture. Just as a successful crop relies on the health of what’s underground, a successful business relies on a similar “belowground ecology” of supportive policies, infrastructure, and social movements.

As an example, a Montana business I’ve written about, Timeless Natural Food, strives to build a stable, premium market for ecologically appropriate rotation crops (mostly pulses like lentils and chickpeas), so that farmers can afford to grow them. They’ve been pretty successful, and I think they were critical catalysts in the move toward pulse crop rotation in Montana, which has created dramatic changes on the landscape. There happened to be a USDA Agricultural Census the year that Timeless was founded, 1987, so we know that Montana lentil acreage at that time was 1,979. By the 2012 census it was up to 198,741—a hundred-fold increase! That’s a lot of farmers who have added a nitrogen-fixing crop into a rotation that was likely just wheat/fallow or wheat/barley/fallow a couple decades ago.

But Timeless Natural Foods didn’t do it alone. To imagine that the costs of transitioning to sustainable agriculture across the American Heartland can be borne by individual small businesses is asking too much, and it’s a setup for well-meaning businesses to fail as they try to support environmental and social goods on their own. Farming is a hybrid public/private activity—the public needs to participate in incentivizing agriculture’s potential for public benefits, like healthy rural economies, healthy watersheds, carbon sequestration, and access to healthy food.

That’s why underneath any solid triple bottom line, there must be an underground teeming with activity by social movements like that spurred by Montana’s Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO). This nonprofit citizens’ organization, with funding from foundations like Kellogg, incubated 120 Farm Improvement Clubs that trialed and refined the sustainable farming practices that Timeless Natural Food now recommends to its growers. AERO also lobbied for a bill that would create a formal definition of “organic” in Montana, so they could market their products to consumers looking for this designation—and then lobbied for the state to create a certification program. AERO was among the groups that pushed for crop insurance to stop incentivizing monocultures and start covering “alternative” crops that were key to sustainable rotations. And, they’ve helped organize eaters and parents into a force for change in the Montana food system, which now has a strong farm-to-school movement.

If you’re reading the Organic Broadcaster, you no doubt know about the importance of this kind of patient change work, and you’ve likely been doing it longer than I’ve even been aware of it! Our challenge now is to define this work as the very essence of creating a “good business climate,” especially in the next four years.

I hope to see you next month at the MOSES Conference where we’ll explore ways to grow the belowground ecology of the organic and sustainable
farming movement.

Liz Carlisle is a teacher at Stanford University, and author of Lentil Underground. She will be the keynote speaker Saturday, Feb. 25 at the MOSES Conference.

Link to this article on the MOSES website

Events this fall in Wyoming, Kansas, and Saskatchewan

We’re honored to have been invited to speak with fellow groups of innovative sustainable farmers this fall!

In October, Liz and Dave head to Wyoming, with stops in Cody and at Northwest College in Powell.

In November, Dave keynotes at Organic Connections in Regina, Saskatchewan, and Liz will speak as well.  Later in the month, Liz will speak at the Kansas Rural Center’s Farm and Food Conference.

Check the events page for more information on all of these events — and stay tuned for details on Liz’s February keynote at MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) in Wisconsin!

Green Prize for Sustainable Literature

Lentil Underground just won a Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, joining such company as Bill McKibben’s Eaarth, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, Van Jones’ The Green Collar Economy, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, and Dan Barber’s The Third Plate. Thanks to the Santa Monica Public Library and the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment for this tremendous honor.

New York City Food Policy Center “20 Good Food Reads”

Lentil Underground is on this list!  And we’re in good company:

“The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College has created a list of 20 good food reads that are sure to whet your appetite. If you are looking for a textbook or a cookbook, look no further. Our list spans topics from food waste to the politics of soda to cooking on a budget of four dollars a day.”

Feb 23 – Paperback Release and Radio Tour

This Tuesday, February 23, the paperback of Lentil Underground will be available in your local independent bookstore (if you don’t have a local independent bookstore, you can order from Powell’s).

And in celebration, Liz Carlisle will be on the radio nationwide.  Here’s the radio tour schedule, with links for listening online.  Please note that some appearances are taped for later airing, so you’ll have to check the station website for airing times:

*Special Early Bird Appearance on Monday, Feb 22*

9:06am (MST) KPCW 91.9 FM, Park City UT, “Mountain Money” with Larry Warren & Doug Wells [Live]

Tuesday, Feb 23

9:00am (EST) WDYK 100.5 FM, Cumberland MD, “The Magic Morning Show” with Amanda Mangan-Rebert [Taped]

8:10am (CST) WBEL 1380 AM, Janesville WI, “Big Radio News” with Ted Ehlen [Live]

9:30am (EST) WHMP 96.9 FM, Springfield MA, “The Bill Newman Show” with Bill Newman & Monte Belmonte [Live]

9:45am (EST) WKNY 1490 AM, Kingston NY, “Mornings with Warren Lawrence” [Live]

9:00am (CST) KKVI 89.9 FM, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, “The Valder Beebe Show” [Live]

10:10am (EST) WNDB 1150 AM, Daytona Beach FL, “Morning Drive” with Al Smith [Taped]

10:20am (EST) WFIN 1330 AM, Toledo OH, “Good Mornings!” with Chris Oaks [Taped]

9:35am (CST) “The Green Divas Radio Show” with Megan McWilliams (online) [Taped]

10:00am (CST) KMBH 88 FM, Brownsville/McAllen, TX, “Good Books Radio” with John Cook [Taped]

8:30am (PST) Napa Broadcasting, Napa CA, “Conversations with Jeff Schechtman” [Taped]

9:05am (PST) Jefferson Public Radio, Medford OR, “Jefferson Exchange” with Geoffrey Riley [Live]

10:00am (PST) KJAQ 96.5 FM, Seattle-Tacoma WA, “Community Matters” with Lee Callahan [Taped]

2:00pm (EST) Heritage Radio Network, Brooklyn NY, “Sharp & Hot” with Chef Emily Peterson (online) [Live]

*Special Encore Appearance on Thursday, Feb 25*

12:30pm (CST) WCGO 1590 AM (and syndicated), Chicago IL, “Voices of Dissent” with Melissa Smith & Dan Gregory [Taped]