Talking Plants and People with Author and Professor, Liz Carlisle

Welcome to the Track & Food podcast. Host Jamie Mah is a writer, bartender and sommelier in beautiful Vancouver, BC. With co-host Mickey McLeod, they take regular deep dives into everything food and culture in the city and around the globe.

The book Healing Grounds – Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming came onto my radar while reading an interview with its author, Liz Carlisle, published last March by Civil Eats, an American news source focused on sustainable food systems. Carlisle, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, teaches food and farming at UC Santa Barbara.

Healing Grounds, her third book, tells stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American farmers who are reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food — techniques long suppressed by the industrial food system. These farmers are restoring native prairies, nurturing beneficial fungi, and enriching soil health. Through feeding their communities and revitalizing cultural ties to the land, they are also steadily stitching ecosystems back together and repairing the natural carbon cycle. According to Carlisle, this is the true regenerative agriculture – not merely a set of technical tricks, but a holistic approach that values diversity in both plants and people.

Having recently discovered the regenerative farming movement via another book, Eating to Extinction (author Dan Saladino was a Track & Food guest in February), I wondered where Carlisle’s narratives fell within its scope. In this episode, we dig deep into each chapter of Healing Grounds, to discuss how they unfolded, what she learned along the way, and how she came to adopt her book title’s double entendre. This is definitely one of my favourite interviews, so far, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy listening to it also.

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