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Oral History Transcripts

All of the audio recordings and transcripts of the oral histories collected in this project will be archived in the Wisconsin Historical Society's sustainable agriculture collection.  However, they want to process all the interviews at once, so they may not be available online until this project is complete. In the meantime, I have posted all of the transcripts I have collected so far on this website. Please contact the Wisconsin Historical Society if you are interested in streaming the audio.

 

Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson is the grandson of Paul Keene, the founder of Walnut Acres in Penns Creek, Pennsylvania. He was involved in the Walnut Acres business for twenty years, worked for Whole Foods in Chicago, and now works as a consultant for organic food companies. This interview was recorded over Zoom on January 11, 2023.

Harriet Behar

Harriet Behar is an organic farmer and advocate in Wisconsin. She has worked as a produce marketer for Organic Valley, an educator for the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and an organic inspector and has served on the National Organic Standards Board and various organic organizations. This interview was recorded over the phone on November 6, 2023.

 

John Biernbaum

John Biernbaum is a professor emeritus of horticulture at Michigan State University. He founded the MSU student organic farm and taught an organic farming course at MSU for 10 years. This interview was recorded in-person at his homestead near Haslett, Michigan on July 12, 2021.

 

George Bird

George Bird is a nematologist and professor emeritus at Michigan State University. He has been involved in the development of integrated pest management (IPM), sustainable agriculture, and soil health research. This interview was recorded in-person at his apple orchard near Holt, Michigan on July 12, 2021.

 

Brian Caldwell

Brian Caldwell is an organic farmer in upstate New York. He raised vegetables and apples organically, worked as an extension agent for Cornell University, and was a co-founder of the New York chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). This interview was recorded over the phone on November 8, 2022.

 

Mary-Ann Cateforis

Mary-Ann Cateforis is an organic gardener and nature lover. She was involved with the Eagle Heights Community Garden in Madison, Wisconsin and helped found the Bluegrass Organic and Consumers Association in Kentucky. This interview was recorded over Zoom on September 21, 2021.

Scott Chaskey

Scott Chaskey is an author, poet, and farmer who has been involved with organic farming since the 1980s. He was the farm manager of Quail Hill CSA in New York and has written several books, including This Common Ground, Seedtime, and Soil and Spirit. This interview was recorded over the phone on February 6, 2024.

 

Eliot Coleman

Eliot Coleman is one of the leading figures in organic vegetable production. He has been farming organically since the 1960s and developed season extension and winter vegetable production methods that are used by many organic vegetable growers in the Midwest and Northeast today. This interview was recorded over Zoom on January 24, 2022.

 

Jean-Paul Courtens

Jean-Paul Courtens is a biodynamic farmer at Philia Farm in Johnstown, New York. He studied biodynamic agriculture in the Netherlands, emigrated to the United States in the 1980s, and ran a 1500-share CSA at Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, New York. This interview was recorded over the phone on November 21, 2022.

 

Craig Cramer

Craig Cramer is a communications specialist in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. He was one of the founders of the New York chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) and and was the editorial director of the Rodale Institute’s magazine The New Farm from 1984 to 1995. This interview was recorded over Zoom on November 29, 2022.

Susan Futrell

Susan Futrell has been involved in natural and organic foods marketing and distribution in Iowa since the 1970s. She worked for Blooming Prairie Warehouse in Iowa City for 25 years, wrote a book on the apple growing business called Good Apples, and worked as the program director for Red Tomato in the Northeast. This interview was recorded over Zoom on June 11, 2021.

 

Terry and Jody Grundy (Part 1)

Jody Grundy (Part 2)

Jody and Terry Grundy went back to the land in the 1970s and learned organic gardening methods from Alan Chadwick. They founded Rural Resources in 1975 and helped found the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) in 1979. These two interviews were recorded in-person at their Cincinnati condo on July 8, 2021.

 

Joan Dye Gussow

Joan Dye Gussow is a nutritionist who has been interested in the ecological impact of food systems since the 1970s. She is a professor emeritus of nutrition and education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York and is the author of several books about nutrition and local food. This interview was recorded over the phone on December 1, 2022.

Karl Hakanson

Karl Hakanson works for the NRCS as an urban agriculture specialist in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He has been involved with grazing networks, organic farming, and best management practices in Wisconsin and Minnesota since the 1980s. This interview was recorded over the phone on September 26, 2023.

 

Joseph Heckman

Joseph Heckman is a professor of soil fertility at Rutgers University. He is a second-generation organic farmer, teaches organic crop production classes at Rutgers, and has done extensive research on the history of organic farming. This interview was recorded over Zoom on August 30, 2021.

 

Debbie Hillman

Debbie Hillman is an organic urban landscaper in Chicago. She has been active in many food policy groups in the Evanston, Illinois area, including the Evanston Food Policy Council. This interview was recorded over Zoom on June 24, 2021.

 

Shoshannah Inwood

Shoshannah Inwood is a rural sociologist professor at The Ohio State University. She interned at Malabar Farm in the 1990s, operated a CSA for several years, and is researching access to healthcare and childcare in rural areas. This interview was recorded over Zoom on August 26, 2021.

 

Dennis Keeney

Dennis Keeney is a professor emeritus of soil science at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was the first director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State. This interview was recorded in-person at his house in Madison, Wisconsin on June 22, 2021.

 

Debra Knapke

Debra Knapke is an organic landscaper in Columbus, Ohio. She applies organic farming and permaculture principles to landscaping and is active in the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). This interview was recorded in-person at her house in Columbus, Ohio on July 5, 2021.

 

Jack Knight

Jack Knight is an organic certification inspector in Iowa and neighboring states. He has inspected over 2,000 organic farms since 1999 and was involved at the beginning of Organic Valley. This interview was recorded in-person at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 21, 2021.

Altfrid Krusenbaum

Altfrid and Sue Krusenbaum ran an organic grass-based dairy farm in southeast Wisconsin for 26 years. Altfrid immigrated from Germany to the United States in the late 1980s and was involved in the development, education, and promotion of management intensive grazing and grazing-based dairy production in the 1990s. This interview was recorded over the phone on February 21, 2024.

 

Dan Lefever

Dan Lefever is a second-generation organic farmer in Virginia. His family operated an organic farm and natural food store in York County, Pennsylvania. He was involved with antinuclear activism, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), and an edible landscaping business in Pennsylvania. This interview was recorded over the phone on February 9, 2023.

 

Mary Lu Lageman

Mary Lu Lageman is an organic gardener and member of Grailville, a Catholic women’s organization near Loveland, Ohio. She was instrumental in getting the Grailville farm organically certified in the early 1990s and founded the Grailville CSA. This interview was recorded in-person at Grailville on July 7, 2021.

 

Mick Luber

Mick Luber is an organic farmer and certification inspector in southeast Ohio. He has been farming organically since the 1970s and was one of the founders of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). This interview was recorded in-person at Scott William’s house in Columbus, Ohio on July 6, 2021.

 

Rosie Massie

Rosie Massie grew up on an organic farm in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. Her family grew crops for Walnut Acres and was involved with the Pennsylvania organic community in the 1960s and 1970s. She continues to grow organic vegetables on her six-acre homestead. This interview was recorded over the phone on December 16, 2022.

Steven McFadden

Steven McFadden is a journalist who has been writing about organic farming since the 1980s. He was involved with the Temple-Wilton Community Farm, one of the first CSAs in the United States, has worked with Native American elders, and has written multiple books including Farms of Tomorrow, Farms of Tomorrow Revisited, Profiles in Wisdom: Native Elders Speak About the Earth, and Deep Agroecology. This interview was recorded over the phone on November 13, 2023.

Mac Mead

Mac Mead lives at Fellowship Community in Spring Valley, New York and has been involved with biodynamic farming since the 1970s. He managed the biodynamic farm at Fellowship Community for many years, helped found the Pfeiffer Center, and continues to teach biodynamic farming classes at Threefold Community Farm. This interview was recorded over the phone on April 2, 2024.

 

John Myer

John Myer is an organic grain farmer in Ovid, New York. He grew organic vegetables as a college student at Cornell University and transitioned his family’s farm to organic in the 1980s. He was one of the founders of the New York chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). This interview was recorded over the phone on November 17, 2022.

Anne and Eric Nordell

Anne and Eric Nordell run an organic horse-powered vegetable farm in northcentral Pennsylvania. They have been farming organically since the early 1980s, have been actively involved with PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, now Pasa Sustainable Agriculture), and have written farming articles for the Small Farmers Journal and other publications. This interview was recorded over the phone on February 29, 2024.

 

Steve Pincus

Steve Pincus is an organic vegetable grower in Evansville, Wisconsin. He was involved with food co-ops in Milwaukee, the Willy Street Co-op in Madison, and the Homegrown Wisconsin farmer marketing cooperative. This interview was recorded over the phone on December 2, 2022.

 

Rich Pirog

Rich Pirog was the director of the Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) at Michigan State University at the time of this interview; he retired in 2022. He served as education coordinator, marketing and food system leader, and associate director during his 20 years with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. This interview was recorded in-person at Valhalla Park in Holt, Michigan on July 12, 2021.

 

Leonard Pollara

Leonard Pollara is an organic certification inspector in New Jersey. He grew up on a small vegetable farm, became certified organic in the early 1990s, and became an inspector in 2010. This interview was recorded over Zoom on June 23, 2021.

Abigail Porter

Abigail Porter is the daughter of Josephine Porter, who worked closely with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer after attending her first biodynamic conference in 1947 and became the preparation maker and secretary-treasurer for the Biodynamic Association in 1956.  Abigail grew up in this biodynamic community, gardens biodynamically, and has written many articles for Applied Biodynamics, the publication of the Josephine Porter Institute. She consults and gives workshops for backyard gardeners. This interview was recorded over the phone on March 20, 2024.

Mark Retzloff

Mark Retzloff has been involved in the natural/organic foods industry since the late 1960s. He co-founded Eden Foods in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Rainbow Groceries and Alfalfa’s Markets in Colorado; Horizon Organics, and Aurora Organic Dairy. He was also one of the founders of the Organic Trade Association and helped lobby to pass the Organic Foods Production Act. This interview was recorded over the phone on December 11, 2023.

 

Harry Rhodes

Harry Rhodes is the executive director of the Food Animal Concerns Trust in Chicago. He has been involved in multiple food and agriculture organizations in Illinois and started a CSA and an urban farm in Chicago. This interview was recorded over Zoom on June 24, 2021.

 

Jim Riddle

From his owner-built, off-grid homestead, Jim Riddle raised organic produce and blue fruits, and has been involved in organic organizations since the 1980s. He helped found numerous organizations, including the Independent (now International) Organic Inspectors Association; helped shape the USDA organic standards; originated the organic certification cost share program; and served on the National Organic Standards Board. This interview was recorded over the phone on October 2, 2023.

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg is an organic vegetable grower and distributor in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was one of the founding members of Rural Resources, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), and a food co-op in Cincinnati. This interview was recorded in-person at Terry and Jody Grundy’s condo on July 9, 2021.

 

Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin is an organic livestock farmer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He has written several books on pasture-raised cattle, chickens, and hogs and offers educational programs at his farm. He is one of the most influential organic agriculture authors in the United States. This interview was recorded over Zoom on February 10, 2022.

 

Joe and Kay Scrimger

Joe and Kay Scrimger are retired organic crop farmers from Michigan’s Thumb region. They grew organic edible beans, ran a soil health consulting business, and were active members of the Thumb chapter of Organic Growers of Michigan (OGM), Organic Farmers of Michigan, and Michigan Thumb Organics. This interview was recorded in-person at their home in Battle Creek, Michigan on July 26, 2021.

Bob Scowcroft

Bob Scowcroft has been fundraising and advocating for organic farming since the 1980s. He was the first executive director of California Certified Organic Farmers, founded the Organic Farming Research Foundation, and has been involved with many other environmental and organic organizations. This interview was recorded over the phone on November 30, 2023.

James Silverthorne (original)

James Silverthorne (edited by James Silverthorne)

James Silverthorne was a horse breeder and trainer at his Three Hills Farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He worked on Josephine Porter’s nearby biodynamic farm and has been involved with ecological agriculture and wholistic + homeopathic veterinary care, 1972-2008. This interview was recorded over the phone on January 29, 2024.

Stan Slaughter

Stan Slaughter is a compost educator in Kansas City, Missouri. He has been educating children and adults about composting since the early 1990s and has developed a wide range of educational materials. He has also done work with local and regional food systems and urban gardening. This interview was recorded over the phone on January 22, 2024.

 

Ed Snavely

Ed Snavely is an organic hog farmer in southeast Ohio. He has been farming organically since 1986 and was involved in the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA). This interview was recorded in-person at Scott William’s home in Columbus, Ohio on July 6, 2021.

Bill Taylor and Jaye Moscariello

Bill Taylor and Jaye Moscariello run Floodgate Farm in Massachusetts, where they sell vegetables and value-added products. They have also been involved in educational work and host a farm and garden radio show. Bill started an urban orchards program with Earthworks in Boston in the 1990s and has grown organic produce in California and Massachusetts since 2002. This interview was recorded over the phone on February 14, 2024.

 

Ruth Tonachel

Ruth Tonachel is an agricultural writer and organic gardener. She worked for the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska and was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). This interview was conducted over the phone on November 9, 2022.

Vivian 

Vivian worked for Walnut Acres in Penns Creek, Pennsylvania for twenty years. She worked in the customer accounts and produce divisions and was the manager of the store when Walnut Acres closed in 2000. This interview was recorded over the phone on March 21, 2023.

 

Jim Wedeberg and Julia Ugo

Jim Wedeberg and Julia Ugo are affiliated with Organic Valley. Jim is a dairy farmer in Crawford County, Wisconsin and was one of the founders of CROPP Cooperative and Organic Valley. Julia grew up on a dairy farm in Vernon County, Wisconsin and has been working at Organic Valley since 2008. This interview was recorded in-person at the Organic Valley headquarters in LaFarge, Wisconsin on October 19, 2021.

 

Scott Williams (original)

Scott Williams (edited by Scott Williams)

Scott Williams has been involved with food cooperatives and the natural food movement since the 1970s. He was one of the founders of the Federation of Ohio River Cooperatives (FORC) and has been part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) since its beginning in 1979. This interview was recorded in-person at his home in Columbus, Ohio on July 6, 2021.

Brad Wilson

Brad Wilson has been involved with farm justice and sustainable agriculture work in Iowa since the 1980s. He was the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement representative to the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and has done independent research on farm justice, the Farm Bill, and sustainable agriculture. This interview was recorded over the phone on October 18, 2023.

 

Richard Wood

Richard Wood is a former executive director of Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) in Chicago. He was involved in numerous sustainable agriculture organizations, including Illinois Impact, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and FACT. This interview was recorded over Zoom on June 28, 2021.

Sarah Yoder

Sarah Yoder grew up in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania near Walnut Acres. Her mother baked bread for Walnut Acres from 1960 to 1980, and their family also made apple butter and strawberry jelly for Walnut Acres. This interview was recorded over the phone on July 13, 2023.

 

Kenn Zimmerman

Kenn Zimmerman is an organic crop and seed farmer in northeast Indiana. He was one of the founding members of the Indiana chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) and started an organic seed cleaning business and a colored corn breeding program. This interview was recorded in-person at his Craigville, Indiana farm on July 5, 2021.

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