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Elvira Di’Brigit on why we farm. Stories from growers of the Capay Valley


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A lot of my work at the moment is centered around building community and connecting people across Europe who are on a journey into regenerative agriculture. As I learn more and more about the farmers that I’m working with and their challenges and desires for the future I’m struck by the stories that unfold. Stories of legacy, perseverance, experimentation, recovery from adversity, hope, and so much more. As I work to gather and record these stories and to connect these people so we can better collaborate and support one another, I’ve been drawn to reflect on some of the past episodes in this podcast that featured the unique stories of growers and land stewards.

One of my favorite episodes that centered around telling the stories of farmers was with Elvira Di’Brigit, the author of the book “Why We Farm” which is an investigation into the whole truth about life as a modern day farmer. Viewed through the lens of the environment within the Capay Valley of northern California, each chapter features a different model of farming. In each profile, farmers share the stories behind their work and their lives on the farm; the business side of production, the personal challenges they face, and words of advice for the would-be-farmer. The book asks hard questions and gives a reverent yet realistic picture of a thriving local food system.

In this interview from back in season 1 of this show, Elvira talks about how she first came to the Capay Valley and her motivations behind wanting to live a farming lifestyle. We talk about how the farmers profiled in her book tell a larger story of modern farming in the United States, and even the trends and challenges facing the agricultural industry around the world. Elvira also gives a unique perspective into the growing community outreach that is strengthening the bonds in the valley and fostering a larger network of resilience that should be inspiring for anyone living in a rural community.

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