5x15 and Groundswell on the story of soil
David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs. His most recent book is Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life; his books have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Seattle with his wife, and co-author, Anne Biklé.
Tim Spector is a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London and honorary consultant physician at Guy's and St Thomas’ Hospitals. He is a multi-award- winning expert in personalised medicine and the gut microbiome, and the author of four books, including the bestselling The Diet Myth. He appears regularly on TV and radio around the world, and has written for the Guardian, BMJ, and many other publications.
Tim Spector plays a pivotal role in the fight against Covid 19 by supporting the NHS with the creation of a Covid 19 Tracker App and implementation of an innovative research project to slow the outbreak of the disease and identify those at risk sooner. Millions of people joined the app during the first few days providing scientists in the UK and around the world with a vital platform to study the disease and allocate resources where most needed.
Gabe Brown is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement which focuses on the regeneration of our resources. Gabe, along with his wife Shelly, and son Paul, own and operate Brown's Ranch, a diversified 5,000 acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial rangeland along with perennial pastureland and cropland. Their ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature's image. The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured pork, laying hens, and broilers. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. The Browns are part owners of a state inspected abattoir which allows them to direct market their products. They believe that healthy soil leads to clean air, clean water, healthy plants, animals, and people.
Over 2,000 people visit the Brown's Ranch annually to see this unique operation. Gabe and Brown's Ranch have received many forms of recognition for their work, including a Growing Green award from the Natural Resource Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and a Zero-Till Producer of the Year Award, to name a few. Gabe has also been named one of the twenty-five most influential agricultural leaders in the United States. Gabe recently authored the book, Dirt to Soil, One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture. He is a partner, along with Ray Archuleta, Shane New and Dr. Allen Williams, in Understanding Ag LLC. He is also an instructor for Soil Health Academy, which focuses on teaching others the power and importance of healthy functioning ecosystems.
John Cherry farms the Groundswell host farm with his brother Paul. His initial enthusiasm for no-till farming stemmed from laziness and an urge to avoid bouncing around on tractor seats, but the further the brothers advanced down the road of continuous no-till, the more obsessed John became about the various soils on the 2500 acres that they farm and how they should be looked after. The Groundswell show came about because he had too many questions that no-one had satisfactory answers for and the easiest thing seemed to be to gather all the experts in one place and see what happened. The result exceeded all expectations…
Joanna Bowen has been a teacher, actor, director, impresario and sometimes a writer. She started and ran theatre companies and has organised enormous community events. But for now she focuses on the Groundswell Outreach programme.
Paul has been farming at Weston Park Farms for 35 years with his brother John. Over the years the farm has expanded from 950 to 2,000 acres of arable (now all zero tilled) and 500 acres of pasture providing grazing for 150 head of commercial Beef Shorthorn herd of cattle. It was during a heavy autumn shower when they watched a neighbour’s ploughed field gradually forming rivers then gullies as the topsoil moved down the hill, while their side of the valley, still in stubble stayed put that they realised that it was time to do something.