658: Mike Biltonen on Regenerative Orcharding with Climate Change.
Growing fruit trees while adapting to changing climates.
In This Podcast:
Mike Biltonen explains how he applies pre-industrial farming principles to help food farmers plan for the unpredictable weather that affects their crops. He remains a positive voice in the often negative conversation surrounding climate change, and advocates for quality of nutrition over quantity of production, focusing on the soil to accomplish that goal. Don’t miss Mike’s tip for an easy soil test you can do right now!
Mike Biltonen has spent nearly 40 years in agriculture –working mostly with orchards, vineyards, and specialty veg and fruit crops. An early passion for sustainable agriculture evolved into a profound dedication to the principles and practices of ecologically focused, biodynamically-driven farming. For the last fifteen years Mike has worked as a consultant to novice and seasoned farmers and orchardists on all aspects of managing regenerative and integrated farmscapes. Mike conducts workshops, seminars, and webinars, and has a free newsletter for the truly dedicated. He co-owns Know Your Roots, a novel and innovative family-owned company, with his wife Debbie, where they are synchronously using farming and herbalism practices to heal the Earth.
Listen in and learn about:
- Discovering orchards because they were close to home
- Putting years of experience to good use
- Planning for the new normal: unpredictability
- Focusing on the soil for longtime resiliency
- Working with a diverse range of receptive growers
- Looking ahead to the future of our food
- Recognizing the issues so growers can move forward
- Diversifying food production
- Increasing the nutrient density for human food
- Seeing ourselves as part of the farm
- Marrying biodiversity with a more grounded approach to farming
- Explaining biodynamic agriculture
- 3 pillars of good soil – chemistry, physical makeup, biological makeup
- Looking for biology in your soil
- Easy soil testing for the backyard gardener
- Beefing up your soil
- Using, creating & finding biochar
- Staying positive in the face of climate change
As well as:
His failure – Taking a couple weeks off and coming back to find his trees had been entirely infested
His success – His family, and his ability to remain passionate, curious and optimistic
His drive – The future of the planet and having something to offer to it
His advice – “Every morning, get up, stay curious, strong, passionate about what you do.”
Mike’s Book recommendations:
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
The Unsettling of America; Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry
How to reach Mike:
Learn more about soil in Mike’s Farmer Friday episode, 633: Soil Is Not Dirt.
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