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Unconventional Paths

Unconventional Paths

By Soil Centric
Unconventional Paths is a podcast by Soil Centric that explores the many ways to take part in regenerative agriculture—a climate solution supporting life above and below ground. Join Kyle Lawson, Soil Centric’s cofounder, and journalist Morgan Levey as they interview people who have found their way to regeneration. We hope their circuitous journeys inspire you to find your own path to regeneration and allow you to create the conditions for a resilient and abundant future.
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A-dae Romero-Briones
Meet A-dae Romero-Briones, she’s a lawyer and food policy expert who works to preserve and support Native American food systems and projects through her role as the director of the Native Agriculture and Food Systems program for the First Nations Development Institute. She’s also an executive producer of Gather, a film that documents the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty. Through her career and numerous degrees, A-dae’s written extensively about food safety and the protection of tribal traditional foods. Our conversation with A-dae covers the importance of story in connecting with the land, our changing relationships with time and attention span, and how her grandparents’ struggle with the federal government in Cochiti-Pueblo, New Mexico shaped her path.
42:28
June 18, 2021
Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott
Meet Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott, a fourth-generation tribal rancher, who’s part of the 125th generation to steward the Great Plains. Her family owns and operates DX Ranch on the Cheyenne Sioux River Nation in South Dakota. After receiving her bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University and her master's in integrated resource management from Colorado State University, she returned home to raise her own herd of calves and run DX Beef, a direct-to-consumer, grass-fed beef operation. Kelsey is also the program director for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation and development of Native American agricultural resources. Our conversation covers what it’s like to grow up ranching, the life lessons she and her family have gleaned from working with horses, and what being a regenerative land steward means. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Kelsey’s Guide on Soil Centric.
33:02
April 15, 2021
Nikki Silvestri
Meet Nikki Silvestri, a serial nonprofit executive director who now helps social and environmental entrepreneurs find more impact in their work and joy in their lives. Her consulting firm Soil and Shadow advises organizations by using the ecological principles of healthy soil as a guidepost. Silvestri is also a senior advisor at JumpScale, a firm that counsels investors and philanthropists on their financial well-being. In this position, she co-hosts an online series called “Pandemic Response: The New Normal Series” that features conversations centered around how best to adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our conversation covers her early connection to regenerative principles, how generating more presence and joy might be the key to saving society, and how she’s ready to chain herself to something because the time for gentle negotiation is over. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Nikki's Guide on Soil Centric.
39:09
February 26, 2021
Cheyenne Sundance
Meet Cheyenne Sundance, she’s the 23-year-old owner and sole employee of Sundance Harvest, a year-round urban farm in Toronto, Ontario. Over the course of one year, she quadrupled the size of her farm and created several mentorship and land share programs aimed at creating a more inclusive urban agriculture scene in Toronto ... and that’s all while COVID-19 raged. She’s a self-taught farmer out of necessity. With a budding interest in food justice, she couldn’t find any programs or opportunities to fit her needs. Now that she’s a farm owner, she’s committed to sharing her knowledge of how to run an ecological urban farm with marginalized youth. Our conversation covers her journey to agriculture; how she’s created a holistic and thoughtful organization based on food justice; and the difficulties and benefits of urban farming. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Cheyenne's Guide on Soil Centric.
42:48
December 17, 2020
Christine Su
Meet Christine Su, she’s a senior product manager at Twitter, leading the charge on conversational safety. Christine has had a long career in regenerative agriculture—she’s worked on farms in Japan and New Zealand, has degrees from Stanford in agribusiness and land use, and most notably, is the founder and former CEO of PastureMap, a tech company that helps ranchers connect with their land and track their grazing patterns. In her first interview since selling PastureMap, Christine shares with us her excitement at embracing her activist side now that she’s not representing a company. We talk about the founder burnout she experienced and how she’s pivoted over time to find a place in regenerative agriculture that fits her identity. Our conversation spans her Evangelical upbringing, New Zealand’s wide acceptance of reparations for Maori people, and how to make regenerative ag more accessible. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Christine's Guide on Soil Centric. 
49:01
November 17, 2020
Alexandra Groome Klement
Meet Alexandra Groome Klement, a steward of the regenerative movement. She’s the operations manager at nRhythm, a consulting firm that focuses on organizational health by helping organizations adopt regenerative principles in their operations. Alex believes that in order for land to be regenerative, people must be regenerative. According to Alex, we should think of ourselves, businesses, and communities as living systems, where abundance and resilience are the outcomes of a healthy structure. Our conversation with Alex tracks her expanding idea of regeneration throughout her career. Hear how Alex was first struck by regenerative agriculture’s ability to fight climate change, what her “unique genius” is, and how she found her way to organizational design. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Alex's Guide on Soil Centric.
36:35
October 22, 2020
Kourtnii Brown
Meet Kourtnii Brown, a self-described worm wrangler and soil slinger. She’s the founder and director of Common Compost in Oakland, California, an organization supporting organic’s recovery and improving local food systems. Hear how she’s turned this deep-rooted community work into California-wide policy advocacy. As the steering committee chair of the California Alliance for Community Composting, she's helping to coordinate a $1.35 million grant from CalRecycle to expand small-scale composting infrastructure and training as a climate solution. Our interview chart’s Kourtnii's path from working in Southeast Asia to creating healthy soil in her community and own backyard. You can learn more about her path to regeneration by visiting Kourtnii's Guide on Soil Centric.
34:57
October 03, 2020
Andrea Hatsukami
Meet Andrea Hatsukami, a livestock apprentice at TomKat, a regenerative ranch and education center in coastal California. Hear how Andrea went from studying geophysics at the University of Washington, to volunteering on her university’s urban farm, to managing livestock, and how she’s not done with her transformation. In our conversation with Andrea, we explore issues of land accessibility, food sovereignty, the ability to grow food anywhere, and where she thinks her path will take her next. To learn more about Andrea's journey, visit her guide on Soil Centric.
36:24
September 14, 2020