Julia Winter

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since Aug 31, 2012
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Julia Winter currently moderates these forums:
Pediatrician with a Master's Degree in Nutritional Sciences. Moved to Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2013. Took Geoff Lawton's first online PDC in 2014.
Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Recent posts by Julia Winter

I'm pledged at $3/item, with a limit of 3 or 4 per month.  Did you get half of what you expected because it was item #5, and lots of the supporters have similar limits?
I strongly feel that if we could transform land in such a visible place, in such an obvious way, it can make a world changing impression.

I'm imagining signage along the freeway, first nothing huge, just announcing the project.  Maybe even little signs telling a story a la Burma Shave.

After a while, wouldn't it be cool if there was a billboard showing what the land looked like originally, right in front of the improved land?  Over the years, you could watch all those black rocks "sink" into built up topsoil.

Grasslands are our best bet for trapping carbon and rainwater in places like Northern California.

Forests are better where wildfire is less of a hazard.

We need to have started ten, twenty years ago, but the second best time is now.  When things get really dire and people are looking for solutions, I want this project to be there showing a way. 

Who's with me?  Anybody know a multimillionaire who wants to make a real difference in the world?  What about grants?  What takes this from an idea to an active experiment?
1 week ago
What am I talking about?  Something like this:

What would it take to make this happen in a high profile place, in amongst people who are running cattle the old fashioned way?

I'm not sure.  That's why I'm starting this discussion.  I don't know, for example, what a reasonable acreage is required for such a project to succeed.  But let's forge ahead, and think about what we need. . . .

1) Land.  I don't think we have to buy the land.  I think it  would be preferable to obtain a lease.  I'm not sure of the duration - long enough to be confident that an obvious significant change has been made --> 10 years? 5 years?  To me, the ideal situation would be to lease a long strip of land directly adjacent to the freeway from one of the cattle ranches already present.  Some of the necessary infrastructure is already present. 

I think with ranchers it is far better to show them what can be done versus try to explain and instruct.  If the rancher starts out thinking "Sure, you can lease some of my worst land for your hippy-dippy experiment - give me the money, goofballs" I feel like after a year or two he'll be glancing over and eventually he may want to learn how to do this thing himself. 

I think when established cattle ranchers hear about moving cattle frequently, they think "Shit, that sounds like a lot of work.  No way!"  They think about how hard it is to move a herd of cattle, in their experience.  They don't realize that when you are giving a herd access to wonderful fresh forage, all you gotta do is open the gate.  The cattle move themselves.  And, they are so happy about it!  It's a thing you kinda have to experience, but the happiness of the cattle at fresh pasture is contagious.  It makes you happy, to make them happy. 

I remember reading a study of dairy farmers in Wisconsin who switched to managed grazing from confinement feeding.  They reported that they worked about the same number of hours, but the tasks were much more enjoyable and involved a lot more walking around outside, which led to happier and healthier farmers.

2) People.  This will be the hardest thing.  We need somebody who already knows all about regenerative grazing, be it from holistic management training/experience, or interning with Greg Judy (he's where I got the idea about leasing land instead of buying it).  We need more than somebody, we need enough people to form a small successful community to make this thing work.  Being just off interstate 5 between San Francisco and Portland would be a plus in terms of recruiting people for on-site courses, or WWOOFing.  The thing with people is that nothing succeeds like success.   If we can put together an awesome situation, we can find good people, but it's easier to get funding after you have a reputable team in place. 

3) Infrastructure.  This encompasses a lot of things.  Moveable fencing, watering equipment, manager and intern habitat.

4) Cattle.  Duh.  I'm not going to be picky about the breed, although I'll note that successful grass feeding genetics are not the same as successful feedlot genetics.  Good beef cattle.  I envision branded beef, something direct like "Regenerative Beef," sold to the best restaurants in San Francisco (Portland, Sacramento) because it's super high quality and it has the best story.  Customers love food with a story.  (I know I do!)
1 week ago
Yesterday I drove from Sacramento to Oregon on interstate 5, in between multiple forest fires.  In a time of fires, trees are maybe not the awesome carbon sink we thought they would be.  
Building soil in a grassland makes a lot more sense.

I had an idea, and I want to present it here.  We need a demonstration of the effects of regenerative grazing, where everybody can see.  Here's a view looking east from I-5, just north of Weed, California (that's Mount Shasta in the background - yesterday things were even more dry, and the mountain had precious little snow up top):

It's a mess, at least in early August.  Thin soil, sad grass, rocks sticking out of the ground all over.  It's being used for cattle, but completely unmanaged.

What if we could lease land directly adjacent to the freeway and transform it, before an audience of thousands?
1 week ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:for what it's worth, I dried probably 100# of summer squash last summer and stored it in gallon bags with silica packets (I dry lots of stuff). The squash was the only thing that molded! Every bag! And the humidity strip said it was appropriately dry. So not doing that anymore. I will admit they were dry but not crisped, because that tends to make them leathery on reconstitution, but its the same level of dry I do for tomatoes and peppers and fruit.

I think the difference is due to tomatoes and peppers and fruit having more inherent acidity.  Sort of like how you can waterbath can tomatoes and fruits, but you have to pressure can green beans - or summer squash.

You might want to experiment (with maybe 5 pounds of summer squash) with sprinkling the sliced pieces with salt, discarding the liquid shed, and then drying it.  Even better, but making things taste funny, would be to sprinkle with citric acid instead.
1 week ago
On July 26th, I got an email from Kickstarter saying "Yes! Rocket Ovens Feature Length Documentary has been successfully funded."  It gave me details on my pledge.

You might want to go back through your inbox, or check your spam folder?
2 weeks ago
Oh!  I'm sorry to see that.  I had a Beauty plum break, and multiple apple trees.  Seems like the fruit trees are making more than they can bear this year. . .
2 weeks ago