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PYP 103: Lee and Larry Newlin on Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, and Healthy People

lee-larry-newlinLee and Larry Newlin are the proprietors of Peaceful River Farm in southern Orange County, North Carolina. Larry runs the ecological farm, and Lee takes the produce and teaches people how to prepare healthy food and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Before adopting this challenging and idyllic lifestyle, the Newlins worked 80-hour weeks running their garden centers, living and raising their children on fast food and convenience foods. That all changed one day in 2005 when Lee got a call at 6pm on Friday evening. “It’s not an ulcer,” her doctor informed her. It’s cancer.”

Fast forward 10 years, Lee is totally cancer free, their farm is helping restoring the ecosystem next to what was one of the most polluted rivers in North America, and I get to be their neighbor!

In our in-person conversation, we discussed:

  • the lessons from Lee’s battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • the cancer diagnosis: a bolt from the sky
  • “Can you give me something to read about how to beat cancer?”t
  • tricking hydrangea lovers into learning about nutrition
  • the gift of being declared cancer-free – and Lee’s commitment to cherish it
  • how not to roll over in the face of medical paternalism
  • how Lee connected with her body by apologizing to all her organs for the cancer
  • transitioning from chemical agriculture to ecological farming
  • the importance of aesthetics in farming
  • resurrecting “dead nature”
  • taking “downstream” seriously
  • why their farm was inspired by classic gardens rather than conventional farms
  • the beauty and convenience of the kitchen garden
  • extending the garden season through micro-climates
  • how going organic can save old farms
  • turning around an unsustainable food system
  • billions of billions of organisms in a tablespoon of soil
  • the connection between soil health and human health
  • how to substitute healthy for unhealthy ingredients
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Music

The music for today’s show was generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians. Both tracks can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour. You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Intro/outro track: Dance of Peace (Sabali Don)

Links

Lee and Larry's Projects
Peaceful River Farm – Lee and Larry's Farm
Peaceful River Farm on Facebook
Lee's Healthy Cooking Classes on Facebook
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Gardens at Forde Abbey

Books Discussed
Dr. Gaynor's Cancer Prevention Program – Dr. Mitch Gaynor
Radical Remission – Kelly Turner, PhD
Square Foot Gardening – Mel Bartholemew
Sustainable Market Farming  – Pam Dawling
The New Organic Grower – Elliot Coleman

Other Resources
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 

My Photos of Peaceful River Farm

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The demo kitchen and learning center (I'll be holding some Plant Yourself Intro Dinners there – go here for details.)

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The kitchen garden and fruit arbor.

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The full kitchen garden, behind the house.

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Larry checking on the spring crops.

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The greenhouse where the baby plants grow.

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

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