Transcript for "How hard can it be? - with Kate Field"

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00:00.-5 podcomm Hello I’m craig kontantin and it never ceases to amaze me that you can do this across the entire planet Kate is or or let’s let’s be nice I am on the entire opposite side of the globe and thank you for getting up very early although we are.

00:00.6 Kate And I’m Kate field.

00:18.5 podcomm Are playing into the time change you you shifted ahead recently right right? because I’m like and in another actually we’re moving backwards very late this year like November something which is really late for us.

00:21.1 Kate Yeah, so spring here. So our clocks went forward.

00:34.0 Kate Um, yes, yeah yeah.

00:35.8 podcomm And then we’re moving back which I guess would make it even another hour closer or another or like I don’t know I I really have trouble to get the map outward but there’s like ah there’s like a website that we give it to cities and it it literally makes a circle of smiley faces and mediocre faces and frowny faces to tell you the times of day and he’s like.

00:53.7 Kate Um.

00:55.8 podcomm That’s the tool that I need anyway, I’m off on a tangent I’m notorious. But thank you for getting up early and we met ah was probably 2 niches nineteen that 1 met 2 and a half years ago in like t use we called t p f 3 I think is probably where we Met. So I’m like it’s super cool to see and like um we were talking beforehand about imposter syndrome and you’re making me feel all nervous because your pet peeve is podcasters who don’t edit well I’m like oh I’m not going to do any editing. But anyway, um, but.

01:13.9 Kate Yep I think so.

01:27.0 Kate No, but this is different because that’s part of that’s part. You know that’s actually that you lay it out that that’s what you do from the very beginning you’ve laid that out. That’s a very different thing.

01:34.5 podcomm Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, well so there’s a couple things like this isn’t necessarily a show about making podcasts that happens to be what we talk about a lot and I’m I’m wondering. Like I know a lot of the backstory or some of the backstory and I’m just wondering your I’m going to say you’re tenacious so you would say you have imposter syndrome. But I’m going to say you’re tenacious because you’re 20 plus 25 episodes in and you’re still like I mean you don’t make an episode every week but you’re still making them. You still are creating them in your head. You’re still participating like I see you in like everybody knows this who’s listening but the podcasters hang out in certain circles. Kate’s still there and you’re super busy and you have things to do but like podcasting just doesn’t seem to fall out of your head like it’s. You you know like I would say that you’re like a dog with a bone like so what is it about podcasting that you just keep coming and maybe I’m putting words in your mouth here. But you keep coming back to podcasting like do you also come back to quilting or like what is it about podcasting.

02:25.9 Kate And.

02:41.2 Kate Definitely not quilting um ah podcasting I really enjoy the community I love being part of the community I find I’ve met some really interesting people through the community and I um. I’m naturally curious and I want to have interesting conversations with people. The world is an amazing place in my actual real job I get to meet people that I’d never otherwise meet and some of the amazing stories that people have shared with me have enriched my life. And my experience of the world so much and I get that through meeting other podcasters and going on. Um the podcasting journey with them I’m also quite an avid consumer of. Podcasts when I can be I have a bit of a commute to work I live on a farm I work in the city. So I commute about forty five minutes each way. So I often use that time ah to listen and consume podcasts I really enjoy listening to podcasts I love the audio. Um.

03:36.4 podcomm Um, and.

03:50.6 Kate Format I Also do have podcast and the conversations that I want to have with other people in my brain and I get to have wonderful conversations with people about the topic of my podcast which is um. Farming for the future. Really so some people call it regenerative farming other people call it carbon farming ah a lot of it’s just backyard gardening to be honest backyard gardenings farming just on a tiny miniscule micro micro scale and that no scale and so and and everyone has to eat.

04:15.3 podcomm Um, yeah.

04:26.5 Kate And largely wear clothes so farming affects all of us and a lot of people are so disconnected from that that I want to bring that to them So I feel like I have a duty almost to share and to help educate and. To highlight what it is about farming that is so important for all of us to understand and how we can do it and ah mitigate some of the greenhouse Gas emissions. Um, because climate change is. The biggest most important thing that we need to be thinking about more. So I think than the pandemic which is the topic on everyone’s mind particularly in Australia at the moment as our vaccine rates are slowly slowly slowly getting to a reasonable level.

05:21.0 podcomm Um, and so there’s so many things so many things to pick on and not not to pick like in a bad way but like so many I always in my mind always have like a vision of hosts show up with a tapestry and I’m always like looking for which thread to pull on and.

05:29.4 Kate The threads.

05:38.0 podcomm On 1 hand I want to ask like so sometimes I do this to people I’m like here I’ll give you a bunch of questions you pick what fun you want to ask I mean which 1 you want to talk about 1 of them is how did you get into making cheese. Um, and and why goats like because I’m to that I’m just super curious about that. Another 1 would be. Remember the first time you thought about creating your own podcast to completely different questions. You could answer 1 or the other or both or it would be astounding if the same answer. Yeah let’s do that 1.

06:01.2 Kate Ah, the cheese story so much more fun. Um, so we ah we haven’t been on the farm for very long neither of us come. This is my husband and I um, we haven’t come from a an immediate farming family. We’ve had. Ah, extended family members who were farmers and he was actually an academic so he was um what you guys I think call a professor but professorships in australia worked differently. He was lecturing and teaching and supervising ph d candidates at university. In Marine vertebrate ecology and ecology in general and we were in Sydney which is a great place to live if you want to live with 1 in 5 other australians we’re not big city type people. We’d come to sydney after being in darwin which is right up the very northern. Centre point of australia eleven degrees south of the equator. So a a um, a climate more akin to Florida than to where I am now which is right down the bottom of australia which is forty 2 degrees south and so we’d moved from tassie where we’d both. Met at university because we traveled from other places to go to uni then to darwin together while he pursued his academic career and I pursued my professional career then to sydney and we we sort of got to this point in our in our careers and we just looked at each other and went oh this is not fulfilling. We’re interested in. Having you know the worst house on the best street which is going to cost us millions of dollars decent cars to sit in because we’re sitting in traffic the entire time where are we going to send our children to school if we have children and we just looked at ah each other and went oh my goodness we’re becoming.

07:50.2 podcomm Um.

07:50.6 Kate Consumers like the people that we used to laugh at when we walked around the cities the streets of sydney in the evening with the dogs when we first moved there and we just went on. Let’s bail on this and we were making cheese in the kitchen for fun after doing a couple of you know weekend type cheesemaking courses. And we just went. Oh we can make cheese commercially because you same people think that they can make cheese commercially and we sort of went oh well, yeah exactly and when I can. Yeah.

08:17.1 podcomm Um, much trouble could that be you’ve learned a very important lesson there right? yeah.

08:27.1 Kate So we sort of went. Okay, well if we’re going to make cheese. We need milk and if we need milk. We need animals. We’d always had a plan to have a farm at some point in the future. Probably you know, not long before retirement and so we went right? Well, let’s just fast forward that plan. Let’s let’s buy a farm how hard can it be. And ah, we’ll put some animals on it that we can milk and we’ll start milking and we’ll make commercial cheese so we found a bit of property in an area of tasmania that we loved. It’s close to the air but like it’s a thirty minute drive to the airport. So I could do fly and fly out work to support us if I needed to. And there’s also a couple of hospitals in town One public hospital because healthcare in Australia is free for everyone and 2 private hospitals which is obviously where you pay and so we um, we bought a farm and then we thought about what animals we were going to put on it cows. We never discussed cows ever. Cows were never an option but we did discuss flow. So we’re we’re in a very temperate climate. So ah, in winter. It’s about 6 to 10 degrees as a maximum and in summer it’s about 23 to.

09:22.3 podcomm Um.

09:41.6 Kate 26 degrees maximum most of the time we’re in the high teens and occasionally we get into 30 degrees I cannot do fahrenheit so I’m not going to even attempt to help this is all celsius but it.

09:51.7 podcomm Yeah, it’s fine curiously you’re forty 3 south I’m forty 1 north like I’m in the same temperate zone just flipped oo side with new york save anyway, keep going.

09:58.4 Kate Yeah, yeah, ah so we sort of looked at Buffalo because we sort of got into buffalo a bit when we’re living in darwin. Um, that.

10:11.1 podcomm Um, Yikes those are not little animals. But.

10:14.5 Kate No, and they’ve got therapy corns but getting them across because Tasmania is an island off the australian mainland island so getting them across and no, but you can on a boat.

10:21.6 podcomm Oh yeah, can you put a buffalo in an airplane I’m just thinking you put on the fairy. Holy toledo.

10:31.8 Kate Yeah, so we just went nah this is just not a great idea. Let’s let let’s let’s do let’s let’s have goats you know, go to great creatures and they’re small and. Ah, we can get them because they’re already in Tasmania so we went into goats.

10:51.0 podcomm Yeah, that was my next question did you ask anybody about importing buffalo into Tasmania like did you actually go to some official and say could we get a permit I would love to have seen that conversation. Ah, ah.

10:57.4 Kate No. Ah, ah, no, we didn’t because I think we were far too sensible to realize that making mozzarella in Tasmania from a tropical adapted species was possibly not the best option as as an ecologist and.

11:14.7 podcomm Beast. Yes.

11:22.4 Kate Reasonably sensible person. Yeah, so that’s how we got into making cheese and then podcasting so that was 10 years ago it took us 4 years to get to the point that we were able to make cheese on a farm and 2 years to the point that we were milking our own animals but they.

11:26.2 podcomm Um.

11:40.7 Kate And we had to work hard when I say hard I mean so hard farming is really hard work. Yeah with a trail a hand trail never caught that but you know long long days and sacrificing a lot of well.

11:44.4 podcomm Um, like digging a ditch hard right? right.

11:59.2 Kate You sacrifice a lot to be able to farm, especially starting up farming where you have to put in all the infrastructure you use paying for land. Um, it’s it’s hard work and it’s much much easier now. But the the podcast grew from the fact that we were. Working our butts off and we were producing a fantastic product and I would hear from colleagues. Your cheese is really expensive to buy retail. Um I can’t believe that. Have to pay this much for your cheese from the shop this is actually before we’d taken over and put our cheese into the shops. But um, you know, ah, how could it possibly cost so much so people didn’t understand the true cost of food people were blaming. Um, and I think this was done by some of the mining and ah petroleum companies people were but blaming agriculture for the climate emissions and climate change because agriculture does have a substantial contribution to play to climate change I think it’s um. About 14 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions come from climate from agriculture. But at the end of the day. It’s actually not agriculture. That’s the Problem. It’s betting fossil fuels and so it’s getting.

13:14.9 podcomm By Cru. Right.

13:23.2 Kate Really really frustrated with the anti-farma sentiment that was circulating in australia and around the world and I was also getting really really frustrated with Militant vegans and movements that were happening in australia where bodies would come together and. Storm onto farms and farms not dissimilar to owls and um set free the chickens which then the foxes and the wedgetail eagles promptly came and ate and and and harmed. Yeah yeah, and and um, you know.

13:51.7 podcomm Would came killed right? The chickens were fine as ah, you let him out.

14:00.5 Kate Some other people went on to a goat farm in another part of Australia and um, you know took goats away and you know this is just this is this is not acceptable and it was this Anti-farma anti-agriculture kind of movement and I felt. Very angry, very frustrated and I felt that there was a lot that agriculture can offer to actually offset climate change and I wanted to amplify that Story. It’s much much better now. Much better understood and much better heard I Think. Covid Nineteen has done a fantastic thing for agriculture because at least in Australia people suddenly became aware of things like food supply chains and food security.

14:43.9 podcomm Yes, yes.

14:47.3 Kate And they started to value when the supermarket shops were empty. They suddenly started to value their local farmer because they realized that they didn’t know how to grow food only a farmer knows how to grow food but still, there’s still a lot that people don’t understand they don’t understand the reliance that we have on China For instance.

14:52.4 podcomm Um, right.

15:06.4 Kate To Manufacture farm machinery or to manufacture for some of the broader. Not our operation but for various other operations to manufacture fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides these are things that I don’t We don’t engage in but they certainly have their place in.

15:17.0 podcomm Um.

15:23.5 podcomm Yeah, at industrial scale those are key pieces that people don’t understand is that they never see it like that all is all behind the scenes from their point of view. It’s just my beautiful red peppers come out of the supermarket. Yes I’m with you 1 hundred percent. We have a little guard in the backyard. Yep.

15:24.8 Kate Instead and farming methods. Yeah.

15:34.2 Kate Yes, so that’s yeah and and do you realize how hard it is when the bloody snails get into your lettuce yet again or your seedlings.

15:43.8 podcomm Are.

15:48.7 Kate Ah, and so you start to appreciate how hard it is to grow food on a commercial scale and why it does cost money I think australia and America have the the cheapest food in the world and that’s coming at a cost. So that’s coming at a cost of things like the environment and it comes at a cost for wages. You know we’ve got to work out how we can do all of the the things and still supply people with good quality food and it might just mean that. People are going to have to start to pay more which is a really difficult thing when the cost of living is so high in so many parts of the world and I’m talking specifically about the western world.

16:32.0 podcomm Um I think it’s exactly yeah well I I don’t know if it’s just the Western world. But there’s definitely an aspect of um if you choose to live and near that has a high cost of living. It’s going to be a struggle like there’s just going to be so many things.

16:47.9 Kate Are.

16:50.9 podcomm Everything is more expensive and there are things that you’re going to be doing that you wouldn’t be doing if you lived in a more rural area. So I think you you make a good point about um or maybe the the story that you share shines a nice light on that you guys are clearly well-educated and you do you like. People would say you knew what you were getting into and then when you get into it. You’re like whoa. There are layers of effort here. Layers of technology layers of things that even though we were already curious and inquisitive and educated you. You don’t really realize until you dig in and and that leaves me thinking about um. So the area that I’m in is eastern pennsylvania which is where rodedale press used to be located. So um j I Rodale is the guy who invented the word organic and the whole concept of all that is like walking distance. So there are still farms here, but not that many like when I grew up. We used to be like my school bus ride would be forty five minutes of passing fields of cows and corn and you know that was and now it’s housing developments and there’s ah, there’s like a ratchet and it it took you know a hundred years for that family.

17:48.6 Kate Ah.

17:57.3 podcomm To like get the fields working get them producing then they build a barn and then they have a corn silo and they’re like there’s like this very slow buildup and then in 1 you know, couple of weeks. Nope it becomes housing development and you just it can’t get that Back. So I think it takes a lot of um or demonstrates a lot of courage on your part to like well what would happen if we went and actually tried this um to you I was being nice. Ah yeah, what are you did? um.

18:18.0 Kate Car is 1 word.

18:30.3 podcomm I’m kind of wondering like what happened what happened to your friend your your friend’s bubble like did you have a friend’s bubble um in in sydney that just went see you you know or like did you like all new friends now that you’re over there or is it like is it a completely different society or there’s there like. You know you still see your friends occasionally or like how how much of a shift was it like it’s clearly a shift in terms of what you’re doing you know for like what you today? Oh I go do this so they go build that you know as opposed to what you did 6 more or all six months before you switched. But what about the people like how what was the change for you for the types of people that you’re now interacting with.

18:58.4 Kate Um, yeah, Sydney was really interesting because the the part of sydney that we were living on gets. Referred to colloquially by the people who lived there as well as other sydneysiders as the insular Peninsula So What we found was that it was really really difficult to break into good friendship groups in sydney because people had them already Established. We didn’t have kids at that stage. Which meant that we didn’t have those connections that you make through children’s extracurricular activities in school so and because ah 1 in 5 Australians live in sydney people come from drain from all different parts of sydney to go to work. So.

19:34.3 podcomm All right.

19:48.7 Kate We had friends already established that lived in Sydney like ian’s boss at the time and I just went from hospital to hospital I keep in touch with people but we never really there were there were 2 people that we became friends with in our 2 and a half years in sydney and we still keep in touch with them through.

20:06.7 podcomm Um.

20:08.2 Kate Um, you know, social media facebook or something. Um, but we never really became embedded in the community in Sydney we both went to university in hobart so fifty k’s from where we live and those formative years that. Ah, late adolescence early twenty s ah, it’s often that time when you form those lifelong friendships so we came back to tasmania with those friendship networks already in existence and so we still slot in with our old friends. Although we can’t do as much socially as we used to.

20:44.7 podcomm Right.

20:46.3 Kate And at this time of year we have no social life whatsoever. But 1 of the things that has happened is that we’ve moved into a rural community and six months after we moved into this community. There was ah an enormous bushfire that came through a wildfire and that was found. Fantastic in a way we were very fortunate. No 1 lost their life. There was stock lost and there was property lost but the community really really came together and supported each other and we were able to be part of that and we also get involved in community. Not-for-profit organizations. There’s a local farmers market that we’ve both at various times been involved in and a local agricultural show that requires a lot of organization that at times we’ve both been involved in and so we’ve developed a fantastic ah community around us and you know there’s now. Our mates came visiting our farm 1 time and we just casually dropped into the conversation that the vineyard around the corner was for sale a few weeks later they bought said vineyard and now it’s got an open cellar door so you know once a month on a Sunday afternoon the local community gathers.

21:54.5 podcomm Um.

22:01.2 Kate And we all have a drink together and it’s it’s absolutely delightful. So our social life looks very different but at the point where we were are in our lives. It probably would have looked different anyway, now that we’ve got primary school age children as well. So it. But but it’s much more meaningful. Our relationships with other people are so much more meaningful because we’re looking out for each other. We’re helping each other and um, you know along with that comes the flip side where we’re talking about each other from time to time. But really those relationships are a lot more rewarding. Then the relationships that we had vastly the relationships that we had with people in Sydney so social life looks different friend bubble has just grown really which has been absolutely wonderful.

22:46.6 podcomm Um.

22:53.5 podcomm I hate to say it but we had to stop somewhere and that’s probably a great place. Um, Kate thanks for getting up earlyly taking the time corraling the dog and thanks for doing the hard work I mean it’s lots of people doing. Work and toil behind the scenes I think that are people that are going to make the change in the world though. That’s just my 2 cents. But thanks.

23:14.5 Kate Thanks craig.