Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team
Did you know that standard wine packaging, including the bottle and the process, is 42% of the wine's total carbon footprint? That statistic is exactly what inspires Erica Landin-Lofving, Chief Sustainability Officer at Vintage Wine Estates to explore alternative packaging. Lightweight bottling positively impacts the full circle sustainability of wine from saving money on glass and transportation to the quality of work for the people lifting cases to less wear and tear on equipment. Erica covers challenges and solutions related to all types of alternative packaging (wine in a bag, wine in a box tetra pak, lightweight glass) including choosing the best packaging for your brand, quality signaling, getting leadership to buy in, what changes will be most sustainable, and educating consumers. References: 171: How to Farm Wine Grapes for Climate Change Alloy Wine Works How Climate Changes will Change the Wine Climate Is Wine in Cans Your New Favorite Format? SIP Certified The Changing Landscape Of Sustainability (Video) Vineyard Team – Become a Member Vintage Wine Estates What does a sustainable water strategy look like in the wine industry? Why is sustainability now not a choice but a necessity? What does it mean for wine businesses? Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at www.vineyardteam.org. Transcript Craig Macmillan 0:00 My guest today is Erica Lofving. She is Chief Sustainability Officer with Vintage Wine Estates. And we're going to talk about sustainable wine packaging today. Welcome to the podcast. Erica. Erica Landin-Lofving 0:09 Thank you happy to be here. Craig Macmillan 0:10 You have done a lot of work on sustainable packaging. It's obviously an area that not only you're interested to, but there's a major component to the work that you do with with Vintage Wine Estate. How did you get into it? What is your interest? What kinds of things you've worked on recently? Erica Landin-Lofving 0:24 Well, I first got into sustainable packaging, maybe six, seven years. Back when I was still living in Sweden, I'm Swedish. I was consulting for the Swedish wine monopolies, Systembolaget. They are possibly the biggest buyer of wine in the world. And they have sustainability as a core issue. And they started lifting the packaging, and did lifecycle analysis together with the other Scandinavian monopolies and saw that packaging bottling and the process of doing it was up to 42% of the total carbon footprint of a wine, which is huge. Of course, they started focusing on on that because of course being big buyers, they can require changes in packaging of their buyers. So they launched projects on lightweighting bottles and alternative packaging, which they are still very strong and probably leading in the world. So that's that's when I got interested at that time, there was almost no discussion about packaging as part of sustainability and wine. We talked vineyards, vineyards, vineyards, maybe a little bit of winemaking, but packaging got ignored most of the sustainability certifications around the world don't even mention packaging, or didn't at least at that time. Actually, that was my project for the monopoly. I went through basically all the sustainability certifications around the world. Comlpex job. Let me tell you that. Craig Macmillan 1:39 Yeah, I guess. Erica Landin-Lofving 1:41 So of course, when I started at Vintage, I, you know, packaging was one of my key topics that I want to bring up. It was also really interesting to see we did a survey last year when we set our strategy I've been with Vintage for a year and a half. So one of my first things was to start collecting the information called a materiality analysis, basically pinpointing which areas are key sustainability areas. And as part of that, we did a survey in house and a lot of our staff were also interested in packaging, primary secondary packaging, and then of course, the waste of incoming packaging. So that that became one of our core core topics, and a very exciting one to be to be working on. Craig Macmillan 2:22 For those of us who don't know what to what kind of companies of Vintage Wine Estates, what do they do? Erica Landin-Lofving 2:28 Oh, yeah, Vintage Wine Estaes is a group we own 13 wineries, I believe and have 50 brands on top. Plus we do contract production for for external brands. We went public. Last June, June 20. June 22. It or is it 20 this year? Craig Macmillan 2:47 Yeah. Oh, that's right. No, that's right. No, I do. Yeah. That was kind of a big deal. Erica Landin-Lofving 2:53 It was a big deal. There aren't. Yeah, there aren't that many public public companies. So year and a half ago, we went public. Yeah, I know. That was that was part of the goal of of Pat Roney, our founder was to build a company to take public so that was definitely a big deal for the company. And we're continuing to grow. A lot of our brands, we will buy grapes, we buy juice, we even buy finished wines. So packaging is one of the sustainability aspects we can control there. For me, there's there's two big aspects to to packaging, of course, that the wine bottle is bigger than any of the other packaging considerations. The one that I'm most attached to is lightweighting. of glass, find alternative packaging is interesting. And so in Sweden, I think it's 56% of the wine sold by volume is in bag in box. But they are also big buyers of Tetra Pack, PET bottles, cans, wine and cans, and it becomes an interesting market to watch. I'm not completely positive to all the alternative packagings and we can we can get into that if they do have a much lower carbon footprint. But there are other considerations. I cans I am some fairly positive too. But let's dive into that separately. But I'm still a firm believer that the glass wine bottle is going to be our key wine packaging for the foreseeable future. However, this attachment that consumers and therefore producers have to heavy bottle being a signifier of quality of the wine, we've got to let that go. That is that got outdated when we set the Paris, Paris climate goals like that's it has nothing to do with the quality of the wine. This is part of the message that is finally slowly catching hold. And it's gone a lot further in Europe professionally in Scandinavia than it has in the US still, but I believe that we're heading that direction. I've started seeing articles on the negative aspects of a heavyweight bottle in New York Times ,Wall Street Journal,Wine Enthusiast and when that starts coming, it's like we're starting to get that message into the mainstream. It is going to bring change. Fancy wine wants to be sold in a heavy bottle still, Craig Macmillan 4:59 Based on On that basis, we're now getting national non wine press paying attention to this a little bit. Do you think there might be a groundswell of public interest attitude belief that might put some pressure on wineries to reduce their glass weight to go to a lighter weight package? Erica Landin-Lofving 5:15 I believe so I believe we're in the early days of it still, I think the people that we're going to reach first are the wine connoisseurs that read those newspapers, magazines, and want to be part of early adopters who want to show that they know something, as well as the millennial consumer who is not as concerned with tradition, and is very concerned with environmental aspects and more knowledgeable in general on on environmental impact. I think those are the two groups that will start making the change from two directions. Craig Macmillan 5:45 Now, do you think that there is a curve of this behavior that's related to price, so somebody's going to buy a $100 bottle of wine in a traditional dead leaf green Berg bottle as opposed to a big heavy deep punt? You know, I've been doing some analysis, you can have a bottle that's say 400 grams, or you can have a bottle of over 1000 grams big difference? Am I going to pay the same for 400? As opposed to 1000? Do you think? Erica Landin-Lofving 6:12 I think you will, when you understand why I mean for 400 is still an extremely lightweight bottle. 420 grams is kind of what the international wine industry has set as the limit for true lightweight bottle in the US. I know a lot of producers who speak about eco weight or lightweight and they mean 470 to 490 grams, I've started speaking in terms of true lightweight as something under 420. Those bottles do feel quite light, I think they will be their shoo ins for anything under $20. But I think for for these $100 bottles, moving them from the 900 Gram 32 ounce massive pieces down to more normal weight, like 500 500 grams, we should be able to do that. And again, this is where we're New York Times and Wall Street Journal's writing matters the most because they reach that consumer, when the first adopters there, start understanding this, they might react negatively to one of those super heavy bottles. I do now. I mean, this has been something I've been I've been looking at for a long time. But now if I lift a bottle and it's a 900 gram bottle, I just say like, seriously, why? Why would I want to buy this? Also, why would I want to drag this home and then drag it to recycling? Craig Macmillan 7:24 Well, I think that you're absolutely right, that once we get below about a $20 retail price point, the lightweighting seems to be kind of a no brainer. As we push up. Hopefully that message will get out I think from a sustainability standpoint. But I also do wonder how far that can kind of go. Right. I remember, this is how old I am. I remember when very expensive Napa Cabernets came in a straight sided forest green Bordeaux bottle with a just a big square paper label on it and a very cheap foil. Now I don't think I could get $100 for that package. Even there's been a lot of work that's been done. And if I understand it correctly, this is you know, social psych stuff. If you give a consumer two bottles, one's heavy one's lighter, you say this is the same product even? Which what will you pay? Their willingness to pay is higher for the heavier package? Yeah, if that's true, right. That's a tough psychology to ignore. Erica Landin-Lofving 8:20 That's a tough psychology to ignore. Craig Macmillan 8:22 So some of it, I think, is consumer level. But I'd also like to hear a little bit on what's going on behind the scenes on the production side, what kinds of conversations ideas, potential is there because it seems like there might be some work to do there on the marketing side. But there's some work to do. Maybe behind the scenes side. Erica Landin-Lofving 8:36 We'll just say that imagine that they were doing this test again. But that the test subjects had been given an article to read that said that the environmental impact of the bottle was the biggest contributor to the carbon footprint of the wine, how many of them their mind, and that's what I believe is the key. I think as long as the consumer does not know this difference, we will see a preference for the heavier bottles, the more that information disseminates into the marketplace, the more impact it will have. I will also say that so behind the scenes, one of the calculations that I'm doing is that I have a much bigger impact taking a SKU that has 300,000 case production and moving it from 500 grams to 400 grams. Then I do taking a SKU that's in a seven 750 gram bottle and moving it to 400 grams, but the production is only 1000 cases or even even less. So for that reason, my focus and our internal discussions center around the big volume wines. That said there there are bigger volume wines that come in those super heavy bottles. I For me, it's the super heavy bottles. We've got to watch out there because while I would like to make the move purely from a sustainability perspective, there is the marketing risk, but there's also a risk of not making the change. because I'll just tell you when I was in Sweden last time now Sweeden, as I said, much further along than the US market when it comes to consumer understanding of sustainability and an interest in sustainability. I went into the store and I was asking for advice on something cool and something high end. And the guy picked out two bottles, and he said, Oh, this one is great. This is Niepoort I, you know, I love this wine. 10 years of age for selling it aged, which is, you know, not always easy to find in a store. He said, but you might not want it. It's a super heavy bottle. And I said, Oh, why do you think I might not want it now? The sustainability impact is is pretty big. I don't know. I've had people hesitate. I was like, wow. They advised me away from a really cool wine because it's an a heavy bottle. And and I liked that. I know that I know that Jancis Robinson, for example, called out Joe Wryneck iIn South Africa, great producer, amazing wines, and definitely a sustainability champion. And this was a couple of years ago, you know, in in her magazine, she said you can't have accountability, profiling, make these beautiful wines, and put them in a super heavy bottle, if the message doesn't add up. And again, the more we get that, the more you're going to have high end consumers turn away from these bottles and be like, nope, gotta gotta change that. Craig Macmillan 11:19 Maybe we're getting groundswell on both sides. Now, I want to get technical, I've done some of this work myself and feel like I have failed miserably. Probably not entirely true. But tell me about your methodology when you're looking at this with glass and you're trying to get a carbon footprint sense, because what I'm guessing when you're telling me what you're doing is you want to come back to management ownership and say, Hey, this is how much reduction we have in ourCO2 equivalent. Is that fair is that by alright? Erica Landin-Lofving 11:46 Let's be completely fair, the the message to leadership is, this is how much we're saving on glass. And this is the sustainability messaging we can attach to it. But you know, the savings, CO2 reduction, for a lightweight bottle will almost always come at a lower price point. For us. One of the challenges has been finding really nice quality molds with perfect stability and stability. I don't mean to make the wine stable. I mean, we have some high speed bottling lines, we don't want it to crush in the bottling line, or we're losing speed. So finding these really nice looking molds, making sure that they're not shorter and smaller, we had a launch with 100 gram bottle on the on the Canadian market, it was shorter. We did not want to bring that to the to the US market. Craig Macmillan 12:29 Well, why not? Oh, Erica Landin-Lofving 12:30 The funny thing is you, you get a surprising number of people writing in saying, Hey, you're cheating me out of wine, I see this bottomless is smaller than a regular wine bottle. Right? Craig Macmillan 12:40 Right. Yeah. Erica Landin-Lofving 12:42 Especially the amount of it just didn't look looked nice on the shelf. But it makes me makes me laugh. And it makes me also understand the the millions of packaging said had that say this, you know, this package was full at the transport and items might have settled or things like that, because I understand that those companies were getting callbacks, saying, Hey, you're cheating me out of product. It still needs to look nice, then you have the calculation on saving on glass cost. But then you also get the calculations on saving in other parts of the production, which include transportation, because if you do have your bottles, a lot of our trucks aren't physically full, they are at their weight capacity, you lower the wine bottle weight, and you can load that truck to capacity before before hitting the weight limit. That's a saving right there. It's also an additional carbon carbon saving that I might not calculate. I would love it if I sat on all the data to do that. But I know that there is a gain there. But also things like throughout the supply chain, when you have people handling it, it's better for the for the people, it's better for the people who are lifting those cases. And if that's our crew, or if it is if it is the crew in the store or or logistics company, there's less wear and tear on people. I would personally if I was working in a wine store rather restock shelves with with the lightweight bottles or lighter weight bottles and those super heavy ones. Craig Macmillan 14:05 Part of my job is I work in the tasting room. And it's amazing as a server, you know what a huge difference it makes, just carrying stuff from place to place and you can't tell whether something's full or not because of the weight of the glass is darn close to the weight of the wine, you know, it's drinking sense. So yes, absolutely. We do need to take that into account. There's wear and tear on people and there's efficiency questions. I think the mechanization question is a good one depending on which direction you're gonna go, what kind of molds you have and how fast you're trying to do it. Erica Landin-Lofving 14:35 The super heavy mold so we're talking like the 32 ounce mold that's also wear and tear on equipment and extra energy for the for the forklifts and trucks transporting it around. I'm not at the level where I'm doing calculations on that but definitely in the bottling line running a 32 ounce bottle this is going to be rough around the mechanics. And again, lifting it with a forklift is going to take more energy I mean In basic physics, you might not know the exact gain from a lighter weight bottle. But there's definitely gains throughout. Craig Macmillan 15:07 You mentioned it before. And this is a really interesting question because there's a winery that I'm familiar with, that's in the oh, golly, 25 to $75 retail range with their products at least. And they just brought out a bag and box product. Erica Landin-Lofving 15:22 Tablets Creek? Craig Macmillan 15:23 Maybe. Erica Landin-Lofving 15:26 I love those guys. I really... Craig Macmillan 15:30 I think we can leave that in the podcast, can't we? Erica Landin-Lofving 15:34 It was a was three liter. Craig Macmillan 15:36 I'm sorry, yes, three litre, and was a customer who brought this to me because we were talking about these issues. And they said, hey, you know, I just saw this product. Maybe I'm not gonna put super high end wines, really expensive wines. I mean, I don't want to have a $400 box product and then say, okay, you gotta drink all four bottles necessarily. But how many future do you think there is for that, or one liter turbo pack packaging and that kind of thing. Erica Landin-Lofving 15:57 With those alternativepackagings, I'll just list the ones that I would look at. One is Tetra Pak, usually one liter, can be 77, or 750 milliliters to the PT plastic bottle, which is very often same size as a regular wine bottle. Aluminum can which can be between 25 centimeters and 33 centimeters. Generally, you have the wine pouch, which is the one and a half liter and the wine pouch is more or less like the inside of bag and box, it's usually a little bit thicker. And then you have the bag and box, which is generally three liters. I've seen two liters, frequently as well, the bag and box. As I said, it's 56% or more of the Swedish market by volume. It's popular as well in places like Norway, Finland, partially because it brings down the price of wine a little bit, but it's also growing a lot in France, supermarket sales. Craig Macmillan 16:48 What kind of price points are we talking here? I know that I know. We're talking about years and things. Unknown Speaker 16:53 Yeah, so I would say for three liter box, which is the equivalent of four bottles, I would say most of them lasted between 20 and $40. So at $40 because you have a lower packaging cost, lower lower handling cost, so on. So at $40 It's not a $10 bottle of wine. It's a $15 bottle of wine. I mean, it's not high end high end, but it's not bad wine either. What Tablas did launching $100 $100 box, so $25 a bottle. That was that was unusual, and it was a great PR thing and it got got people talking, I don't believe we're going to see mass market boxes in that price range. But I definitely think that there should be more 30 $40 boxes. There's one advantage of the bag in box, which is of course it's really just take one glass, it's also really easy to take three glasses not notice that you're taking three glasses every night. So you know, two sides, two sides to that. But it's a it's a pretty convenient format. And it's gone from being something that people hide in Sweden to something that you actually you know, you have people over for dinner, you put it out, maybe you poured into craft to make it look nicer. But it's it's not something that the mainstream consumer hides anymore. Maybe the wine geeks still shy away from it. Carbon footprint of wine in pouch or wine in bag and box is once we say it's it's less than a fourth of a lightweight bottle per liter equivalent. Craig Macmillan 18:19 Wow. And huge. Less than 1/6 of a traditional glass bottle at 540 grams. Wow. Erica Landin-Lofving 18:27 So yeah, it's big Craig Macmillan 18:29 That's very attractive. Erica Landin-Lofving 18:31 So let me tell you what I don't like about t. Craig Macmillan 18:32 Yes, please do. Erica Landin-Lofving 18:34 And honestly for you know, for your general consumer who consumes their wine within days or a week of buying it and who buys at the $15 price point. Sure. Go for the box. What I don't like about it is plastic recycling in the US is still pretty limited. So that pouch does not necessarily get recycled, which means plastic production and landfill. Don't love that. And then of course, most of the plastic pouches have a petroleum base. So fossil fossil base, you can you can weigh that against the carbon footprint and see what what it's important to you. The other thing is when I worked as a wine writer, many years back since we had so many quality wines and seven saying like 15 $20 wines in both box and bottle, maybe not $20 wines but let's say $15 We would as journalists, we would sometimes go and we would buy the same wine in bottle and the same by wine in box and make a comparison and 80% of the wines tasted tasted a little bit better in bottle 20% of the wines tasted better in the box and they were usually the ones who would have in the bottle needed a little bit age a little bit less sulfur or somehow just breathe more. Because it's not inert. That pouch is not inert. While the Swedish monopoly says it has says six month in six months there's no problem with a with a bag and box. I would like to do taste tests on. I think maybe what they're checking that acid and sulfur levels and VA and things like that aren't actually changing. But I do believe that there are some sensory changes over time. Craig Macmillan 20:12 Interesting. What about cans. Erica Landin-Lofving 20:13 Oooh I like cans. Craig Macmillan 20:15 Aluminum is very attractive from recycling standpoint, it's one of the one thing that we seem to be able to do fairly well out in the US compared to plastic of things. Unknown Speaker 20:23 I'll call out the US. So let's just say that glass recycling percentage in Scandinavia is 98 to 99%. In the US, the recycling rate is 31.1% for glass and in California and step up towards 60 beer and soft drink cans. So that's where we can classify wine cans to the recycling rate. It's actually 50. A little bit over 50% In the US, so isn't terrible. It's still almost half of Scandinavia, which is again 98%. But let's just say it's, it's not it's not terrible. So yes, it's decently easy to recycle. The carbon footprint is about twice that of a pouch or bag and box, but still, then less than half way less than half of lightweight glass bottle and about a third, a little less than a third of a standard weight bottle. So, so good. I liked the format. I can't I can't help it. I'm, I'm a bonafide wine geek. I drink the fun stuff. I like that. It's a small, small package. I like that it's very easy to transport. It is inert. It does have that little tiny plastic lining sometimes but I just think you can play with it. You can put fun wines in it if it doesn't suit all wines. And not all wines are good drinking from the county there. But I think it's a great packaging, especially for newer consumers, millennial consumers who aren't so stuffy about how things are supposed to be done. But you know, rosacea, white wines, orange wines, sparkling wines, lighter quaffable reds, and some fun packaging to go with it. Say like, why not? I like it. We we have one we have Alloy Alloy comes in cans. And we've done some specially can projects for festivals. But isn't it a nice format. I mean, if you're going to go to a festival or a picnic, and you're drinking out of plastic glass anyway, so you might as well just bring a can. I think it's a way for the wine industry to also tap into all those people that are drinking spiked kombucha and hard ciders and who are you know, necessarily dragging my bottle around. Craig Macmillan 22:32 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I was a long time ago. But I forget the name of the product. There was an Australian product that came out and it was in a half size can. And you see sodas occasionally in this like smaller can. And I thought it was really interesting. And then I met an Australian winemaker who was visiting. And I asked him about it. And if he was familiar, he was oh, yeah, absolutely. Everybody loves those things are everywhere. It was like really knows, yeah, you don't need to take the thing. You dump it in your cooler and you put a bunch of ice over it. And anyway to the barbecue you are set. It's easy. It's great. Erica Landin-Lofving 23:01 I do think a key thing is putting in like quality stuff. Craig Macmillan 23:04 That's the question then is what's the quality level that we can kind of get to. Erica Landin-Lofving 23:08 I think like a sweet spot a 10. A $10 canister is nice. Like don't make it the crap wines I want I want a little bit better quality and a little more fun ones and actually suitable to natural wines, natural wines to both from a style stylistic perspective. And also because you have to reduce your you can't add as much sulfur to to a canned wine or it becomes productive. So you have to adjust your.. Craig Macmillan 23:32 Yeah, we we keep coming back to millennials. And so I kind of want to wrap wrap this up on this topic. Again, based on your experience, your view, you obviously are on top of this, because you mentioned it several times. How much of a difference is there generally generationally in interest, and maybe even willingness to pay just the sustainability topic? For folks. It sounds like Millennials are much more interested in do more research on this than maybe the folks that from later or earlier generations. You see that continuing? Erica Landin-Lofving 24:10 Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's with with younger generations, and I mean, I'm on the cusp of that myself. There's definitely more interest. And they are better at calling out BS too. They might, you know, they're not going to dig into every every number, but they they want a credible story and they want sustainability to be part of the story that you are telling about your wine. And yeah, I mean, they it's definitely one of the things that makes me hopeful is the more consumers is that we have a problem reaching them as one consumers but if we can pull them into the fold, one way of pulling them into the fold of wine lovers is actually To, to show this connection to the earth that we have in wine, I mean are seriously our product is so much more natural than a lot of the stuff that sold us, you know, no additives, no super sustainable, no carbon footprint, whatever they're selling it as it's still like a manufactured product in a, in a more synthetic way we have a direct connection to land, I think we need to communicate that to them. And part of that communication needs to it needs to consider sustainability that we are stewards of our land. Craig Macmillan 25:29 So maybe just to editorialize for a second maybe not only on an individual level to individual wine companies, but maybe it's an industry wide, we need to do a better a better job messaging sustainability, and communicating to the consumer, especially apparently the millennial, what we're about what we do in in some of what our kind of standard practices are I you know, I mean, I remember when I first started farming years and years and years ago, the idea of cover crops was a little bit iffy. And I had one friend of mine, and he tried it, he says, you know, I'm farming two crops, I can barely farm one crop, and I'm farming two now, minimum and many years later. It's everywhere you just, of course you do you know, why wouldn't you? You know that so those changes there. Now it's a practice that I think it's an important practice that if people realize what's involved and why people do it, I think it could be very, very beneficial. Kind of wrapping up what one piece of advice or message or idea would you like to communicate to, let's say, winery owner or management or whatever on this topic, what's the one piece of like advice that you would have? Erica Landin-Lofving 26:30 Well, I guess we've spent the last half hour talking about it, but it is definitely to consider the full scope of your packaging as part of your core sustainability work. Lift your eyes from just the Vinyard. It's super important, but include the winery and definitely include packaging, primary and secondary packaging and see what you can improve. Start asking questions, start asking your suppliers for information, ask your glass producer, what their coolest content is the recycled content, just start getting an understanding of what sustainable wine packaging is and how you can implement it and start communicating it to your customers, the more of us that tell the customer that these super heavyweight bottles are actually not an environmentally beneficial way of selling wine, the quicker the consumer is going to catch that and you know, what if you don't care at all about the environmental footprint, care about your your costs of goods, and help the rest of us get that message. Craig Macmillan 27:24 Because one of the E's is economy economics, right? And that's part of the picture and controlling my costs is huge. Where can people find out more about you? Erica Landin-Lofving 27:33 Oh, geez, I was to say I'm all over the internet. I've been a writer on other podcasts and speaking probably Google my name I there's not that many Erica Lofving spelled LOFVING in wine out there. My name is we Landin. So half of my articles are in Swedish. But you can you could probably find out online and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to have a dialogue about anything. Craig Macmillan 27:58 Fantastic. Wonderful. Our guest today has been Erica laughing. She's Chief Sustainability Officer with Vintage Wine Estates. Thank you for being the guest today. It's been a really fascinating conversation. And I look forward to talk to you again. Let's meet you in person at some point. Erica Landin-Lofving 28:11 Thanks for having a good podcast. I always enjoy listening to the people. You're interviewing so much knowledge out in the wine industry. Craig Macmillan 28:18 There really is. There's just a lot of richness and that's one thing that I love about doing this is meeting people like yourself and hearing perspectives and information I never otherwise would have gotten. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
I had the opportunity to meet with Brandon at one of his homes in Wilmington and ever since then he has been open with me (everyone) about his work and he agreed to do a quick sit down for this interview. Find out more about his work at https://brandonnovak.com/ Summary Brandon's introduction. 0:00 What it's like to not have cell phones. 1:09 Skateboarding as a drug addiction. 4:56 Praying to god to end my addiction. 9:12 Being accountable for your actions. 14:14 How to get out of your own way. 18:26 The Novak House and how it started. 23:22 The place where the misfits fit in. 27:39 Do you ever think about spiritual practice? 31:45 Dealing with death and loss. 36:25 Transcript by otter.ai Intro Guy 0:00 Your journey has been an interesting one up to hear you've questioned so much more than those around you. You've even questioned yourself as to how you could have grown into these thoughts. Am I crazy? When did I begin to think differently? Why do people in general appear so limited in their thought process? Rest assured, you are not alone, the world is slowly waking up to what you already know inside yet can't quite verbalize. Welcome to the spiritual dough podcast, the show that answers the question you never even knew to ask, but knew the answers to questions about you this world, the people in it? Most importantly, how do I proceed? Now moving forward? We don't claim to have all the answers, but we sure do love living in the question. Time for another hit of spiritual Joe with your host, Brandon Handley. Let's get right into today's episode. Brandon Handley 0:42 Right now, when you come to mind, I did a series that was called like, sinners in the saints. Right? And I can't think of a better person, really that, you know, is that a sinner? Like missing the mark on life? Kind of right, you know, and that now you've turned it around and into something else. But let's share your journey. And for the people that don't do my kids don't even know what MTV is. First of all, right? Like, how mind boggling is that? Brandon Novak 1:09 Yeah, yeah, it's it's literally two different worlds, you know, their kids will, will grow up not even knowing or couldn't even imagine what it's like to not have a cell phone, right? Like we went for that. That juxtaposition from no cell phones, like nothing, you know, wireless internet, to literally anything in the blink of an eye at the touch of our fingertips. So it's this, there's quite a transition. That's crazy. But I think we're blessed to have experienced both of those worlds. Brandon Handley 1:47 Well, yeah, I love it. I love where we are, right, having had not had all this technology and stuff where we can just reach out to what we're doing right now to having it like, because we I would say we appreciate it that much more. Right? Brandon Novak 2:01 Absolutely. And you know, we have the ability to shut things off and slow things down, because we remember what it was like to not have these resources so readily available that the 1314 1618 year old kid today couldn't even fathom not living without. That's right. That's right. Well, Brandon Handley 2:24 let's uh, let's jump into it. Man, let's jump into like, I just kind of the addiction part, right, like jumping straight into there. Like, when did you kind of first get involved with any drugs? And when did you realize that you had a problem? Or when did it start taking over your life? Brandon Novak 2:48 I believe I was my story is my story. And we all have our own stories and our own journeys. And although the specifics may vary of each person's story, I think the endings remain the same. And my story is that my mother is not an addict or an alcoholic, my brother or sister who from our by a different man are not an addict or an alcoholic. But my father was an addict. His father was an addict. So I believed that I was genetically predisposed. I didn't really have much of a say so in the matter. And my story I don't think is much different than any others to be honest with you. I was groomed I was raised in the world of a fast life. My father never held a job a day in his life, he taught me one thing if and when I go to prison, how to conduct myself or the Hells Angels, he was a rather unsavory kind of fellow, he is no longer with us. He was diagnosed with a disease of addiction and and ran with it untreated for many years until, you know, I always talk to people when I say this, the issue will be addressed like the issue 100% will be addressed and either you choose to address the issue, you go to treatment, get your life back things that you have no idea that exists in life, or the issue addresses you and I get a phone call from your people saying thanks for trying to help him. But he didn't make it. And my father's issue was addressed, but not on his terms. And he's dead and he's no longer with us. But my mother was very successful. She was a nuclear physicist on the board of Mercy Hospital. My brother's an attorney in the White House practices, benefits. You know, so that's where I believe my, you know, I was groomed I was raised for that world. My father and his biker buddies would come to the house and grow a lot of herbs, smoke, a lot of drugs, sell a lot of drugs, fast play fast women. You know, I kind of absorb that coming up Brandon Handley 4:59 with Yeah, well, I mean, you're a product of your environment. Right? All right. It's really hard to escape that. Being a father and just seeing how much of an impact what I do rubs off on my children. It's like it's mind blowing just the small things that you don't think that their pickup they're picking up every detail all of it. And so, yeah, being being caught up in that and seeing that as you're growing up. That's that's pretty, pretty insane. Do you think? Like, you know, parlaying some of that nuclear physicist some of that success? Like was that like, your skateboarding success? Do you think? Like, Brandon Novak 5:38 Well, I think, you know, thank God for skateboarding, skateboarding raised me and skateboarding made me who I am today, all year in all areas of my life, including recovery? I have because I know then that I know now is that skateboarding weeds out the quitters? Or is that really the kind of guys that will, will go dry, try a trick. And if they don't make it, just say, I didn't really want it anyways. Right? Like, I will try a trick for for hours for days for weeks for months, occasionally years if need be until that one, you know, stroke of, of ingenious alignment, and everything makes sense. And I make the trek and that instant gratification. I'm on to the next. For sure. For sure. And that's where my recovery came from. You know, I refuse to accept failure, no is not an option. And so I was just I believe we all have these God given talents. You the best ping pong player in the world, but God might not see fit to put a paddle in your hand. I was blessed with the ability to have a skateboard, put my hand at the age of seven. And then that boards has my hand. I knew I was going to be a professional skateboarder. Alright, that's awesome. Brandon Handley 6:53 Yeah. That's awesome. I'm still trying to figure out how to get a kickflip to land Brandon. After all these years actually, my son wanted to pick up skateboard. And so we went out and got a board and we went out to the local park. So love that story. You're right, like your you'll never quit that. You know, trying to get that trick and then just keep going for it. And you never quit trying to get sober. Right? Like 13 tries. Brandon Novak 7:21 Yeah, right away many more tries, but 13 attempts at checking myself until facility. But I remember, like, during the era of filming, Viva la bam, right? Like we'd be filming all day. And after we were wrapped the cast and the crew would go to the bar in town and pour I'd go meet them at the pub, I would go to an AAA meeting. And I would end up meeting them at the bar to get fucking annihilated by the band was like, What is wrong with you, you go to these meetings and then you come get loaded with us. Like it makes no sense. But to me, it made a lot of sense because I knew that one day it was going to end one of two ways. Either I was gonna get sober, or I was gonna die in the process of trying. But I was never the kind of guy that that accepted the the outcome to be a forever thing of my addiction that I like, fuck that. Brandon Handley 8:17 What do you mean by that? Like, Brandon Novak 8:19 like, I never was the guy that was like, I'm gonna die with a needle in my arm I inactive addiction. Just leave me be this. All that I want. Brandon Handley 8:28 Yeah, yeah. You always see yourself getting beyond it or getting, that wasn't going to be your story. Brandon Novak 8:36 I didn't know what my story was going to be. I will my story was going to end one of two ways. Either I got sober or I died in the process of trying. Right? Brandon Handley 8:46 And, you know, your journey wasn't like you know, just kind of a backyard addiction. Like I mean, you are you breaking the houses stealing stuff getting caught. I was listening to a podcast earlier about like, people literally putting hits out on you. Right. It's been pretty crazy. What was like, share a story or two about the, you know, your addicted life. Something that gives a glimpse into the seediness of it. Brandon Novak 9:17 Yeah, well, my mother, you know, in the beginning of my alcoholism, she used to pray to god please God, don't let tonight be that night that I received that call that my son has sir came to his addiction and he's no longer with us. She used to pray not to get that call to the end of my addiction praying to God, please let tonight be the night that I find Steve that call just so I can know he's safe once and for all. You know that's kind of depravity in the depth that my addiction took me to my mother who is my number one supporter and would do anything for me the job was to die went from praying to please never receive a call that I had died to at the end. Praying to God pleased Let me get this call already, you know that that I think sums it up in itself man, like, that's the nature of my disease. The progression is fast. It's rapid. And it's very drastic. Brandon Handley 10:15 Would you say like, was that the end her misery or yours? Brandon Novak 10:19 Fuck both. Yeah, as in, you know, after, you know, 22 years of active addiction 13 inpatient treatment centers, lost count of our patients in detox, as my mother had already bought me a plot. People were taking life insurance policies out on me, okay, you have to be in a life support for seven days, at the same hospital on mother's a nuclear physicist at, she sold three homes to pay for two different treatment centers. I was kind of that guy that was deemed unhelpful and uncaring incapable of ever getting sober. Right. Right. So I'm sure both my misery and hers. Brandon Handley 10:54 Oh, no doubt, no doubt, you know, I was able to join you with your sober house and how to say hello to her for a quick moment. And she just mentioned that right now. She's just so happy that you're able to be around for the holidays, right? That you're actually a welcome guest for the holidays. And I thought that that was a pretty cool thing to hear. Brandon Novak 11:19 Give me one second my my iPad was about to charge and Ubers. Well, yeah, that's the end as the funny thing about sobriety is that like, and I tell all the guys that live in Novak's house, and anyone else does early in sobriety for that matter. Be careful what you ask for, cuz sometimes you just might get it. For sure. And now I'm a sober guy, and I'm Coming up on eight years, and that I have a lot of responsibilities. And a lot of people depend and rely on me and, and, and some of those people are my family members. So my mother, God bless her soul is my favorite person in this world. She probably calls me 10 times a day. Here, and, you know, that's, it's a blessing. And sometimes I can perceive it to be a curse. Or sir, but that's, that's all I ever wanted, in the beginning was like to just feel humanized and normalized again. Like a member of society, not an outcast, not a not, you know, not something or someone to be discarded because I had a, I had a deeper seated issue. Because before for a lot of years, when people saw me they would like cross the street, and that they didn't see me or walk the other way, rightfully so. Or if, because if you told me you love me, then I had you. If you told me, you love me, then I equated that to $10. So people had to love me from a distance. So now it's, it's it's really a beautiful thing to be part of my family's life. You know, I wasn't for a long time. And nothing to do with them. It was all me. Right? And I had even when I was around physically, mentally, I had been checked out for so many years. So, you know, it's it's nice, man. It's, I could go on for hours. But Brandon Handley 13:35 yeah, no doubt. Right. Well, let's, let's hop into the one part that I think is a little key to the Novak house and you doing what you're doing right now, let's just tell a quick story of the 13th check in, right, I guess we'll call it when you when you, you know, you go in pocket tripped out, you tell the story. Brandon Novak 13:57 Oh, well, you know, I may 25 2015, I found myself in a position where for the first time in my life, the pain had become so unbearable that I was willing to do anything in order to finally get myself out of the position I had created for myself, right. So all of a sudden I started becoming accountable for my actions, and realizing that my very best thing in place me here, and that I am the common denominator in my problems. And if I get the fuck out of my way, everything was i i And I can no longer deny the severity of my disease, the depravity that it takes me to and every attempt at every one of those 13 facilities prior to or 12 prior to they didn't tell me anything different than the other one missed out on, you know, like 13 was no different than 1211 10 98765432. The only difference was The pain had become so great that I was willing to finally become open minded just long enough to ask for help, and and more importantly, be able to follow through with the suggestions that people like yourself and others gave me and you know. So my thoughts are always ingrained in me and I'm very, I'm not the one people call for sympathy or a lighter, softer way. Because my sponsor always told me you never get between an alcoholic and their bottom. And I don't. And I will not, I believe there has to be repercussions from our actions. By the repercussions from my actions became great enough that again, I was willing to do anything that was suggested I went to that facility number 13. And, and literally, as a sponge absorbed anything that anyone told me to do, you know, I was tired, I was just hired, I was tired, I was bored. All these seeds had been planted unbeknownst to me it each one of those attempts at each facility and, and facility number 13. It's like the skies parted and I walked across the sea and everything just made sense from all previous attempts. You know, not to say things won't change. But to this point today, coming up on a year sober, my sobriety has been fairly simple. Because I've stuck to the basics, they told me the basics, you never have to go back to the basics. Yes, I've had heart aches, I've had deaths, I've had troubled times. But knowing where I came from, and the pain that I felt as a direct result of active addiction, like there's, to me, the allure and the illusion of a drink or a drug being a great time has wore off so fucking long ago. And I adhere to, to the suggestions that my mentors and my sponsors and, and the 12 steps and Alcoholics Anonymous have given to me, you know, and I can honestly say today right now, it is it is physically impossible for me to have a drink. Now, Brandon Handley 17:22 somebody put a drink in front of you just couldn't do it. Brandon Novak 17:24 Oh, it's impossible for me to even put up a ball of heroin in my hand right now. And my very first thought would be like, I need to flush this before my cats get to it. Because I've had that psychic change. Yeah, let's talk about that. Right? Like the definition of a spiritual experience is simply a psychic change. Meaning I've read no back today no longer think how I thought walking into treatment center number 13. Eight years almost. You're able to see things differently. Now. I'm a completely different man. I'm rewired. Yeah, and that but that's because you know I'm not people might listen to this and be like oh that egotistical Fuck no, I have a very very very healthy respect for my disease is I'm well armed with the facts I finally understand the opponent that I'm up against. And and most importantly, I suffer with a disease called alcoholism. Not alcohol wasn't meeting so well yesterday sobriety? Sure. Brandon Handley 18:27 I love that. I love that. Um, so you know, you go in to 13th Place your hot mess. You finally get flipped around. I think what's kind of funny about your story too. You didn't share it here but like I've listened to listen to it plenty of times so like where you go in and they tell you you gotta get a job even though you've got like money coming in right in one way or another. You've got to go you're bussing tables waiting tables here you are Brandon Novak guys got, you know, celebrity. He's got endorsements and all that all this good stick on for him. And you're in there bussing tables and waiting, waiting on tables to make your money. pay your own way out of your pocket. And this was the path that kind of opened up for you. And since you found a way that worked for you, you decided to find a way to share almost that exact same path with others sued Novak house right? Absolutely. Brandon Novak 19:23 You know, it's funny. Yeah, totally. But the funny thing is, is I didn't understand any of the any of the journey that I was on, I never realized along that journey that I was discovering these paths that were on lead to a much broader fucking scope or a grand scheme, you know, or big picture. I simply was just beaten so bad that I got out of my way follow suggestions of people that actually knew what they were talking about. And I always say this thing works when I don't work it right as long as I stay out of it mentally sure your suggestions fit physically, you know, if you continue to bring the body, the mind will follow. Right? If I found myself in a position where the pain was so great that I was just willing to do anything. It's physically it defies logic that I can use that very same brain that thought me into that terrible place to then think me out of it. If I could have done that I wouldn't be in a fucking 12 Step Program wouldn't have ended up in AAA, that's not my lifelong dream or goal, believe it or not. But so I'm a firm believer now because again, I was beaten so bad, I knew that my way no longer worked. I got out of my way, had some great mentors followed their suggestions. They said, Go, I said, Sure. They said, when I said what time, you know. And I just brought the body I brought the body, I brought the body and one day, the mind just followed Brandon Handley 20:51 some of that, would you? Was there ever, like a light clicking on for you a moment that like, I don't know, kind of like when you're first riding a bike, or like, oh, look, I'm doing it. Brandon Novak 21:00 Yeah, like put, but everything I've learned in my life is all in retrospect, my life is it forward and learn backwards. So the very first moment that that took place, when I was in my treatment center for my 90 days, and I had in 90 days, I had made it to my eight step, and not one step made any difference, or any more or less sense than the last one to two, two to three, three to four, four to five, five to six, six to 778. Nothing, I felt nothing, I had no clue what was going on. But I just again, follow suggestions, bringing the body mind will follow. Right. All of a sudden, I have my parole officer who promised to violate me if I lied to him, then as the truth and I lied again, because he just told me violate me while I'm in treatment, I knew things are different. And I, he asked for some evidence about this lie that I had presented. And, and it was impossible to gather evidence about this lie. And I call my sponsor, he said, Well, you've you've worked, you've experienced the third step, right? And I said, yeah, it was the first step for people that don't know, came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand it. And, and I said, Yeah, and he goes, Well, here you go, God is everything or is nothing. And he said, Look at it this way. Let's say he does violate you. That means that you're simply meant to take the message inside the walls to someone who can't get out to hear from you directly. For some reason, I just believed him and I got on the phone I called and I let it was, it was on a Friday at like 3:30pm and I left a message on his voicemail admitting that I had lied. And that that was not true. What I told him I had to wait until Tuesday for him to call me back. I meant like 86 days sober, right by and usually would be racing. Sure, I'm going to get violated. I'm going back to prison. After I left that message, I went back down to my my room, and I fell asleep and I slept like a baby. It was a craziest thing ever. And it was right there that I accepted my fate. And, and in telling the truth there. It was like, one through eight hit me like a ton of bricks, like a blink of an eye. It all made sense. It was crazy. And I didn't get violated. School led me you know, like, he promised me that he violate me. And he was a guy that was very serious about that. Brandon Handley 23:34 I've yet to meet a parole officer that's not serious about their job. Brandon Novak 23:38 Well, my other ones, he was my probation officer Michelle ward. God bless her soul, Chester County. She was the one that like, saved my life. nearly enough when she should have violated me by every sense of the word. Unknown Speaker 23:52 Yeah. Brandon Novak 23:54 What happened there? I went in there and she was supposed to violate me. She was. She said, I don't know why I'm not going to violate you. But I'm going to give you one more chance and she sent me back to the rehab that actually works. She called and got them on the phone. Brandon Handley 24:10 Okay. Okay. That's crazy. So, you're taking you're taking this right. And, again, I'm not a stepper Brandon. And this is this. This program isn't about, you know, spiritual dopes kind of its own thing, but it follows. Oddly enough, the 12 step pattern, right, where you get to the 12 step and the 12 step is what for the people that don't know Brandon. Brandon Novak 24:39 Oh, fuck, you make me Brandon Handley 24:42 look there's another there's gonna be a test. Brandon Novak 24:45 He carries a message to addict or alcoholic who still suffers. Brandon Handley 24:48 Right, but you carry the message forward, right? Yeah, yeah. So that's what you're doing right with this with the Novak house. Let's talk about, you know, so let's talk about the Nova Cows, what it is that you're doing, how long it's been an action and what's going on there? Brandon Novak 25:04 Well, I so as I completed that 90 day treatment center, from there, I went to a sober living house, where I live for one year. And the reason why I went there because my sponsor at the time who had 11 years suggested that I go, because he did, and still stayed sober. Right. I wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel here, I knew that my way no longer works in my best thinking place me here, I was getting out of my way. Bringing the body just bringing the body mind has no idea but the body's showing up. And I found a suggestion. Oddly enough, I too, am Coming up on eight years. So like weird, not really. But while I was in that house, me and my best friend George, who is also still sober to this day, we had literally some of the best times of our life in this house. And I've had some amazing times in my life, and I've done really rad shit. I kidding you. I think my favorite Christmas ever was in that house. And we understood the importance and the effect that it had on us. And we always talked and we said that one day when we were in a position that we were financially capable, we were going to recreate that very same house. And also you people from the sober community kept telling me in order for me to keep what I have, I have to give it away. So five years into my journey and his Well, we decided we were going to replicate that Sober Living house. And we did we opened up our very first Novak's house in Wilmington, Delaware with 10 beds, and unfortunately, there was quite a need for those services. And I wish there wasn't in my houses didn't exist, but there are and they do and and we started with one house with 10 beds and today we have four houses with 40 beds. And I run around the nation like an insane maniac. Raising funds charitable donations to provide scholarships for any man seeking a sober living home. What I've found out that my why one of my why's today is I refuse to let funds be a deterrent as to why someone can't find a safe, adequate home to continue their journey and upon completion of a treatment center. Brandon Handley 27:38 I think that's awesome. Right? I think when you give your speech you're taking like at your event you took the this is the place where the misfits fit in right you're taking the people and Brandon Novak 27:53 we take the bottom of the barrel right like our place is not the place that like you come because you want just a weekend getaway now there are beautiful homes, they're amazing, but they're the people that have burned the resources and and kind of the discard it, you know, as I once was for sure. Brandon Handley 28:15 What was it? You know about that house? Can you can you pinpoint anything about that place that you guys wanted to replicate? Just the process? Brandon Novak 28:25 It was the process did you know right that there's a million treatment centers out there there's a million sober houses out there. I'm a firm believer the perfect treatment center or the perfect sober house that you guys sober it is the perfect treatment center is the one that you got sober in, right whichever one that is. I know that what we are intent on doing is creating an environment and to to make it a home not a house and we pride and attention into the homes that we create. Because we want the individuals that reside in them to take pride in their home and where they reside a little bit more than they might find a drink or a drug appealing kind of hoping that the ends justify the means Brandon Handley 29:15 for sure. I was talking who's your carpenter um if you want give him a shout out we Yeah, Brandon Novak 29:21 well we have where I was. Brandon Handley 29:23 So here's the dread hair guy that I met there he did yeah Brandon Novak 29:31 he's the painter Brandon Handley 29:32 is so so so he said you know and i Your sober house is the only one I've ever stopped and right. He said though that your houses are like no. So nice. Yeah, compared to some other places. Do you think that that gives these guys like kind of a feeling of hope as well being like, wow, I can have something like this for my life if I just keep my shit together. Brandon Novak 29:56 That's our hopes. Right? Like there's a lot of different little layers to it. But that's one of them. And it absolutely is it you know that paired with accountability paired with structure? Paired with cleanliness, like it all plays a part. Sure. Kind of like a, you know, one strand isn't more or less important than the other. Brandon Handley 30:18 That's right. That's right. The and one of the things I think we talked in brief at your event, but you'd mentioned like that there is structure, but it's not overly structured. So that gives them enough freedom and space to, I think, be themselves and do what they've got to do without feeling like they're on lockdown. Brandon Novak 30:37 Yeah, because they're not and my house is, aren't that they're not one of which, where, you know, you lose your freedom. Quite the contrary, actually. But the good thing is we do a really good process with assessments. And by beings so blessed with that. We don't run into people coming there and getting high smoke so much as we run into people coming there and don't want to follow all the rules. So we really let people know. Like, if you're not serious about staying sober, this isn't the house for you. You can't get lost in it. There's cheaper houses you can go with with less rules, right? Like, we'll give you an address. So it's Brandon Handley 31:21 a no, has anybody ever take you up on that? Brandon? Does anybody be like, You know what, thanks for that. And they roll down the street? Brandon Novak 31:27 Maybe they won't tell us? You know what I mean? Do maybe they don't? Everyone's process is their process, and we're all entitled to our process. If somebody would have robbed me of my process along my way, I wouldn't be here today. So like, I'm a big fan of that. Brandon Handley 31:45 Do you ever this crosses my mind, given everything that I've consumed to put in my body over the years, which is, I'm gonna guess less than you. But you know, I'll be like, I got to a point where, like, you know, what, I put so much shit in my bio does so many things that, like, if I'm still alive, right now, there's gotta be a reason for and like, leaning into that, right? Like, and just being like, discover the purpose. Like, like, I get down to your place and, and do the breath work with the guys that feel like that's a piece of something I'm able to do. Does that ever occur to you? Or are you just driving with the headlights? Oh, Brandon Novak 32:23 no. Yeah, I I mean, in the first couple years. I'm not religious, but I'm very spiritual. And I didn't really think much about it. The first couple years of my sobriety, I just continued to bring the body or the body. And then around two and a half years, it totally transitioned to, to completely spiritual and everything is, is of a much bigger, broader plan that I'm clearly a grain of sand in. And I play no part of. So it's like, I'm, I don't I don't I don't take credit for any of this. None of this is by my doing. I'm simply just playing the part that I was assigned today. And now everything is spiritual, you know, like everything, maybe too much. So sometimes, I just kind of give up to the unit. Brandon Handley 33:26 Well, yeah, so tell me a little bit about that. I love that right? Obviously so spiritual dope came from you know, just recognizing like this connection with source and like having that high from like, whatever you call that right connection to God source universe. What's that story look like for you? Now? I hear you talk a lot about synchronicities. I think there was a I caught like a man I caught like an Instagram review tote and some crystals around. You know, what's that look like? You know, you've got this work that you're doing right now, I'm sure that that's part of your spirituality. But what does your own spiritual practice look like? Well, you Brandon Novak 34:03 know, I, every day I start my day on my knees, and every day I end my day on my knees, and I know that without a constant contact and have a very healthy connection with my higher power, none of this is possible. None of this and I never get that confused or think that I, I created this. I'm very big with that. I just try to remain as useful as I can to my God's children, which are my brothers and sisters. And you know, the more I do for others, the better my life is. Brandon Handley 34:44 Do you feel like the more that you're able to do for others, the more that kind of flows through you? Brandon Novak 34:50 Well, with what flows Brandon Handley 34:52 like, you know, just like I would say, You know what, I'm here what I feel like you're saying is like you're an instrument of God, right and like divine source flows. through you and you're able to, you know, connect with others. I don't really think Brandon Novak 35:05 of it like that. I don't think what flows through me. I just think like, uh, you know, because again, I am too smart for my own fucking good. Now I'll, I'll twist this narrative to make me think that I've done this. So I sure I tried out the, you know, I just, I just kind of tricky slope, right? Yeah, I just kind of it works when I don't work it. You know, it's crazy. But I don't think much about a lot of the stuff that I do. Just because I'm so busy with so many projects that I don't really have time to sit back and connect the dots of like, Oh, I did this for this person. And this person achieved this. And now they're here with them. And the fact you know, I don't even I just get so caught up in the day to day. Yeah, this is probably for the best, Brandon Handley 35:53 sir, sir. So he's just staying out of your own way. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Brandon Novak 36:00 That's what I've learned is, the longer I stay sober, the less that I know, because I see how amazing my spirituality is, and how powerful it is. So like, I've never be so arrogant. Personally, this is just me, I would never be so arrogant to think that I understand what my God's will is. That's, that's completely insane. Because it's so fucking big and vast. And, Brandon Handley 36:25 but no, I'm with you. Right. Like, if I think I know what to do, and I can do it all by myself. And your point, like I wouldn't be in this situation I'm in now. Right? Oh, one of the things that I was actually touched by, and it was a bit of a challenge, and I'm curious to hear how you deal with it. You're one of your residents. He was probably one of the first guys I connected with coming down to the Novak house. Tim Wright recently passed, and you know, his passing impacted me in a way that most don't, you know, it's all over on TV, and I haven't been close to somebody pass on for for quite some time. How does that impact you? Like, what do you you know, Brandon Novak 37:11 I wish I could say it impact me more, but I've kind of become numb to it. Brandon Handley 37:17 Well, I mean, you know, is that because it's you're surrounded by and you're only doing what you can do you No, no, let go and let God type of thing or, Brandon Novak 37:28 well, I believe that everyone has a message to carry, right, I believe maybe the I believe, I believe my God is everything I don't believe God is, is what I think he should or shouldn't be. I believe God is everything. And I might get scolded for this. But I believe God is heroin, I believe God is crack, I believe God fucking out of all because without those substances, it would not have brought me to the child of God that I am today. But that's just me not imposing my will on anything or anyone else. But I believe that, unfortunately, some have to die for others to live. Brandon Handley 38:09 I get it right. That's the example. And you've got a bunch of people that are close to that. And they see what can happen if they think that they can go back Brandon Novak 38:19 and it didn't need it doesn't have to be that way. Brandon Handley 38:24 But yeah, so what if I'm in the Novak house, what are some of the things I got to do? What's some of the structure Brandon Novak 38:34 so you have to have a job, you have to have a sponsor, you have to be working the steps you have to go to five meetings a week you have to make curfews, you have to pass random your analysis you have to go continue and successfully complete IOP and then there's a gradual step down pace to that will tie up intensive outpatient so it's just a continuum of your aftercare of whatever program you came to Brandon Handley 39:01 from. Got it. Got it. What's the long term vision or where do you see where do you see this going for for you the the Novak house? Brandon Novak 39:12 When will this air? Brandon Handley 39:14 Probably not to like next year? Brandon Novak 39:16 Okay, so Brandon Handley 39:18 2020 23 Brandon Novak 39:20 Well, by the time that you beautiful ladies and gentlemen are watching this, you'll see that were my goals and dreams had taken me to because the day that we aired this was Thursday, November 17 2022, or that we filmed this. I'm opening a rehab, I'm opening a center that treatment center opened by the time your viewers see this. Wow. And it's going to be called redemption Addiction Treatment Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Brandon Handley 39:52 Oh, wow. Congratulations, man. That's my end game that at least I think who knows. Okay. That's your next step in the process. Right. Brandon Novak 40:00 So I always wanted my end game to be. And through the grace of God, it's happening. And then we're hoping to projected opening is mid January no later than February. Brandon Handley 40:15 Awesome, man. Congratulations. Is that in association with? I know you've done a lot of work with a companion and some others is that in association with them or is this on your own? Brandon Novak 40:25 This is all my own This is my own adventure. Wow okay yeah parted ways with Banyan amazing program. But I think simultaneously we just outgrew each other. And I didn't get sober to just get stagnant, I believe sobriety and tells us the life of choices and options. And I Why would I not take advantage of it? Brandon Handley 40:51 Makes sense? What do you how do you feel like yours will be different from any others? Or how will be the same as others curious on how that's Brandon Novak 40:59 gonna? Same as my house is right? Like the personal connection. And honestly, bread and Novak will not be at the other 10,000 50,000 treatment centers that exist out there. That will be at redemption, where I'll be working with clients day in and day out. You know, Brandon Handley 41:23 focus energy there. Yeah, that's awesome. You're gonna be a skatepark? They said no. Brandon Novak 41:34 To which I will absolutely take the clients to 100% but I don't think so. Got it. Brandon Handley 41:40 Got it. Got it. Well, Brandon, Look, man, I just wanted to have you on share your story centers in the saints, man, I really think that it's important. One of the things that you've definitely said before is like, you know, who you were isn't who you have to be going forward and what the work that you're doing now illustrates that, right? He, the guy that was robbing everybody, you know, years ago, is now out here, you know, basically getting money to give to other people to so they can achieve sobriety and live a decent life. Brandon Novak 42:14 I'm grateful man. And I'd like to end this kind of alluding to the point you just made if anyone out there needs help getting into treatment, they can call me directly, personally, at 610-314-6747 Thanks, Brian. Love you, brother. Thanks so much. Intro Guy 42:35 And I really hope you enjoyed this episode of the spiritual dove podcast. Stay connected with us directly through spiritual dove Dotco. You can also join the discussion on Facebook, spiritual dough, and Instagram at spiritual underscore Joe. If you would like to speak with us, send us an email through Brandon at spiritual dove.co And as always, thank you for cultivating your mindset and creating a better reality. This includes the most thought provoking part of your day. Don't forget to like and subscribe to stay fully up to date. Until next time, be kind to yourself and trust your intuition. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team
Amid extreme weather events, many grape growers ask themselves what they can do to adapt their vineyard for climate change. Chris Chen, Integrated Vineyard Systems Advisor in Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties at the University of California Cooperative Extension is exploring solutions to this question. Mediterranean climates like California, with hot and dry summers and cold wet winters, are particularly sensitive. Researchers expect temperature maximums will be higher and the minims will be lower in years to come. Chris explains a few tactics growers can use to continue farming successfully amid climate changes including rootstocks, canopy management, new scions, and most importantly trialing. References: REGISTER: 3/10/23 Canopy Management: Trellising, Sunburn, & Mechanization Tailgate Meeting | Paso Robles, CA 67: Impacts of Climate Change on Wine Production A New World of Wine: How the Viticultural Map is Changing | Greg Jones | International Masters of Wine Symposium (Video) Andy Walker, Emeritus Louise Rossi Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology Chen Lab Chris Chen Twitter Climate, Grapes, and Wine | Greg Jones | TEDx Roseburg (Video) Out of Sync: Vine Responses to Changing Conditions SIP Certified UCCE North Coast Viticulture UCCE Sonoma County Viticulture UCCE Viticulture Newsletters Online - North Coast Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at www.vineyardteam.org. Transcript Craig Macmillan 0:00 My guest today is Chris Chen. He's integrated vineyard systems advisor for Sonoma Mendocino and Lake counties with the University of California Cooperative Extension. And I think we're gonna have a very interesting conversation today, Chris has done some pretty interesting work and some pretty interesting ideas. So welcome to the podcast, Chris. Chris Chen 0:14 Thanks, Craig. Appreciate it. Looking forward to it. Craig Macmillan 0:16 Doing a little bit of background on you. Would you say that there's a particular thread or what the thread is that runs through your research and extension work? Because it seems like there is one to me. Chris Chen 0:25 A lot of my work is focused on adaptation to climate change and vineyards. And it's something that goes back to when I was in grad school, you know, the, the whole climate change thing became really big and something to focus on when I entered grad school. And as I went through grad school, it became what I did. The thread here is kind of how do we adapt viticulture, to changing climates? How do we predict what a climate today is going to be in 510 years, the thread is to see how can we adapt to these changing conditions, and still keep viticulture, thriving and successful. Craig Macmillan 0:57 What is the prediction right now, in terms of let's start with California, but we can talk about the West Coast, we can also talk about New York, and we can talk about Europe. But you work in California, what is the current picture in terms of long term climate change that might affect grapes? Unknown Speaker 1:15 It's not really easy to say this will happen that will happen. But what we expect to see in California, it's a Mediterranean climate right now, these are very sensitive climate types, typically classified as regions with really hot, dry summers, cold, wet winters, right. And they're kind of fringe ecosystems, fringe climates. So they're on the border of, of an inland climate in a coastal climate, that means they're the most sensitive to climate change. So what we're expecting to see in California, and what a lot of researchers, climate researchers are planning on is, you know, increased temperatures, the maximums are going to be higher, the minimums are going to be lower, and those swings are going to be more drastic in between. So the diurnal temperature shift is going to be huge. You know, that is something that everyone kind of expects with climate change. It gets hotter, it gets colder, the extremes are more extreme, but what we're not really sure about is how precipitation is going to change. And in California, rainfall is such a huge thing. It's variable year to year, we have droughts for three years at a time and then one relief year, what we're really confused about is how is the rain pattern gonna change where we are today are we going to get the same rainfall and we're going to be able to support viticulture here anymore? Craig Macmillan 2:33 Now that brings up an interesting question. I'm going to bring up Andy Walker here, Dr. Andy Walker, the very famous plant breeder and I attended a seminar that he did on rootstocks, which he's done a ton of work and many rootstocks are out as a result of his lab. And he started off the whole thing by saying, you can dry farm winegrapes anywhere in the world. And the room just went silent, like I don't think anybody was breathing. And then he says, Now you might get two clusters, providing but the plant itself is going to do what it does. It's an amazing plant. It's incredible. And then he went on and talked about being in the Andes and seeing things in different parts of the world. And I found that really inspiring because when we talk about what we're doing right now, water, obviously is probably the biggest knob. If you have all these knobs, you can twist fertilizer, whatever water is probably the biggest one. Yeah, California, you have done some work with a number of people, but also with Kaan Kutural who I love on drought tolerance, drought resistance, I would say and what kinds of things? Are you finding out what you mean? Where is it kind of leading you? Where is it? What's kind of the thought process? Chris Chen 3:38 Andy, he was also my doctoral advisor. So I've heard his Spiel once or twice about dry farming. You know, you can do that can grow grapes in most almost all places without water there. There are grapes on islands that are irrigated with fog drip, so it's possible, but he's also right in saying that you're not going to get the yields that make you profitable. So that's concerning. And what we want to avoid, because we still need a certain tonnes per acre to reach profit margin that matters in terms of what can we do and how we're going for drought adaptation. There's the old approach of using rootstocks. And it's a very useful approach, right, these rootstocks from Andy Walker's perspective, and if you're looking at it from his lens, they have different rooting patterns. They have different water demands, and that translates to what we're growing on top. Whether it's Cab, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, whatever you want to grow on top of it, it's going to be impacted by what it's grafted to that is actually a very reasonable strategy to address drought that has its limits, you know, you still need water to grow grapes. Almost all grape vines in the wild, are only found near perennial water sources. So it's not like we can get rid of water altogether. We can't just leave them alone and expect to have any crop on them. But there's other things we can do. One of the huge management strategies that we can look at is canopy management. So canopy management in vineyards have really impacts how much water transpires and how much water evaporates from the surface of the soil. With a bigger canopy, you get less evaporation. But you also get more transpiration because there's more leaves, right. And vice versa. If you have a small canopy, you have the opposite problem that actually really impacts your fruit, your crop load, you know the quality of your fruit, the characteristics of the berries. So it's not something that everybody's going to play around with, because they want us to in the end, they want a certain kind of fruit with certain characteristics for their winery. But canopy management is a huge one as well, as rootstocks, there's also the interest in precision agriculture. So there is the spoon feeding approach where instead of irrigating large quantities at once, we can irrigate small portions at a time. Craig Macmillan 5:43 Irrigate strategicly. I mean, I've seen some pretty interesting work from the past where it was like a 10, Vine irrigation block. And you were able to control this and that little bit in that little bit. And you could use NDVI to figure out where you want to do it. Interesting work. I'd never was convinced how practical that might be for most growers, especially if you're retrofitting their orchards. Chris Chen 6:05 In Australia that irrigate on a tree to tree basis. So it's very doable. You know, the question is, how much water would you actually save doing that? And how much energy are you using to pump that every time? Craig Macmillan 6:18 Exactly. Now, we're talking about rootstocks rootstock breeding back in the day, 100 years ago, or whenever it was all about phylloxera. And it was about salt. I know that Dr. Walker has done a lot of work on salt resistance. n=Nematode resistance is turned out to be a big one. If I remember that's the GRM series are specifically for nematode. Is that right? Chris Chen 6:38 Correct. Yes. Those are anti Walker's. Craig Macmillan 6:40 Crowning achievements. Brilliant stuff. You know, we're talking about genetic differences and rootstocks that have been bred for different conditions, including things like drought tolerance. What about what's on top, you make a point one of your articles that the landscape of wine growing is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which means we have a very limited genome, essentially, of what's above ground. And we've learned from other crops that might not be such a great idea. We're talking about maybe trying to rootstock our way out of some of this. Can we variety, some of our way out of this. Chris Chen 7:11 So the short answer to that is yes. The long answer is a bit more complex. You know, overall, all of the scions we put on are all one species Vitus vinifera, there's a few others like Vitesse labrusca, which is Concorde. And there's a there's a couple others that we use, but the majority of what we consider winegrapes is Vitus vinifera. So the genetic differences in the scions are not huge. The real differences are in the phenotyping. Right, you look at a Cabernet Sauvignon vine. And you compare that to a Tempranillo or Zinfandel, you'll see that the latter, they actually have quite larger canopies, even though they're the same species. The weird thing is they're more heat tolerant. Part of that might be their transpiration and might be for several reasons, these small changes in how they look change how they interact with their environment. So the real concern in you know, changing the scions from place to place site to site is that some places actually have latched on to a variety or two. If you think about Napa Napa, you think Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, where I work in the north coast, it's Pinot Noir, a little bit of Chardonnay, some Sauvignon Blanc and Lake County, right? It's very possible to say, you know, if we have a one, one site that increases temperatures by, you know, temperature accumulation by 20%, in 10 years, it might behoove them to go from a cold climate grapes like Pinot Noir and switch over to something like Zinfandel. The problem is, well, the market that purchases their wine actually still keep buying their wines. If they go to Zinfandel, it would be a smart move. If you're thinking about, you know, the physiology of the plant of the difficulty of managing the vineyard, all the extra things you have to do if you want to stick with that cold climate grew up in a hot climate, not to say that people don't do that we do have Pinot Noir grown in San Joaquin Valley, for instance, just not as much as up here. So it's possible one of the problems is actually picking those varieties, picking the right varieties because just because it gets hotter here doesn't mean you know, Santa Rosa has the same climate as Bakersfield. There's differences in humidity and light incidents. There's differences in just cultural practices, what people do to manage the soils what they do for fertilizing. So overall, yeah, it's possible but there's other barriers besides just switching the plant. Craig Macmillan 9:29 It sounds like some of those barriers are the ability to make accurate predictions about what might happen if I'm planting Zinfandel in an area where it's never really had Zinfandel. I don't know exactly what's gonna go on. But then also it sounds like acceptance of the marketplace is gonna play a big role. That's that's a different conversation. Unless you have a feeling about it. I think part of what goes on is we do have information from the marketplace. We do have research, but a lot of what goes on here is growers themselves as individuals are making decisions out what's gonna happen? Right? It's not necessarily that we're getting handed down this necessarily the trend, but like, I think this is where we're gonna go. When you talk to people about this kind of thing. What kind of response do you get from growers? Chris Chen 10:10 Yeah, you know, it depends. There are growers that are all about trying new cultivars, and they usually inhabit kind of niche markets, a lot of these growers will grow varieties that are useful for blending. So if you need some more color, if you need some more acids, they'll grow these varieties that impart that to wines that otherwise wouldn't have them. And you know, there's only so much of a market for that. I think there's also growers on the other side where they say, Well, no, in order for us to make our ends meet, we have to stick with so and so variety, we have to stay with Pinot Noir because our entire consumer base wants it. And you know, there's trends in viticulture in California as a whole that have followed these, you know, this chain of events Muscats Muscats, used to be very popular along with making a rose out of Zinfandel. Riesling was another one, people planted a bunch of these things, and then the consumer market dropped out. And they were stuck with fines that take, you know, five years to hit any kind of good crop. And within those five years, it fell out of favor. So they're selling their grapes for pennies, compared to what they would have been if had they had them at the peak of the popularity, we can't change our varieties just based on popularity, and we can't keep them just based on popularity. But there are these constants right 40% of the grapes planted in California are Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay, which is not a bad thing. It just means that people want it. Craig Macmillan 11:31 use the term asynchronous or asynchrony, and viticulture. What What do you mean when you refer to that? Chris Chen 11:37 so that's a term that I thought would be very applicable to the situation. So vineyards as a whole run on a schedule, they run on timing, and part of that is their biological timing, right? So their biological timing is based off of heat accumulation. So the hotter it is for the longer the quicker we have budbreak, the quicker we have chute growth and fruit set, and so on. So that as the climates are changing, and we know we're going to see higher temperatures in some places, then we're seeing a shift in that timing. And a shift in that timing changes a lot of things, it changes how the plants interact with insects and pests and beneficial insects, because they're also changing their timing, we're seeing, you know, some insect pests are increasing their generations. So they instead of two generations a year, they'll have three in some really hot places, for instance. But also these these beneficial insects that control the pests are switching their timing of hatching and switching their timing of maturity. And we're seeing that more and more, and we're afraid we're gonna start seeing that in agriculture relatively soon. So what all of that together means is that when you look at a vineyard, the events that you would have had for the past 100 years are not happening at the same times as they would have been in the next 10 years than they did previously. And that's a challenge actually, for you know, management as well, because labor resources are, especially in agriculture are often you know, made more available during timeframes where they're needed. And if that timeframe changes, there's gonna be a year or two where that's a problem. Craig Macmillan 13:09 If we don't change anything, let's say we don't change varieties, we don't change the root stocks or anything, I'll get vineyards that are 10 years old now and hopefully get another decade or two out of it, or I'm making decisions 20 years from now for a variety like Cabernet Sauvignon you're in and we will talk about Pinot Noir as well that I think that's an important one. But I want to start with Cab, in your experience, let's say things get warmer and colder. And then we don't know what's going to happen with weather. So let's just leave rainfall out of it for now. But just the swings in the higher the highs and lower lows, what impact do you think that's gonna have on wine quality or yield? How are these things going to change? Do you think as a viticulturalist? Chris Chen 13:45 Especially wine grapes really need that big swing in temperature, so they need that diurnal shift that's really hot summer days and really cold summer nights. That really helps them develop their flavonol profiles, their tannins, their anthocyanins, anthocyanins more so about, light, you know, incidents light exposure, but that's beside the point. So it's actually kind of a good thing. The problem is when we hit these limits, right? So when we hit these limits of it's too hot. So now instead of accumulation of these compounds, what we're seeing is a degradation of them. So they're accumulating in the grapes faster throughout the year. So again, this is that asynchrony, right. So as you get closer toward the traditional historic harvest time, you think, okay, these grapes are still accumulating their tannins, or they're still accumulating their flavonols or their their anthocyanins are not degrading it. But what we're seeing is that increase in the growing degree days or heat accumulation is actually decreasing the amount of stable compounds in the grape that we want. So we're seeing especially with color, we're seeing a degradation in color. anthocyanins are degrading, much sooner and to higher degrees in these really hot summers, especially when We have these heat waves that we had last year. These heat waves are terrible for these things. But we don't know which varieties are going to be tolerant to this and can can withstand these changes in extremes. So the increases in high temperatures, the decreases in low temperatures, the low temperatures aren't really a problem unless we get freezing temperatures which we shouldn't in summer, but it's not impossible. Craig Macmillan 15:23 Not impossible could happen. What about Pinot Noir, famously very sensitive, very narrow range that it likes. Right. I got you on the spot here. Chris Chen 15:32 Yeah, I can't speak to that too much. Because all of the trials that I've done and I've seen have been with Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most popular red varieties in the world, I can't say that it's more or less sensitive to these changes Pinot Noir. But based on its classification, as a region, one region two cold climate grape, it's likely to be more sensitive to these extreme highs in summer and degrade faster. We do know that Pinot Noir ripens sooner than Cabernet Sauvignon does, on average, you know, put them in the same spot and your Pinot is going to be done. I don't know spitballing number here two weeks before the Cabernet is so you harvest the two weeks ahead of time. That means if you're harvesting it at the same time as Cabernet, you're getting more degradation in those anthocyanin. So that would be the theory behind why Pinot Noir might be more affected by these high temperatures. But I don't have anything to cite for you at the moment. Craig Macmillan 16:25 Sure, sure. But I think that your insight there is useful in that. Okay, maybe we don't know what's gonna happen. We can kind of guess at some things that might happen. But if we know kind of where things might end up, or how the vine might repond, I might change my winemaking, I might change my canopy management style, right? I knew a guy who was an old school farmer, and he refused to put in drip irrigation even in new vineyards. And I asked him about it. And he said salts, that's the way to go. That's it only way to do it. And I was like, well, that's 1974 It's not 1974 anymore. And he goes looks listen in the middle of a day, it's 105 I can turn on those sprinklers. And I can cool that canopy and I can avoid stress. I said we're gonna overwater, you're gonna do it, because you just gotta know what you're doing son, like just, I can put it out there. And I can manage this a more effective tool for me. I watched him over the years and saw what he did. He had it really dialed in. But he had a totally different approach to what tool he wanted to use to deal with whatever the environmental condition was. And I thought that was really interesting and very clever. Are there things that we can learn from other parts of the world? Because obviously, there's differences in climate different places to Australia, you know, very different interestes and very warm areas there, if I understand correctly, are we gaining knowledge, we gained some guidance from other parts of the world on this topic? Chris Chen 17:42 If we're not we should be there's this popular topic that England United Kingdom can grow grapes now, and they can grow good grapes now. And that's new. That never used to be the case. And you know the story of I don't know if this is true. But the story of why Brut champagne or Brut sparkling wines called Brut is because the French made it for the English and they didn't like them. No, I mean, we do have things to learn. Yeah, we do have things to learn from other people, especially places that are really hot. South Africa, Australia, these, you know, these locations are, a lot of them are dealing with conditions that, you know, we see here as well, but they're dealing with it on a much larger scale. So we see, you know, really hot temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley. But we grow grapes there. And we're good at it. You know, in Australia, that's a huge swath of land that's in those kinds of conditions. But then the one where it gets really sensitive is when we get to the coast when we get to colder climates, like where I work where I operate. So it's going to be, you know, the coastal regions that really are impacted more, because they don't have the infrastructure, they don't have the cultivars to really tolerate that heat. And what we need to do is look at places that are experiencing this change before we're experiencing it. And often these are Mediterranean climates, also, right, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Chile, and see what they're doing, see how they're adapting to it and what cultivars they're planting. You know, I'm not saying that all of Mendocino County should be planting Sheraz or Sahra. But you know, it might be good for some growers to try it out and see what's going on. I've been advocating for a lot of growers that, you know, if you're replanting, and vineyard, plant a few other cultivars somewhere and just see how they do, you know, it's not really great for if you're harvesting with the machine, because you end up knocking those into the same bin as all the other grapes. But if you could, you know, find an area where it's isolated and far enough away that you're not going to mix them up might be good to plant five, five to 10 vines of something else and see how it does because each each region is going to be different. Each region is going to have to have a different response because climate change is very regional. Craig Macmillan 19:53 But the good news is that we are pretty clever. As an industry we've come up with all kinds of solutions to all kinds of problems over the years. without the folks like you have made that possible. We're running out of time. But I want to ask you one very simple and very short question. And that is based on everything that we've kind of talked about what one piece of advice or what one takeaway would you give a grape grower? Chris Chen 20:16 I would say the most important thing is to do really good monitoring practices to really get out there and see how your vines are changing, and how your site is changing. You can you can try new cultivars, you can try, you know, different root stocks, you can try different canopy management practices. But if you don't keep track of how things are changing in response to that, then there's no point, right? There's a lot of really good tools out there. There's a lot of new things coming out that you can you can, you know, remotely sense and identify diseases, changes in stomatal conductance in different physiological measurements that are really important to developing a grapevine. Just look at these new monitoring solutions. Be wary of ones that may or may not work, you know, don't don't put all of your your eggs in one basket, that kind of thing. But get out there and monitor. Craig Macmillan 21:06 I think that's great advice. And I think that applies to a lot of things. Where can people find out more about you? Chris Chen 21:10 I have a website. If you go to Google, and you type in UC AND Chris Chen, it should bring up my bio, and there's a link to my lab page there, has a bunch of resources has a bunch of links and papers. And I think you know, especially if you're in the North Coast region and the counties I work in, you can just give me a call. You know, most people can just call me anyways, I work for University of California. So it's, you know, quasi public domain. Yeah, please feel free to reach out. Craig Macmillan 21:38 Fantastic. So our guest today has been Chris Chen. He's an integrated vineyard systems advisor for Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties with the University of California Cooperative Extension. Thanks for being on the podcast. Chris. This is really fun. Chris Chen 21:50 Thanks for having me. Craig. Enjoyed it. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team
Composting is taking diverse organic material and making a habitat for the microbes that will process the material. Jean Bonhotal, Director of Cornell Waste Management Institute in the Department of Soils and Crop Sciences explains that there are three necessary ingredients to make a great compost. First, the pile should start with carbon-like woodchips to help move air through. Second, add in wet waste like food or pomace. And third, top the pile with carbon. The most important factor in making compost is temperature. In fact, you do not need to turn piles. The organisms that break down compost generate temperatures that are about 90 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. A great example of this is seen in mortality composting, used for livestock. These piles are created by layering 24 inches of woodchips, followed by the animal, and top with another 24 inches of wood chips. The animal will liquefy and then everything starts to mix as the microbes work. In 12 to 24 hours the pile will reach the desired 130 degrees Fahrenheit. While compost is not technically a fertilizer it has numerous benefits including imparting nutrients, pest resistance, helping with erosion control, and improving water holding capacity because it works like a sponge. Listen in to hear Jean's best advice on how to create great compost. References: 1/20/2023 REGISTER: Improving Soil Health with Compost & Vermiculture Tailgate 53: Producing Compost and Carbon Sequestration 106: What? Bury Charcoal in the Vineyard? 151: The Role of the Soil Microbiome in Soil Health 153: The Role of Nematodes in Soil Health Aerated Compost Tea Composting Handbook Compost Use for Improved Soil Poster Series Improving and Maintaining Compost Quality Niner Wine Estates SIP Certified Testing Composts Tipsheet: Compost Vineyard Team – Become a Member What Is Animal Mortality Composting? Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at www.vineyardteam.org. Transcript Craig Macmillan 0:00 My guest today is Jean Bonhotal. She is Director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute. And he's also a Senior Extension Associate in the Integrative Plant Science Soil and Crop Science Section at Cornell University. And we're talking about compost today. Thanks for being here, Jean. Jean Bonhotal 0:13 Thank you. Craig Macmillan 0:14 I like to start with basics when we're talking about a topic. And sometimes it seems kind of silly, but it oftentimes shapes what we talk about. Let's start with a very basic definition. What exactly is compost. Unknown Speaker 0:26 So I'm going to start with a definition before I get into composting, and that is what is organic, what is organic? When I'm using the term organic, this is what it will mean something that was once alive and is now dead, and needs to be managed. That comes with all different types of quality. But we are usually looking for clean feedstocks, that are organic in origin. So we don't want glass and plastic and other materials that really don't break down and have put a lot of plastic into our environment, because they break down into little tiny pieces, and they're still there. So I'll start with that. Composting is basically taking organic material, all different diverse, organic materials, preferably, and making a habitat for microbes, the microbes that are going to process these materials. When we're composting, we can do all of the work mechanically. But it doesn't really work that well because composting is a process. And if we set it up so that we have our carbon and nitrogen ratios, well balanced. And those are browns and greens, wet and dry materials. So those are the things that we need to balance, then we will have a proper habitat for the microbes to work in and they will thrive. The microbes are what make the heat in a compost. When we're composting very small volumes, we don't always have heat. And that's because we don't have the volume that we need for that composting to happen in commercial scale, we generally will have enough volume. So as long as we balance that carbon and nitrogen, we will have a very good compost that will actually work mostly by itself. Craig Macmillan 2:29 So you need different kinds of microbes for taking action on different types of materials, whether they be high nitrogen or high carbon or whatever. Where did those bacteria and fungi, where do those come from? Jean Bonhotal 2:40 They come from everywhere. They come from us breathing on the medium that we're putting in there they come from the air, their bio aerosolized is what we consider. So these things blow in, and we really don't have to inoculate most composts. The only reason we might need to inoculate a compost is because we've shut it down. Either we've put something in there that's too toxic for the organisms to work with, or we've made it too hot in that pile. The organisms that we're working with are thermophilic organisms, they generate temperatures that are about 90 to 150. And the actual range for thermophilic is more like 130. Those are the temperatures that we really like to reach 130 to 150 is really degrees Fahrenheit is really the temperatures that we want to heat want to reach. Craig Macmillan 3:42 And that's because those are the ranges where these particular microbes are the most happy. Jean Bonhotal 3:46 Yes, and the microbes are actually generating the heat. It's like putting 55th graders in a room you don't have to heat. They're giving off lots of energy and have to do anything else. They're doing the work and metabolizing all of that material. We were talking about a range, what if we're not generating enough heat? What kinds of things happen then? Or what can we do to change that? Well back up because that is dependent on size. So we have to have that volume and that and if we look at physics, that volume is three by three by three feet cubed. However, when we're working in cold climates, that is not large enough. So everything will freeze really, we have to have everything so perfect with that three by three by three cube that we're not likely to reach those temperatures. So it's really balancing the carbon and nitrogen the moisture. And because if like in arid climates where everything dries out horribly, we need to make sure there's enough moisture retained in that because these are aerobic organisms that are doing all the work. And we really need to make sure that they have that moisture, or else they can't really work. People think that worms make compost, and to an extent they do, there's vermicompost. And it's a different than thermophilic composting that I'm talking about. But Vermacomposting is done with epigeic worms. It's done in a 24 inch bed. So you're making that compost in kind of a shallow bed so that it won't heat up, because the worms are actually doing all of the work in that system. When worms come into a compost, or thermophilic compost, that's at the end of the process, they can't tolerate the heat in the thermophilic process. But they do like to process those organisms that are in there. So they will go in and actually process some of that material toward the end. And in some ways, you can tell that you have a more finished compost, because worms are actually able to thrive in there. Craig Macmillan 6:07 Where did the worms come from? Jean Bonhotal 6:09 Generally from the ground, if you're composting in a vessel, you're not going to have worms in there unless you had like warm eggs or something that were already in the medium, and hatched or something like that. So that's where those are coming from. So like indoor facilities generally wouldn't have an earthworm coming in and processing. And the epigeic worms are surface feeders, so they're coming up, they detect that something's up there to eat. And they'll just come to the surface, eat it, pull it down, up and down, you know, they can actually handle above 54 degrees, where a lot of worms dry out and die there. As they get if it gets too hot, and they get too dry. Craig Macmillan 6:57 You had mentioned the right mix or blend the right kind of connection of different materials and other recipes that that work for certain practical applications are given certain materials, you want certain ratios, how does that work? Jean Bonhotal 7:10 There are recipes out there. But basically, you have to look at everything as carbon and nitrogen. So if you're a vineyard that wants to compost, the pumice, all your all your promise while you're squeezing all that kind of material, then you're gonna have to look at that and figure out whether that's going to work by itself, just that promise. But you do have grape skins, and you have grape seeds in there. So the grape skins and the grape seeds actually can work together to create a good habitat and actually make things work or you have a pH of about four or five in those pressings. That's going to deter worms for a while it is going to deter some other organisms for a while, but things will start to get going. And that's how we tend to do that. If it's really sloppy and wet, it would be better to add a little bit more waste, but another waste, marry it with another waste, whether you have some manure or you know the if there are some animals on site, if you can mix in manure, or some shavings, or I don't usually like to put wood chips in because it makes a coarser compost for a vineyard. And we want generally want to find our compost. Craig Macmillan 8:30 Which actually reminds me of something. There were two things that I had learned and that they may not be true when I was coming up and we're talking like 20 years ago. One was that you had to have manure as part of the mix, some kind of a manure there was one and then the second one was forget about using any kind of wood chip vines, anything like that, because they're not going to break down. And that's not going to work. So how is that accurate for either this ideas? Jean Bonhotal 8:54 No, we have to use all of our carbon sources. Honestly, we do have to use all different carbon sources in different types of composting. I'll give you an example of facilities that by regulation, they're only allowed to compost leaf and yard waste. So they're not allowed to bring in food unless they have a permit to bring in food waste. So there's a lot of different rules that occur over municipalities. Some municipalities got the idea because they needed more nitrogen, there's a lot of carbon and your dry leaves and your woodchips and your woody waste. And I generally will say if I make a pile of sticks, which is all carbon, so all all different sticks and just put them in a pile. If I go back six months later, what is it going to be? Craig Macmillan 9:42 Dried sticks? Jean Bonhotal 9:43 A pile of sticks, because I don't have any real nitrogen there is nitrogen in there but I don't have enough in there to make that break down. So I do like to size reduce those chips, the woody waste and that's chipping off or grinding or something like that. And that will make things go better. If you need to compost just leaves, what the municipalities were doing was adding chemical fertilizer to them. Because the chemical fertilizer would bring the nitrogen in, you have to decide do you want to use the chemical nitrogen, the chemical fertilizer, or not in your process, but that will make it work because their carbon and their nitrogen, and we can do that. Craig Macmillan 10:27 Do I need to do some analysis on these materials and figure out what I actually have and then make calculations from there. Jean Bonhotal 10:33 So the ratios that we want to use are two to three to one. So I have a good picture of a bucket. And it could be any bucket, think of a cottage cheese container up to us eight yard bucket, I want one bucket of wet material, a very wet material. And then three buckets of very dry material. That's how we balance those ratios. But we are really some of it is like It's like making bread, we don't dump all the flour and all the water in at one time, we put in a little bit of time, because we need to balance out what that recipe actually needs. And the same thing happens in composting, the operators get very good at knowing, okay, that's really, really dry material. And that's really, really wet material. And I might even need to make because we can compost liquids, I might need to make a bowl to put that liquid in there or that really wet material in there so that it can stay in the pile. So I can use that moisture, mix it with the woody waste, and allow that to happen. Craig Macmillan 11:42 This is beginning to get kind of intimidating. I was kind of hoping that I just would throw a bunch of stuff in a pile and walk away and come back and magically I now have compost. Yeah, how do I figure this out, I guess we're gonna get my education? Jean Bonhotal 11:58 So one of the ways we do small scale composting is we layer the materials in so we'll have a bin and we'll put carbon down at the bottom, make sure we have a good carbon layer because that's going to act as an air plenum on the bottom. So simple, just woodchips a pallet, something that's going to allow air to come in, then we'll put nitrogen or put in our wet waste, our food waste, our pumice, those materials, we're going to put carbon on top of that. So we never should be able to see what we're composting, it should always look like a pile of comp of compost. But I will talk a little bit about mortality composting and how we do that, because it really tells us how the whole thing is supposed to work. And what we do is we put down 24 inches of woodchips, then I'll put a cow in. And then I'll put 24 inches of woodchips over top of that, what happens in that is the cow starts to liquefy. And then it starts to mix with all of the material, all the all the microbes are starting to work. And everything starts mixing together in a very slow motion in 12 to 24 hours, I should have 130 degrees Fahrenheit in that pile. If I don't, then I've built it wrong. But generally even with we're composting right now with frozen animals, and we're able because of the size of our piles, we're able to do that, that heats up. So whatever the pile is, or the windrow is that heats up, and then the heat rises, and it actually convex around that that medium. So the organisms are getting all that and we don't have to do any turning. We don't have to turn at all. So we don't always turn and if I do that layering like I was talking about in a bin, if we layer it in a bin, then we will be able to do that and walk away and just let the rain and snow fall on it through the season. It'll be slower, but it will compost. Craig Macmillan 14:11 So again, I had been under the impression that you always have to you have a regular schedule, you have to turn it to aerate it. And you also have to monitor the moisture. No you do not. Jean Bonhotal 14:19 No. No. The only real tool that we use is temperature. We monitor temperatures in piles, we can tell everything that's going on in that pile is that making sure that it's working well or we need to add more water or we need to whatever we can tell that by temperature. Craig Macmillan 14:39 If the temperature is getting too high. What do you do? Jean Bonhotal 14:41 I do compost in arid places where our temperatures can get really high because our piles are too big. Okay, and then we really have to be careful because we can have spontaneous combustion. And our large ones I worked with some facilities in Idaho that around the Boise area, and they were in danger of combusting. And as they were like, what do we do? Well, if we add a lot of air real fast, we're going to be in trouble. If we add a lot of water real fast, we're going to be in trouble. So what we do is we, we will break those piles carefully, break those piles down, just deconstruct those, lay them in sheet, and then just make sure that they've cooled off, then we can build a pile again, but it can be a problem in hot and arid climates. And it can happen anywhere there are different manures like poultry manure will burn more easily than other manure because of the ammonia contents. Because of the just the nature of that material. Craig Macmillan 15:45 What kind of temperatures are we talking about? Jean Bonhotal 15:47 When we're getting over 170? I get nervous, especially if it's really hot, ambient temperature. We have to be careful about that. Craig Macmillan 15:56 Excellent. Okay, that's useful. That's that we can keep that we can track that ourselves. Now, before we run out of time. We have time I just want to get to this topic, because I think there's a lot here. Now, oftentimes, compost is treated like a fertilizer, you say, oh, there's nutrients here. And we're doing it for that reason. But compost will do a lot of other things for you in terms of your soil. Jean Bonhotal 16:18 Yes, and compost is not technically a fertilizer. So if I have a finished compost, it's not a fertilizer and doesn't follow the fertilizer rules. So there are rules that govern fertilizers and rules that cover compost, and so we have to be careful about that. So it does impart nutrients to our soil compost does impart nutrients to our soil, it helps with erosion control, it helps with water holding capacity, because compost acts like a sponge, and it will pull that moisture into the soil. And then the plants are able to use that when things get droughty. So we really want to use a lot of compost, if in my dreams, I would like to have three inches of compost spread on the whole terrestrial earth. Because I think we need it, it's the only way we can create or recreate our sustainable soils, our soils are very much bankrupt, we might put nutrients back on those soils, but we don't put the organic matter back on the soils, were able to take more of the corn crop. So less gets tilled in, and less of that organic matter is there so we don't have sustainable soils because of that. And compost can help us create and generate sustainable soils so that we don't have to do that. We don't have to constantly add fertilizer. Craig Macmillan 17:49 Now that leads me to a couple of other things. So in terms of application in vineyards, it's very common to band compost right under the vines in the vine round and not in the middle. Some folks are experimenting with full on broadcasting across the whole surface, right and this has worked really well in range land contexts, which is interesting. And then there's a question about whether compost needs to be incorporated into the soil or does it need to be cultivated in what are your feelings about that for you know, a soil that's maybe a clay soil relatively dry. Jean Bonhotal 18:23 I'll talk specifically for vineyards on this some vineyards will start their new plants their starts with like some vermiompost. And vermicompost is a pretty popular product to use when we're putting our starts in. And these are like five year old vines that are just getting planted. And we really want these guys to go. So that will help with nutrients. It will help with soil aggregation, it will just make healthy soil. I have had a poster up before as because it says compost don't treat your soil like dirt. And that's really what we want to do. We want to compost we want to add compost so that we're not just dealing with mineral soils. And I think it's really important for us to be thinking about that way. So the adding a you know, an eight ounce cup of compost vermicompost into the holes is supposed to work very well. And a lot of people in California have actually experimented with that. From what I'm told. What their plant responses are, I haven't followed those. So I don't know. Broadcasting I've seen people more put it in the row middles so that they don't end up with a lot of bull wood in their vines because if they get the nutrients up against the vines at the wrong time, that can be problematic. So sometimes they'll even take immature compost and put that in the row middles. That keeps keeps grass down keeps weeds down, you'll still have some cover there. But then it slowly works its way into the vineyard. Craig Macmillan 20:06 When you're referring to row middles you mean under the vine? Jean Bonhotal 20:09 I mean, between the, the rows. Craig Macmillan 20:11 Between the vines. Okay. Jean Bonhotal 20:12 Yeah, I've seen that done a lot in New York, where people are using it that way. And sometimes we'll use an immature compost because that we call it a killer compost, which we shouldn't, but it kills the area, and it won't encourage the growth in the row middles. And it keeps it a little bit away from the vine for a little while, then by the next season, that's all integrated into that soil system. Craig Macmillan 20:39 Fascinating. Fascinating. Now, what do you think about banding underneath the vine? Jean Bonhotal 20:43 By banding, you mean just putting it right against the wood? Craig Macmillan 20:48 Generally, just underneath the vine, not in the middle, the strategy there, I think is I'm trying to get a higher concentration, if you will, and I want to put it where the vine roots are going to be in. So they're going to be predominantly in the vine row, not not exclusively, but they're gonna be that's where the highest concentration of roots is going to be. So the idea is, hey, if I'm going to put five tons per acre on, let me put it on in a narrow band, like 18 inches, as opposed to, you know, eight feet, you know, in terms of in terms of width, it sounds like you're kind of more interested, if you would kind of recommend, you know, putting it in the middle as opposed to under the vine. Jean Bonhotal 21:21 I don't have enough experience with grapes to recommend. So I'm not going to make that recommendation. This is what I'm seeing in the vineyard, the way the growers are choosing to actually experiment and see what is getting the nutrients to the plant at the right time. So what strategy is, is working best. Using the vermicompost in the hole that's been very productive using some of the row middles. I'm not sure about banding I have no experience with that. So I don't want to speak on that. I'm more of the compost production cleaning up the best person. You know, what, when we get the calls, this pile over here, stinks by the neighbor, then I step in and and try to get everything more productive. Craig Macmillan 22:13 That makes sense that makes tons of sense. One other application that I do think you can speak to is erosion control. What role can compost have an erosion control. Jean Bonhotal 22:22 We do a lot of work with compost, and I'm gonna share with you some posters that will give you simple compost use instructions. We work in agriculture, we work in erosion control, we work in urban garden gardens and farms. So there's all different possibilities with all different compost and every compost, even the compost that aren't the quality that we want for our vineyard. Every compost has a potential use, even if it's just daily covering a landfill, so that we've taken those metals or those that toxicity out of the environment, and at least concentrated it in smaller places so that maybe it can be recovered at some point when we figure that kind of stuff out. Craig Macmillan 23:07 And the way this is working is that the compost is binding this soil somehow or is it reducing the impact of the raindrops or what's the mechanism. Jean Bonhotal 23:17 We do both compost blankets and compost socks and erosion control. So the compost blankets we have blower trucks that can spray compost, it's a big big hose, we spray compost onto a hillside, when we put that blanket down. When the rain comes if the rain comes in, it hits the soil, it hits the soil and it makes mud and that mud starts running down the hill. And that's erosion. When it hits the compost, the compost acts like a sponge. And that sponge will just keep sucking in that moisture. And then slowly release it like a sponge will. And so the plants can use it better and it doesn't create those rivulets and the erosion that other things do. Craig Macmillan 24:10 What kinds of rates per acre per square yard or what are we talking about? Jean Bonhotal 24:15 For it depends on per crop. When we put a blanket down, we'll put in out about a inch blanket. So that's a visual, and we want to make sure that it's well covered I'd put one or two inches down easily, because that will start incooperating. Remember I told you about those worms? The worms will come up and start processing some of that material. And that'll only be incorporated in the soil in that way. So we don't actually incorporate we will seed put the blanket down and then we might hydro seed on top of that blanket. And that'll create cover some kind of cover crop whether it depends on our goals. We'll put whatever cover crop we might put red clover on our roadside we might put, you know, depends on where we are what we're putting in, but usually a low grow local plant. So we don't want to take you know, a plant from New York and put it in California, it's not going to produce the same way. We want to make sure that we are in the right conditions. We have the right plantings and all that and Soil and Water Conservation Districts which are all over the country. They give you guidance on what should go on to slopes. What should go into row middles, it depends on the plants though, and cooperative extension does a lot of that, what application do we need for what crop. One of the things that we are finding with soil blends and stuff when we're trying to bring in topsoil topsoil has lots of different definitions, a lot of times it's sand. Because we can't get topsoil, it's very difficult, we've used up a lot of our topsoil, and we don't have that rich earth to bring to someplace else to put that topsoil down. So we're working right now on grow tests to look at what percentage of compost should be mixed with the mineral soil, or with close to mineral soil or with the soil existing soil. And one of the things that we're finding is that we can really use in most for most crops, and for soil sustainability to build those soils, we can use about 50% compost in all of those, and we're getting really good results with crops. It does depend whether we're growing cabbages or grapes, or we really need those soils to be more sustainable. If our soils are sustainable, they'll increase the water holding capacity, you know, through the compost application, but they also help with pest resistance. So we'll have more pest resistance, because we have healthy soils, we have more competitors that are actually able to take things out instead of working in a chemical system where okay, the cut worms came in, and the cut worms are really happy to be working in. There's nothing telling them not to. And similarly with powdery mildews and some of the other diseases, we seem to have better results with having a healthy soil. So not just dust that we've added fertilizer to. Craig Macmillan 27:32 Sure. And that makes total sense of any there are a lot of folks that are looking at this kind of a holistic plant science, plant physiology approach, which is what you're talking about. And there's a lot of exciting things going on and talking about compost being a part of it is really cool, basically at aout of advice or what one thing would you like people to know as far as their own compost production goes. Jean Bonhotal 27:58 If you're producing compost, you're a microbe farmer. And that's what you really need to consider create a habitat that they're going to thrive in, and they'll do all the work for you. And that is my best piece of advice to anybody. Craig Macmillan 28:14 That's great. And where can people find out more about you and your work? Jean Bonhotal 28:17 I'm with Cornell Waste Management Institute at Cornell University. You can you can google us pretty easily. Craig Macmillan 28:25 It's easy to find information about you. Yeah, and about the CWMI. So our guest today was Joan Bonhotal. She is the director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute. And she's also Senior Extension Associate with the Integrative Plant Science Soil and Crop Science section at Cornell University. Lots of great stuff is gonna be in the show notes. Again, we encourage you to look into this topic. It's exciting. There's a lot going on. Wouldn't you agree there's a lot of new science every year on this topic. Jean Bonhotal 28:51 There is a lot a lot going on in composting, a lot going on in sustainable soil production and if we have sustainable soils, we will be able to grow healthy food and sustain healthy people. So there's just so much going on with all applications of composting. Craig Macmillan 29:12 Very exciting. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
The Art of Photography With Stanley Aryanto
Hey Wicked Hunters! So excited to introduce the 50th episode! Today I will be talking with Paul Zizka - our first guest who became part of The Art of Photography Podcast. Paul Zizka is a passionate explorer who shares his journey through his art and photography. He uses his journey to create a positive impact by inspiring and helping other photographers who are looking to follow his journey, as well as spread awareness. If you want to get to know more about Paul Zizka, you can listen to the first interview on - https://podcast.thewickedhunt.com/e/ep2-with-paulzizka/ Today we will ask Paul Zizka how he use photography to create positive impact and chat about his upcoming project The Cryophilia You can get involved and learn more about the project on: https://www.zizka.ca/cryophilia ------------------- For those of you who want to check out Paul's photos, you can find him on: www.zizka.ca https://www.instagram.com/paulzizkaphoto/ https://www.facebook.com/paulzizkaphoto/ Other ways to listen and subscribe to the podcast: Spotify - http://bit.ly/twhspotify Apple Podcast - https://bit.ly/Theartofphotography Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/TheArtOfPhotographyWithStanleyAr Website: podcast.thewickedhunt.com Tune In (Alexa) - https://bit.ly/TuneInTheArtOfPhotographyPodcastWithStanleyAr For those of you who want to see connect with Stanley Aryanto, you can go to the following: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewickedhunt/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewickedhunt/ https://www.TheWickedHunt.com/ Don't forget to let us know your favourite part of the Podcast in the comment below and subscribe --------- Transcription: Paul Zizka 0:00 really the goal is is to raise awareness of how quickly those places are changing, and how beautiful they are. And I feel like we hear a lot about the vanishing ice and the rapidly receding glaciers. Over the last few years we've seen some glaciers lose 100 200 metres in one year. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 0:30 Hey, wicked hunters Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share artist journey and show how photography given us hope, purpose and happiness. And today, I'm very excited to have someone who is in the very first episode of this podcast, and I want to have him back because there's a few different things that he has in the horizon, as well as you know, Canadian Rockies in its prime season for wild skating. And I think Paul's is is one of the best capturing those so I really want to chat to him about it. I've met Paul's has got back into Rockies. And it's been such a pleasure to not only follow his journey, his adventure, but also to learn from him about the creative process about how to give back to the community and about how to help other photographers. So I'm sure you will get a lot of benefit from today. Well, without further ado, Paul, how's it going? Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast. Paul Zizka 1:34 Thanks so much, Stanley. It's great to be back. I guess I did okay, the first time around, because you're you're having me over again. Always a pleasure chatting with you and connecting with your community. So I'm excited to be here. Thank you. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:48 Oh, fantastic. Yeah, I mean, like, it's so much has been going on right? Or we had, we had a pandemic and we had everything that's going on and travelling is opening again. But before we started for the listener who haven't really hear about about you and your journey, just give us a quick you know, cliff note because I know that we the first podcast, talk a lot about who you are and stuff like that. But just give us a little bit you know, a cliff note about who you are so that if they don't if they want to hear more about you, they can go to the first podcast, Paul Zizka 2:23 for sure. I am a outdoor photographer based out of Banff in the Canadian Rockies and I shoot pretty much anything outside. I'm interested in Adventure photography, Astro photography, travel photography, landscape photography. Yeah, wildlife, anything outside. Works for me. And yeah, I've been doing photography full time for gosh, I guess over 12 years now probably and there's nothing else I'd rather do. And yeah, it's that's sort of the gist of it. That's, that's where I'm at in my journey. Yeah, if anybody has any questions, they're welcome to reach out or check out that first episode. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 3:03 100% Yeah, look, you know, when I first moved to Canadian, Rocky, so let's just starstruck with your with your photograph, right? Because I feel like your photograph is, it's like no other, you know, I haven't seen that kind of style, the way you use human element in through your, your, through your adventures, you know, through the ice, the winter, the summer, as well as when you go out through hiking and stuff like that. So when you create this image, what is your thought process? You know, what is your creative process that make you come up with all of these images? Because, like I say, it's not something that's very common, I could say, you know, when I see a photo gets shared on Nat, Geo, or, you know, some of the Rockies account, I know exactly, that's your photo, because, yeah, no one else have that sort of concept. So how do you create this sort of what's your thought process to create this inspiring photograph? Paul Zizka 4:06 That's a good question, Stanley, I think part of it comes down to, to me there's, for me, there's two ways to approach photography, you can approach photography more from a spontaneous with a more spontaneous approach. Or you can plan things out and pre visualise images and stage things out if you will, a little bit more. So I think, a lot of the photos that, I guess people just have ended up associating me with or maybe at the pre visualised end of the spectrum where an idea will come up in the field, maybe even while I might be at a location with the family in the daytime, and then something will sort of pop in my mind's eye and I'd be cool to come back at that time of year at night with a certain person Doing this doing that when conditions align for a specific type of image, and then sort of make a, make a wish list of everything that needs to happen and then wait for the conditions to come together, arrange the logistics and then go create that image and image that would not be possible to create in a spontaneous fashion, because you're just not going to go to a place like that at that time and found some find someone doing that certain thing in that exact spot. So some of those images that are more like, Can, that are constructed well ahead of time, require a different approach than those images where you know, you go to a beautiful place at a time of day where you know, the light is likely to be nice, and you don't really know what you're going to come up with, which I think is most different. The approach that most photographers most outdoor photographers go with is the sort of tried to align a whole bunch of ingredients that are likely to yield really cool opportunities, but they don't really know what they're going for when they sat out that morning. And I liked that approach to it, I try to bounce from one to the other, because I find that they really tap into different parts of their creativity. So I'll go, I'll go and create more of the spontaneous end of the spectrum for a few outings. And then I'll feel the need to sort of plan something out, dream up an image that wouldn't happen spontaneously, and then try to make it happen. And it just bounced back and forth. And that's sort of been the process for me for gosh, over a decade now. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 6:36 So where does all of this inspire inspiration come from? Because you know, some some of your photograph. I know what you mean, with, you know, waiting for the right moment. I mean, one of the photo that we use for the thumbnail for the podcast was ice climbing on this beautiful thing. It was a glacier. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was a glacier and Aurora right behind it. And, you know, like, like, you say that things like that is very difficult to come by. Right. So where does the inspiration come from? You know, you kind of share that, okay, well, maybe you're going on an adventure. And then you go to this place, and like, things kind of pop up here and there, right? It's like, Oh, that'd be cool to do this, and that, and this and that. But where does the inspiration come from? Because I know there are a lot of photographers out there a lot of listeners who are, you know, like, well, it's really easy for you to say, but I could never think of it that way. So yeah, I'd love to hear a little bit where the inspiration come from. Paul Zizka 7:39 For sure, I think it comes from just wanting to keep photography fun, and interesting, especially if you've been doing it for a relatively long time. I just get bored doing the same thing over and over again, frankly, and so I feel like I need to. And that's purely for myself, that's, you know, what the audience may or may not like the result, but just purely for myself, I find that I just get I just lose interest, repeating the same ideas, and I'm sure fellow photographers will relate eventually it becomes it's easy to get a little bit robotic with photography and sort of start microwaving the same ideas over and over again. And then it's just, yeah, then you don't get anywhere on your journey as a photographer, because you're not, you're always staying within the realm of what's comfortable. So I think those ideas come out of just wanting to keep photography fun and interesting. And, and just to go out there and try to play around with some new ideas. And sometimes they work and sometimes they don't work, but I find that for me, it's the only way to keep photography sustainable is to really just get away from what's familiar at least once in a while. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 9:06 Yeah, no, that's, that's a great advice. You know, just keep it interesting, keep it fun, keep it you know, dynamic, and we definitely can see on your photography, because you live there year in year out, but every year you keep coming up with this new photograph, you know, with a different concept from the same place, right. And one thing that I was wondering was like, you know, when people can go to that process and you know, try to think about a different way to create different images and when, you know, to have that condition or line up, it's very difficult to come by, right. So, how do you like I'm just wondering, like, how do you go after that moment, because I know a moment like that, you know, it can be difficult Um, do you just like, drop everything when that moment come? Or, you know, cuz life happens, right life happens, everything's, you know, it's, it would be nice if all we we have in our life is just adventure and we can go anytime anywhere whenever we want but that's not that's not the reality. So how do you make things happen when a rare condition, you know, like the Aurora lining up with the composition that you want or the frozen lake at a certain point, you know, at a critical point before the snow up full on it and ruin the whole surface. How do you chase after this Paul Zizka 10:43 moment? I would say yeah, you looking at social media, you you'd be, you know, I can see how people think you're looking at each other's accounts that everyone's always in a position where they can drop everything and go, it's just not true. I'm sure for myself and other people, I've got a wife, two little girls and, you know, other life commitments, and I'm just not able to chase absolutely everything that I would ideally Chase. But I think I'm very, very fortunate that my wife is very, very supportive of what I do. And so, and she understands that some of the conditions rely on phenomena that are fickle, right that you don't, you can't really plan a couple of weeks ahead with wild ISO rora, or things like that, that are time sensitive, and that are hard to read and are very, very dynamic. And so I've been very fortunate that ever since I began in this field that my wife has encouraged me to just drop everything and go, at least, you know, within the realm of what's reasonable. If conditions align for an image that I'm excited about, and I'm home, and I'm able to rearrange the schedule, or you know, or we just take a rain check on something we had planned and do it the next day instead, then it's I've had the flexibility to do that. And I think for Yeah, I think, you know, just to expand on that, I think for anyone who's in a relationship and wants to really pursue photography seriously. I mean, we're talking about the ingredients that make that possible. And I think one of the ingredients that is sort of that's not talked about enough, is just having support from your, from your friends, from your family to just go out there and get after it. When, when things are when the timing works out. So I've been I've had an amazing Circle of Support since the beginning. And that's been huge for me. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 13:01 No, that's yeah, that's, that's a really good point, you know, being able to find people that support you in your journey. And, yeah, I'm glad that you're able to do that. Because you know, some of your photos just absolutely incredible. Like, you know, people can look at it and just think, how do you even like, know, that's gonna have it, you know, and share, you know, there is a lot of uncertainties goes with it as well. But you take that chance you go out there anyway. And, you know, you get rewarded by this, this beautiful phenomenons, one way or another. So and Paul Zizka 13:35 I think Stanley just just to add one thing to that, I think a lot of it comes with being very familiar with the playground that you operate in, right, like because I get, you know, when I travel, I get what I can, I don't know how to read the desert, or the ocean, the way that I know how to read the Rockies, having lived here for 15 plus years and having kept a close eye on why do these things happen? What set of conditions lead to those phenomena to happen, and being able to just anticipate a little bit, whereas I get totally thrown off an environment that I'm not familiar with. So I think a lot of it comes down to really knowing your subject. Really, really try to get to know your subject as best as you can. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 14:25 Yeah, no, that's a really good point. You know, I, I learned a lot from you. And when I met you in chat about the condition in the Rockies, and that really helped me to kind of predict and understand what what could happen and what, what when to go and you know when to wait. So I think that's really good advice. Now, you know, it's been, gosh, I don't think we're about two years I think about a year and a half to two years since I have you last in the podcast. So I know you have some project coming up. I know that travel open up again. So What exciting project, I know what it is. But you know, I just wanted to introduce it, what exciting project have you got into horizon at the moment, Paul Zizka 15:09 for sure my big project is going to be a project that spans several years. So I'm going like, I'm diving really headfirst into this. It's called cryo failure, which means an affinity for cold places, which I've always had. But and I've always been drawn to shooting ice and snow and the high latitudes and cold places in winter. But now I'm going to do that with quite a bit more effort and intention, and and really, really target that part. That field of photography. And really, there's two purposes to the project. One of them is to document how dynamic those places are speaking more specifically about glacier. So I'm fortunate that I live within, you know, you've lived here, so I live with him, if I left the house. Now, within a couple hours, I can be at five different glaciers, looking at how they change how they've changed since last time, marvelling at the features that are on display that are always always different. So one of the purposes is documenting the changes in the ISE, both locally and abroad as well. And the other purpose is to document just purely the aesthetics, the incredible beauty of those rapidly changing places that are glaciated areas. So that's a project that in a way I started many, many years ago, but now I'm really that's got a lot more purpose to it now a lot more direction. And the idea is that it would culminate in a book and an exhibit, maybe three or four years down the road, a lot of the details remain to be determined. But for now, really the goal is is to raise awareness of how quickly those places are changing, and how beautiful they are. And I feel like we hear a lot about the vanishing ice and the rapidly receding glaciers. And a lot of people have a scientific approach to how they demonstrate that and I think that's wonderful. But I'm not going to pretend I'm a scientist, I'm an artist, and I think I can contribute, the best way that I can contribute to the conversation is really showcasing the changes, and the aesthetics of those absolutely incredible places. So that's where I really want to focus. Let other people do the talk around the science. And I've got unfortunate, I spent a lot of a lot of time close to that ice on that ice on the side under that ice. And so that's where I can bring something new to the conversation. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 17:54 Yeah, I think that's really great. You know, I love I love the cause behind it. And for, you know, for someone like me who never been who never live in winter places like Canadian Rockies until I was there, it was a big eye opening, right? The fact that glaciers doesn't usually lasts more than a year that usually, by the time the summer comes, it gets too warm, and most most likely it's gonna crumble, the fact that the glacier actually receding, and I think you told me about 1510 to 15 metre a year, you know, that's just mind blowing, right. And for most people who are living in tropical country, for example, or in, in Australia, where there is no direct access and see the to see this, we don't feel the climate change as much, right. But when it comes to ice, you know, zero, I stay in tech, one degree, it started to melt, all it takes is just one degree difference to melt the ice. So I love the project that you're doing. And I think I think it's really cool to be able to show that because, yes, the scientific approach is great, but a lot of people are visual. Right. So just being able to show that and see the difference. I think that can tell a lot tell the story, a lot of story behind that. Now. Paul Zizka 19:27 I think also just to add one thing to that Stanley, I think, you know, there's there's a lot of fatigue that I think there's a lot of fatigue with the scientific argument right now right like people whether we like it or not, I think people are tired to have numbers thrown at them. And and sometimes I find that where where other methods can fail perhaps to reach people photography, because it's so visual can really be The help people connect with an environment or a cause. So I feel like, yeah, I feel like that's why I feel like I'm so I'm so drawn to showcasing those places for people. And we're, you know, and in a way, it's almost like, as someone who lives, whereas a camera and lives really close to those places, it sort of feels that I owe it to the rest of the world to go out and document those places. And the changes are been astonishing, like we are seeing. Over the last few years, we've seen some glaciers lose 100 200 metres in one year. So we're talking about changes that are happening like on human timescales, we're not talking about stuff that happens over hundreds or millions of years this, you can go to the Athabasca glacier, the dome glacier, from one year to another, it'll feel like a completely different place. It's happening very, very quickly here in the Rockies. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 21:02 Yeah, no, that's, that's really sad. And I absolutely agree with you, you know, like, we often say, seeing is believing and you know, sometimes having the number of backing up with you know, the photo can really make a big difference. And hopefully, more people are aware about this. Now, I find it interesting, right? And then we kind of you know, have a chat about this before the podcast, but people like war, people go to Bali because they enjoy the warm the tropical but you chase after the winter, you know, the ice skates when the wild skate? So where does that passion come from? Do you actually enjoy the winter? Or is it do you like to go out there? Because it's just so beautiful. It's is there one or the other? Or is it does it complemental Paul Zizka 21:57 I do really like winter. Frankly, I find it's a little bit long here in the Rockies. Like I find that I absolutely love November, December, January. By the time you know, when April rolls around, and you're still getting snowed on, I start to look forward to summer adventures, to be totally honest with you. But I find that winter just brings along with it so many elements of magic, like, like the ice to snow. Just I love the silence of winter. So it's not just not just the visual appeal of winter, but I love the silence just there's less people here in the park. For one, you can go to those iconic locations and have a more more of a solitary experience. But also, a lot of the sounds are muffled in the winter, you just go out on a windless day in the winter and just sit there and you can literally hear the silence, right you don't hear anything at all. And that's not something that's possible in the summer. I find that the landscape is all is simplified, it's a lot more there's a lot less clutter. And so I think like photography photographically I think that makes for a very different experience than does the summer. And so I think winter has so so much to offer. Being able to shoot stars at 5pm is pretty awesome not having to wait till midnight as an astro photographer is quite nice. And yeah, I love the winter activities. I love documenting people enjoying winter whether it's on skis or ice climbing or on skates and so yeah, there's there's so much that appeals to me about the winter especially here in the mountains and then I would just gladly swap one month of winter for an extra month of summer but for the most part I'm a big winter lover for sure Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 23:59 yeah no that's you know when like you said the winter just bring the magic in in Canadian Rockies and you know the snow the snow tops it just makes it absolutely different right now I know that you you like to wander you like to explore you like to look for new places and you know from what you say it's what keeps things interesting because you keep looking for the new thing keep things dynamic. Now when it comes to winter it's you know the atmosphere especially in Canadian Rockies can become very extreme and and yet you from time to time again you would go you know solo exploring these things now, just take us through like what goes into your head and what you know what what makes you want to go out there during this extreme conditions. Paul Zizka 24:54 I find that a lot of the magic in photography happens on the edge of extreme conditions sometimes right in the middle of extreme conditions, but typically on the edge of weather systems on the edge of those nasty periods of weather is when you'll find the unusual in the landscape where I, especially if you go to places that you've been to hundreds of times. I mean, as I'm sure you know, and you have those places that all your listeners have those places close to where they live, you know that you can show up at a place that you've shot three 400 times, and you feel like unless Mother Nature gives you a little something to work with, you're kind of out of ideas, like you feel like you've, you've experimented, you've done it all, you've shot it from a variety of perspectives. So then I find that you're kind of maybe in a way forced to rely on the weather a little bit and go out in dynamic weather, basically. So I find for me in the winter, it's not, it's not hard to find dynamic weather in the Rockies, you see it coming three, four days ahead of time in the forecast, and you can plan around it and rearrange the schedule. And so much of the magic happens when yeah, there's this front moving and or front has just moved out and or the winds are high. And that's when you can go to those iconic locations and see them in a way you've never seen them before. And so I feel very much compelled to go out when the weather is, you know, a little bit more harsh, I suppose. But now that the gear is so good, both the photo gear, the clothing, the apparel, there's no really reason to not be comfortable out there, there's a way that you can shoot and pretty much any kind of condition in relative comfort if you're prepared. And if you have the proper gear. And so I find that less and less as photographers, we can use weather as an excuse to really to not go out there and try to catch the the the edge of that those weather systems. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 27:00 Yeah, no, that's I 100%. You know, when you it's important to have the right gear because it can make or break the experience. And yeah, I love I love, you know how you share that, that passion of yours and pushing, you know, the comfort zone, because, like you say that's, that's when things can happen, and interesting things happen. So, you know, hopefully the listeners are out there are, you know, taking notes, you want to create something unique, go out there when no one else goes out there. So that's incredible. Now Paul Zizka 27:35 you're sure it's been, I think it's you know, it's something that you hear all the time in photography circles, right, get out of your comfort zone and get out and it starts to get repetitive, of course, but I don't know how else to put it. I mean, it's so it's so important. And I think especially in the age of social media, where it's very, very easy to go and recreate similar images over and over again, that will automatically please a large audience. But for you as a photographer, they don't really get you anywhere, because you can shoot them with your eyes closed pretty much, right? They're very comfortable to you. And, you know, these are the settings and this is the composition and I go to a beautiful place at sunrise and I can shoot something that will, you know, gather mass appeal for sure. But I think you can't keep photography sustainable that way, you have to just please yourself first. And I don't know how you can please yourself first, if you just repeat the same ideas. I mean, everybody goes through a period of just learning and perfecting their technique and emulating the work of other people. And I think that's totally normal, as on your journey as a photographer, but eventually I find that everybody will hit that wall sooner or later, where photography just gets boring if you keep doing the same things over and over again, it's the same in all aspects of life. It just gets monotone after a while. So I think just if only purely for yourself, eventually you just have to find ways to innovate. And that just requires trying new things and getting away from what comes easy to you know, that's Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 29:15 100% you know, true and it's interesting that you say that because I feel like for you know photographers who are already in it for a long time, that phrase get repeated a lot, right, create something different, create something new. Go outside of your comfort zone, but when I first started photography, I wish I had listened to you know what you just said because I never heard that phrase. You know? It's it's so common that people go like you say the immolation is it's more popular where people just go to the popular places right take and a popular time so that they get that popular plate shot and get that one They call it adoption from from the social media user, right? But over time, I think people that's, that's when people can start to realise. So honestly, when I first started photography, I wish I had heard that a lot sooner. So it's really good that you mentioned that, you know, hopefully, listeners out there who are in their photography journey can take inspiration from that. Now, when it comes to, you know, your project, cryo Philia, and you have been to a lot of different places, you know, Canadian Rockies being the most predominant, but also Greenland, Nepal, Iceland, Antarctica, is there any place any, any, any favourite place, or any favourite moment from dos adventure that, you know, if I were to ask you, you know, what was the top, you know, experience from all of these places? Is there any one experience that literally just pop up your head? And yes, this was it? And if there was one, what is it? Paul Zizka 31:14 There's a clear destination that comes to mind for sure. And that would be Greenland hands down. I, I've always said, you know, if you forced me to move outside of Canada, that's where you'll find me in Greenland somewhere. My I don't know if my wife would be very happy to relocate to Greenland. But as far as photography goes, for me, it's the ultimate playground and it's the the landscape is just vast and wild. And the sense of freedom that you get wandering around Greenland is just incredible. There's so so much to offer to the artist. It's very powerful magnetic plays just like the Rockies and is becoming more and more popular for a reason there's nowhere else like it that I know of. It's it's reunites a lot of the elements that I find the most exhilarating to shoot in photography, like ice and Aurora. And so for me, it's it's really a place that I'm just so thankful, whenever I get to just set foot on Greenland and walk around a little bit and document that place. It's next level for me, I've had many of my most memorable experience of photography have happened in Greenland. With the icebergs on the glaciers on the ice sheet, or under under Northern Lights, the people are wonderful as well. I love the cultural the cultural aspect of Greenland I love how people make a go of it in one of the world's most inhospitable places. And so yeah, for me, I think it's the clear, the clear, standout location as far as where I've been outside the Rockies is clearly Greenland, just phenomenal. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 32:59 Wow, ya know, 100% You know, when I see your photo, and, you know, when, when you tell me about, you know, what, what, where to go and what to look for in Greenland. It become top of my bucket list ago, so 100%, you know, it's just so beautiful. Now, something interesting that you mentioned earlier, you know, like, you love Greenland, for one of the reasons why you love Greenland is the playground for photography, you know, the different dynamic, different ingredients, I suppose, that you could find from that place. Now, when you look for destinations, or adventures or places to go? What is your main driver that makes you want to go to those certain place? Is it mainly driven by photography? or is there other experiences that you look for from this different destinations? Paul Zizka 33:54 I look, I think for the wilderness first and foremost, Isla, I looked for places that yeah, that offer a lot of space. And a lot of, you know, they're pretty low density in terms of population, and so that the main thing that I look for is just nature really. And so that's the reason that I went to Greenland in the first place, and, you know, Mongolia and those other parts of the world where very, very few people live. And then so that's first and foremost, secondly, would be Yeah, of course, as a photographer, I think just the aesthetic aspect. What what is there? There's always something went wherever you have nature, there's something wonderful to shoot. I'm very much drawn to the high latitudes and really big empty places I like I like emptiness and remoteness. And I think so those are other things that I look for in destinations. Especially now you know that the world is reopening to travel, maybe try to get into those places that have such that are so so special that it's only a matter of time before they become a little bit more mainstream. So while I still have that sense of adventure, and an ability, trying to get to those places that require maybe a bit more physical effort to get into. So that's another aspect that I look at as well. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 35:34 Great question really interesting. Yeah, that's really interesting. And I would have thought ice was gonna be on the top of a bucket on top of that list. Paul Zizka 35:44 Well, you know, what, I think what tends to happen is the places that reunite all of those factors tend to be the high latitudes, right, where not a lot of people live that are wild, that are beautiful, that are hard to get to. There's, there's there's some that are, you know, what, that in other parts of the world, but a lot of high latitude locations, meet all those criteria, which is why you'll find me often at the high latitudes. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 36:14 No, that's, that's really interesting. Yeah, absolutely. Right. You know, I think one of the inspiration for me to go to more difficult places in the Rockies was that principle, you know, when you when you kind of say like, well, you know, like Rockies have everything, you know, if it's too busy, just go further and higher, and you got less and less people as you get further into it. And I love that, you know, because, I mean, there are time for everything, or the time where you just want to have that the sidewalk, car parks or a spot and just, you know, enjoy just being out there. And there are times where you want to feel that sense of adventure, and you don't want to be, you know, feel go to a place that filled with millions and millions people. And actually, it's, yeah, it's one of the things that I miss about rock is because here in Indonesia, even you know, the highest the higher mountains or volcanoes is pretty accessible that we still line you know, line up. It's like a traffic jam. So Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's a bit crazy. Paul Zizka 37:21 Yeah. Yeah. It's, I think it's something that's easy to take for granted. For sure. I think and like you said, you know, I'm, I'm, I sound like all I do is stuff that gets me away from people and away from the road, but it's not true at all, you know, I love I love roadside photography, as well. And I don't always have a full day or multi days to commit to getting away from people. And so sometimes I'm very thankful that in a place like Banff National Park, even a habit, even if I have a two hour window to shoot, while I can go go out with Lake Louise with everybody else and still witness a scene that is really beautiful. And see what I can come up with with the camera. It's, it's like you said there, there is a time for everything. And it's just, it's, frankly, it's nice to not have to just, you know, drag all that stuff on your back for kilometres before you take a photo. It's nice to do a bit of a bit of both. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 38:20 Yeah. 100%. And, you know, I think it goes back to what you said earlier, it's about the dynamic, just keeping things fresh. Interesting, right? That's, that's really cool. Now, when it comes to a high latitude, and you know, like, all these black countries, places, extreme condition, you just mentioned that those are the ingredients to create something unique, like that's the biggest opportunity. Because sure, you can go to Lake Louise and find a crazy condition. I think one time I had like, a thunderstorm passing to that. And I was like, you know, incredible, but it's very difficult to find moments like that, right? So all of these new places that harder to get to harder condition give you a lot more opportunity. Now what are taking share with us some of your biggest challenges to go to some of those places and reach to those places and create a suppose a piece of art a photograph that, you know that that's not only a whiteout, you know, because sometimes when it's no, it's just a white up. So how do you how do you, you know, what are the challenges and how do you push past those challenges? Paul Zizka 39:35 That's a really good question. I think the main challenge one of the main challenges anyways, I think would just be time management, right? When you go out in those places, and you've got to look after yourself, you've got to maybe pitch the tent and cook and see the scene through the camera but also without the camera and so you may need to make sure you Go home with an experience as well as the photos. It's trying to constantly your brains on overdrive trying to constantly rearrange the schedule so that you can accomplish all of that and, and the more that we shoot, and I'm sure everybody here will relate, the more you shoot, the more you realise that good photography typically takes time, it takes commitment, you get lucky with an image on the fly once in a while, but most of the stronger images that we all have, the more that we shoot, they require us just committing that 1020 30 minutes plus to one shot if we're really excited about a possibility. So it's trying to find time for all that in the wilderness when the weather's not that great sometimes, that's that's the main challenge for me is trying to get really good at time management, and really trying to trying to really just assess every scene, every possibility in terms of the return of investment on investment, if you will, you know, like, this is a shot that does this shot, Warren 20 minutes of my time, it's a great shot, but at the same time, it would be worth it if it was like a one minute investment. But if it's 2030 minutes, then it doesn't really quite meet that ROI threshold that I've set for myself. So sort of trying to assess the scenes that way, you know, and then you find a shot that you're really, really excited about, that does warrant you know, 30 minutes. And sometimes there's a shot that, yeah, I'll put the pack down for one minute, it's not an amazing shot, prefer a one minute investment, it's worth shooting. So trying to always like, assess, assess the different scenes, different possibilities that way, I think is one of the main challenges for sure. And another challenge, the other main challenge I can think of I think is just and goes along with that is just being adaptable. I think the best photographers that I know are very, very adaptable photographers, they respond very quickly to the stimuli around them, they they are very quick at bailing on an idea. If it's not working out, if the conditions are not conducive to a certain image, they will quickly turn around and they won't just turn get tunnel vision into wasting 2030 minutes on an idea that's never going to happen. They are very, very quick thinking and they adapt to dynamic conditions, dynamic environments very, very well as, as we should. As photographers, we work with a subject that's ever changing, especially, you know, working in mountain environments in rapidly changing weather, it makes no sense to have to stick to one approach, you have to just keep adapting. So I think that's another one of the challenges out there. And I call it a challenge because sometimes I do very well at it, and sometimes not so much I get, I spent way too much time working on ideas that are never going to lead to anything in hindsight. And so I think being adaptable and managing your time properly, so that you can go home with the images, the experience and still, you know, look after your basic needs out there at the same time. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 43:19 That is incredible. advices you know, I think I'd never heard them, you know, those points being being told that way. And the time management, especially I know, we kind of have that running in our mind when you're out there. But when you say it out loud, and when you you know, put it that way. I've become more conscious about about it now, you know, and I think that's a really great point. Thanks a lot for sharing that. Paul. It's, it's a great piece of advice. Now, you know, you you do a lot of workshop, right. And you've been taking photography for a long time, and you have a lot of thought, a thoughtful approach to photography. And I think that's why you, I feel that you are such a great mentor because of that. Now you have a few kind of like photography trips, you also do like a virtual mentoring, as well as, I think a mentorship that you just opened up as well. Now, I'm curious, you know, out of those whole thing, what are some of the different aspects that most photographers are missing in their in their photography journey that make a whole lot different to their photography? Paul Zizka 44:45 Oh, wow. That's an awesome question. And I think one of the in a way I think a lot of what and I think that comes down to like, it's the same. Same question as asking you know what, what What takes a photographer from like, Good to Great or photo from good to great? I'm not saying I'm not saying like, I'm great. And I've got it all figured out, but just looking at other people's work that surround me, the other people I shoot with. And I admire what takes them to the next level. And I always come back to the intangibles. And what I mean by that is like, everybody, sooner or later will have the math figured out behind photography, right? Like, this is what I do with, this is what I do with the shutter speed, the ISO, the aperture, eventually, that becomes second nature to everyone. Some people pick it up in one day and other people pick it up in five years. But eventually, you get that under control, you don't even think about it. In a way, same thing with the composition, composition, I think it's very mathematical. You know, it's it's the way that you rearrange the geometry and the shot. In a way it's not, it's not quite as sort of academic, or I suppose like, it's not, it's a bit more intuitive, I suppose, than the exposure triangle. But it's still kind of like something that becomes second nature a little bit after a while. What takes people to the next level, and what a lot of people are struggling with, I think, is commitment, and intention. And I think, by commitment, I mean, through doing mentorship, and workshops, I think a lot of people are just like, they really want to take a different geography to the next level, or they want to make a business out of it. But when you dig a little bit, you realise they're not that ready to make sacrifices. And I think it's like, that's like everything in life, you can't eventually you have to make sacrifices to move on to the next level. Once you know, all the math, once you know your camera inside and out, you know how to assess good light, good opportunities out there, I think and you have you have your vision, you even have your style of photography, I think eventually you have to make sacrifices, and you have to really commit you have to want it more badly than everybody else, I think, especially if you want to run a business, right? So I think that's something that's something that I find went through mentorship workshop that people are missing. The other thing is, intention is I think, just really working with purpose to tell your story as clearly as you can, knowing what you want to say with the camera. And being very intentional, working with a lot of direction, a lot of purpose and being very deliberate about about all the micro decisions that go into making a photograph. Why why do you do everything that you do? That leads to a photo, I think you look at the photographs that great photographers take. And you notice that the breathe a lot of intention, Oh, I see why he or she did that. That's clever. I love that they did this with a composition. I love that they chose those settings they chose to you know, use a filter or dis lands over a dat lands, everything is done for reason, I think and I love to see that in other people's photographs. And those are the harder things to teach. I think like as someone who does a lot of teaching and mentoring. It's not hard to show people the exposure triangle or even composition, those things can be taught but trying to get people to work with commitment and intention. That's the real challenge. I think as as someone who likes to teach, it's really, really trying to get people to work on those aspects, those more intangible aspects of photography. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 49:02 Wow, you elaborate that so eloquently. I love it. And I totally love it. It's very true. You know, it's, you know, I mean, people thing, like shooting manual is so hard. It's not like it's it's a three step process. You know, it's not that hard. And it's only up or down. You know, if one goes up, the other goes down. It's not that hard. And even a lot of how you say even the composition can be mathematical after a while can be rigid because there is a formula to it. But the thing that makes a big difference is that consideration, how do you mix between your gear and the settings and the composition and putting that together? And yeah, I love that perspective. And, man, that was that was a really, really great advice. Thanks a lot for sharing that poll. And, yeah, it's one of the reason why I want you back here. You know, you have a perspective that no one else has, you know, it's always it's always a big eye opener when I listen to you and your your advice and your, your wisdom. So that's really great. That's really great. See, I'm Paul Zizka 50:29 glad, I'm glad you can. I'm glad you connect with that. I figure, I figure you would, you know, I think I think a lot of people. And I see that in workshops, because people, I'll go over to someone hunched over a tripod and say, what are you working on and their settings are perfect. The composition is, could be very good. But they still feel like, they still feel like they're missing something, right. And sometimes it's hard to put your finger on it. And sometimes it's just, yeah, just just working with direction and intention and making sure that you're going home with the most compelling rendition of the story that you can get. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 51:19 Yeah, that's amazing. So you know, we're coming into the hour mark. And I know you have another commitment after this. So I want to try to keep it within the leaner the hour. Now, one last question that I have for you is, so for the listeners, you know, you this this advice that you just gave, I think that is one of the most important thing in photography right now. Like you say, it's really hard to get there, because it's not, it's not tangible. It's not, you know, there, there are no formula to it. So for the listeners out there for the photographers who feel like, okay, I got the composition, you know, I know my composition, I know, my techniques, my settings, I know my camera, I know my post processing, but it's just like, it's never Wow, it's just like, it's great. It's good, but it's not Wow. Right? So what advice would you give to those people? What sort of exercise? Or how can they approach photography differently, so that they can apply what you just, you know, what you just said earlier on your wisdom, to their photography. Paul Zizka 52:34 Two things, I think, look at the photography, look at a lot of photography and look at the photographs of people you admire, look at what they do. And instead of scrolling past 500 shots a day, when you see a shot that stops you in your tracks, just take like five minutes to really deconstruct it and think about why it makes you feel a certain way and why it's so impactful to you and why it works so well. And sometimes it takes a while to figure out what's going on behind the scenes and the mechanics of it. But once you're once you figure it out, then you get used to analysing images from other people. That way, I think you can get so much out of it. So once you see an image that you really, really like that you find is really powerful. Take time to stop and try to list out in your mind. What did they do that is just so cool. Try to put your finger on it on what's the wow factor? What's the the the intangible in that image, or the tangible could be the composition, a choice of settings. But what is it that makes that image so compelling. The other thing that I would highly recommend people do is just getting out with people that they may, that people get out with people that you admire, get get out with people whose work you respect. And see how they go about approaching a scene and just see even though you guys all went to the same location at the same time, just pay close attention to what they come up with when they post 510 days down the road. And just make a mental note. And I think that will really impact the way that you assess the scene, the next time you go out. And I'm not saying just start emulating your friends. But just like nobody works in a vacuum right pick and choose ingredients from other people's strategies that you really like to form your own sort of approach to photography. So get out with other people who see the world differently. We all have a different view of the world. We all work differently as artists and look at a lot of photography that you really like and instead of like hating like and moving on deconstruct Hawaii that day. Marriage works so well for you. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 55:02 That is great advice. And I love how you say, you know, be you, you know, like, everyone is different. And you could use the same exact techniques, the same exam in the same exact shot. And I feel like, that's what makes your photography very unique, very different. Because, you know, you put a lot of you try a lot of this landscape photography, with your passion with hockey, for example, with wild eyes with your love for going to extreme temperature extreme places, looking for that unique, unique conditions. And that's, that's what makes it different. So I think that is such a great advice that you share there. And yeah, we're just very grateful to, you know, hear all of this wisdom from you. So, Paul, it's been a great, you know, having having you back here having another conversation with you. So, let us know a little bit. Where does cryo philia go from here and let the audience know, if they do want to find out about this project or about your workshop? What is the best way to get in touch? Paul Zizka 56:23 For sure, I think the website might be a good starting point is just my last name cisco.ca. Because then from there, you can quickly hop over to the cryo philia project, or you can check out the workshops, or the latest work, et cetera, you can have sort of everything in one place. Otherwise, we have separate social media accounts for the cryo philia project. So it's easy to find on Instagram and, and Facebook everywhere you would expect. Yeah, so I would say just hop on the website and take a look and see if you. Hopefully you like what you see. And yeah, I'm always you know, I'm easy to find online, always looking forward to connecting with fellow photographers. And really, Ron, we want to thank you, Stanley, for just the just the work that you put in preparing, I think, for these types of podcasts because they have, you know, the questions are always very thoughtful. And the conversations have always been great. So I'm really, really thankful for the experience. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 57:31 You are welcome. And a little bit, you know, behind the scene fact, I actually don't prepare a lot from this. I just been curious. Because, you know, being curious, make me ask this weird question that is interesting. Paul Zizka 57:48 Your back, I think that's a great skill to have as a, as an interviewer, I think is just seeing where the conversation leads, and taking it in the most interesting possible, most interesting direction possible. And so you've definitely developed that skill. So thanks for that. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 58:05 Appreciate it. Thank you. Yeah. So you know, with your project, how can we get involved? And you know, for people who want to get involved, or for people who want to support your project? What is the best way to contribute or to get involved with with your project? Paul Zizka 58:23 I would say just for, I would say, just providing feedback, providing feedback, how do the images make you feel? You know, as you start maybe following along under one of the accounts, let me know how the images make you feel. Other people read the comments, things feed into one another, I think just trying to generate that conversation around the images is great. There's a lot of talk about and a lot of arguing about the science and the numbers and the math and in the statistics. And those conversations in a way are already happening, which is fantastic. But there's a lot of fatigue, like I said, relating to those conversations. And so if you have some feedback that pertain to more like more of the visual, then I'd love to hear Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 59:13 it. That is that is I think that's great, you know, because different things appeal to different people. So yeah, if you if you have anything, it when you go to the social media and the website, if there is anything that you can think of it as anything that speak to you more than the other, please do let Paul know, you know, so that he can take that and do more of that and you know, think about what other ways he can do to you know, reach more people so that is fantastic. Thank you so much for doing this. You know, I think this project is so important. When I when I go to the Rockies and start exploring the ice scape is such a heartbreaking fact to know that. Geez like in I'm getting goosebumps right now. But in about 10 years, a lot of that would would go away. Right? And it's it's really sad. It's really sad that a lot of the icebergs gonna break off and you know, melt it with the rest of the water. So, yeah, I, I admire you for doing this and I love that you're doing this. All right, well, we can handle this hopefully you get a lot of benefit a lot of wisdom and hopefully you take a lot of notes from there. You know, these are some of the advices that you would pay hundreds of dollars if you want to work directly with Bose this guy and you're getting it three years. Thank you very much for doing that poll. But yeah, with that being said, thank you for for Thank you very much for listening in. And if you haven't subscribed, hit the subscribe button. And we do appreciate any feedback coming from you. So leave a review on in Apple podcasts or even email us you know, if you do enjoy this, it would mean a lot well poses God thank you very much for being here again, for sharing your, your project, as well as for you know, giving us all this wisdom and advices on how we can move forward, but also how we can find hope, purpose and happiness to our photography. Unknown Speaker 1:01:21 It was such a pleasure, Stanley. Thank you. Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:01:25 Fantastic. All right, we can do this. I'll see you guys next week. Keep shooting and keep creating
Transcript: Joe Krebs 0:10 Agile FM . Radio for the Agile community. www agile.fm. Welcome to another episode of agile FM today I have Katie Anderson with me. She has a web address not as easy ... Katie Anderson.com No! It's www.KBJAanderson.com. Just want to highlight that if you're starting googling her, she's an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, professional speaker, best known for inspiring individuals and organizations to lead with intentions. She has written a book, learning to lead, leading to learn that was published in 2020. We want to talk about some of those topics today. In this episode, we're gonna talk about maybe Australia, Japan, UK, United States, topics like that. But first and foremost, welcome to the podcast, Katie.Katie Anderson 1:07 Thanks, Joe. I'm so really excited to be here and to have this conversation with you.Joe Krebs 1:11 That is awesome. There's, let's let's kick it off with a fun fact. Because I was doing a little research on your website, that is KBJAnderson.com. And I did some research and you started your business in July 23 of 2013. And exactly in that week, the first agile FM podcast came out.Katie Anderson 1:31 Oh, wow. Well, we're, we're fated to talk together with the great beginnings of a podcast andJoe Krebs 1:39 yeah, I would have thought almost 10 years congratulations to that. Oh, thankKatie Anderson 1:44 and who would have thought I had no intentions previously of starting my own business. But looking back, it's not a surprise when I sort of see how the things in my past actually connected it to lead to where I am today.Joe Krebs 1:59 Right. So very diverse background I noticed by two you started working, you know, if I please correct me if I'm wrong here. Planet Hollywood or something like that was? Oh, yeah, it's good. Yeah.Katie Anderson 2:12 I was well, that my I would consider that pre my professional career starting. But yes, in the year and a half after I graduated from university, I moved to London, and was Katie from California, as one of the servers at Planet Hollywood. Now this is back in the late 1990s, when Planet Hollywood was like, you know, the place to go. So it was it was a fun, fun experience and a great kind of bridge between finished graduating from Stanford University. And moving on to my the first part of my career in academia. So, yes, I never thought I was going to be an entrepreneur. So starting as an academic, but it all came together full circle,Joe Krebs 2:53 right. And that was before 2013 way before starting point that we can say, you know, England, London, check for his country already wide covered, you lived in a country and there were other countries on your journey as well, Australia, but Japan had a huge impact too.Unknown Speaker 3:11 So prior, so I've lived in I think I six countries outside of the US. So in high school, and in university, I did exchange student programs in the Dominican Republic and in Spain, then moved to London after university. And I was a winner of a Fulbright scholarship. And that's what took me down to Australia to do my master's degree in public health policy. And I stayed there for four years. And that's when I made one big career shift from academia actually into consulting, still in the healthcare space, and then returned to the US. And that's where I got my introduction to lean and continuous improvement and operations and all of the things that now I've shifted into my my later career and then moving to Japan as well. So...Joe Krebs 3:58 it's all of those things you just touched on speaks for your diversity and it's things we have experienced that obviously have an impact on one of the things you all bring together. Right. I think that's that's what this is why when you're pulling from different kind of areas and life and professional experiences, even better, Japan, I think, had a big impact on you.Katie Anderson 4:20 He has always had, yeah, a big impact but and Japan has had a tremendous impact on me from it was almost eight years ago at the time of this recording that my family moved to Tokyo for my husband's job he actually works in works in IT and we went out there for almost two years, and has just been an incredible part of my personal and professional life since then became the basis for my book "learning to lead, leading to learn" lessons from Toyota leader Isao Yoshino Tino and a lifetime of continuous learning. And the this Japan study tours that I run, leading tape leaders and practitioners from around the world to go learn in Japan on an immersive week long trip. Right? So I'm excited to be going back to Japan and 2023. So we're post pandemic are moving through the pandemic.Joe Krebs 5:14 of course, that obviously had an impact on that as well. Right. helped me build this this connection, obviously is Isao Yoshino if I pronounced that correctly. Well, thank you. Yeah. So he, his part indirectly part of the book, because these are stories, where do you have extracted and learning from, from him, but it's so fascinating about him that you decided I want to write a book about him or about him, but you know, in the context of him from a leadership perspective, learn and extract from him.Katie Anderson 5:48 Yeah, so that mean, he is the subject of my book, we became the what what I thought was a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend the day with a Toyota leader in Japan turned into one of the most profound and connected, you know, adult relationships in my life. And he played some really important behind the scenes roles at Toyota, in the 70s 80s, and 90s, as it was really transitioning to this real learning culture, that was more people centered as well. So leading, and being part of teams that were like almost you consider the internal consulting team, some huge leadership transformation, efforts, re-training, 1000 plus of Toyota senior managers on really what it means to be a leader to create learning in organizations and achieve goals, sort of the foundation of so much of what we know, that might be considered Kata, or a A3 thinking as well. And then part of the joint venture between Toyota and General Motors when Japan was sorry, when Toyota was expanding overseas known as numi, he was in charge of the leadership development program for the training program for the American workers to come out are the American managers to come to Japan to learn the Toyota way. So really prove that you can translate this thinking across cultures, that it's these principles like work, it's just how we embody them, and how we support the development of other people, so and so much more. But I as I dug into my learning from him, and realized how much history there hadn't been captured, and just his wisdom, his own personal journey, I realized this, this needed to be brought to the world. So it's been one of my life's great privileges.Joe Krebs 7:37 Yeah, so we had the opportunity to speak more, spend more time with you. Isao I would assume that not just one one day,Katie Anderson 7:45 oh, my gosh, yes, I so I, we, he I'm recording this in my office, it's also our guestroom he stayed at my house multiple times, we, I would, when I was living in Japan, we would spend, I would jump on the Shinkansen the bullet train, almost every month, every other month, spend the day with him started writing, I was writing a blog at the time, being a lean practitioner living in Japan was a really, you know, unique opportunity, and was writing about our conversations and people were really taken with it. When I moved back to the US. In 2016, we continued our partnership, and just this idea of writing a book came to be and as you know, the concept of a book, a great idea turns into something different and it became a much larger project to once we started with purposeful interviews, but it we've I this book is the culmination of 1000s of hours of conversation, which I'm so grateful to have learned from and having the one on one interaction, but also to be able to synthesize them and put them in a really, hopefully enjoyable read, but a really helpful and useful book for for practitioners lean, agile, you know, just enthusiast about learning and leadership around the world.Joe Krebs 8:59 Right. So I just wanted to make sure right, because you know, and that anybody walks away from this podcast has actually spent a day with no, no, no. Emerging with almost 400 pages.Katie Anderson 9:11 years. And we. So I had, you know, a lot of material from previous years of conversations and writing blog posts and working partnering together. But we when we said yes to like we said, Well, yeah, let's do this book idea together. And it actually wasn't intended to be using all of his stories, it was had a different form and shape. And I talked about that in the introduction how it morphed as you learn. But through the purposeful interviews over the course of a year, it became clear that so much needed to be so much more needed to be shared in a different way.Joe Krebs 9:47 Just curious, I mean, I would assume the conversation was in English.Katie Anderson 9:51 Yes. So Mr. Yoshino spent 14 years of his career in the United States. And actually, as you discover in the book, you know, his lifelong dream was to live in the US Since he studied English from an early age, and this is quite unusual, actually, you know, he was born at around the time of the end of the Second World War. And so, you know, the US and Japan relations were, you know, they're a little different than they are now. So his English is quite fluent, and which has been great that he to through the pandemic, even though we had planned to have all these in person events, he's now able to connect with different leadership teams and help them have conversations and talk about things as well.Joe Krebs 10:30 Do you think like, even though it's not necessarily the mother tongue that something? You know, was it harder to catch something that might have gotten lost in translation, just from like, Japanese culture at Toyota's perspective, translating into English was without any kind of difficulties, just like from a language perspective. I mean, there's always ways to, you know, I say it differently, but it's not the same, necessarily right?Katie Anderson 10:57 So I would say not as much between Mr. Yoshino and myself in terms of the book, as it relates to principles from Toyota. And what we know is lean or the Toyota way didn't, whatever you might want to call it. There have been some lost in translation moments. And particularly, and I highlight this at the end of the book about the internal document that Toyota put together in 2001, to really sort of summarize their culture and what the Toyota way really means. There were two elements that I really consider lost in translation that have really, I think, impacted how people think about what is emerged as lean or agile and a little bit more focused, why we've ended up being more focused on tools perhaps, than the real essence, which is around learning and people. The first is that the Japanese, the way the Japanese words are written, respect for people, we only have one word for respect. And one sort of the one way of looking at the people but the the way the kanji symbols are written in Japan, there's a there's a nuance in those words, and it's respect for humanity or respect for your humaneness, which, to me, has a much more enriched meaning than just respect for people, which you might be able to think of as, like, Oh, I'm respecting you just because of your title. And the second element, which I think is real, a real miss actually on Toyota is part because they were the ones who translated it this way, was that the the way they the pillar of the Toyota way that they translated just as continuous improvement, actually is made up of two Japanese words, one, which is Kaizen, which we know is where we are commonly know as continuous improvement or improvement. There's that was Kaizen and wisdom "chie". And we're totally missing the word wisdom from this concept, and to me, wisdom is like that generational knowledge. It's information that we're putting into place, and it's much richer and so are the missing the word wisdom, to me, really just make sort of continuous improvement. Okay, yeah, we want to make incremental changes and improve all the time. Wisdom has a sense of gravitas, and generations and connectedness that so that that part to me is lost in translation, as it relates to my conversations with Mr. Yoshino? I don't know. I don't think so.Joe Krebs 13:27 Well, so your so your book, what's what's really standing out is in a very short period of time since 2020, when the book came out tons of reviews, and not only reviews, five star reviews. I mean, it's just very, very remarkable have to say, usually, I don't pay so much attention to that I had people on the show here with a few stars, you know, and on an on an Amazon page. But that really stands out, I have to say and what I want to say those those guests were great guests, great topics. It's just like, you know what the public thinks about it. But it's, that's tremendous, in terms of what people would like to learn from you here, and it's let's focus a little bit on the book. Why because it's I think, what's what's in there is about "Learning to lead, Leading to learn". So it's a great wordplay. Well, I love it to add, but it's it's also something where he just mentioned about continuous learning. Right? Well, I would like to go as in terms of leading is some people, at least when I started my career, they were hired, you know, because they brought a certain knowledge to the job description when they were hired to say, like, we need exactly that knowledge to come in. Right? Especially on the leadership side, right? Like, I need that leadership to come in. I need somebody who has that knowledge. So you're basically brought in for what you knew at that time. Your book is all about going forward, right? You're coming in and continue your learning journey. I don't think that you know, that's obviously what we're talking about 20,30 years ago, he might have been different and maybe it was me isolated, but it just felt like that. That didn't beginning you were hired for something because of your knowledge at that time, I think that is a concept. So how do we, you know, how would you tell the listeners here to a listening to this episode here right now, the approach at Toyota, what you have learned and what you experienced over the years since since you wrote the book in the years before?Katie Anderson 15:17 Yeah, absolutely. And this is really what I see as the secret to Toyota and why they've been so successful, and why so many companies and leaders around the world are really trying to emulate what they've done either through applying lean or agile or kata, you know, all of these things that sort of had its genesis through these, through Toyota really be applied in different contexts. The one of the, the framework that I talked about leadership is this comes out of this comment that Mr. Yoshino made one of the first times I met him, and it really summarized to me the simplicity of what leaders need to do. And it's actually inherent in the kata framework as well, or A3 thinking, whatever all the tools you want to talk about from, from Toyota leaders set the direction. So where do we need to go? And you know, what's that challenge the target we need to achieve, then provide support. So that's the coaching the development, the cultivating other people's expertise, and figuring out how to get there. And then the third part is about developing yourself as a leader. And that third element is often missed when we think about leadership. Yeah, okay. Leaders need to set the strategy with the goals, where do we need to go? Okay, yes, they need to provide support to their people, what does that look like? But this realization that we also need to be always developing and improving ourselves, both from our knowledge perspective, but also from our behaviors, and our skills and abilities to be clear on strategy and direction? And then really, what does it mean to provide support? And you highlighted what I think is one of the biggest gaps that I've observed in leaders around the world. And was also, you know, when I, when I realized for myself as a, as a manager and leader within an organization, a challenge as well, is it we have cultivated deep expertise and knowledge, and we are hired often for that technical ability that we have developed. And that's great when we're in individual contributor role, or there's a problem that specifically or strategic initiative that needs to be solved, though, when we have people development responsibility, which usually comes with being a manager or a team leader, or however the structure is, you also need to be stepping away into how do you cultivate that expertise for other people and let them learn and develop those capabilities. And so we have to navigate this leadership continuum between being an expert and developing the expertise or coaching the expertise of others. And that can be a really hard shift for us to make and something that we're like invisible to sometimes. So we're jumping in with all the answers and trying to give people our all our ideas, which is great, because we feel helpful, but it actually is missing out on that secret sauce, which is cultivating learning across the organization.Joe Krebs 18:10 And it's not only the learning for team members or team or a group I work with, it's also my own learning. Right? So that's also, butKatie Anderson 18:20 absolutely, and so you're learning. And I call this this chain of learning, like we're learning through working on a needed gold or also learning through the interaction about how to be more effective and how to do that differently.Joe Krebs 18:35 Yeah, I always think like, if you hire somebody, you know exactly through like a checklist of skills and expertise you're looking for. And let's say you have that perfect match, check, check, check, check, right, and you got more than that person would be bored coming on the job, right? Because it's like that is, you know, what's the learning path here? So you got to provide that, for a person, at least that's how I'm triggered was like, what's, what's next? How can I evolve? What is the to learn and, and that platform, that environment has to be there for somebody to flourish? Right?Katie Anderson 19:03 Absolutely. We, I mean, we know this innately as human beings, right, we always need a little bit of challenge and a little bit of something new or making progress. I mean, that's very rewarding. And when we don't have that we do feel disengaged, or, you know, unsatisfied. And so that's part of the, you know, manager or leaders responsibility, too, is making sure people have enough challenge that's stretching them but enough support that they feel like, you know, they're not like doing it all alone. At that same time, and that's where that learning zone, that sweet spot of the learning zone comes in.Joe Krebs 19:40 I just saw recently like, I think it was a McKinsey statistic it was all about like leadership and the introduction of agile, the impact on leadership, and it was like a significant percentage of people freed up time to actually focus on strategy right in a in an organization because there was so caught up in a day to day activities working like on very tactical items. Because there was so blocked and an agility created a kind of space for them. So...Katie Anderson 20:13 yeah, absolutely. And one of the unintended consequences of us kind of jumping in to participate in problem solving or taking, telling people, all of our ideas is we end up actually taking on the burden of having the responsibility for doing those things. So we don't have time and space to do anything else. And so actually, to be more effective, it's how do we how do we know which are like, our problems to solve? And where is it really our teams and our people? And what does it mean to show up differently to provide that support and that help that's needed without taking over all the all the activity? So that's the great leadership challenge, right?Joe Krebs 20:52 Here we go. That's a good one. It's let's let's explore this a little bit, because obviously, Isao Yoshina is from Toyota. So how would you respond? I'm just curious, put you on the spot here. But how would you respond to somebody who would say like, oh, that's all great. You talked to him, and you wrote a book, and it's about Toyota, and it's maybe lean? But what if, you know, somebody says, I work in a financial institution? We're not building cars or something like that? How would the topic? I feel like I know the answer, but I just want to make from you, how would a topic like this apply to you know, something more generic out there was somebody in a totally different industry might not even for profit, it could be nonprofit? Anything like that? How would you know somebody benefit from this?Katie Anderson 21:40 Well, I first and foremost, I started off in healthcare and working in large hospital and healthcare systems using the same principles to guide improvement. And I now work with industry agnostic, really, you know, I work with IT functions I work with, large, you know, biotech, pharmaceutical companies, I work with knowledge workers, you know, all across the board, what I think is really important is we have focused far too long on sort of the visual artifacts or the process side. Now, it's really important to improve the process, of course of how work is done, and how value is created for any organization's customers. The principles of all of this thinking can be applied to whatever industry. So what is your purpose, your organization's purpose? What is the value that you deliver? Or create either a product or service for your customer? How are you do that doing that in the most effective and high quality way? How are you engaging people's thinking and problem solving at the right level each and every day? How do they know where they need to go set the direction? How are you in creating that active engaged workforce? And how are you improving yourself as well. So I think, if we focus too much on like, Oh, I'm in a different industry, they this can't work, we're actually missing the whole point. Because the the way it will manifest will be different, actually different across any organization, even if you're in the same industry. So this is why Toyota never cared about if people went in and saw their, you know, went to the manufacturing shop floor and observed things because they knew they're missing. The thing that's really the secret, which is underlying everything is that they're creating, learning, looking at how they're developing people, engaging people each and every day, they were just solving the problems they needed to solve. Your problems are going to be different. So that I mean, that's my really my response. And I heard that so much when we were getting started in healthcare to oh, we do we provide health care for people, you know, we're not You're not a manufacturing line? Well, actually, there's a lot of similarity, if you look across, like looking at value and how we create value.Joe Krebs 23:53 Yeah, but it's interesting, right? As you just said, like very transparent on the on the floor, right? Build how we build things and take a look at it. We're very transparent in this. But even with the secret sauce, it's not easy to build that, that that map, like, we can still do that, because now we have the tools, why we can say, we have a better understanding of what's behind it, right. But we're still, we're still struggling to identify opportunities within organizations to try something like this. I mean, I'm just myself, you know, as we talked about before, the Kata is what I'm very passionate about the same thing, as like, you know, is this one comes from Toyota, it's extracted from Toyota with that map or apply to something else, and I see the synergies, but even with the secret sauce, it's not easy.Katie Anderson 24:41 No, I mean, that that's the that's the challenge, right? Like, actually, these concepts are very simple. And they really make a lot of sense if you just take a step back, but it's not easy to put into place. And that challenges all of us to think in a different way. I mean, I think in my own business, as well, like, I'm well into all of these principles, but to apply them in my own work requires me to, like put real effort into that and to like, oh, how am I making the invisible visible? How I how do I have clarity on where we need to go? All of those things? Yes.Joe Krebs 25:16 Yeah. So maybe there's also the answer. I'm just, I'm just gonna ask you because the book itself has the little add on. It's this workbook.Katie Anderson 25:25 Hmm. Yes.Joe Krebs 25:26 It's not a coffee table book.Katie Anderson 25:28 No, it's reflect and learn. I mean, it's beautiful coffee table book. But no, it's for Applied Learning, applied learning.Joe Krebs 25:37 Exactly. So how would you like and obviously, that's why I said coffee table book. It's not a coffee table book. It's a workbook, right? Because we do want to use a copy and we want to work in it. So how would you like the learner work through some of those things you're describing in your book? What's the style with a book? How would you envision that? Is that a start to end read? Is that a chapter by chapter and then possibly exercises? Is that something you go along with as a professional? Is that something you prepare for something? How would you like to see the reader or the professional use that and consume the work?Katie Anderson 26:13 So the book is really, you can choose to use the book however you want? The the way I wrote the book is about Mr. Yoshino's, chronological learning journey. And so it is you could you could go into one of the case studies and just read that what I think is really helpful is it shows like a real human perspective of how like someone starting at the beginning of, you know, actually, there's some backstory of his own person, how he got to starting at Toyota, but as a new college graduate, and, and experiences he had at Toyota about learning what it actually means to lead in this way, what does it mean to be a manager, what it means to be a leader, and then starting to apply them across different assignments that he had at different parts in his career, some which were great successes, and the last, you know, actually, an innovative new, you know, product for Toyota was a huge failure that cost the company $13 million. And he was responsible for that. So, you know, I think it's the human human story. And the feedback I get from those almost 255 star reviews on Amazon, is people really love this. It's a real story. And it's really human anatomy course, you can jump in at any point. And I have reflection questions at the end of each section of the book, to help people think about it. So I wrote the book, the workbook as a companion to really take some more of the concepts that I help leaders and practitioners learn about what does it mean to have intention? Who do you want to be? What are the actions aligned with that? What impact do you really want to have? And then some more some of the questions plus more questions to reflect on some space about that some different exercises to go through to really bring to life some of the stories in the principles that are talked about in the book, but how does that relate to me? You are you rather than the reader, the the learner? And then have what are you what action? Are you going to take on that? So you can use that as an individual, I also bring this into the leadership development programs I do with companies around the world. And as a core part of the learning experience, and if done as part of different cohorts of one, like small group learning I've had as well.Joe Krebs 28:28 Yeah. Well, I used to be a super well connected with the Lean community, as we know, obviously from from your background, you have worked with Agile-lists around the world. What would be your advice for agile leaders, from your experience from your, you know, seeing in workshops, and I'm sure there were some agile leaders that came across your work or read your books or give your feedback? What would you like to tell them in terms of mapping your book to the Agile community and possibly a focus on leadership and learning?Katie Anderson 29:01 Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I've had different agile leaders and practitioners join me in Japan and have been part of my workshops and learning so people also in the IT space, and in many, many, many knowledge workers as well. And, you know, I gotta go back to what I we were just talking about that the these principles go beyond and actually, do you know, any, you know, I guess, categorization of approach that you've you would you want to call it agile, do you want to call it lean? Do you want to call it you know, continuous improvement, Kaizen, all of these things are built upon these foundational principles about what it means to achieve results, how we get there, how we resolve problems, how we develop people to solve problems and how we improve ourselves as well. And so when we can get back to those fundamentals, we can apply them in any aspect of our work. Regardless of you know what that's looking like and it can help us think differently about our processes. And of course, then we can bring in the different frameworks and approaches and apply this, the, our leadership behaviors to make those more effective. And so I would say, take this, take this step back to really think about what is your purpose in your as a human being first and foremost? And then how does it apply to your role or function and what you're trying to accomplish the impact you want to have? And then thinking about how are you best going to get there? And and how you can align your actions with having that impact that you want? And then how do you take the other frameworks and tools in within your sphere of work and make that happen? So that's, that would be my recommendation. And just sort of, and I'm not trying to take you away from saying, like, we all have different approaches have a great impact applied in the right context. But this is really fundamentally about how you're a real human story. And also, what does it really mean to be a leader and be a humble leader and a humble learner? And in a way, that's not what I appreciated so much about and I continue to appreciate that Mr. Yoshino, he's almost 79, by the way, and we're actually talking later today at the time of this recording, as it he was willing to share not just the success stories, but the challenges and his personal failures, too. And I think that that's really important for us to realize, and to, you know, it's easy to look back and only see the successes, but to hear about people's challenges also validates our own challenges and our own struggle, and that the journey to success is paved with setbacks. And this is, you know, learning is inherent about having, you know, not getting things right, but what are you learning, and I'm obsessed with these dolls called Daruma dolls, I have this huge collection. And I give them out everywhere. In fact, you know, Rich Sheridan has a derma doll for me, in our shared mutual friend, and they represent the Japanese proverb fall down seven times get up eight. So when you have a goal, you fill in the dolls left eye, and it's like a little paper, well, they can be giant too. But it's a paper mache doll that's waited at the bottom. So it's like a weeble wobble and always write itself back up. And to me, this is this great sort of encompassing conte, like visualization of a goal, the reminder of the persistence and patience, we have to have an end, just a reminder to have the inherent struggle, and the setbacks that happened towards achieving the goal. But if we can keep learning, keep getting up and keep moving forward. We'll eventually get there, even if the outcome of our goal looks different than we thought at the beginning.Joe Krebs 32:44 It's also tangible, right? Because you see, and it makes the goal tangible, right? Yeah. To these. Here we go.Katie Anderson 32:57 You can really knock it down, and we'll keep getting back up. So keep going.Joe Krebs 33:01 Yeah, our listeners cannot see this. But that was a Daruma at all. And we can we can put a link into that.Katie Anderson 33:09 Yes, either. Exactly. I'm usually I'm often holding a Dermatol. So you'll see many. And actually I gave Larry Culp, the CEO of General Electric, a larger during muddle when we were on stage together. In October of 2022. We were he loved my book recommended it to all GE employees across the company, which was, you know, amazing. And then I had the opportunity to have a fireside chat in front of 1000 people at the Association for manufacturing excellence. And when we talked about this concept of struggle, and learning and also, you know, the things we have to unlearn as leaders to get there. So I gave him a daruma doll, because I'm sure he has. I know he has some big goals out there. But he said the same thing. He had to unlearn everything that he was trained in business school about what it meant to be a leader. Not maybe everything but we have to get out of do what I call break the telling habit get out of this mindset that we are supposed to have all the answers. We have a lot of good answers. But are they the right answers? And so anyway, it was really, it was really wonderful. And, and awesome to hear directly from Larry and have the chance to talk with him. And really see, you know, I put him like with Rich Sheridan, these leaders who are really embodying these concepts that we're trying to develop in organizations, about what it means to really be an effective leader and an inspirational one toJoe Krebs 34:35 I don't even want to ask you a question. It was such a wonderful, wonderful end you just close it out so nicely, that I don't even want to go and ask you another question. But this is this was really awesome. I want to I want to thank you for your time. We can we can tell from your schedule that you're very busy. I'm happy you spent some time here with the listeners on agile FM that are out there and say that was very interesting. I might be They might pick up book, I might visit your website that is KBJAnderson.com. And there is ways to find you speak ways to engage, ways to find a path to your book or anything like that. And I'm super thrilled you had time to share your story here a little bit with us your story, right? I think that is great.Katie Anderson 35:20 Thank you, Joe. Thanks for inviting me here. And I'd love to hear from your listeners about what's one takeaway that they had from this conversation. And definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn as well. If you're interested in how to break your telling habit, I also have a free downloadable guide on my websites that's KBJAnderson/telling-habit so you can go there. Alright, Thanks, Joe.Joe Krebs 35:48 Thank you for listening to Agile FM, the radio for the Agile community. I'm your host Joe Krebs. If you're interested in more programming and additional podcasts, please go to www agile.fm. Talk to you soon.
Everyone will tell you that your life will change when you have a baby. But for most people, this doesn't include gaining a Facebook community with half a million members. For Camille Jaramis and Phil Chester, that's exactly what happened when their Baby Sleep Training Tips & Help group hit the sweet spot for parents all over the world. As their group grew and evolved they found that they were providing a real time support for thousands of desperate parents around the world, with a team of professionals providing free advice. Finding a way through the mass of information in the posts and comments presents a problem for navigation and filtering. A problem, that can be solved by the friendly, linear format of a podcast. We caught up to speak about their experience in building and running the group and their next project: Yawn, the baby sleep training podcast. Outline We talked about: How did the Facebook group start? Camille's strategy for getting more people to join the group. How the growth of the Facebook group exploded and the need for additional moderators to manage the group. How professionals in the group answer the 'what', but are not giving the 'how'. The geography of the group members has changed at each stage of growth. An anonymous post that validated that we'd done the right thing first. How they are going to kickstart the podcast and leverage the audience on Facebook. LINKS Yawn - The Baby Sleep Training Podcast Baby Sleep Training, Tips & Help (Facebook) Transcription MF 1:03 I was trying to find sort of a clever way into it, but I couldn't. So so the obvious thing is you have a Facebook group with 552.9 thousand people in it. I checked today PC 1:16 We do. Yeah. MF 1:17 And it says it was created a year ago. CJ 1:20 That's right. Phil 1:21 Yeah. Have we started? We have? Yeah. Oh, my God. Okay. We're cool. Yeah, sorry. MF 1:31 That seems pretty phenomenal. So can you? Can you tell me like, how did it start? CJ 1:37 So the reason why we started the Facebook group was, Phil and I both had our kids during lockdown. And in Australia, you get a mother's group, which is a really fantastics concept, which means that you get connected with a bunch of other new parents, usually new moms. Now it's got a parent group, I think, but largely, it's called a mother's group. And you get connected to a bunch of new parents who are in the trenches with you and kind of going through the same experience at the same time as you and it's really helpful way to create a community, I found out that doesn't exist internationally, in a lot of countries. In the UK, you often have to pay for membership to a group like that. And I don't know about the US, but it sounded either incredibly uncommon or not existent at all. And so that was the point of creating an online community because we are so not alone in the experience of being in those trenches. PC 2:31 Absolutely. And I think, you know, COVID kind of enhanced that for so many people as well. But that feeling of being alone and not feeling like you had that support network. So I think it was just the perfect time, the perfect storm of just what all these new parents were looking for. What would I need, what would other people need? MF 2:51 That's amazing. So you just kind of identified that need, really and thought, I know, let's let's try and make a sort of open group on on Facebook to see if other people share the same interest CJ 3:04 100% I just gone through a certification to become an internationally certified baby sleep consultant, not because I want to change careers, but because I wanted to understand what was what I was in store for for the next couple of years with my own child. And now I have two kids. So it was definitely worth the money to become certified. But that was the catalyst essentially that's why babies sleep and that's why it was a tips and help Facebook group was because I just done the certification and therefore was able to add that layer. And Phil comes from a background where he works in marketing, so he understands how to bring people together in a community. PC3:38 Yeah, it's a really it's an interesting topic to have a Facebook group about an hour podcast and stuff because it's, it can get quite opinionated it can get quiet, you know, everyone has their way of doing things everyone thinks they know what's best and every baby is different. And I think that when you look at the metrics of will matter now. You know, one of the things we get flagged the most by meta is just people offhandedly saying, oh my god, I could kill my husband because he can sleep through the night. My metaphor to us and goes this is against our terms violence and Yeah, exactly. So you have this this what's become this hugely supportive group that can potentially get shut down if we don't monitor it carefully. So So MF 4:21 Camille was it was your training in the baby's sleep just to kind of something that preceded the group would you already had that idea before you did the training? CJ 4:31 You're right. No, it preceded the group I I did the course. I've got the expertise. Now I can add value and that's actually MF 4:38 Alright. I'm sorry. I want to be a little bit chronological here, which is something I often criticise my podcasters for in their interview, like don't do the kind of "how did it start?" type of thing. But I just find this so fascinating that over the course of a year, you grew that that big of a group, your Facebook notifications must have been growing out of control. CJ 5:00 Facebook is no longer for social. Just this post needs approval, this member was trying to join the group Martin Franklin 5:08 Did you have like a strategy for how you how you're going to reach all those people? CJ 5:12 Originally, what I wanted was to create a place which added a lot of value, which would drive people to be able to come to the group or to want to come to the group, which I think has added to the growth rate that we've experienced. And so I would start by posting things that I knew people wanted, like routines and different methods. And if this is happening, then that's happening, which got people coming to the group in the first place, which started to, I suppose growth begets growth, I don't know if it fits as part of an algorithm or if it is just the appetite of people who are looking for something. MF 5:48 Yeah, that's one of the things I was interested in. Did you did you have a kind of watershed moment where suddenly, things really exploded? PC 5:58 Yeah, it kind of I think the growth of the group went from sort of 100,000 members, which sort of blew everyone's minds, but the the, the change from 100,000, to where we are now with 550,000, that was almost really quick. So the first 100,000 took months, and we're, you know, it was really slow. But since then, it's kind of I mean, I think it's just word of mouth, it's now obviously Facebook, sharing it, because we have run it in a way that keeps it a really supportive community. So Facebook is really pushing it to new parents as well as part of their algorithm. So yeah, it's just that that first 100,000 was sort of the hardest slog, and then when you get to that 500,000, period, it's kind of, I mean, that happened in this matter of almost a month or two, CJ 6:44 I'd also add to say, the first 5000, were really hard to get, like we worked hard to post and to give those gifts of information to really make it an attractive place to go. But as soon as it started to hit 5000, next minute, it was 23,000. And we had people knocking on the door, to engage with us to try and try and be the face of the Facebook group. And then from 23,000, which sticks out for me up to 100, it got easier and easier. And then it felt like it was overnight. MF 7:12 That's really interesting, because I do a little bit of work on on YouTube, and I've got some of my podcast is here on YouTube. And we've had a little bit of a taste of that sort of effect of when you get when you get the algorithm working on your behalf and it starts to recommend you, that's when you really sort of feel the growth start to accelerate. Phil 7:34 Yeah, and that's where I suppose the the link is, I mean, Camille's husband, Ray and I are best mates. So you know, when Camille started this, I was really just there as a sounding board, like I'm, you know, can be able to I'm doing this, we're great, you know, try this, try that. And then it really snowballed to Camille's credit with the amount of work she was doing. And that's when it sort of became apparent that we need to work with mentors, algorithms now. And we need to work with their backends to ensure that the, you know, the group is safe from you know, just being shut down for I want to kill my husband. Camille 8:12 Just a sentiment that a lot of people can resonate with. But I also think it's the name. So it's called baby sleep training tips and help. And I don't think that you can get a more perfect name for what people are actually looking for who are searching for it. So that was a very thoughtful and deliberate decision to grab that I couldn't believe it was still available. I feel like we're in a golden age where that might be also, you know, a URL that you could grab, you know, all of these things still exist. And I feel like the time is running out. So I grabbed that one the minute that we saw it. MF 8:42 Yeah, I was interested in that because, and sort of how it relates to podcast titles and episode titles and that very sort of comprehensive way of titling things, because there are other baby sleep advice groups. But what differentiates your group is that you have the tips and help absolutely appended to it. So it's kind of like extra value being suggested just by the title. Phil 9:14 I think the important thing to note as well is that it's now obviously, it's gotten to a point that it is, you know, so much bigger than I think anyone expected, Camille 9:24 I would have been happy with 5000. Phil 9:27 But I think that, you know, we also have essentially a team of volunteer moderators that mostly our sleep consultants and stuff from around the world that have reached out and said, Can we help with this group? And so we have, I think we're at about 12 moderators now that sit there in their own time and and and they approve posts and they comment on posts and they help people through and they've been a huge part of growing the group and really making it not just a discussion board. It's now it truly is it's tips and help they it's not just a forum where you go in and you go I, this is what's happening and something that happened to me, you can actually get feedback and responses for your questions. Camille 10:05 That was also a condition that I put for this, like consultants in the group was before, before they can offer their services, which were comfortable them doing because you have to make a living before they can offer their services, they have to answer the question first, which means that they're giving value, which drives the value of the group for both the member but it also is a good place to get business for people who do need additional one to one help. And so I think it's a win win environment for consultants to play and also members to benefit. MF 10:35 Yeah, yeah. Okay. So I had two questions that that quickly connect with that both those points there. So I'm guessing at some point, you really found a need for additional moderators to just manage that number of people, Camille 10:50 They reached out, they DM us to offer which is really surprising. I think we've only asked for more people to volunteer once or twice, but largely people will say Do you need more help, or they spend a lot of time in the group and they want the ability to block people who are who had been nasty, that's how we keep it a supportive place, we are pretty, pretty heavy on the ruthless logging. Martin Franklin 11:13 I think this is like really well known as soon as you you know, you hit a certain threshold, you'll find people's opinions aren't necessarily kind of harmonious and someone needs to play that the parent role and moderate the nice, nice behaviour for the grave. Phil 11:31 Absolutely. And every single post that goes into the group has to be approved by either Camille and myself or one of the moderators. So by doing that we keep out a lot of the spam, we keep out a lot of the, you know, the bot sites that just come on to try and promote because it's really hard to pick them up when they're joining the group. But then when they post, you can just filter through and you can see, okay, this isn't adding value to anyone, this is just offering a discount somewhere. So we've been able to keep the group really genuine, and it's genuine parents all trying to help each other. And we're starting to see now success stories coming from the group. And I think that's been the most amazing thing. Martin Franklin 12:09 So that point you made about people offering services to the group, what how did you sort of evolve your policy around, you know, whether that's permitted or or not? Camille 12:21 From the beginning, we've allowed sleep consultants to offer their service because they answer the questions first. So it's not that they get business for nothing, they have to work for it. Martin Franklin 12:31 And you just sort of rolled with that and thought, okay, they're contributing to the community being helpful. Let's let Camille 12:37 We want them to. Absolutely. The group, you know, operating. And I think that that's what's contributed to the growth has been that, as I said, it's not just a forum of parents all talking their opinions, there are actually hundreds, I mean, that we've got, as I said, we've got the 12 to 15 moderators, but there are hundreds of trained sleep consultants that are in there, offering their services and offering their thoughts and helpful people so you can get, you know, help that would normally cost people, hundreds, maybe sometimes 1000s of dollars, just to ask a simple question. And you can get that essentially through our group. The trick is they're answering the 'what' they're not giving the 'how'. So what's happening is this, they're not saying this is how you can fix it. That's where you would engage with their services, which is why they are incentivized to engage with the group, instead of giving all the information and then getting nothing for it. They're just answering the 'what' Martin Franklin 13:29 it sounds like, you know, you've really just kind of hit a bit of a magic formula with how you you know, how you started the grip, and the naming and the and the and the need. So what what kind of time impact does it have on on you guys? Unknown Speaker 13:45 Like it does, it does take a lot of time. I think, again, the moderator, the moderators do a lot of the work, which is fantastic. But now that it has gotten to that point where it is one of the largest groups on Facebook, the back end of it, and you know, the admin support that we have to offer. It does take a lot of time, as I said, there's close to 1000 posts a day, I think going up and each one of those needs to be improved. On top of that, we've got the podcast, we've got constant advertisers and stuff that want to work with us. But again, it's all about that original founding that Camille started. It's supposed to be a community, it's supposed to be somewhere where you can feel safely, you know, uncharged and go and get advice. So the last thing you want to do is jump on that. And the first thing you see is 50,000 advertisers throwing, you know, throwing their products at us. So it does take a lot of work to filter them out. Martin Franklin 14:40 You've got the advertisers happening, as well because of that organic growth that has just explained. So just skipping back to that time impact question. I mean, how much time does it take? Camille 14:53 I spend less time in there than because we work because we have the moderators and they're incentivized to be A moderator, not just because they volunteered, but we also allow them to post a feat featured post each every week, they mostly don't, which is fine. So our Featured Posts aren't spammed. But they're, they're able to do that. And so they're incentivized to do a lot of the work and because we have them around the globe, but it's not like you wake up in the morning, and you've got 1000 posts to approve, they're just coming in constantly and being approved constantly. Unknown Speaker 15:24 I'm probably spending a bit more time on the back end. So I'd say roughly about an hour a day. But yeah, I think it's also you have to remember, we are a year into it when it was 5000 members. And just Camille, I mean, it was probably 15 hours a day almost like you know, in terms of approving everything yourself, coming up with the content, trying to span through it has in the nature of the beast in that it has gotten bigger, and we do have that support, it then inherently means we are able to automate a lot more things and meta and Facebook, messenger and Facebook, same thing. They are really good at offering admin assistance, and a lot of this stuff is automated. Martin Franklin 16:00 Now, I was just interested in the geography of your members, did you find that the geography shifted at all, you know, at each different kind of stages of growth? Or where are people? Unknown Speaker 16:12 The biggest area for the group is the States. We're at about 185,000 members. Oh, wow, is that today? Well, there you go. So we're at 193,000 members in the US. And that's followed closely by the UK. And I think that's just the nature of the per capita. But also, you know, the fact as Camille said that they don't have that mother screws to support like, we are so lucky that now we discover we're so lucky to now have in Australia. Camille 16:39 Plus, I think sleep training is more of a western culture thing. I do see a lot in Africa that that is increasing the number of members in Africa who are joining. And I don't know what the cause of that is. But that has been an increasing trend over the last couple of months. Still as a percentage tiny, but in terms of in terms of engaging in joining with the group, it's increasing. So I'm not sure what's happening there. But they're obviously looking for a bit more hands on helping the way that we provide it and need it, you know, cultures here as well. Phil 17:09 We've also had to keep that in mind for the Moderator. So we have moderators based in the US based in the UK based in Belgium, Canada, because people are posting at specific time zones. So you know, and when it's almost like we actually ended up offering a lot of help to the US. And so because they're posting it to in the morning when their baby screaming. So that's when we're online and we're awake, and then vice versa. So yeah, we've you know, we've planned that out with the moderators, we have on board. Martin Franklin 17:36 If people are in that in a bit of a crisis in the middle of the night that there can be somebody there. It's like amazing 24 hour helpline, do Phil 17:45 you have social media? Camille 17:46 The group has actually saved a life. You know that? I did not know that. Yeah, I got I ended up private messaging with the person. But they posted up and they were, it was a, it was an anonymous post. And so most people can't see who it was. But as the admin we can because we approve the posts and the person. I approved it anyway, even though the content was a little bit distressing, because it sounded like the person really needed other people to be there with them. In that moment. They just lost a baby to SIDS. And they were in the hospital. And I got shivers Yeah, they were the post was really, really distressing. They're obviously incredibly sad, the babies just died. And the first thing that they did was come on to the Facebook group, which tells me that they don't have anywhere near the community that we have, or even I mean, that person may not have had the friend group to be able to connect with or they may have just needed a place to go that was anonymous and private. And so I ended up speaking with the person and they Yeah, they were having horrible suicidal thoughts, because it was such a such a distressing time for them. But also, it really validated that we'd done the right thing, firstly, by making it and focusing on having it as just a community, not trying to monetize it in any way, in those early in those early stages in the first couple 100,000 You know, like just making sure that it was the right place. Martin Franklin 19:03 So you mentioned the podcast, just a little while, while back. So we should get on to that, which seems like a really exciting next step or additional step for you to take. Have you got any thoughts about how you'll connect the podcast with the group? Phil 19:21 So I mean, this is this is where I come into it. This is what I do for a living is sort of digital marketing and cross platform transformation. And so it came up in a conversation with Camille and I, when we were talking about the group and where it goes to next. And as I said, one of the things that we noticed was people are posting, you know, we get posts all the time. It's like, hey, moms, I'm sitting here, it's two in the morning. I don't know what to do. And one of the things we thought is well, potentially what we can do is we can take this discussion and take these, you know, the learnings that we have from the group and all the input and put it in an order To format so that parents can, when they are sitting there at two in the morning, potentially rocking their baby to sleep, throw some headphones in and really engage with the audience on a different level. It's also we had the opportunity to post anonymously. But we both get a lot of private messages from people really intimidated about doing that, really worried about their friends or family that are in the group judging them for something. So I suppose the podcast also adds that other bit of anonymity where they can reach out and we can discuss it and talk to other guests and other C consultants about their issue, and they can listen to it without having to put their name and their baby and whatever else out there. Camille 20:40 Yeah, there's a lot of information to take in when it comes to baby's sleep as well. And I think, personally, that I mean, that's why I did the course in the first place was to arm myself with information. And if there's an opportunity to share that other people and arm them with information so that when they're dealing with something, they've got this whole, you know, toolbox of different things that they could try or do differently or stop doing to help their baby. I think that's a really powerful thing. So that's a big motivator for me and doing the podcast is giving that giving that information and finding another platform to share it beyond just more posts or answering questions that kind of a kind of thing to Phil's point, and audio versions. Phil 21:18 Plus we have great voices. People need to hear these voices and faces for radio. So Martin Franklin 21:24 coming from a digital marketing background. Phil, have you got any thoughts on how you're sort of kickstart the podcast and leverage that that audience that you got? Phil 21:33 Well, look, I think the the biggest thing for us in the way we're structuring it is people aren't going to potentially listen to this in an episode by episode format, like you normally would another podcast, it's potentially not your drive to work podcast this is you have a specific problem with your baby or a specific want and need to know. So each episode will be formatted around different techniques, different questions, different subjects to do with sleep training. So hopefully, it becomes almost like an audio format encyclopaedia for sleep training, and you can come online, my specific issue is co sleeping so I can find the co sleeping episode. And you can then jump on and listen to him. I also Camille 22:14 think it would be like those goosebump books where you go to a chapter and then it takes you to a different chapter, you know, my problem to your point is co sleeping and then it takes you to a thing about, you know, dark rooms, and then it takes you to a thing about a week windows, you know, you follow the rabbit down the hole for your particular issue. I think that will be how people would digest the podcast. Yeah, Martin Franklin 22:33 I wonder if there's a way we could set up some kind of signposting for particular topics. So if you've got, say, three episodes that cover, you know, one thing you can you could do something where maybe there's a kind of edited highlights or Phil 22:49 what Absolutely. And as Camille said, I mean, when you get into, as she mentioned, the rabbit hole that is sleep training, you can go okay, one solution might create five or six other tunnels. So that can often be one of the issues that we find in the group is that, you know, people will ask a question, and because of the sheer size, but within minutes, it has 50 comments on it. And they're all different. Exactly. So to digest that, and to you know, when you are exhausted, and you are tired, and you know, scared, and all these things that you go through as a new parent, to sit there and read all of these comments. And you know, it's all people just trying to help you. But it does sometimes as well. It can be mind boggling. So hopefully the the podcast is a way to digest it a little bit easier for those who are just in sheer exhaustion. Camille 23:37 And understand why people said that, why people have commented that oh, that's why they've said that. Because this, like drawing a link, it'll be Martin Franklin 23:45 perhaps a little bit more of a linear explanation. So easier to follow the that sort of thread. Yeah, that'd be really interesting to look at the stats, once they started merging of, do people cherry pick the episodes? Or are they in for the whole, the whole journey. Camille 24:03 And there's definitely going to be people in both camps. But I know already, whichever. So I've already got a list of the ones that are going to be massive, because they are the most frequent topics that come up, or the ones that are the most controversial or challenging as a parent. And I know that they're going to be huge. And so I know that we're going to have to be really thoughtful about if we engage with another sleep consultant to bring another set of information or perspectives into the room. We want to make sure it's the right person for that topic, because it's going to go it's going to like the four month sleep regression is absolutely going to be the most listened Phil 24:35 series on that alone. Camille 24:36 It really you really could. But it is the most common question that comes up because everything falls apart and people don't understand why. And it's like topics like that. How do we make them digestible? And how do we make people comfortable as they work their way through all those different Warren's in that rabbit hole that they'll never tably find themselves facing? Martin Franklin 24:55 That's amazing. Phil and Camille, thank you so much for talking to About this and you're on the podcast coming to your ear pods saying, hey, yeah, Phil 25:06 well, thanks for having us. So we're, I mean, it's been great. And look, you know, we're really excited. We hope that, you know, this podcast can be as, you know, helpful as the group has been, and it just becomes an extension of that community. Martin Franklin 25:20 Yeah, yeah. Amazing. All right. Thanks, guys. That's I'll yeah, I'll make something out of this conversation. Phil 25:26 Thanks so much.
Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team
Under vine cover crops can both improve soil health and control vine vigor. Justine Vanden Heuvel, Professor and Chair of the Horticulture Section School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and Michela Centinari Associate Professor of Viticulture at the Department of Plant Science at Penn State University have trialed different cover crops to find the best plants for vineyards. By adding a cover crop under the vine, growers can impact the size of the vine by stopping vegetative growth at version. Ground cover has additional benefits on the soil including decreasing the impact of water drops, improved water infiltration, increased carbon, soil aggregate stability, and microbial activity. Listen in to learn which cover crops are best to improve the overall sustainability of a vineyard. References: 25: Under-Vine Cover Crops (podcast) Floor Management for Soil Health | Dr. Craig Macmillan Hans Walter-Peterson Webpage Justine Vanden Heuvel Website Justine Vanden Houvel's Twitter Justine Vanden Heuvel's YouTube playlist Michela Centinari's Penn State Extension webpage Michela Centinari's Twitter SIP Certified The Centinari Lab at Penn State Under-Vine Vegetation Mitigates the Impacts of Excessive Precipitation in Vineyards Vineyard Team – Become a Member Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at www.vineyardteam.org. Transcript Craig Macmillan 0:00 Today our guests are Justine Vanden Houvel from Cornell University and Michela Centinari from Penn State University. And we're going to talk about some really exciting work they've been doing around the topic of under vine vegetation. Thank you both for being here. Justine Vanden Houvel 0:14 Thanks, Craig. Craig Macmillan 0:16 Tell us a little bit first of all about what under vine vegetation kind of is, to me that sounds like weeds coming from California. To me, that means weeds and it's gotta go. Your work is looking at some maybe some benefits of it and things that might help in the eastern United States at least, can you tell me kind of what the basic definitions of these things are? Michela Centinari 0:33 I understand why you think you know, that the under vine vegetation should go because I'm from Italy. And also we don't like to see weeds. Cover crops grown under the vines, because it's a dry, you know, hot warm climate. Is a little different for us here in the eastern United States and the Northeast US, because we have a very different weather conditions, you know, it's more or less humid, wet, and we have fertile soil. So cover crops are weeds, even weeds growing under the under the vine can actually be beneficial for the vine and for the soil. And this is because our vines can be overly vigorous, because it's, you know, it's humid is wet, and the soil is fertile. And this competition provided by the cover crops to the vine for water and nutrients can actually decrease the amount of vigor of the vines. So that is seen as a positive traits in our region, at least some of the sites in our region. Justine Vanden Houvel 1:31 I agree with what Michela said, and sometimes they are weeds. Sometimes they're specific species that we're we're cultivating. From a management perspective, it really doesn't make any sense in some of these eastern vineyards, not all of them, but in some of them to have this bare strip under the vines because we have to go through and hedge the top of the canopy two, three times in a growing season, we have to go through and do leaf removal once or twice in a growing season. You know, we're spending a lot of money in the industry, here on the East trying to manage the vigor of the vines. And those are Band Aid solutions, right, they don't really help fix the situation. Whereas providing that competition that Michela was referring to, can make a big difference in terms of reducing the available water and nutrients that the vine can take up. Craig Macmillan 2:19 What kind of species of plants are we talking about here? You know, a weed is a plant at a place. Mint is often a weed but also if I have it in a container, and it's next to my front door, and I like to have my food and it's not a weed. What kind of plants are you talking about? Justine Vanden Houvel 2:32 Yeah, we've been working with quite a few different plants. So some different grasses, buckwheat, chicory rosette forming turnip. We are having a problem with a lot of the brassicas though and that the groundhogs like to eat them, so we're kind of steering away from those ones a little bit. But we've worked with a wide variety of species and looked at you know, do we see a big impact on Vine size, small impact on Vine size, or no impact on Vine size, because we need to make sure we dial it in so that the grower has the amount of control of vigor that they want. We don't want to deviate the vines too greatly. Craig Macmillan 3:10 In terms of monitoring vigor, are you doing this from pruning weights? Are you doing this from trying to weigh green mass during the summer, this is gonna be kind of tough, because if you're hedging something two, three times, you know, how do you get a number on that? So what's your metric? How are you getting the baseline metric here? Justine Vanden Houvel 3:28 We mostly in my program, and Michela can comment on hers we use two methods. One is pruning weight dormant pruning weights, but the second is what we call enhance point quadrate analysis. So some of your listeners may know about point quadrate analysis which was you know, made famous by Richard Smart and sunlight into wine, my group added to sort of a calibration with a light bar in the middle of the canopy so that we can then look at actual numbers for how much light clusters are getting and how much light different leaves are are getting. And so we use those two metrics to really enhance point quadrant analysis. It's a proxy for vigor right, it doesn't measure actual growth rate, but we use that in pruning weight as our measures for this. Michela Centinari 4:12 Yes, yes, I mean, definitely we measure printing weight because it's something you know growers are familiar with, and it's easier to quantify. We also have been looking at changing the fruiting zone, right light exposure and canopy density. We even, and that is very labor intensive, we looked if the cover crop can reduce the length of the growing season. Basically, in our region, we see the length of vegetative growth because in our region we see the shoots keep growing after verasion on and we want them to stop earlier. So we basically assess if the cover crops can you know stop this vegetative growth around veraison that you know helps in terms of fruit ripening. Craig Macmillan 4:59 That's interesting. But one of the things I wanted to ask you about as part of all of this, and I think vigor may have something to do with it. The paper you're published recently had a kind of a focus on the effects of heavy precipitation. And the benefits of UVV, undermine vegetation, pardon me, jumped into lingo a little soon, and the effects of heavy rain events. That's interesting to me, because we don't have heavy rain events in California, where I'm from, and I can only imagine what it must be like. And so what are what are some of the benefits there? Oh, and actually, before we get to that, I got a question. In the east in Pennsylvania in New York, that those areas, how common is the use of under vine vegetation as opposed to a clean berm since we have an idea for how much adoption there is out there? Justine Vanden Houvel 5:42 That's an interesting question. And it basically depends on on how busy the growers are, how many of them have wholeheartedly adopted under vine vegetation? That's a handful in New York, it's not a lot. At this point, I'd love to see more, how many of them will absolutely let the weeds grow and then not worry about it until they get too tall? Because they know it's helping to deviate their vine? That is a fair number. Michela Centinari 6:06 Yeah, it's very similar here in Pennsylvania, you know, I have to say, growers are definitely interested, you know, we did lots surveys, and we see, you know, most growers want to try but then you know, they get busy. And it's hard, you know, for them to change, a management practice that is working right, you know, spray herbicide. So they need, you know, it's not always easy, right. But definitely, there is an interest, it's just not, a widely adopted practice. Justine Vanden Houvel 6:34 We are starting to see growers in New York purchasing the undermine mowers so that they're able to maintain and under rvine vegetation and mow it reasonably easily. And so it's been great to see people making that investment. Craig Macmillan 6:48 The reason I wanted to get to that was because this issue of precipitation, one of the things that I had never thought about that came up in your writing was erosion, and also so crusting and negative impacts on soil structure and aggregate formation and all that kind of stuff. Which is something yeah, very much an issue on bare ground. I had never really thought about it as an issue in let's say, July in a vineyard. Can you tell me what overall like when I've got a rainstorm like that, and I don't have under vine vegetation around what are the all the impacts that I'm looking at that I'm being affected by? Michela Centinari 7:17 Yeah, I mean, definitely, we see that and we, you know, I even took pictures to show growers because we do see multiple negative impacts on the on the soil under the vine. We see increase on erosion, I mean, definitely most of our vineyards you know, sloppy, you know, on a hill, so we see erosion, even if they use cover crops in the middle row still under the vine, you see this erosion, water and nutrients, you know, in soil washing out from the from the vineyard, we also, you know, showed through an experiment mostly just sean studies that there is an increase in the leaching of nutrients, whether to agrochemicals into the underground water. So definitely leaving bare soil under the vine, create, the negative impact has negative consequences on several parameters of soil health. And since you know, we want the vineyard to last 20 plus years, hopefully, you know, it's important to maintain soil health and to reduce soil degradation and definitely under ine cover crops or weeds can really help in that. Justine Vanden Houvel 8:20 And I'd also add that our comparison here is bare soil versus soil that's covered with vegetation, whether it's weeds or a species. Is some people will say, well, I cultivate so that's all right, but really the problem in agriculture is bare soil versus not bare soil, right? So cultivation isn't a practice that is able to help reduce a lot of these problems, like the leaching and the runoff in particular. Michela Centinari 8:51 And even you know, as an as important sort of, for us to increase soil carbon, and definitely soil cultivation doesn't help with that, while you know, let some type of vegetation grow under the vine can be also use as a way to accumulate carbon in the soil in addition to the other benefits that we mentioned. Craig Macmillan 9:12 There's also some things that you talked about that I'm super curious about, and that is other positive effects in terms of things like soil structure and soil health. What can you tell me about that? That's the cover cropping idea? Michela Centinari 9:24 Yes, yes. Craig Macmillan 9:25 So we're not simply covering the ground at this point, we're looking for other benefits. Michela Centinari 9:29 So definitely, overall cover crops, no, just under the vines can improve many parameters of soil health, not just you know, decrease erosion. But for example, the biomass of the covered crop can reduce the impact of the raindrops that you know can really break the soil aggregates when you live you leave a bare soil under the vine on the middle row can also improve water infiltration. So you have less you know, water runoff can also as we mentioned, improve the soil carbon or the over nutrients in the soil, which you know are all good for the long term sustainability of our vineyards. Justine Vanden Houvel 10:06 I'd add a couple of other soil health aspects to that is aggregate stability. So aggregate stability for soil is the ability of the basically the soil to withstand physical pressure from the outside. So usually rain in some of the studies that we've done in my program here, we saw a huge increase in aggregate stability of soil up to 80, something percent after three years, when we compared cultivation to weeds growing under the soil for those three years. We see an increase in soil respiration, which we assume means a healthier soil with more microbes. And we see an increase in microbe diversity as well. So we also did a study where we were comparing some different under vine treatments. And we saw that with each passing year, there was more diversity in the microbes when we had weeds growing under the vines than if we had bare soil under the vines. And we assume that helps in terms of nutrient turnover and, and other processes like those. Craig Macmillan 11:10 I'm know you'd mentioned some species at the beginning, in your work, I'm assuming this work is experimental so that you're choosing what is going on going under the vine for these different trials. Or actually, I'm assuming it's actually experimental, you must have a randomized design or some kind of replicated design of some kind. So what are the plants that you're picking to plant as that undermine vegetation? Justine Vanden Houvel 11:30 So my group is done lots of different iterations of these types of studies at this point, because we've done it in young vineyards and old vineyards and with hybrids or with vinifera. So they're always in replicated studies. What we basically come down to is we use usually sometimes cultivation but usually herbicide is our control for comparison, because that's what most growers here in New York are doing. And we use buckwheat as our cover crop that will usually have a very slight impact on vine vigor. So buckwheat establishes beautifully, right because it's only allopathic. So we don't tend to have a big problem with weeds, the height of it seems to be appropriate, we don't normally have to mow it, it doesn't get up into the fruiting zone kind of flowers falls over and there's not a lot of management there. And the most we've ever seen at reduced pruning weight might be by 10% or so. On the much more significant side we have chicory root. So chicory is pretty low growing, you can get a dwarf version of it. And I should mention, we normally work with annual cover crops because we hold up over the graft union to protect scion buds in the winter. Chicory is technically a biennial, but what we find is it just keeps coming back, coming back coming back. It can deviate a vine significantly. So we've used it in some of the bigger vineyards when we've wanted to really pull back on the pruning weight. Sometimes that's been up to about 30% compared to our control of herbicide, and then we found that different grasses are somewhere in the middle in terms of their impacts on vine vigor. Michela Centinari 13:06 Yeah, no, definitely. I mean, it's the same for us, right, we try different type of cover crops, depending on the growers, you know, what they need, what they want to achieve. In addition to what Justine mentioned, we also have been doing some work with perennial grasses, because for some growers, you know, they like, they like to plant something perennial, right. So that reduced the amount of work that they have to do, you just planted once and if you plant a species that doesn't grow too tall, you don't even have to mow sometimes the grass, so it's kind of a lower maintenance. So again, depending on what the grower needs, and what is feasible for that site, you know, we try to match the cover crop with with the site. Craig Macmillan 13:45 And I'm sorry, I might have missed it, what type species of perennial grasses are we talking about? Michela Centinari 13:49 So we try and for example, the creeping red fescue, we also try other fescue mixes mix of different fescues including like tall fescue and and we try, you know, to look for species that grow well in a kind of shaded area, because it's not in the middle row. Like it's different. You have more sunlight there. So you want something that establish quickly so the weeds don't grow overgrowth in the grass, and also something that doesn't require too much management in terms of you know, more in like Justine was talking about, you know, buckwheet, chickory, because that is not something that the grower can easily do, like in the middle row, or not every grower can easily do. Craig Macmillan 14:28 My next question is so how do you plant these grass seeds in the row? Grasses are tiny, they need to have a little bit of cover. It's not a planting grass is not a simple thing. Usually you have to prepare a seed bed. How do you how do you do it? I just am really curious about this. Justine Vanden Houvel 14:46 So that's a good question. So Michela , and I both have grad students so for years it was our grad students. Craig Macmillan 14:54 I was a graduate student once I see how this works. Okay, Justine Vanden Houvel 14:58 Bbut no knowing that the growers were never going to want to do that, I worked with Hans Walter Peterson, who is the viticulture extension specialist for the Finger Lakes here for Cornell Cooperative Extension. And he designed basically a fertilizer spreader, he did a welding design that has two shoots that go off the back to put the seed under the rows. And we can just dump the seed in that drive down the row and set the spinning rate. Sorry, I'm not a good equipment person. So I'm probably not using the right names here. We set the spinning rate for how quickly we want the seeds to come out. Craig Macmillan 15:31 The application rate. Justine Vanden Houvel 15:32 And we have that you can look it up online he has a video on YouTube, if anybody's interested in who happily shares those plans so that growers can build their own. Craig Macmillan 15:40 That's fantastic. That's fantastic. You said extensionist in the Finger Lakes region. And his name again was? Justine Vanden Houvel 15:46 Hans Walter Peterson. Craig Macmillan 15:47 Walter Peterson . And God bless you. Dr. Peterson. Justine Vanden Houvel 15:50 Yeah. And he and Alice Wise, who's our extension specialist on on Long Island for Cornell, they've done a lot of work on how do we get growers to adopt some of these practices. So Michela and I have done basically the research that informs it, but they've looked at what are some of the obstacles? And how can we overcome those so that we can get rid of bare soil in the spots where we really don't need to maintain it here? Craig Macmillan 16:12 Oh, that reminds me of something else. So in Finger Lakes, Pennsylvania, I don't know very well, I don't know either region really? Well, I gotta admit, is all of the water coming from summer precipitation, or is there supplemental irrigation? Justine Vanden Houvel 16:24 There's a handful of people with supplemental irrigation here, but it is not very common in the Finger Lakes of New York. Michela Centinari 16:31 Yeah, neither neither for us. Mostly, like in young vineyards. Justine Vanden Houvel 16:35 Yeah. I mean, we can give you an example. We got an inch and a half of rain here just yesterday. Alone. Right. We get a lot of precipitation. And in some years this year, started out dry. But then it's been raining pretty consistently for a couple of weeks. Now. Craig Macmillan 16:52 Pardon my presumption is, but it sounds like the team should be working on fungal diseases. That's what's going on. That's a lot of rain. That's a crop killer. Justine Vanden Houvel 17:00 Yeah, that's what the pathologists are working on. But we should actually mention. So there has been some good work on under vine cover crops done in Uruguay, where they looked at weather, botrytis, and I think some other fungal diseases, I'd have to refresh my memory on that, was impacted by under vine cover crops. And indeed, because of the reduced vegetation in the canopy, right, smaller leaves and just the canopy not being so thick, they did see a reduction in cluster rots as a function of under vine cover crops as well. Craig Macmillan 17:31 There you go. That's fantastic. Michela Centinari 17:33 Yeah. And that's great. Because actually, several growers here are concerned about growing under vine cover crop that will increase disease pressure, because they're afraid about you know, the humidity, increasing humidity in the under vine area. But like Justine said, We never observe or measure any negative effect of under vine cover crop on you know, increase in mold to other fungal disease. Actually, sometimes if there is an effect is a positive effect. What actually we don't know yet is, you know, if we can increase the presence of pests under the vine, right, like a course, some insects or other type of pests. We never had any issues in our vineyards, I mean, in vineyards, where we are conducting research, and that is something definitely that, you know, could potentially be a problem. We don't know yet. Craig Macmillan 18:22 Okay, I'm gonna ask a tough question here. That's because we've kind of ended up here. I'm a grower, I'm worried about too much impact on vigor, I'm worried about the disease, I also might very likely have a gut wrenching fear of something getting out of control, and me not being able to control it or remove it. If I changed my mind, or I don't like what's happening. How do you put that fear to rest, that I'm not going to lose control of my floor, I'm not going to lose control of my row. It's okay. But this is goes back away. So Paul Annua, for instance, was one that a friend of mine was looking at as an underground vegetation in California. And I said, Hey, why don't we just use Bermuda grass, it's summer dormant. It loves the earth, it's great. And he was like, if you try to get anybody to plant that you're gonna get killed, you're gonna get shot in the head. Like, if you go around, recommending we plat Brumida, you're gonna get killed. When I had experienced with it in a vineyard where he had escaped. I had worked with it, but here was the thing. There was no getting rid of it there that we were that was it. We were committed, there was no getting away from it. And so I can see having the same kinds of fears about a species of plants that I haven't worked with before, for instance, or what happens over years and years and years. What are you going to do to help me sleep at night? Michela Centinari 19:28 Wow, the tough question. No, I mean, definitely, you know, it's a tough decision and manufacturing needs to be taken into consideration. So I wouldn't just go and plant something right you need to do your research and work maybe with the extension or you know, with specialists even to make the right decision. Also, I recommend trying on in a small area of your vineyards. So no just you know, plant everywhere. If you have you know, 10 acres, or maybe try on a few vines and see how it goes right and see if you can keep it under control. If it's dry and there is too much competition for the vines, you know, maybe to be able to do a soil cultivation or kill your your cover crops, you know, plan or to head on options on what you can do to be able to manage, but definitely on choosing the right species is the first step, right. Justine Vanden Houvel 20:15 Yeah. And I'd add to that, you know, where I could see it being a problem is what we call resident vegetation. So keep in mind, and in a at least here, we always have a cover crop between rows, right, we usually start with some sort of an orchard mix, and it becomes whatever and we really don't care, we're not going to bother replanting that. So we have that as a little bit of protection. But when we allow weeds to grow under the trellis, and then just mow them down, I know, I've heard that there's some concerns that we might have a weed there get out of control, and then continue to propagate itself. And that is a possibility. But what we actually find is that as each year progresses, we get more and more species in that undermine part of the vineyard. Right? Often we've started in vineyards where they've sprayed a preemergent in previous years. And the first couple of years, we have like two species four species, five species, and then in a few years, we're up to 30 or 40 different species of of weeds in there. And so it does give me at least some hope that it would be very difficult for something to get completely out of control. But what we usually tell the growers here is that if you were going to spray a herbicide anyway. And now you've tried to under vine cover crop, if you don't like it, you can hopefully get rid of it. Right. But the other thing we tell them is that we probably don't need the same cover crop under vine cover crop year after year, right? Because once you, for example, devigorate the vines a little bit and get them back to a more manageable size using chicory, for example, then you want to keep them at that size. You don't want to keep dropping the pruning weight year after year. So every year there needs to be a decision about what did I think of the vine size and the canopy characteristics last year? What's the predicted weather? And what am I going to plan to maintain under the vine for this year? Craig Macmillan 22:05 We're getting close here to wrap it up. So there's two quick things I want to ask you what each for each of you will start with Justine, what is the one thing you would like growers to take away from your recent work on under vine vegetation? Justine Vanden Houvel 22:16 Bare soil is not a good idea in vineyards environmentally, really, it's quite a poor choice. And there are options for if you have small vines or or young vines or a lack of vigor, vigor. There are some potential options out there. We haven't done all of the research on this yet, but that there are options to explore. Craig Macmillan 22:40 Michela. Michela Centinari 22:40 Yeah, definitely. I mean, I agree with Justine, there are options. Of course, we don't have one cover crop that can solve all the problems that definitely bare soil is no good, especially again, in our region. And our growers are also concerned about the cost of implementing under vine cover crops. And I'd say you know, for us, sometimes planting a perennial for example, grass is no more expensive. I mean, depending on depending on the year, how many times you spray herbicide and the effect of on the on the yield of the vines, but it's not necessarily more expensive than spray herbicide or sub cultivation. So hope they get cover crops a chance. Justine Vanden Houvel 23:18 So Craig, we've mostly been talking about work here on the East Coast where we tend to have a lot of precipitation, but we have colleagues in in other countries and other climates that are doing work on under vine cover crops as well. And there's been some great work that's been done in the south of France, in Spain and in Australia. And so while Michela and I haven't focused our research, of course on California, there are going to be some opportunities for growers in warmer climates as well. Craig Macmillan 23:46 And where can people find out more about you and your work Justine, go first? Justine Vanden Houvel 23:50 Probably the easiest spot is on the Cornell webpage, or I am on Twitter. My one social media is Twitter. And my handle is @thegrapeprof. And I tweet about research and mostly in viticulture, but a little bit of a enology as well. Craig Macmillan 24:06 Michela? Michela Centinari 24:07 Yeah, I would say have a Twitter account. I'm not very active like Justine. I should. You know, I have a website if you Google actually Centinari lab, Penn State so we have you know our lab website where we post about research and also we have an extension web page prep and wind through Penn State. Craig Macmillan 24:26 Fantastic and for audience, that information plus links to some other things will be in the show notes. Want to thank you both for being here. I guests have been Justine Vanden Houvel and Michela Centinari. They're doing fantastic work in an area that most of us in the West Coast certainly don't know about. But I know there's important for other regions of not just the United States but the world. You guys are doing great work. Justine Vanden Houvel 24:45 Thanks, Craig. This was really enjoyable. Unknown Speaker 25:07 Transcribed by https://otter.ai
In this episode, CEO of Practice Freedom U, Jamey Schrier, talks about pricing your services appropriately. Today, Jamey talks about the guilt surrounding pricing, accessibility and luxury, and the 3X model. How should we express the outcomes of our services? Hear about job security, pricing according to the market, and get Jamey's advice to his younger self, all on today's episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast. Key Takeaways “You don't strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.” “We need to charge appropriately for not what we do but benefits that we provide.” “Always get paid for R&D.” “People will pay for your results.” “I would've gotten help from an outside source sooner.” More about Jamey Schrier Jamey Schrier, P.T., is a best-selling author, business coach, speaker, and CEO of Practice Freedom U, a business training and coaching company. Jamey has helped hundreds of private practice owners Treat Less, Earn More, and live a life of prosperity and fun. Suggested Keywords Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Pricing, Money, Quality, Experience, Value, Business, Resources: FREE GIFT: PT Practice Quiz. To learn more, follow Jamey at: Website: www.practicefreedomu.com. LinkedIn: Jamey Schrier. Instagram: @jameyschrierpfu. Facebook: Jamey Schrier. Subscribe to Healthy, Wealthy & Smart: Website: https://podcast.healthywealthysmart.com Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/healthy-wealthy-smart/id532717264 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6ELmKwE4mSZXBB8TiQvp73 SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/healthywealthysmart Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/healthy-wealthy-smart iHeart Radio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/263-healthy-wealthy-smart-27628927 Read the Full Transcript here: Unknown Speaker 0:02 Hey, Jamie, welcome back to the podcast, one of my most frequent guests, and I love you for coming on. It's so great. I love seeing you. If only your wife would were here, that would make it so much better. Unknown Speaker 0:14 Well, thank you so much, Karen. And she couldn't be here. But I think she's having fun with her friends, because it's around the holidays. And that's what she does. Unknown Speaker 0:23 Oh, wow. Next time she's coming on. So let's see, last time we saw each other was that PPS in Colorado? And you had you did a pre con there, right? What was that pre con about just kind of tell the audience in case you do it again, we can get some you know, Unknown Speaker 0:44 it's it's one of my it's one of my best pre cons. It's one of my best workshops, it's five steps to additional five figures. And what I do is just grab, like, a few key areas in every business needs these. So for this one, we did a lot of foundational stuff around vision and values. We then went into messaging like, actually, how do you communicate what you do we always complain, no one understands what we do. Chad went into a whole thing on you know, how to develop your message and how to put this message everywhere. So people actually understand what you do. And let's see, we did delegation. Who not you. So to get that stuff off your plate that we all hate doing. You and I are talking about behind the scenes, video editing, it's, we all have things that we hate doing, you hire someone else. And we did some other things around development of systems. So it was four hours, and it was awesome. And it went like just like that. Unknown Speaker 1:52 I'm sure it did. Well, it sounds great. And if you do it again, hopefully at PPS people you'll get I know you had like a sellout crowd, right? Unknown Speaker 2:02 Well, yeah, I mean, we had it sold out in like a few days. And I thought that we're going to expand it, because we had plenty of room but there was some mix up or whatever. So I'm hoping I can get back there next year and literally do the same talk. I think we could probably get 150 people in there without without a problem. Because it was it was great. I got people still reaching out to me saying, oh my god, I did what you said I, I tweaked my my ad and all of a sudden people reached out to me, they want to work for me. Amazing. There's no secrets, but there's definitely some certain principles that can can always help us. Right, right. Unknown Speaker 2:38 Absolutely. And so today we're gonna talk about pricing our services. So this is a question I get a lot, I'm sure it's something you get a lot. And I have a feeling it's what a lot of people struggle with is how do I price my services appropriately? So what is your best advice? Let's just start with that. So how do we how do we properly price our services? And before we even start, I'll also say, I think a lot of physical therapists, maybe you may disagree, are uncomfortable around this conversation of pricing. Because Unknown Speaker 3:19 therapists are uncomfortable around the conversation of money. Right? Unknown Speaker 3:23 Right. So let's start. Let's start. Let's start with that. So what do you say to those people who are like, Oh, I don't know, I feel bad. I feel bad charging people for what I do. How many times have you heard that? Unknown Speaker 3:37 A lot. I heard today, I had three conversations. One too, with clients, current clients and one with someone that was interested in our program. And they all brought up the same word guilt. Guilt is a word I hear so often. And it's the guilt of whatever making money, the guilt of what I should be charging the guilt of, you know, I feel like it should be in with my team and working all the time with them. Or, you know, it's just this idea of this guilt is a motion that isn't a rational emotion. Right. It's an irrational emotion. And that kind of leads us to making some decisions that aren't beneficial for anyone. So, you know, when people say, you know, I, I feel bad about charging and, you know, my, my response back is, you know, what, specifically do you feel bad about? And that's when they kind of stop and it's more of, well, why don't really know, like, they don't know why they feel bad. It's almost like a default mechanism. Right? It's just, it's if you say you feel bad, it's, I kind of refer to it almost like I feel bad. So I'm a good person. Like if I feel bad about charging people, I'm a good person. Now you and I would do a reframe on that. If I don't to charge you, then you don't get to experience my services in a way that you get to pay and feel the value of what I deliver, like that reframe all of a sudden changes the whole relationship. But we don't look at it from that way, a lot of times, I mean, obviously, if we really wanted to become multimillionaires, we probably wouldn't have gone into physical therapy. So we would be, you know, right down the street from in Wall Street. So, you know, many of us do have this idea that helping people and doing good in the world somehow means we shouldn't make money or can't make money. I mean, there's some deep money blocks that that are going on there. And I think that's what interferes, when we try to determine how much do we charge for our services? Unknown Speaker 5:50 Mm hmm. Yeah. 100%. And, you know, I think early on in my career, I had those feelings of like, wow, I don't know, I don't feel right about this. And then, and then you realize you have that mind shift of like, well, wait a second. If I am not charging appropriately, to keep my doors open, then I'm doing a disservice to my community, because I can't reach the people I need to reach. Unknown Speaker 6:20 Yeah, I mean, I say this all the time. It's, you don't, you don't strengthen the weak by weakening the strong, we are the strong, the business owner is the strong, we're the one that's taking this risk. We're the ones that is, you know, trying to create this vision is something that we want to do and help other people. And yet, we're the ones that work more hours than anybody in our business. Typically, if you add up the hours, you work by what you pay yourself, you're making less than your therapists that you're that you're paying. And you're stressed out, it affects your relationships at home, it's like you give your best to the people that you work with. And you give whatever energy is leftover to the people that you love and that are at home. Right, the whole model screwed up. And it has a lot to do with kind of kind of going back to either our childhoods or what schools kind of teaching us or whatever our influences are, that is screwing us up when we go into this business of physical therapy. Unknown Speaker 7:24 Right, right. Because, for me, what was the biggest aha moment or a change in mindset, if you will, is going from being a physical therapist who happens to own a business, to being a business owner, who happens to be a physical therapist. So once you're in that business owner mindset, you need to keep your doors open, you need to know what you need to make to turn a profit to gosh, I mean, at least pay your bills, right. But you should want to pay your bills and turn a profit. So you know, when it so let's talk about when it comes to pricing. Is there a formula? Is there something that people can look at or can plug and play? That gives them a better idea on what they can charge? Unknown Speaker 8:18 Yes. So I like to share a little story with you. Um, New York has some beautiful hotels, right? What's What's the nicest hotel you know, of in New York? What's the peninsula? Unknown Speaker 8:33 Peninsula, you're like, I don't know. flippin insula. Unknown Speaker 8:36 I don't know. Okay, the peninsula. Pretty Unknown Speaker 8:38 nice place, right? Right charges. Who knows how much per night but it's not. It's not like 150 bucks. And then there's the opposite end of the peninsula, there's probably, you know, maybe a red roof or something floating around there, maybe a small little Fairfield inn or whatever the case is. Right now, the peninsula probably does pretty well. And I know the Red Roof Inn, they do pretty well as it also. So these are two hotels. These hotels have to make a decision about what is your avatar? What are you about? What do you stand for? And if the peninsula thinks that they're trying to be a red roof in and do some of the things that the Red Roof Inn does, then you as someone that loves peninsula will be turned off. And of course, if the Red Roof Inn starts charging $20 for water in the room, which I imagined the peninsula will do minimum, then you're going to turn off that ideal client. So it is not about what you charge, you first have to answer the question, Who is the audience you're trying to track? And even before you answer that, you have to go in too, what are you about? Where do you put yourself from the peninsula, the high end, Four Seasons Hotel even higher, and the Red Roof Inn, because it isn't bad and isn't good. They're just very different in how they identify their avatar, and how they deliver deliver services and how they market and how they deliver the experience of the Avatar, they both have an avatar, and they both do financially very well. That's where we have to begin, we have to begin with identifying well are we going to be more of a place that might be, hey, we're a little bit more of a volume business, we accept insurance, we're only getting paid 50 bucks a pop, we got to see three people an hour, we do pretty good service, the beds are clean, the pillows work, you know, we keep the place clean, we keep the lights nice, but it is it's like you're going to stay the night and it does the job. Versus Are you going to be a high end boutique, high touch kind of place, you're going to do things that most places don't, you're gonna get that call, the person is going to have your cell number they're going to reach out to it's just a different experience. Each of those places has to charge a different amount they have to write this is really an exercise on clarity. This is an exercise on you looking in the mirror and saying what is this place about? And you have to be honest, because if you're like, well, we deliver the greatest care in New York and where the best work, okay, then that means you have to align your business to demonstrate that don't say you're the greatest, and you got a leak in the ceiling. Your carpet hasn't been changed in 20 years. Right? You know, you got some water fountains sitting outside. One of my one of my clients, he's in Brooklyn, he, you know, we did this exercise years ago, and I said, Lou, what are you about, and he goes on Equinox, I go, um, hi. And he does PT he does ot he does, you know, a little bit of rehab stuff. And by golly, you walk into his place, it is high. And that is his whole way of doing things from the towels he gives in the bottle of water in the art, everything is for that person that appreciates that. And yes, many of his non insurance prices reflect that. So that's, that's where you have to start, you have to determine where you are on that spectrum, let's say make it easy. Let's just say it's one to five. All right, the wine is solid, nice. Probably a little more volume ish, lower price, the high end Peninsula, that's where you have to start. Unknown Speaker 13:06 Yeah. And that's when I sort of started my business, I sort of coined the phrase like a concierge practice, because I patterned my business after a high end concierge is like at the peninsula, or at the Four Seasons, or at the, I don't know, the Andaz or something like that, right, these very high end, hotel chains that go above and beyond, you know, they go the extra mile. And so that's how I created my practice and what my practice is, you know, we're all about excellence in every sense of the word. Unknown Speaker 13:47 And if you said that to me, and I'm like, Oh, my God, that's great. I love that because I'm status, right? Yeah. When someone tells me the peninsula, it's not because the beds are really that much better. They probably are. But it's not because of that. Let's face it, Seth Godin talks about this all the time, it's connecting with status on a certain status. Now, if you said, I'm the greatest, and you told me you charge $75 a visit, I wouldn't go to you, right? Because that's not enough. I need to be connected with the best, right? Let's face it, the best usually has the biggest price tag. That's why Mercedes, that's why BMW are a different level than some of the other car companies, right. That's what people expect, even if they pay a lower amount, because they started bringing their prices down to fit a different type of it still has that element of oh, I drive a Mercedes. Unknown Speaker 14:43 Right. And I think it also comes down to you know, you're looking at that word luxury. Right. So I and I often wonder, I do I think physical therapy is a luxury item. I don't I mean it Well, it could be, but I do think physical therapy should be accessible to everyone. But why can't you be accessible and be luxury at the same time? Unknown Speaker 15:11 Well, that's interesting. So you're going to start now moving towards a little bit of the heartstrings that you and I have talked about many, many times. This is where people get into trouble, right? I'm working with a client right now. And he's coming out of a really bad situation for the last couple of years, because he made a decision and impulsive financial decision to accept Medicaid, his businesses, typical outpatient, ortho, you know, one of those types of places, whenever be a half hour type of thing. And he did this because he said, Oh, my God, there's nobody doing Medicaid. The money's not too bad. And we don't even have to mark it, we can get a million people. Well, what he failed to really go through is realize that this population didn't align with everything else that he's doing. It was a completely separate population. It doesn't mean he couldn't have them in, but it was just mixing everything up. almost cost him his business. So he realized, oh, yeah, it was it was seven figures, it was costing him. So he realized, Oh, my God, this is a disaster. Now, he said, like you said, I wanted to try to help and serve more people. So I can help them serve more people. It was easy to generate a referrals. And we can see the population. But the population that came in the type of services that were delivered, the type of culture, not bad or good, it was just very different. What they had, so it caused a lot of internal strife. And of course, the amount of work it took to actually get paid from the government. Unknown Speaker 16:56 Right, right. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 16:59 So when you start doing things out of alignment, just like our spine, when your spine is out of alignment, it starts to create a problem, it starts to break down. So this this a question about what should I charge? The question is, what are you about? What do you believe in? And then you start to do research, not comparing yourself what someone else is charging. You do research around? I'm similar to Karen. I feel like I'm that place. What is Karen charge? She charges 250 a visit? What is someone else? HR 300. This purchase this person charges? Two. So now, you know, anywhere from two to 300 is in that world? Unknown Speaker 17:42 Yeah, you're in the right ballpark, Unknown Speaker 17:44 you're in the right ballpark. Now that number can be I don't know, I mean, people that say, Well, I charge 125 of this, like, Okay, the first question is, is that number going to get you what you want? And that's a hard question to ask, right? Why would you want to make? Well, I want to make 200,000 I go, Well, 125 an hour is not gonna get you there. I don't care where you live. Right. Right, right. These are really difficult questions that we have to answer. But the idea is, value is not about. It's not about the techniques. It's not about all that stuff. You're learning all that stuff that our profession sells us, you got to learn more about this stuff, you got to have the fancy technique. It's not about that values, really about the big result. You help people plus the benefits that you add the result or the outcome, and the ancillary benefits. That's ultimately what we're selling, all of us are selling. And if you do this exercise, right, you really start looking at Karen, well, what is the big result that we're giving people? Yes, we're getting them out of pain. But what are they getting back to? They're getting back to running, they're getting back to work. They're getting back to living their life in full. You tell me what that's worth. Because if you dig down deep enough, guess what it's worth? It's priceless. Right? If you truly think about what we do, it's priceless. Because of our health because we only have one body. And you know, if you don't feel good, it's just a miserable, miserable way. So if the value that we provide is really priceless. Then we're just using the the hotel model to figure out where we want to be. And then we align our business and we align everything else we're doing in that way. Right the alignment that's the biggest issue. Because we all say we want to be the boutique, especially the cash base programs, we want to be boutique but our heartstrings, in the way we run our business is the red roof in one's not bad ones not good. It just doesn't aligned. And that creates stress. Unknown Speaker 20:10 Right, right. Yeah. So I think if, as when you're thinking about pricing, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think you want to look at quality, like, what is the quality of the product you're delivering? What kind of experience and reward are you creating for your patients? Is it through like a controlled sort of channel? Or is it chaos? That makes a big difference? Nobody wants chaos. And then finally, is it a personalized service? Or is it cookie cutter? And I think you have to think about all of those things before, as you're thinking about your pricing. Don't you think? Unknown Speaker 20:56 I'll push back a little bit on that? Yeah. I've never met anyone that told me they had a cookie cutter practice, ever. We everyone knows people. But when you look at yourself, right, says they have a cookie cutter practice. Right. Right. So you know, you said you said something about experience. I'll push back on that. I don't really care how much you know, I know. I Unknown Speaker 21:22 don't I don't mean, my experience. I mean, greens for the patient. Oh, their experience? Yeah. Have creating a good experience for your customer? I've heard that before. Yeah, that's my experience. No, no, no, Unknown Speaker 21:36 I got 10 years and 20 years. I'm like, No, it's the value you provide? Unknown Speaker 21:41 Yeah, no, I mean, the, like the patient experience, I should have been more specific the experience that you provide for for them? Unknown Speaker 21:50 Exactly. I mean, you know, look, if you're providing if you feel you're providing a higher service, and part of that higher service is creating an experience that really meets people where they are and meets their physical needs, their emotional needs, and all these other needs that they have, then you need to price it appropriately. So you need to look at other places that do something similar, and get an idea of where you should be. Right. I can tell you right now, nobody does that. What they do is they just pick a number out of the hat based on their internal guilt system. Am I feel okay with this number, or if I feel too guilty with it, it's a completely irrational system. And that's how they do because I've seen people people come in our program, and I go, how much you charge? And I like 121 30. I'm like, is that what you're worth? They're like, No, I'm worth 180. I go in charge 180. They're like, really? I can do that. I'm like, Sure can. And then you start getting into, well, what if they say no, what? Every single time very few people ever lead, they just gave himself a massive raise. And now they feel better about the services are providing, right? Let's face it, I guarantee when you were a little younger, as a therapist, you charge less, there's a slight little resentment, I care and just a slight, just a little resentment, like, I'm so freaking good at what I'm doing. And I'm only charging this amount. I know with me there was because I spent a fortune on my education, continuing it hours upon hours learning to get paid the worst paying insurance that I accept it. Right. I mean, it's it's a tough thing. But you need to really look at, you know, a great exercise I like to do is what are the benefits your service or program provides? Like, if you're trying to figure out what are the benefits? What is what is the model? Like, what is the treatment model? We refer to it as the business model. You know, this is the revenue you make for the program or for the service. And then what does the market charge for a similar thing? Now I know people listening will be like, well, no one does it quite like me. No one will ever do it quite like you. But let's face it, there's other people that do something similar to the outside public. It may not be similar to you, but if you're looking outside, it's similar. That will give you an idea of where where you can play, whether you get the high end, the middle end or the low end, not service or anything, just the lower end of what you're going to build for the services. And typically, like you said before, the lower end you charge, you're going to have to do more volume. I just did a masterclass and financial unit We're talking about this yoga program around financials and financial statements and how to look at what's a profitable model. And I like to use the three times model, meaning whatever you charge, per, whatever you charge, whatever you make per hour, has to be three times of what you're paying the person to deliver it. So if you're paying someone $50 an hour, that person has to generate at least $150 an hour. If not, there's not enough money for profit, and for overhead, and salaries and labor costs and all that. So that three times model was always a good model, you can use that really easily in the cash base model, right? Because typically, in a cash base model, you're literally just paying because a lot of cash base is an hour. But hey, if you're paying the person $50 an hour, you can charge less than 150. That makes it really easy to figure out. But I know your model, you're like, I'm not doing three times my models five times, even better. And as long as people are willing to pay it, and you feel good, and they feel good. This is more of a mind a mindset. What do you value, your own services. And the challenge we all have Karen is, once we learn all this stuff, once we go through all the heartache, once we go through all that stuff, all the money and everything, we typically forget about how much we put into doing this. And we only look forward, we only look at other people that we think are better than us. And they know more, and who am I to charge more, they don't even charge that much. When we get into that whole world. And that's tough. We need to to charge appropriately for not what we do, the benefits that we provide. Right? Right. That's what we're billing out. We build out outcomes benefits results. Unknown Speaker 27:02 100%? And how do you? What do you advise people to? Or how do you advise people sorry, to? To express that, to whether that be on their website? Or when they're talking to a patient on a sales call? How do they express what they do for them? So what those outcomes would be? Because in the end, everyone's always like, How much is it? Which is normal? Like if people are coming for your services, they should know how much it is right? So how do you so now we're getting Unknown Speaker 27:41 into the sales conversation? Well, you know, my favorite topics. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 27:48 It's up to you how deep of a dive you want to go on this. Unknown Speaker 27:51 But I love I love the sales conversation because it can be really, really simple. Right? I don't have a complicated sales process. I had three calls today. They're the most genuine, authentic just conversation, here's the thing. Step one, identify where the person is, what trouble what pain, what difficulty, are there have it step one be? What are those? What are the problems that they're having? How are they affecting their lives? So in our world, in the marketing world, it's called pain points. What are their pain points. This is not just physical pain points. These are emotional pain points. It could be spiritual pain points, it could be financial pain points, think about financial pain points for a second. So you're working with someone, and you're helping them potentially to avoid a $35,000 back surgery. So there's huge benefits to this, right, you're also potentially avoiding them because they don't want to take medication. So they're now not going to be hooked on oxy. So what's the benefits of that? What's the results of that? So you always start with where people are, have the problem that they're having. So we call them you start in the pain. And then you transition to their desires, their aspirations, their wants, what do they want? And I've had people say to me, well, Jamie, of course, they want to be out of pain. I go, No, they want more than that. Getting out of pain is one part of it. But to do what, like I've had chronic back pain for 30 years. Now when my back pain flares up. First of all, I'll write a check. I don't care how big 100% Right Second of all, what I want is not to get out of pain, necessarily. I want to go back and play basketball. Now of course, it's a hell of a lot easier to play if I'm not in severe pain. Now the question was, or the question is, so what is it about basketball? Well, it's social. It's physical. I stay in shape. I stay connected with my friends. What happens if you can't play basketball? Well, frankly, I'll get a little depressed. I'll just be a slob. I you know, a walk around the neighborhood but that's I'd like to talk smack with my buddies. So you get people into this emotional place of where you are now. And where they want to be where they want to be. The only thing that you need to provide, besides a sense of trust, which is, what's the biggest thing you provide, is you're providing a bridge from what I like to refer to as the House of Pain. Because I like to house the pain. Sure, jump around to play. Yeah, Unknown Speaker 30:30 of course, that was that was House of Pain, right? jump around, Unknown Speaker 30:33 I know you you got the House of Pain, to Pleasure Island, are going from pain to pleasure. The thing that gets us there, the bridge that gets us from pain to pleasure. That's what you provide. Now, if they want to know the specifics of what you do, then you can share the specifics you could share Well, step one, we do an intake evaluation, and we go through ABC, step two, we determine what's going on step three, we turn the player of the plan, step four, we get you better. So 1234, that's our plan. So because when I trust you caring, if I trust you, I don't need to know every little thing that you're going to do. I really don't care. All I care about is can you help me get what I want? And get me out of this place that I'm at right now. This is the, quote, sales conversation. I have. I mean, I tell people what the sales conversation because people think this is like some bait and switch, some coercive, the best sales conversation in the world are the ones that are most authentic, most genuine, and you actually care and you want to understand where they are. And you want to understand where they want to go. And you have confidence in what you do. If you don't have confidence. You show up weak weaknesses in something people trust, and you show up. I don't know if you're gonna be they really helped me. So if I asked you well, how much do you charge? Well, I don't I mean, kind of I mean, is 100 too much? I mean, I mean, I'll see you a couple of visits, like, you start almost apologizing, right? I've done it. Unknown Speaker 32:21 I've done it. I've done it a million times. 100. Yeah, absolutely. Unknown Speaker 32:26 But I've gotten over my emotion towards money, because that was my issues. And now it's just very clear. Well, here's what the program is, here's what we do, here's how much it costs. Hey, whatever, you know, credit card, check, whatever worried. And, yeah, I mean, this, this is where, you know, when we do an exercise around sales, you come out of this, not thinking twice about it. But we have to appreciate the fact that we went into physical therapy, we do have some money issues, we do have some guilt issues. But we can address those, because those aren't helping us get create the life that we want. And that's not going to serve the people we want to serve. And that's not going to attract the people that want to work for us either. Right? Because your staff, as much as we like to say, well, the generation, whatever generation we're on Z, Y, whatever, they don't want to work, they don't want to do anything they don't want to nobody wants to work for a boss who's broke. Because you know, why selfishly speaking? Karen, if you're broke, that means my job's unstable. My security is unstable, right? I want you to do well. So it's not that I don't want you to do well. But let's face it, it's it's it's expensive out there. And I want to make sure that I'm secure. So most of the people that bitch and complain about the people out there, they volunteer about his money. Well, the problem is, why can't you afford to pay them? And it's because you're not running an efficient business. Because of some of the things we talked about. Your services aren't priced correctly, you don't know actually how to position and sell your services. But those are skills. Those are skills you can learn there's nothing magic about it. Unknown Speaker 34:15 Right. And you can practice those skills. Absolutely. You have Unknown Speaker 34:19 to practice Yeah, well, how many when I worked with my, one of my first coaches in this business and in the coaching and training business on my nine years ago, he had me do this extra because he I had so much damn money stuff in my head. He goes, what what's the most you've ever sold in a program is like $500 Like, okay, so you're gonna charge $5,000 for your upcoming 90 Day Program. This This was the first thing I sold. I didn't sell a $97 program or $7 The first thing I was selling despite that I was sweating. And I go what do I say because you say exactly this. You ask them about this, you ask smell that. And then you say, here's what the price is, and you shut up. And I was scared I was sweating up for people said, Yes, I made more money in that thing. And they ended up being clients for a long time. Right? So what he had me do here was the exercise. He goes, I want you to practice doing the sales on your phone. And then I want you to send it to me. I'll give you some feedback. You do it again. So I practice 10 times. give me feedback. I practice 10 more, I knew the sales close. Right? Hey, so what are your thing? All right. So this, what do you that? So I kind of practice that, that thing. And by the end, I'm not saying I still didn't have some issues and butterflies when I said it, but it was a lot less emotional for me. And, of course, the people came on and they they loved it, they did well. So this is what we get to do we get to increase our skill levels and capabilities by practicing for sure. Unknown Speaker 36:06 Right, right. And and it's okay to not be perfect right out of the gate. Unknown Speaker 36:12 You're not going to be perfect, you're gonna screw this up, of course, you're gonna mess it up. And you know what, they're still going to pay you. Unknown Speaker 36:20 That's right. That's right. Unknown Speaker 36:22 Another mentor of mine told me always get paid for r&d. And everything's r&d. In other words, everything we're doing, we're just practicing, right, we're gonna practice this, you might as well practice it on people that can write new checks and come in as, as a patient. So, lean into the fear, lean into the worry, practice the the conversation and all that figure out where your price point is, and be confident people, people will pay for the results. Now, that's not your population. If your population is $125 a visit, that's fine, that's fine. People will pay for the results. That's right, you get to choose where your thing is, the only advice I would give you is just make sure you're at that three times multiple, do not charge and we're not talking about you because nobody pays themselves. We're talking about if you are someone if you're just a solopreneur. If you are someone to deliver services, just make sure what you're charging is three times what you pay them. If not, you're gonna you're gonna buck up on some on some issues there. Unknown Speaker 37:38 Right, right. And I think that's really good advice, and kind of a one. One have a really good solid takeaway from our conversation. Are there any other takeaways that you want the audience to remember? Unknown Speaker 37:54 Decide whether you're the peninsula or the red roof. Look for the people in that level of your market. Look at where they are and what their services are, and charge and price accordingly. Absolutely, Unknown Speaker 38:11 yeah. Yeah. I couldn't agree more great advice. Did we miss anything in our conversation? I feel like we hit a lot of really solid points. Was there anything that you were like I really wanted to get this point in? And we didn't hit it? Unknown Speaker 38:26 No, I don't think so. I mean, you know, you and I have lots of conversations around this. wish this was more complicated. It's not. It's not complicated. We make Unknown Speaker 38:38 it complicated. Unknown Speaker 38:39 I don't want to make it more complicated. Because I'm really good at doing that. I don't want to make this complicated. By giving all this other stuff. Here's the biggest problem we have with this. It's not that we're great at delivering what we do. The problem is we have our own internal issues around money around pricing around guilt. That's the part we have to address. No amount of fancy strategy, this subnet is going to change that. So the thing I gave you with the hotels with the this and that, it gives you an idea where you feel comfortable, make sure it's three times what you would have to pay someone to do it and try it. See they'll thank you. They'll thank you for doing that because your issues your own stuff is all in your head. So the only way you can address it is by addressing it so you don't need any more fancy stuff. It's just figure out where you are who you are. Charge it and go get Unknown Speaker 39:43 it right kiss keep keep it simple, stupid, right? Unknown Speaker 39:47 Keep it simple. Unknown Speaker 39:48 Keep it simple. absolute love it now. I know you know this question. So what advice would you give to your younger self? You've given plenty of advice here to your younger self, and I feel like it's a never end Doing well, sources. So give us another one. Unknown Speaker 40:03 What advice would I give to my younger self? Um, I probably I would have, I would have gotten help from an outside source sooner. Unknown Speaker 40:19 I love it. I just said that the other day, I think that's great advice. Unknown Speaker 40:23 You and I, you and I have a value system very similar when it comes to learning. You and I are lifetime learners. Mm hmm. And I wasn't always like this, I learned in my profession. But when it came to the business of physical therapy, I did not invest one 100 of what I invest in my, you know, manual skills and stuff, I, I wouldn't, I wouldn't, I would buy a book. And my younger self, I would have invested much more in my business acumen, I would have hired a coach, I would have went through the uncomfortableness of writing a check to my coach, which I eventually did. But then on the other side of that, you know, you get so much back of that, because you have to go through the fire, all of us have to go to the fire, even the overnight successes, which there's no such thing goes through the fire. So I would have gone through the fire sooner so I could get on the other side instead of through the torment that I did for for pretty much nine years. Unknown Speaker 41:27 Right? Right. I couldn't agree more. And now where can people find you? And what is your free gift for the listeners? Because I know there is one here. So they can you can follow me quiz. Ah, your PT practice quiz. Unknown Speaker 41:46 Yeah, I mean, look, the first thing you want to do is really understand kind of where you are in your business, you might think you understand where you are. But this this, this pte practice quiz and I have asked you questions that you're not asking yourself. So there's it only takes about five minutes to do it gives you a score kind of rates you where you are in your business, and then I provide resources to help you overcome those challenges that you're having. Because business really comes for most of us, you're really in three different areas of your business, you're in a Stage One Business stage two, stage three. And really what that means is where your income is your your total revenue, whether it's zero to 400,000 400,000 to a million or million to 3 million, that's where 90% of all of us are. So this quiz kind of will ask you some questions and really kind of teach you a lot about your business. So that's definitely something that I would highly recommend taking you want to reach me you know, best way to do is just follow me on LinkedIn. You know at Jamie Schreier. You can reach out for my you know, shoot me an email if you want to shoot me an email Jamie at practice freedom you. I'm all over the place. I'm like you, Karen. I'm all over social media. I tried to get myself out there and try to deliver good, good resources for people to try to help them. Unknown Speaker 43:07 Cool and I'll just remind people of the website it's practice freedom you the letter u.com Unknown Speaker 43:14 Yeah, practice u.com And then yeah, there's there's a quiz right there or you can leave the link to the quiz. Unknown Speaker 43:20 Yes, everything will all of Jamie's information will be at the podcast, website at podcast at healthy wealthy smart.com. In the show notes under this episode, one click will take you to anywhere you want to go. Jamie Schreier related. So I think that's pretty good, right. That's great. Great. So Jamie, thank you so much for coming on. Again, as always a great conversation. I really appreciate you. So thank you so much. Thank you, Karen. And everyone. Thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.
Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team
Vineyard Team's Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship provides multi-year, higher education investments in the children of vineyard and winery workers on California's Central Coast based on academic excellence, financial need, and community involvement. The majority of awardees are first-generation college students. This funding supports students and their families in achieving their dreams of successful graduation from a trade, or two- or four-year school to pursue a professional career. Vineyard Team's Executive Director, Beth Vukmanic, and milti-year scholarship recipient and Assistant Grower Relations Representative at Justin Winery, Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza talk about how the scholarship impacted her education and career trajectory through not only financial aide but industry connections. Evelyn gives her advice on how to succeed in college to new students and Beth shares how to apply for funding. First-generation students have more barriers when it comes to attaining higher education – they cannot ask their parents how to navigate the system, budgets are often tight, and they can feel guilty for leaving their families. As a community, we can band together to better the future of the next generation. Multi-year recipient Alberto Gonzales says, "I am proud of breaking the cycle and being the change in my family as the first generation to go to college." You can give the gift of higher education to students like Evelyn and Alberto this GivingTuesday. Our goal is to raise $75,000 by November 29, 2022. You'll be doing more than just donating — your kindness will make it possible for working families to send their children to two-year colleges, four-year universities, and trade schools. References: Donate to the scholarship – help us raise $75,000 by November 29, 2022 Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza – check-ins throughout her college career From the Crops to the Classroom – a story about Esteban Garcia Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship Meet three recipients of the Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship (video) Newsletter SIP Certified “The biggest inheritance that I'm going to leave you…” Get More Subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode on the latest science and research with the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast. Since 1994, Vineyard Team has been your resource for workshops and field demonstrations, research, and events dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources. Learn more at www.vineyardteam.org. Transcript Craig Macmillan 0:00 And today our guests are Beth Vukmanic, she's executive director of vineyard team and Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza. She is assistant grower relations representative with Justin Winery. Today we're going to talk about the Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship. Beth, would you tell us a little bit about how that came about? What it is what it does, and that kind of thing with the background is? Beth Vukmanic 0:22 I would love to, but one of ours Memorial Scholarship is to benefit the children of vineyard and winery workers. For anybody who has been a fan of this podcast. You know, we talk about sustainable winegrowing. And a lot of the times that focuses on the planet part of it. So we're talking about soils and pests and irrigation, but people are our most valuable resource. And this scholarship program is a way for us to give back to the people who helped us make a wonderful industry. Craig Macmillan 0:50 Who was Juan Nevarez? Beth Vukmanic 0:52 Juan Nevarez was a winegrower, who started out in the Paso Robles area, he moved here to the United States as a teenager, I believe he was just 16 years old. He didn't speak any English. And he just learned everything from the ground up. He was a very, I guess you'd probably call it a gritty soul, he would always put in the time and effort to try to teach himself. So if somebody was putting in irrigation lines, he would go over and ask them questions. Or if somebody was planting vines, he would go in and ask questions about why they made that choice. And he over time really developed a successful management company called Nevarez Farm Labor, he helped establish a lot of notable vineyards, including Justin in the Paso Robles area of California. And then he actually developed his own vineyard property, too. And he unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. And something that was really special about Juan is that he held that he was a self made man, he dreamed of higher education for his own children, his daughter, Mia said that their dad had just one require from them that they had to go to college. And his thought with that was that he felt like he had to work really hard to prove who he was and what he knew. And that an education would help his children get that foot in the door, so that they could more easily build a better lives for themselves. And so that's why we named the scholarship after him to honor that memory of somebody who really supported higher education and valued it, and wanted it for the next generation. Craig Macmillan 2:24 I never met him, I never connected with him. But from what I've learned, over the years, talking to people, one of the things that made this such an obvious thing to do for the community to start this scholarship was he was connected to like everybody, like he knew everybody. Everybody knew him. Curious more about that this idea of community, because I've talked to so many individuals who had some kind of connection to him, was that part of how this all came about, as folks wanted to, you know, encourage this idea. But also, they all felt like maybe they had some kind of connection there, they had some kind of responsibility. Scholarship is not a simple thing. Like you have to get kind of a critical mass of people to do it. Beth Vukmanic 3:00 That's definitely true. Yeah. So when we first started the scholarship program, back in 2015, we were hosting our Earth Day Food and Wine Festival. And that was a way that we would take, you know, some of the proceeds raised by that to give back. And I think those first couple of years, that's the total amount that we were giving was, you know, maybe $5,000, to a few different students. Over time, like you said, because it is a community driven effort, as more people learned about the program, and especially a lot of our vineyard management companies that work with us, they will outreach the scholarship program to their team so that their students can apply for it. So they're really seeing this direct impact of helping their own employees, children attend school and earn that higher education. So I think that's really how the community build started. And it's just grown from there. This year, we gave out $62,000 to 14 different students. And it's just phenomenal. Like how much growth it's seen over the last so many years since 2015. Craig Macmillan 3:58 That's fantastic. That's really, really wonderful. If I'm gonna apply, do they have to be a high school senior? Do they apply once they get one year of funding? Can they apply multiple times? How does how does the funding work? Beth Vukmanic 4:10 The way that the funding works is they don't necessarily have to be a high school senior, although a lot of our applicants are that could be somebody who is already attending school, they can still be eligible to apply for the scholarship program as well. So far, the way that the scholarship has worked is that students would apply each year to get a scholarship. However, we just had an incredible investment from Must! Charities that's going to help us expand this program to a whole new level. They've raised $1.3 million dollars... Craig Macmillan 4:40 What! Beth Vukmanic 4:42 Which is a huge and so a big change that we're going to make that's going to be incredible is to provide multi year scholarships. Instead of a student needing to come back and apply every single year as they're going to into your school or trade school or possibly a four year school, we would be able to give them funding for that period. bit of time, if they beat the benchmarks of a minimum GPA, and then also checking in with our organization. And that's something that we found was sort of kind of happening already with recipients like Evelyn. But now we have to do that more intentionally. Craig Macmillan 5:14 And let's ask everyone. So Evelyn, you are a multi year recipient, is that correct? Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 5:19 That is correct. Yes. Craig Macmillan 5:20 How did you find out about it? What was the process like when you first connected with vineyard team in the scholarship program? How did how did this come about for you? Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 5:28 So I found out about the scholarship through my dad's job. So my dad is currently employed by messa vineyard management, he works as a tractor driver and Sierra Madre Vineyard, which is located in Santa Maria, I'm not sure who exactly approached him with information about the scholarship, but it was something through his work. And he came home one day, and he gave me the application. He's like, I think this would be great for you to apply to it's a scholarship. I know, you're always seeking scholarship opportunities, you should give this a try. And of course, I was like I, I will do it. You know, like I was always seeking these type of opportunities throughout my college journey. And so I went for it. And the process was very simple. It was great communicating with the Vineyard Team. If I had any questions, it was very straightforward and clear. The application process itself was very simple. And I'm just super grateful for it, I had no idea that it would lead to a multi year scholarship recipient outcome. And I can't express enough in words that I'm so thankful for that in the change that I made throughout my college educational journey was just undescribable. It was very impactful for sure. Craig Macmillan 6:37 So the first award that got you started. And where did you go to school? Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 6:42 So I attend a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. First award, I believe I received in 2017. So it was during my sophomore year at Cal Poly. And during this time, I was pursuing a degree a Bachelors of Science degree in animal science. So that was my initial career direction. I would definitely say that the scholarship not only represented financial assistance for me to be able to afford my education at the time. But really the way I saw it was an opportunity to open up doors throughout my educational journey, and kind of helped me figure out a little bit more what direction I could take career wise connections through the Vineyard Team really kind of helped me land where I am today. And I can definitely talk more about that if you'd like me too. Well. Yeah. I'm curious because first of all, Beth, students do not have to be pursuing a degree in an agricultural area. Right? They can they can be pursuing any career paths that correct? Elizabeth Vukmanic 7:37 That's correct. Yeah. We're happy to support students that are pursuing any kind of career. So it doesn't have to be an ag, although sometimes we find ones that are still working and viniculture too. Craig Macmillan 7:46 So Evelyn, but you were doing animal science? Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 7:49 Yes. Craig Macmillan 7:50 How did you how did you move then into the viticultural world? How was what was that path link ? How did that happen? Unknown Speaker 7:56 Yeah, I love sharing the story. Um, it's an interesting one. So animal science, for me started out with my passion for animals, I always kind of assumed, okay, I will have a career that has to do with working with animals and helping them. And it's one of those things that as I navigated Cal Poly with my animal science degree, I just kind of came to a point where I realized I was learning a lot of valuable information but I just didn't feel like my heart was in it. It wasn't speaking to me. And so I realized that this is probably not the field where I want to obtain a career that I would be content with. And so then I started to think about any other fields I could possibly explore that would interest me and I thought about my dad's job. He's always worked in vineyards for as long as I can remember, remember, ever since I was really young, I decided to explore that through a research project that was presented to me at Cal Poly. And that was my first exposure to vineyards, specifically, wine diseases is what I worked with, and I ended up falling in love with it. And I wanted more I wanted to dive in a little bit deeper into the viticulture industry. Craig Macmillan 9:03 I think there were a lot of us that started doing something else and then got exposed and we got the bug. After that you kind of just can't look back. I know so many people have that story. So you completed your undergrad at Cal Poly? Is that correct? Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 9:16 Correct. Yes. Craig Macmillan 9:17 And was at that point, was the wine and viticulture program happening? Or was this a fruit science degree? Where were you at? Unknown Speaker 9:23 At that time, I finished off my degree in animal science just because by the time I realized I was really interested in viticulture a little too late to change my major. So I finished my degree animal science and then I decided to do a master's in agriculture with a specialization in crop science. That was the closest I could get to having a research experience related to viticulture, just because of the moment Cal Poly doesn't offer a specific master's program for wine and vit but it was a great opportunity. I decided to take that route just to kind of specialize a little bit more in my field of interest. Craig Macmillan 9:56 And did you get scholarship money through your masters? Unknown Speaker 9:59 Yes, I did get scholarship money from other vineyard organizations. The Vineyard Team scholarship specifically was throughout my undergrad journey, my undergraduate degree, which was an animal science. Needless to say, this scholarship did help expose me more to this industry through connections, talking to people who already were embedded in the industry. And it really did help me get my foot in the door in the matter speaking for kind of ended up where I am now. So. Craig Macmillan 10:31 Were there things that the scholarship allowed you to do that you otherwise would not have been able to do? Because I remember talking to some folks who want it and they some of its tuition, but some of it's also things like rent and food or the ability to travel potentially, or something like that, or the materials that they needed. How did they How did the money help you? What did you What were you able to do that you would otherwise not have been able to do? Unknown Speaker 10:52 Many things. And what was important for me is my parents at the time had other things to worry about in terms of expenses, and I have two older sisters. So they were also helping them get through their college journeys. And so the biggest thing for me was able to take a weight off of my parents shoulders in terms of having to financially support me. And this scholarship made a huge difference in me being able to take care of rent, take care of book costs, or any type of trips related to my classes, I was taking any extracurricular activities that kind of helped me dive deeper into my interest, career wise. So it definitely made a huge difference in being able to afford these opportunities and being able to become more involved in activities I was very interested in participating in for sure. Craig Macmillan 11:44 Do you think you would have gotten into the vineyard industry without the scholarship? Unknown Speaker 11:47 No. I think part of it was the research opportunity that I was presented at Cal Poly, but really this current job that I have now, I don't believe I would have attained it if it wasn't for this scholarship, because it was through this scholarship and having my affiliation with the Vineyard Team and their roots in the wine growing community here that really helped me meet, they introduced me to Molly Scott, Director of Grower Relations here at Justin. And it really just connecting the dots, it played a huge role in landing me where I am now. So I don't believe that I would be in the Viticulture industry as I am today without the scholarship. Unknown Speaker 12:33 And so that is another part of the scholarship program where we've seen these connections being made, you know, over the years. And it's an area where we can further formalize this to with our new investment. We've had a few different students who've met different vitiulturalists at like, I remember barbecue or different video team events and ended up with jobs or internships out of them. And our membership is very supportive of the scholarship program. And not just in terms of donations. But going beyond that and wanting to offer internship opportunities wanting to offer job opportunities to the students who are recipients of it. Craig Macmillan 13:06 Again, how many recipients per year does it vary? Unknown Speaker 13:09 It does vary. Yes. So this last year was 14, we're going to be looking at adding in more because we have the capacity to add in more over the next few years. Another thing that's been interesting about the scholarship program, too, is we're really reaching for the most part first generation college students. So 98% have been first generation so far, by going into this next phase of the program, we're going to bring on an administrator who's going to help us oversee the whole program. And I think a really important component of that is kind of like a coaching element that they're going to provide, you know, not just processing applications, but actually doing active outreach to all of the recipients with tips and ideas like how to file the FAFSA form or, or college, you know, have you looked for these kinds of resources. So go into that next level of providing help support to help the students not just financially, but really get through the whole process of getting to college. A challenge that a lot of first generation college students run into is that no one of their families had this experience before, right. So they can't ask their parents, you know, like, hey, you know, how do I how do I get into school? And like, what do I do when I go to class? You know, a lot of times budgets are tight, or they might have maybe me feel guilty about like, you know, leaving their family, stuff like that. So I think having this scholarship administrator is going to provide a wonderful level of support for everyone who's a part of the program. Craig Macmillan 14:31 98 percent first generation. It's not a requirement, though, isn't? Elizabeth Vukmanic 14:33 No, it's not a requirement. Craig Macmillan 14:35 What are some other examples over the past golly, how ling has it been now seven years of really interesting cases or success stories of folks that have gone out and done other things or would not have made it without somehow? Unknown Speaker 14:45 I think an incredible story is Esteban Garcia. He was a young teenage dad, his family worked in the fields, his grandparents worked in the fields. He did the same thing too. And at a certain point, he thought, you know, is this what I'm just going to do is just sort of live this day to day, you know life or am I going to do something else. And he saw, you know, being in the United States as an opportunity to get a higher education. Later on in life, he went back to college with two children and a fiancee, works full time. Just a total Rockstar. Right now, he's been a multi year recipient, he went to Allan Hancock College, which is down in Santa Maria and then moved over to Fresno State, he actually is going into viticulture as well, and has a great job at Sea Smoke vineyards too. So that's another one of these kind of parallel stories maybe with Evelyn where he got the scholarship. And then by being involved with the Vineyard Team through us was able to make these other connections and move into a nice career as he graduates school. Craig Macmillan 15:45 Evelyn, you're relatively early in your career. It sounds like this is a completely personal question. Where do you want to? This isn't like an interview question. Where do you want to be five years from now? Where do you want to be 10 years from now? How do you what do you see your trajectory being? Unknown Speaker 15:59 Oh, man, yeah. I love to think about that all the time and plan. What I have clear right now is my interest in viticulture, anything related to wine grapes. Honestly, my biggest goal at this moment is to just advance in my career, I like to apply value to what I've learned and not only be able to apply that in a job, but also continue growing professionally. Five years from now 10 years from now I see myself without a doubt still being an agriculture still been in this industry. Who knows I may kind of divert a little bit from viticulture, we try horticulture, you know, even different avenue, but for sure still in the agriculture world. I know agricultural is for me, it's in my family. It's been for years. So this is where I want to stay for sure. Honestly, right now, I guess to put it in a clearer way is I'm open to opportunities that offer learning and growing. And that is really what I am seeking after. So. Craig Macmillan 17:04 As someone who's come out the other side and have educational piece, what would you say? How would you mentor a young person who's just senior in high school or freshman in college, about how they should navigate all this and how they should look for help. Unknown Speaker 17:17 My biggest point of advice would be take the time to research take the time to get to know and become familiar with opportunities are out there. For most scholarships that I received, including the Vineyard Team scholarship, I wouldn't have known if I didn't either hear it from someone that I knew or look more into it by doing my own research. So I know sometimes it can be like, oh, man, I don't know if I have time for this, you know, to write an essay or ask for a reference letter or a reference, but it's worth it. It's the few hours or even minutes that you put towards a scholarship application can result in something so big like landing an ideal career, you know, I'm opening the door to a route that really will land you where you want to be career wise. And that's what happened to me, and I can't stress enough. I always talk to my peers, and people that I know are currently navigating college and they say, you should, you know, definitely take the time to apply to scholarships, use your resources, talk to people, you know, and it will never have a negative outcome for sure. And you will always have something rewarding come out of that. So that's my biggest point of advice for people. Craig Macmillan 18:31 And turning back to Beth, I think the idea of having an administrator who not only manages numbers, but also helps to managing council people is a really, really great thing. I think better, scholarships had that it would be more successful, not just in getting people but also the outcomes. I think that's really wonderful. Beth, how is it techniques and getting the word out to the community about the scholarship? Unknown Speaker 18:53 A lot of times the scholarship gets sorted out by word of mouth. We also have a newsletter on our website, if anyone wants to sign up for that. And in there, we've been sharing some wonderful stories about students like Evelyn and updates on the scholarship program. And then a lot of it ends up going through like Evelyn said to through the vineyard management companies, because they're telling their staff about it, who's been telling their children about it to help them apply. Craig Macmillan 19:19 Where do you see this going? You've talked about multi year awards. You've talked about getting to more students, what's your five year tenure plan for this scholarship path? Where do you see this headed? Unknown Speaker 19:29 I will look forward to the next phase of the scholarship. We're going to be making some of these tweaks, I guess, to our current system so that we can really solidify a lot of these great things that were already naturally happening. I'm really excited about the multi-year scholarships. I think we can come up with a really good communications plan with the administrator for the students and really figure out like what their pain points are like, where are they struggling, where do they need more help? Maybe doing even more conversations with the students themselves with the question that you just asked Evelyn like what is your piece of advice you would give somebody who is in your shoes, you know that you were just issues a few years ago, I think all of those are going to be really, really valuable to everyone participating in the program. Craig Macmillan 20:12 Which reminds me something. So who's on the selection committee? How are already selected? Beth Vukmanic 20:17 So we have seven different members on the selection committee. And the way that the process works is once the applications come in, we blind them. So you know, so they don't know whose application they're reading. And all of the applicants, you know, give kind of like basic information about themselves, you know, where they are in school right now, what they plan on doing, but then they always write these wonderful, you'll have more personal essays where we get to learn more about them as an individual. And so this selection committee will spend their time reading through all of these applications, and then sort of discussing based off of need, which students will get a scholarship that year. Craig Macmillan 20:54 And these are folks in the vineyard and winery industry. They are, what is the cycle? Where do students go to apply? What time of year does it take place? What's the timeframe? Like how does that work? Unknown Speaker 21:04 Applications are going to be opening up in March for students, so they can be popping on vineyard team.org/scholarship, to see when applications go live. Craig Macmillan 21:15 That's fantastic. I had been involved as well over the years, I think this is a fantastic thing. I have also followed some individuals through the process. And it's been very rewarding for me as a person. And I know it's rewarding for them, because I could see outcomes that happen that otherwise never would happen. I really am proud of you, Evelyn, I think you've done great. And I'm glad that you participated. And I'm super proud of you, Beth, for making this all happen over the years. This is not a small task, but it started. And then the successes, runaway and really, really exciting. What can people do to support? You mentioned the website? Is there anything else people can do? Unknown Speaker 21:51 We are fundraising for this. So although must has raised $1.3 million for the program, we actually have to match a chunk of that money in order to be able to apply it to the scholarship program. So matching funds are really, really important to to help us keep this going. People can go ahead and donate at being your team.org/scholarship And right now our goal is to raise $75,000 By giving Tuesday, which is November 29, 2022. Craig Macmillan 22:18 That's fantastic. Well, that's all the time we have for today. I thank you both so much for being here. Beth Vukmanic, executive director of Vineyard Team and Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza, assistant grower relations representative for Justin Winery. Again, there's gonna be information in the show notes, look online, go to the links, get a checkbook, please support this project. This has done so much good for so many people and all of us very excited to say continue. Thank you both for being here. Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza 22:46 Thank you so much. Transcribed by https://otter.ai