Each month we will ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation and advice for other like-minded people. This month we have interviewed Bob Quinn, a pioneer in organic agriculture and farming futurist. His research and forward thinking have paved the way for many organic farmers and companies over the years.
2. What is your occupation?
Organic farmer, researcher and Founder, Kamut International
3. Do you have a “green” memory growing up?
When I was growing up on our family wheat and cattle ranch in North Central Montana, we raised all of our own chickens, milked our own cows and even made our own ice cream We had our own beef and hogs that we butchered so we ate our own bacon and eggs. Also, we had a big garden that they ate out of all summer and used to do some canning and freezing of vegetables and fruits for the winter months. So it was eating what we raised and raising what we ate. We never thought of it of being green or eco, it was just part of life and how we lived.
4. What’s your favorite meal?
Anything fresh picked right out of the garden. A big toss salad and fresh steamed or roasted medley of vegetables and spices.
5. Who/What inspires you to be more “green” in your life?
What inspires me is the success I’ve had with what I’ve done so far to be more green and the satisfaction in doing it.
6. Where on the “green scale” do you fall?
I would say an 8.5 – we can always do better. My two last big green projects for our farm are to build a wind generator to produce all our electricity and to change the heating in our home from propane to vegetable oil. I am now raising safflower on our farm, pressing into oil, renting it to restaurants and then picking it up and using it to fuel my tractors on the farm. This eliminates the bio-fuel debate of fuel verses fuel. The home we built a few years ago for my parents who are now 90 and still live on the farm is heated and cooled with a ground source heat pump so for them their heating and cooling come directly from the earth and is completely renewable.
7. What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?
I think they’re both the same—the unknown. Its most challenging because you don’t know exactly how to solve a problem; but also most rewarding because when you find the answer it’s something new that will perhaps benefit other people.
8. Where’s your “greenspot”: food, body care/beauty, oceans, home or neighborhood, explain
Most important to me is being able to eat what we grow and grow what we eat in a green and in sustainable way focusing on everything that goes to accomplishing that from field to plate —farming, processing, etc.
9. Where do you turn for your news?
I mostly get my news from off the radio—either local Montana stations, CBC from Saskatchewan or NPR
I don’t watch television and just scan newspapers some weekly news magazines.
10. What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?
I plan to put up a wind turbine to generate our own electricity –or at least most of it.
11. If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?
Not sure I’d want to actually trade places, but I would like to at least be at the shoulder of someone like George Washington Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson—those are my American heroes. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were both pioneers in agriculture in their time and also as fathers of the country. I wouldn’t trade places, but I’d like to visit.
12. You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!
I’d probably tell different ones different things depending on what is going on in their country. A lot of them are worried about homeland security and economic stability—home grown organic food, fuel and fertilizer is our biggest defense and it is the biggest help for economic stability and international security. It involves both health and welfare. In all things diversity begets stability.
13. You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!
Medicine should be your food and food should be your medicine.
14. If there is one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?
15. Where in the world would you most like to be right now?
Right where I am—on my farm. It’s harvest time…the most exciting time of the year for me.
16. What is the best book you have read recently?
Most inspiring one I’ve read recently was a biography about George Washington by James Thomas Flexner called Washington: The Indispensable Man. Mostly I listen to books on tape because I don’t have must leisure time, but this one I actually read.
17. What makes you cringe?
People making rules and regulations that don’t understand the reality of the what they are trying to regulate in the workplace and of or in agriculture—I think it would be good if they were made to live under their own rules for a while before they were allowed to recommend them.
18. What do you want your legacy to be?
Innovative and honest in business. Kind and helpful to those in need. And a resource and inspiration to those trying to realize their own dreams.