top of page
  • marcia sivek

Emergent: With Author Miriam Kate McDonald

Humans have existed for about 300,000 years. And played a huge role in their environment in a positive sustainable way. They grew and killed what they could eat. Gradually, over most of that time or gradually until less than a century ago, humans somehow became separate from their landscape and began extracting from their landscape more than was needed. Small sustainable farms became overrun by industrial agriculture.

Now the farms in the middle of the US are mostly monoculture crops or single crops to feed cows and livestock stuffed in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The cereal grains grown to feed these animals are not the foods that they are normally meant to be eating. So the animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics just to keep them alive enough until they get slaughtered. Growing enough cereal grains in abundance to feed the livestock crammed into CAFOs gave birth to chemical farming, genetic modifications and heavy pesticide use. The meat from these unhappy animals and grains are passed onto humans. Most of these meats go to feed the masses a cheaper source of meat like those found in the many fast food chains.

Nowadays a week doesn’t go by when I don’t hear livestock being blamed for the climate crisis. We are told to not eat meat if we want to save the planet. This is so frustrating to me, because all meat is not the same. When we are told this there should be a disclaimer, don’t eat meat from CAFOs. Meat from sustainably operated farms where humans are playing a role in helping livestock eat what they should, rotating crops to save soil, making use of pollinators and natural bug eaters like bats for pesticide control is completely different than meat from a CAFO. In sustainable farms the cows are happy not sick, the land is happy and not contaminated and the food makes people are healthier.

So the thought here is, in order to be healthier, have healthier livestock that lives on healthier earth - being more a carbon sink than a carbon source, should humans and livestock be considered keystone species? This is one of the topics in todays episode.

I am excited today to be interviewing Miriam Kate McDonald, the author of Emergent: Rewilding Nature, Regenerating Food and Healing the World by Restoring the Connection Between People and the Wild. In her book, McDonald explores how humans extracted from natural landscapes can be reintegrated to restore severed relationships with animals and the land. She discusses how regenerative farmers can help build soil, produce nutrient-dense food, healthy happy animals and foster a renewed sense of kinship with their communities.

I hope you enjoy today's episode. Miriam’s book Emergent can be found to purchase at Miriam’s website is

and the website to her farm is

About Miriam Kate McDonald:

Miriam Kate McDonald has over 15 years of experience in ecology, conservation and agriculture. Her fusion of science and practise lead her to the realisation that people are a part of the wild, entangled in interdependent relationships. ​She co-directs Midlands Restoration Hub, Woven Earth and Heartwood and lives at High Leas Farm, Derbyshire, UK. ​

I will have more information about Miriam and some pictures of her farm in our show notes at

Music today was downloaded from and is titled Back on the Farm by Andy Elison.

If you like what hear and want to hear more shows like this visit and drop us line, leave a review and let us know how we are doing. Again this is Marcia Sivek of BeProvided Conservation Radio. Until next time stay safe and stay healthy.

About Marcia Sivek:

Marcia Sivek has over 12 years experience in Environmental Engineering. In 2010, she receicved a MS in Nutrition and has been helping people make better food choices since. She began the podcast in 2017 after returning from a working guest volunteer stint at the Cheetah Conservation Fund ( in Namibia where she was inspired about the work being done there to save wildlife and people.

36 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page