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Karen Rodriguez is Vice President of Program Operations at Kiss the Ground. Originally from Guatemala, Karen grew up in California and followed a deep love of food into the restaurant industry. Through this work, she learned an incredible amount from chefs, farmers, and other people connected to our food systems, which led her to join the Kiss the Ground team.

Karen sees connection with nature and the soil as a healing force that can generate healthy ecosystems and communities. She is whole-heartedly aligned with Kiss the Ground’s mission of teaching and providing the tools for regenerating soil at the local level, as well as working to shift policy to improve outcomes for food production in the US and abroad.

In this episode, we discuss why Karen sees each regenerative agriculture project as an experiment, how to support regenerative practices in your own community, and how to look for meaningful work that you love. Listen here!


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Episode Outline: 

  • [0.43] Karen’s background
  • [2.55] What does Kiss the Ground do?
  • [3.43] What is Karen’s role at Kiss the Ground?
  • [7.52] Can the US shift to regenerative agriculture entirely without harming food security?
  • [12.00] How does Kiss the Ground work with farmers and agricultural communities?
  • [15.30] What needs to be done at the federal, state, and local levels to support regenerative agriculture?
  • [20.39] Has there been any change in policy since the documentary was released?
  • [22.50] What is the role of media in advancing conservation efforts or nature positive solutions like regenerative agriculture?
  • [25.46] How can we shift mindsets towards feeling a connection to nature?
  • [27.32] What is Karen’s favourite lesson she’s learned from working with farmers?
  • [29.25] How does Kiss the Ground address the perceived risk associated with switching farming methods towards regenerative agriculture?
  • [31.01] What do you wish more people understood about your work promoting regenerative agriculture?
  • [34.52] Can regenerative agriculture also address equity and the health of our supply chains?
  • [39.01] What has Karen experienced in her work that has given her more optimism about the future of agriculture and biodiversity in the US?
  • [40.40] Karen’s advice for people starting their career in conservation
  • [43.20] What keeps Karen fighting to protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change?
  • [46.00] Where can listeners learn more about Kiss the Ground?
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