#64: Dung beetles, herbal medicine, hydrology and soil carbon

#64: Dung beetles, herbal medicine, hydrology and soil carbon 1078 848 Farmerama Radio

Rasheeqa Ahmad | Image from Hedge Herbs

This month, we begin by hearing from Sally-Ann Spence, an entomologist in Wiltshire, who is passionate about preserving dung beetles as a keystone species on farmland. Losses of pastureland and removal of grazing livestock is causing a decline in dung beetle populations. Sally-Ann has helped launch ‘Dung Beetles for Farmers’, a collective of farmers, vets and scientists, for sharing information and practical tips on how farmers can support dung beetles to thrive.

Next, we chat to Rasheeqa Ahmad, a medical herbalist in London, who shares her knowledge on the history and importance of herbal medicines. Rasheeqa runs the medical practice Hedge Herbs, and leads the Medical Apothecary for Phytology, a cultural institute in Bethnal Green, which brings the surrounding community together to make herbal medicines which are then distributed to community members without proper access to food, shelter and healthcare. We spoke to Rasheeqa as part of ‘Who Feeds Us?’ in 2020 – head to our blog post here to learn more of Rasheeqa’s story.

Finally, we hear from Walter Jehne, a soil microbiologist, and the Director of Healthy Soils Australia, in an interview clip which originally appeared on Koen van Seijen’s ‘Investing in Regenerative Agriculture’ podcast. Walter talks about the potential of the ‘soil carbon sponge’, and how repairing the earth’s hydrological cycles through soil restoration can mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Thanks so much to Koen for letting us use this fascinating clip!

This episode of Farmerama was made by Jo Barratt, Abby Rose and Olivia Oldham. The interview with Rashiqua was by Lovejit Dhaliwal. Our Patreon supporters help make Farmerama possible. We’re very grateful to all of you who support us and allow us to bring you these stories every month. Even the smallest contribution makes a big difference to us. If you’d like to become a supporter, visit patreon.com/Farmerama

A big thanks to the rest of the farmerama team Katie Revell, Fran Bailey, Annie Landless, Eliza Jenkins, Dora Taylor and Hanna Soderlund. Our theme music is by Owen Barratt.