SOIL

Building Resilient Communities, Ecosystems, and Businesses with
Will Harris of White Oak Pastures

Will Harris of White Oak Pastures is a 5th generation rancher in Bluffton, Georgia. Will switched from a conventional model of farming to a holistic model in the 90’s and has been building not just soil organic matter, but also community, in his small rural town – once named one of the poorest in America. Now raising 10 different species, with integrated processing facilities, and a team of over 170 people, has given Will Harris a lot of ups and downs to consider what the business and mission of resiliency is all about. We talk about his recent viral moment discussing Bill Gates becoming the largest farmland owner in the U.S. We dive deep into resiliency – not just as it applies to land, but also as it applies to communities and businesses. Our discussion around finances runs deep and Will is transparent about how money flows in and out of White Oak Pastures and why traditional financial institutions won’t touch farming – but there are other options. Will highlights how market access and getting your product to consumers is one of the biggest hurdles in the business and how ‘greenwashing’ in the market has made it harder for small businesses to bust into the space occupied by multinational corporations. At the heart of the conversation, is an idea of coming home and digging in to build up rural America, just like Will has done with Bluffton

We also talk about: 

  • The importance of slaughter and processing in the farm to table process
  • How fundamental cycles – water cycles, microbial cycles, nutrient cycles are to farming
  • Carbon tunnel vision
  • & so much more


Find Will Harris and White Oak Pastures: 

Instagram: @whiteoakpastures
Website: White Oak Pastures
Center for Agricultural Resilience
Quantis Life Cycle Analysis for White Oak Pastures
White Oak Water Cycles YouTube Video

Further Reading:

Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown
The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes 

Resources Mentioned:

Replant Capital

Related Ground Work Episodes:

How to Find Ecological Literacy with Bobby Gill (for more on Savory Holistic Management)
Tides of Time and Oysters with Lissa Monberg (for more on multi-generational farming)

Other Podcasts featuring Will Harris:

Will Harris on Herd Quitter
Will Harris on Sustainable Dish

Current Discounts for GW listeners:

  • 15% off Farm True ghee and body care products using code: KATEKAV15
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Podcast disclaimer can be found by visiting: groundworkcollective.com/disclaimer