Good Meat Project

Registration for the 2022 Kitchen Table Chat Series, our monthly peer-to-peer learning series from Good Meat Camp for Women and Women in Ranching, is now closed!

If you registered, we will send you a reminder email with Zoom information a few days before each chat. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to amber@westernlandowners.org or camas@goodmeatproject.org.

We had so much fun with the Kitchen Table Chats at our 2021 Confluence that we’ve decided to keep them going throughout the year. Join us for engaging conversations with women* who are tending to land and animals, caring for families, making difficult decisions, pivoting, changing, and feeding their communities in a multitude of creative ways. One Thursday each month, we'll gather around our virtual kitchen table, listen to the stories of fellow women working along the meat supply chain, take part in community-building breakout rooms, and ask each other the hard questions.

In the interest of building a community around this series, we are only offering one registration option: Register for the whole series! Whether you can make it to every single one or not, we'll send the recording to all registrants after each Kitchen Table Chat.

We are committed to paying our speakers, facilitators, and organizers for their time and expertise. We also want this series to be accessible to as many people as possible. Please consider supporting our efforts with a donation that matches your personal financial experience. We have suggested a few different donation levels on our registration page. If you are not in a position to donate, simply enter zero in the provided field.

*** Curious if our Kitchen Table Chats, Women in Ranching, or Good Meat Camp for Women are for you? Our respective organizations, programs, and collaborations ARE for you, for your mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, daughter, neighbor, friend. Our goal is to create a community that feels safe for anyone who is trying to carve out a space for themselves in an industry that doesn’t always seem to make space for them. Our Kitchen table chats, and all of our respective programs, are for anyone who identifies as a woman, no matter the complexity, and who feels called to cultivate a reciprocal relationship with land, animals, and community. If this speaks to you, join us.




2022 Kitchen Table Chat Schedule



April 28 - Empowering Community 

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Erin Thomas is a descendent of a long line of matriarchs, conservationists and ranchers. Building on her background in rangeland management, she currently works with tribal nations as a Deputy Director for the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance. She also owns and runs White Shell Resource Consultants and she ranches with her family.

Sasha Gennet started her career, during and soon after college, doing habitat restoration and botany. Working with ranchers and researching the effects of livestock on plants, birds, and other wildlife helped her understand the important benefits for people and nature that can flow from well-stewarded "working" lands. Sasha did her master's and PhD in range management and ecosystem science at UC Berkeley. She has worked at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for the past 15 years. For the past few years, she's directed TNC's North America Agriculture Sustainable Grazing Lands strategy.


Chat Description: “Thinking about land without thinking about the food it is providing, feels like a gap,” described Sasha Gennet in our planning call for this Kitchen Table Chat. Sasha’s role with The Nature Conservancy as the director of their North American Agriculture Sustainable Grazing Lands Strategy, entails thinking of beef and land management at scale, across a large geographic context.  Erin Thomas is the deputy director for the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance, and her work is centered with Navajo ranchers in Arizona. In her own community she is often asking, “What is the knowledge I can share and how can I best empower my people?” A top down approach, for each of these women, has not worked historically, and they both believe that there are better ways to serve regional communities. What are Erin and Sasha, two leaders working in conservation, finding as workable solutions? Are there basic principles that work across our rangelands, or which represent unique regional approaches? What happens when we bring women’s leadership to the forefront in these questions? For this Kitchen Table Chat they'll be attempting to answer some of these questions together. 



May 26: - Reducing Risk & Uncertainty: The Business of Strategic Decision Making 

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Michele Thorne is a program assistant of the Oregon Pasture Network (OPN) at Friends of Family Farmers. She is a native New York City girl turned Oregon farm girl and has worked in the food industry, in several capacities, for decades. She currently pastures “turduckens” (turkeys, ducks and chickens) and New Zealand meat rabbits with her partner. She’s the host of a burgeoning weekly podcast called Food Slain, which explores topics that help people understand the impact of our food on our health, our environment and our economy. She is a zealous advocate for small farmers, local food, food security, and access to clean food, and is a published author and former chef. She occasionally teaches a money skills class to youth. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and and a master's in sustainable business. Michele loves wild food foraging, and history, specifically the history of money and farmers.

Naseem Rakha is a geologist, educator, speaker, and award winning author and journalist whose novel, The Crying Tree, has earned international acclaim for its frank examination of crime, punishment, sexual identity, and forgiveness.  Naseem’s commentaries can be found in The Guardian and she was a contributor to National Public Radio. Naseem also spent nearly a decade as a holistic resource management planner and educator. When not writing, Naseem spends her time hiking, climbing, rafting and photographing areas throughout the American West. Her work can also be found in the Los Angeles Review and Gold Man Review. Naseem is currently working on a new novel. She lives in Oregon with her husband and son, dog, cats and snake.


Chat Description: There are many complex decisions to make as a business owner/operator, whether you are raising livestock for customers, marketing value-added products, expanding operations, or seeking private or grant funding. There is always something we have to give up in exchange for the things we want and need. Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in what we want or need, such that we forget to think about and explore potential payoffs, outcomes, and opportunity costs BEFORE we make decisions about how we will get what we want and need. For this Kitchen Table Chat, Naseem Rakha, an educator, speaker, and author, who has a background in holistic resource management education, one approach to decision making, will talk with Michele Thorne, who, since 2010, has taught game theory, another helpful approach to decision making, and utilized it in her own work raising animals for food. Together they will explore the ways in which we can effectively strategize around the important decisions we each need to make around our livelihoods and how we want to live.



June 16 - Pivoting & Adapting

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Alex Machado is a  first generation shepherdess and tradeswoman. Born and raised in Metro-Detroit Michigan, she currently resides in Bellingham, Washington. Alex works as a welder/carpenter and raises Navajo-Churro Sheep for WSDA lamb, raw wool, and hides. Alex recently joined up with Beth Robinette and Sandra Matheson as a co-facilitator for New Cowgirl Camp. Alex feels that her perspective as a multiracial, Latina-Indigenous woman, and a self-made livestock and land steward, is important to many of the New Cowgirl Camp participants who are eager to explore careers or enterprises in ranching or farming.

Beth Robinette is the fourth generation of her family to work the Lazy R Ranch in Cheney, Washington. She moved home and began managing the business with her dad, Maurice, in 2010, after completing her studies at Western Washington University. She went on to earn her MBA at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a small independent business school dedicated to using the tools of business for environmental and social good. Beth is also the co-founder of LINC Foods, a worker-farmer-owned cooperative food hub based in Spokane. Beth became the first (and only?) second generation certified Holistic Management educator in 2015. Beth is a co-facilitator of the New Cowgirl Camp, a 5-day intensive course for women interested in learning the ins and outs of regenerative ranching.


Chat Description: The past few years forced just about everyone in every industry to pivot, change, and adapt, although farming and ranching has, in many ways, always required this. The last few years didn't make it any easier, however.  For this Kitchen Table Chat, Beth Robinette and Alexandra Machado open up about the challenging pivots and hard decisions they had to make recently in the context of their own ranching and farming operations, as well as their other businesses. They'll talk about their work together running (and changing) New Cowgirl Camp, about making big and small shifts in their personal and professional missions, visions, and everyday operations, and they'll talk honestly about the experience of coming to terms with one's own emerging, evolving purpose and inspiration. 



July 28: - Storytelling & Empathy

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Louise Johns is a documentary photographer with a master’s degree in Environmental Science Journalism from the University of Montana. A National Geographic Explorer, her work examines the relationships between people, place and animals, with a particular focus on rural, agricultural and indigenous communities. She began documenting the landscapes and people of the American West while working as a horse wrangler in Montana’s Centennial Valley. Her work has appeared in a variety of outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nature Conservancy, Patagonia, and High Country News, and her work has won international awards.  She lives in Montana.

Kristen Kipp is a Blackfeet rancher, mother, and advocate and recently took on the role of outreach specialist with the Piikani Lodge Health Institute (PLHI) in Montana. With her new role at PLHI, she assists producers involved with Farm Service Assistance (FSA) and other similar government assistance programs. She recognizes the power of her voice in supporting and speaking up when it comes to problems that Blackfeet producers face when attempting to gain access to government support and funding. Kristen got involved in producer advocacy first with the Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association and then with the Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council. She loves being outdoors, hiking, hunting, taking photos, anything horse-related, and spending time with her three beautiful children.


Chat Description: In Kristen Kipp's work as a mother, rancher and outreach specialist with the Piikani Lodge Health Institute in Montana, she has found empathy to be a core tenet in everything she does. Her ability to understand the history of Blackfeet ranchers and the many barriers they have faced in accessing critical government resources, helps her support producers right where they are. “We have a higher need for change and have so many different issues that have been occurring, it's the operation and process that is failing people.” 

Louise Johns captures stories through photography and her work centers on rural communities. There is a great deal “that can be gleaned from people’s stories, personal and intimate things that happen in their lives. This is the heart of what I do and why I do it. That’s what connects us with issues that are very divided.” She recognizes local issues are part of concentric circles that fit into national and global dialogue. “I focus on rural communities and how people are connected to land and animals. What drives my work is believing that this can bring more understanding, empathy and compassion.” 

Though they work in separate fields, we're curious to find out what common skills Louise and Kristen have each developed to do their work well? What are the skills necessary to create and sustain real change? How do empathy and storytelling contribute to real change? Kristen Kipp and Louise Johns will explore these questions in this Kitchen Table Chat.



August 18 - Relationship Grazing: Agriculture as Connection

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Chia Thrane is a rancher, herder, and mother of three children. For the past 12 years, she and her husband have managed a herd of 400 goats and a small herd of cattle on their family land near Red Lodge, Montana using practices that focus on biodiversity, soil health, and increasing the resilience of the land. Through their business, Healthy Meadows, they move their goat herd around their county offering one of the only options for natural management of invasive weeds and for land rejuvenation. Ecological education is an important facet of their work, which they share with their community from their home base, and throughout their region. Chia loves making cheese, harvesting wild and cultivated food and medicine, and making willow baskets. She is also a certified Montana Master Naturalist.

Paigelynn Trotter entered the field of grazing in 2016 as a livestock operator for hire. She now grazes sheep and goats in Northern California on many different landbases with varying goals. Collaboration has been critical to her work and although it has not been easy, it has led to a fulfilling life as a new mother, community member and professional. 


Chat Description: "Relationship grazing" encompasses the richness of connection that comes with the act of bringing animals to a piece of ground. It is, in many ways, the re-animation of a landscape. As experienced herders and land managers, both Chia Thrane and Paigelynn Trotter have seen how, when a herd returns to an area, the animals act as ambassadors for change, shifting stewardship paradigms to create a renewed, joyful relationship between animals, land, and people. For this Kitchen Table Chat, join Paigelynn Trotter and Chia Thrane in conversations around the concept of relationship grazing. Over the course of their conversation, they'll explore motherhood, entrepreneurship, small ruminants, and the relationships they've built with working dogs and other important partners. These women care for multiple landscapes across Montana and California, reading the land and working in a symphony of land, animal, human, season, and during this chat we'll get to step into the unique rhythms that they each participate in in their respective landscapes. 



September 29 - Checking the Assumptions of Regional Food System Movements

TIME: 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET


Meredith Leigh is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook (MFK Fisher Award, IACP Cookbook Award Finalist) and the book Pure Charcuterie. She teaches butchery and charcuterie worldwide and provides consulting toward holistic regional food systems. She is also the co-owner and co-founder of The Fermentation School, and a founding partner of Carbon Harvest. She lives on un-ceded Cherokee land in Asheville, NC.

Paige Jackson is a regenerative farmer based in Durham County, North Carolina. She and her husband Derrick along with their five kids launched Grass Grazed Farm in 2019. Grass Grazed is a pasture-based regenerative farm, focusing on soil health and sustainable farming practices. The farm raises pork, chicken and cattle. They strive to offer transparency, from farm to table, for all of their customers.


Chat Description: Join Paige and Meredith for a check in about the real time issues continually orbiting within regional food systems, and a candid conversation about the dominant thinking that attempts to address them. We will touch on pain points such as access to markets, the concept of scaling, attitudes toward competition, food accessibility, and power dynamics, in an attempt to turn common approaches to these issues on their head so we can zero in on updating cultural assumptions. In the rapidly changing context of American food, we will wonder together if re-writing strategy might just be the key to the success of both independent businesses and the movement as a whole, and how individuals and organizations might begin to challenge dominant strategies which may be invisibly at work in our thinking, our business models, and our collective consciousness.


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