Randy Robison

Randy Robison joins us to discuss his history in the medical field and his experience being a master gardener.

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Dr. Gerber:         00:00          Podcasting from the base of Lake Tahoe in the Eastern Sierras comes The Medicine Wheel. We are a group of progressive physicians seeking solutions and enlightenment while surfing the seas of big data in summiting mountains of research. In an effort to make the practice of medicine more personal and medical knowledge more accessible and empower you, the listener to be as healthy as possible. Now The Medicine Wheel.

Dr. Floyd:          00:33          Hello everybody and welcome to The Medicine Wheel podcast, a podcast for open sources of scientific medical and just generalize information for the masses. I'm here with Dr. Devlin my partner and co founder and myself, Dr. Floyd and I have a very special guests, Randy Robison, who is a master gardener here in Reno, Nevada. Randy has a very long history of being in the medical field. He was an EMT, paramedic and a firefighter and then he's also moved into owning a bicycle shop, became a teacher for UNR extension and also was the sole proprietor to burning man for their bicycles for many, many years. Welcome Randy.

Randy Robison:      01:16          Hey, thanks for having me Rob.

Dr. Floyd:          01:17          Our pleasure. We're really excited to have here today. Every time I talk to you, I learn at least five or six new things. It's absolutely amazing. So let's start with you were on the front lines of medicine and it was, seemed probably like a whole other life ago for you as a EMT paramedic, firefighter tell us a little bit about your experience there.

Randy Robison:      01:40          You know, it was a lot of fun. I was very blessed in the series of events that I had. I started out as a medic, like I said, in 1982, I graduated from school at Daniel Freeman down in LA, did my medical residency. During that period of time, we were required to spend six months and a didactical six months in clinical, and I spent six months and Martin Luther King at the hospital down there.

Dr. Floyd:          02:01          Wow.

Randy Robison:      02:01          We actually studied in each of the hospitals. So we did a rotation with all the physicians. We actually spent six months doing rotations just like you guys did the same thing that you guys did and had a great time. I really was fortunate to spend a lot of years taking care of people and it was a gift. I really felt like being a medic was a gift. I really had a great time, loved the job. A lot of people had a hard time being medics. The average life expectancy was about five years. I was gifted to be able to have a great time. I loved it. It was just a great gift to be able to serve humanity and you guys know the rewards you feel in medicine is just wonderful. You get that opportunity to serve humanity and you, you get the gift to be able to go into people's home and take care of people and provide them a service and you know, 15 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour and a half to give them that opportunity to spend some time with them, get to know them. And man, we've got some tremendous patients used to have patients from Auschwitz. We'd get patients from all over and I just love to listen to their stories and it was just wonderful opportunity to get to know wonderful people of the world.

Dr. Floyd:          03:02          Excellent. What do you think attributed to the life or a short life span of the medics at that time?

Randy Robison:      03:09          You know, I think it was coping. They didn't have a way to cope. I know that over the period of time it was a medic about 18 of the guys that I worked with on the other side of the ambulance committed suicide as a result of the stress. It was a difficult job. A lot of times they couldn't cope with the results. It's very difficult. And my wife was my receiving nurse for 25 years at St. Mary's. And one of the things I used to say is that you only see what we bring. You never see what we leave. And as medics, a lot of the times when we get there, it's the first thing we see are the worst things. So we were always dealt with that dilemma of how do you cope with that trauma and that stress. And a lot of people didn't have that opportunity to know my lovely bride at the time when I was a medic, I started developing a lot of the same symptoms, you know, as depression, anger. And she said, why don't you start gardening? And so it kind of clicked and it created that growth in my life. I saw something new. So for me they didn't have a lot of the coping mechanisms. Typically most of them turned to drug and alcohol or some sort of an abuse relationship with whatever their poison was and ended up committing suicide as a result of it. No coping skills. And I was fortunate enough to be able to find, I know sounds silly, but gardening of all things, I loved gardening. And then I, at that period of time there wasn't the internet, there was tons of stuff that was available in resources, but it was all literature. So I would write people and I would write letters and I would get all these subscriptions to these old magazines and I would write Ruth Stout and Dick Raymond and get any information I could to be able to develop this relationship. But it was my stress relief. But what I found was that I developed a coping mechanism. So that's how I survived.

Dr. Floyd:          04:49          That's excellent. That's really nice. And you know, like you said, a lot of people don't have an out. They don't have you know, a strong support system. Luckily you have your wife who was helping you and unfortunately there's many people who are just feeling lonely. And I, I would imagine that gardening can bring you together. You were just a second ago you were talking about how if you look at old pictures of Reno, there was gardens in every backyard. And tell me a little bit more of what, what you were saying.

Randy Robison:      05:17          We were kind of talking about that, that, you know, we were talking about that I was the president of the Nevada state fair for years and years and years. And Jack Sutton and I did a thing called gardening throughout the years, the history of family gardens throughout the years in Nevada. And we realized during the forties, 50s and 60s, the importance of the family garden. You know, what we found was the health of the community in those periods of times were changing and that the kids were, the mom stayed home. The family was basically relied on that community garden, the backyard garden, the victory gardens, those various assortment of gardens and those periods of time. Ruth Stout, Dick Raymond, Elliot Coleman, some of the famous authors were basically writing books on how to be able to sustain your family throughout the year. You had to have those vegetables be able to grow. We had those world war one world war two where you needed those vegetables. You needed to have that produce. You can, you took c-. But as we grew on, those became lost arts. The women went to work in the second, took a second job to support the family. Do we develop these needs where people said, Oh, we've got to have new cars. We've got to have bigger houses. So the women went to work and we kind of became a lost art in the 70s 80s and 90s and what we found is the children said, Hey, we can't take all the health loss. We're tired of McDonald's, we're tired of Burger King. We want to start developing these new- land resources and start developing our own community gardens and living healthy again, getting back to our health and our, our roots so to speak. So what we did with Jack is we went back to the Nevada historic and we work with Neil Cobb and he pulled a bunch of pictures from the early areas and everywhere you look from some of the aerial photographs of sparks, everybody had gardens. I mean if you looked on Rock Boulevard, there were tremendous amounts of these beautiful, beautiful quarter acre gardens. Everybody grew corn and potatoes and squash and everybody had them in their garden. And so it was a wonderful opportunity to go back and see the importance of the family garden throughout the years. And we represented that in this beautiful portrayal at the Bartley ranch series. We put in old pictures of the photographs of the areas with old refrigerators, old farm implements, and we had a wonderful time. It was up for about 90 days. But again, it shows you that there was an important period of time where we really needed encountered on that garden. So that kind of came back as time went on. But again, we're seeing a resurgence. We noticed that children are already coming around, they're saying, Hey, we want a bigger garden, we want to start getting back to our roots. So it is changing again. And I'm glad to see that and it's good to be a part of it too.

Dr. Floyd:          07:44          Absolutely. So with the not only does it give you community, but you and I've spoken about Dr. Daphne Miller,

Randy Robison:      07:51          Oh yeah.

Dr. Floyd:          07:51          That Farm to table, farm to mouth and it has many, many other health benefits. And again, this being a health show talk a little bit about that. Something you said something very interesting to me about antidepressant effect of gardening. So let's hear some of that.

Randy Robison:      08:08          Yeah. You know, Daphne Miller is a wonderful, and she's a lot like you guys and I'll, I'll be totally Frank. To me, the today's physicians lose a lot of that family relationship and, and I'm going to be totally Frank. You know I, I have health issues just like everybody does. We're all growing age. We all have these health issues that we're paying the price for. For for me it was stress or in my early years, my cortisol levels are shot but I'm paying for that price now. Daphne Miller and the physicians that you go see in this period of time tend to walk in the door and I know that a lot of the folks that are listening to this show probably go to their doctor. The doctor walks in, looks at the chart and he's reviewing everything he has in that chart. The only way he really knows you is based on his past history and he's written down. He very seldom has an opportunity to get to know you as a person. Daphne Miller has created a program where it's basically; you set up a private relationship with that physician. They don't just know you in the sense of a chart. They know you personally, so you develop that relationship with that physician. So she prescribes her patients food, her food prescription, basically how to develop your health. When she talks about buying healthy food, she doesn't talk about going down to Whole Foods or going to one of the local markets. She wants you to go to your local farmer. And that's kinda the most important part is she prescribes getting healthy food. Know your food, know your farmer, and know where it comes from. When you go to Whole Foods and you say, I'm going to buy organic food, do you really know where it comes from? Do you know where the number one source of organic food is coming from right now?

Dr. Floyd:          09:37          Please don't tell me China.

Randy Robison:      09:39          It's China. So the number one source of imported foods for organic food is China. So everybody buys organic food thinking that they're getting this wonderful product from probably Northern California or somebody's backyard. And that's not true. So they get these big beautiful organic garden stuff and they think it's right here local, and it's not. So what Daphne Miller does is she knows her patients. She says, I want you to get your food source locally. I want you to contact gardener X and get a hold of these products. I want you to eat these products because the soils are a lot like our bodies. It brings us happiness. The soils actually produce a material that actually creates an antidepressants it's a proven. In fact, you can look it up on the internet. Everybody has Google these days. They'll pull up their phones, are like, "this guy's full of crap", so to speak. And then they look it up on Google. Everybody's got that, you know, Google that stuff. You know, everybody does that. So what they do is they find out that it does have an antidepressant. How many times have you picked your hands in the soil, smelled a big handful of soil and said, "man, that stuff is just smells so good" and then you just feel happy. Well, what she's found, same thing happens with good food. People that eat good food that's locally produced from good soils, and they find that they've got this opportunity to become happier. All of a sudden they notice the health benefits of that. So number one, they've got a good relationship with their physician. Number two, they've got good relationship with their food and their local resources. And number three, they've developed a relationship with a local food farmer. So there's all these things that are in combination that give you the opportunity to have, not only a healthy lifestyle, you're developing healthy lifestyle, but you're developing a healthy relationship with your physician. So if something truly goes wrong, then you've got that relationship already established that you're not going to be like, uh, doc walks in and goes, "well, I haven't seen this patient in three years and all I've got are these notes". You've got a good relationship with this physician who says, "Hey, how you doing?" And they know your history, they take care of you. So those are the kinds of things that she's set up. And Daphne Miller's phenomenal, it's something like what you guys are creating here locally and that's the key. She's in San Francisco but you guys have kind of created that here, and locally and in Reno. So it's kind of great to see that stuff. It's again, like the industries we've seen with the gardening stuff, it was gone and now it's coming back. And to be a partner in that, in the foundation of these new frontiers is awesome.

Dr. Devlin:         11:52          So I had a question for you. I know that a lot of folks out there don't clearly understand the difference between 'organic' and 'non organic' and they don't understand the difference with say, 'GMO' versus 'non GMO', 'processed' versus 'unprocessed' or 'raw foods'. Can you talk about those subjects a little bit?.

Randy Robison:      12:12          Absolutely. You know, and you've got about two or three different subjects in there. We'll, we'll start with the GMO. Let's go with the GMO. And GMO stands for genetically modified organism and basically a genetically modified organism is where they go in and actually change the DNA structure of a cell. So specifically when you buy corn flakes, and I'm gonna use corn flakes specifically because corn probably more than anything is one of your most highly modified. Soybeans are another one. And there's a couple of others. What they've done is they've gone in and genetically modified that cellular structure on that plant specifically so that it can be resistant to glyphosate. So when they go in with their Roundup or there's a ton of different names, Killzall, there's tons of different things, but they all contain the common chemical called glyphosate. So they're also pesticide resistant. But what they've done is they've changed the cellular structure of that plant so that it's resistance to certain diseases, resistance to certain chemicals. And what happens is when they create these fields of this GMO corn or soybeans or whatever product, that plant has that DNA structure that's available. Now, the average home gardener or the average person can't get those seeds. You have to apply to be able to be certified to grow a GMO plant. Now what happens is the big companies that have the GMO seeds actually plant thousands of acres of GMO product. Then they process that product and then you as a result of consumer, get those products at a third party. So let's say you're getting a cornflake, and I'm not saying particularly any brand, but a, let's say a corn flake or a chicken feed or any of those things. Predominantly, most of those are GMOs because they need millions of pounds of a product and they can't produce, you know, a million pounds of a non GMO product. So it has to be produced at large quantities. So in order to do that, they need to produce these thousands and thousands of acres and that's how they get into the GMO. But the average home gardener doesn't have anything to do with that. So in the end your GMO products are going to be in your bigger products. Your looking- you know, again cornflakes or something. That's where you're going to see your GMOs. But in your home gardeners and stuff, and in your actual vegetable gardens, you're not going to see GMOs. What you're going to find is predominantly people that are using that term, "non-GMO", "non-GMO", that's a sales gimmick. Most of the stuff you can- aren't going to be able to buy vegetables that are GMO modified. It's going to be a product that's been already converted like a corn flake or a soybean patty, or a paste, or something like that. So that covers your GMO. I hope that answers, you know.

Dr. Devlin:         14:50          No, that was excellent.

Randy Robison:      14:50          And then the next question that you were talking about is 'organic'. Now, when we talk about organic and I go beyond organic, and I always talk about beyond organic, and there's a gentleman in the Northern California who does a great John Jeavons, and he is what I call the godfather originally of vegetable gardening. John Jeavons, [JEV] + [UHNZ] is actually how he pronounce it, John Jeavons and he is an amazing man. But when you talk about organic materials, organic gardening, basically what they're saying is that you have no pesticides, no nutrient additions. Basically you're going off the organics that you can pull out of the ground. You're not using any additional supplements, you're not using any pesticides, any fungicides and insecticides. You're not using anything that would basically harm that soil. You're doing everything naturally and they do allow some modifications to be able to get that, to meet that organic certification, you have to apply. They come out and inspect your farm or your produce and then they say, "yeah, you're an organic certified grower", and that's all fine and dandy. The problem is, is certification. Once you go through the process, everything's fine, and then basically they come out and reinspect it, but they also test your vegetables, they checked that for any kind of produce or any basically residual in there, pesticides, fungicides and stuff like that, which is great. Now, how are they taking the word from China? They're not, I mean, they don't test that stuff. They say they're expecting those other countries to do their own testing, so they've already done that. If I get an importer and you certify it's organic, we're taking your word on that. If I go to the States, United States in a certified organic, well, we have to take their word that it is certified organic. Now, if I go to a farmer in Nevada and he says it's organic, I'm assuming that it's organic, but has he really had it tested, we have a hard problem with heavy metals in our area. We have high concentrations of heavy metals in our area, so how do we really go through that on what's organic versus non-organic? I always believe let's go beyond organic. Let's go way beyond that. Let's check all that stuff. Let's start going through creating our own soils. And I talk about soils, not dirt. Dirt is what you clean out of your house. Soil is what you grow your vegetables in your garden in. And soils are what you create and you can create that with straw. Again, you have to know everything about what you're putting into your body, everything. So what goes into your body is exactly what comes out of that soil. So what you put into that soil is what's going to go into your plant and eventually go into your body. So again, that goes back to organic, but John Jeavons says, let's start from the beginning. Let's find out what those soils are made of. And then from the soils, let's develop a plan to be able to get those nutrients into the plant. And that goes back to a gentleman that we sort of talked about and we saw him a couple of weeks ago. I met him and talked to him down at The Grass Valley Farm. And Jeff does nothing else but just soils, nutrition and soils. And that's the most important thing. So when we talk about organics, it's a nutrition and how to develop a certification on that. But again, I think there's a bit to go beyond organics. There's an opportunity to know what you're growing in. So when people come to me and they say, I want to be an organic gardener, I say, "why not go one step further and be beyond organic, go better. Know what your soils are made of. Don't buy the stuff from Joe Blow." There's a gentleman down in Carson City, Craig Witt, who I- great guy, but he grows, makes his own soil. He grows it, he knows what's in it. So I know what I'm getting from my soils. When you get your soils and you get that bag, do you know what's in it? No.

Dr. Floyd:          18:20          We think we do want to read the label.

Randy Robison:      18:22          Right, exactly. But the guy that's making the stuff doesn't know what he's doing. He just says, "Oh, I put it in the pile. I do all that stuff". You get it from Full Circle. You get it from a local resource and you'll be able to say, "Craig, what's in this stuff?" and he'll say, "Well, I got two tablespoons of this, six tablespoons of rock phosphate. I got all these different minerals," and you're ready to go. That's the way I am with my soils. I don't buy my soils. I make my soils and I'm very specific about the materials that I add to my soils. So, that's where we talk about organics versus non organics and verses beyond organics. I hope that answered your question.

Dr. Devlin:         18:55          That was awesome, as usual. I am curious, since you make your own soil, what other biological entities do you use? I know some people use like worms and and other maybe insects or larvae or kind of talk to me about what that looks like.

Randy Robison:      19:08          Actually, you know what I, and it's kinda one of those fields of dreams kind of deals. If you make it, they'll come. Basically my materials are already set, but so the nematodes and all the different products that'll actually come into the soils. If you create the bios for them, they're going to come. So my soils are so rich in nutrients. Basically what it'll do, and this is kind of a funny story, is they'll start creating, uh, bugs will actually start working together and they'll start creating heat and the heat generates that from the soils. Actually starting a living material will start moving through that and they'll create heat and they'll create that friction in the soils. And that's why the piles get so hot. And actually my soils got so hot that they caught my boat on fire. Yeah, I know. Everybody's like, they caught your boat on fire, but it's a true story.

Dr. Floyd:          19:47          Is this just right in your backyard?

Randy Robison:      19:48          Yeah. So I have about a 200 yard compost pile. It's probably a little bit bigger than that now, It's probably close to 400 yards. But I blend my own soils, so I want to make sure that my bacteria, my bios is good. So I make sure to create the temperatures, and I irrigate at night, and I add all kinds of different materials to make sure and that, and we use a lot of chicken manures and straw and different stuff that I feed my materials. So, what happened was that material started getting hot and it was dry and then it rained and that moisture created the perfect storm and the soils got so hot that I had a boat trailer parked next to it and the tire grease caught on fire, caught the tire on fire. It got so hot that the boat was on fire. My wife, when her and I were in bed, and the guy was working around the yard and goes, "no, it's on fire!" And I'm like, "Oh no, it's piles just smoldering." And he's like, and he's panicked. You can tell the gentleman's panicked. He's like, "no, no, call the fire department, It's on fire!" And I'm like, "it's just the smoldering from the compost pile, honey. We're not getting out of bed to go out and put the compost pile out." And she's like, "no, you can tell by Johnny's voice. It's on fire!" And I looked out the window and I'm thinking, I'm glad he called the fire department cause it's raging, it is on fire. The tires started, the boat's on fire, and the boat was raging but a good compost pile because the natural materials in the organic mass will create that bios and those bugs will come and that's how you get that good organic material.

Dr. Devlin:         21:12          What kind of heat are we talking about?

Randy Robison:      21:14          200 degrees.

Dr. Devlin:         21:16          Wow, just- it's almost unimaginable.

Randy Robison:      21:18          Yeah, it's amazing. And that's when we talk about that opportunity for people to grow all winter long. If you create the right organic material, and you create the right system, you can actually put pipes in there, heat your house. There's all kinds of stuff that you can do with this kind of stuff that it's amazing. You can have all your grow in rooms, there's tons of stuff that you can do with that and you can put hoops over the top and make greenhouses so you can do tons of stuff to be able to continue to grow all year long. And we were talking about tomatoes with Gino. I did a consult with him when he first started growing tomatoes to make sure he could, you know, he was talking about all the problems he was having. So I went out and talked with him quite awhile about how to create that better environment, how to create better soils and stuff with that. And a lot of this stuff, there are tremendous resources that are available for all of us to be able to do. So again, soils is number one the most important thing.

Dr. Floyd:          22:03          Maybe at the end we'll have you list off a couple of resources that the viewers and listeners can-

Randy Robison:      22:08          Absolutely.

Dr. Floyd:          22:08          Can go to. I find that's always great. You've already mentioned a couple of names. And I find when I'm watching or listening to other podcasts, when I hear things like that, I actually go a next step. And like you said, Google things.

Randy Robison:      22:21          No I agree.

Dr. Floyd:          22:22          And It's great. So it's good to hear these names. You'd mentioned mycorrhizae, and I'm sure a lot of the listeners have no idea what that is. And can you explain a little bit about that, what that is and how it affects growth of vegetables that basically everything.

Randy Robison:      22:38          Everything! It's not just the growth of vegetables. It's an amazing, it's a fungus mycorrhizae fungus and mycorrhizal fungus is a fungus that's among us. It's always funny when you say that, cause there's, it's kind of one of those old sayings. But basically if you ever saw the movie Avatar, and I know most people in the world have seen the movie Avatar, and you see those people stick the needle in there and you're like, "the soils are talking to each other, the trees are talking to each other", and it's communicative soils. And basically the soils have this fungus and the fungus basically goes through and it's mycorrhizal fungus that provides the nutrients. And basically what it does is it provides nutrients to a plant. So it's a fungus that goes through and says, I'm going to make you a deal. It's symbiotic relationship. I'm gonna provide you with extra sugars and nutrients that you need. And all I want from you is the carbon. You're gonna pull that oxygen out of the air and you're going to provide me carbon, you're going to provide me carbon dioxide, and I want that carbon. That's all I want in order to do that, that's gonna provide me life. So these two have the symbiotic relationship, but what it also does is it provides it extra nutrients. It creates a sugar in nutrients that pulls it out of the soil. That's not bio available for plant normally, the plant can find it, but it's not bio available. It's there, but it's not available to that plant to pick up. So this mycorrhizal fungus says, "wait a minute, I'm going to give you an extra juice, extra great stuff on this fungus." And once it starts setting up the weave, it'll start going through plants, goes through the trees, goes through the forest. The cool part about the mycorrhizal fungus as it communicates with each other, talks to the other trees, talks to the other plants. They did a study and Paul Stamets and they actually did a study.

Dr. Floyd:          24:13          Stamets?

Randy Robison:      24:13          Stamets, and I met him up in Grass Valley, I also spoke with him quite a bit.

Dr. Floyd:          24:20          You know him, right Sean?

Dr. Devlin:         24:21          Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Randy Robison:      24:22          And Paul was talking about this and he did a study where they actually had three separate different varieties of tree and he actually covered, they covered just one particular tree was 70% shade to make sure it stressed and three other different varieties of trees, different varieties, not the same variety, different varieties. Recognize this, the mycorrhizal fungis sent out stress indicators to the other trees. The other trees shred- shed the nutrients to be able to provide the plant that was shaded with the nutritional needs that needed to be able to get it through the stress period. Kind of neat to be able to understand that these guys communicate. These plants actually communicate. So what it does is it creates a symbiotic relationship, but it also provides it with nutrients and it recognizes when a plant is stressed, which is really cool because if you have a plant that's being attacked by disease or a plant that is attacked by bugs or pests or whatever, it pulls those nutrients that are available from the healthy plants and puts them into that plant to be able to help provide those extra nutrients, during that period of time. The other thing is is it's not naturally a soil. It's not something that just shows up. You have to introduce it into the soil. And if you have good soils and you introduce mycorrhizal fungus into it, what you'll find is it will continue to grow and grow and grow. But you have to start somewhere. That's one of those things that just doesn't come naturally in this way you have to actually introduce into the roots of the system of the plant to be able to get it going. But once it starts growing, then it's going to grow forever. It's not going to stop. It's just going to continue to take off and less you start tilling your soil. That's where we go back to the no tills where we start talking about don't till your soils no till soils. Don't get out that rototiller because you're breaking up the mycorrhizal fungus. So no till soils don't do any of that kind of stuff.

Dr. Floyd:          26:11          So that's, that's a great thing I've heard about. And I'm going to ask you if the no till is so beneficial to the soil, why to all these giant agri companies till the soil?

Randy Robison:      26:24          Tradition.

Dr. Floyd:          26:24          Just tradition.

Randy Robison:      26:25          And the idea is because what they do is they use so many synthetic chemicals. Remember nitrogen is basically water-soluble. So what their idea is to be able to get that nitrogen that leached from the top of the soils down to the lower portion of the soils and bring that back up. They want to re re bring it back up. So basically what they're doing is they're taking the bottom soils and bringing it back up to the top so they can reuse those soils, but they're also turning over the soils to try and irrigate it because they've got these huge pieces of equipment that are compressing the soils. They're actually running the soils over. And so what they want to do is try and irrigate those soils as well as breaking up those soils and to be able to use the water. The way they do the watering is they use those rows. So a lot of times they have to create that to work. So it's basically all for industrial. Again, industrial revolution as far as equipment goes, it's not necessarily the best thing. If you're used to any of the European nations, they do what they call- uh I was going to say integrated pest management but that's not it, it's basically a high maintenance- high farming where you high density- and basically you get an amazing amount of produce, which is what I use, and basically you farm every inch of the soil. You don't allow anywhere where you need to walk. So everything you do is just super high density, super high quantities of vegetables. And people come out to my garden and they're like, you can't do that. I'm like, yeah, you can. And I showed the slide presentation and I, and I, and I show all this stuff and the biggest thing people say is I want to see your garden, which to me, I interpret as, "you're full of shit." And it's really comes down to that. I mean, 90% of the time people come in and they say that they look at these pictures and they're like, "yeah, that's not Reno. You made this stuff up or you did stuff like that." So they come to my garden and they're like, "Holy smokes, this just happens. It really does."

Dr. Floyd:          28:05          I saw the slide show that you're talking about. You came down to a neighborhood, for a slideshow class. And um, for those of you listening, um, well we don't have the slide here anyway, but he shows pictures of his garden and you absolutely cannot see any dirt anywhere. The entire garden is covered in a canopy of leaves. It's great. And it's absolutely amazing. Most people think that, you know, you have to, you know, grow gardens in rows so you can see the dirt. But you know, everybody in the room that night was like, what are you kidding me? Right. French intensive method. And basically all that, everything's done in hand tools. You don't use any rototillers, you don't do anything. It's all done on hand tools and the French intensive method, we're talking about acres. A couple two or three acres theres a farm down in Grass Valley called Super Tubers. And they, they do the same thing. Everything's done with hand rowers, hand weeders hand, everything's hand. There is no reason to have these small half acre farms or acre farms where you've got tractors and all that kinds of, you don't need that kind of stuff.

Randy Robison:      29:04          You can make- there's a guy named Jean-Martin Fortier who does this market gardening book, wrote this book and I met him also a couple of months- a couple of years ago, and basically he gardens for 120 days a year and makes a $350,000 and then takes off the rest of the year. So again, he's on two acres. So the bottom line is he does it all without heavy equipment and he uses a small, what they call BCS rototiller, but he uses that for setting up the plants and cutting down stuff. And then there's another farm out in Napa that's doing the same thing, basically that does the same thing. And there just some amazing stuff that you do on the French intensive method. And it's again, these opportunities that, you know, instead of when you talk about thinning, we were talking about thinning, I know that we were talking about that especially with the French intensive method, instead of pulling the plants out, just take a pair of scissors. You know, again, it's one of these things that you just learn. You know, like I said, we take a class, or you come to the classes that we've put on through The Cooperative Extension and we teach you all these kinds of things. But again, there's tons of stuff you can Google there. I'm not the only expert in this stuff. I just happen to be the regional guy here in Reno that teaches all this stuff. So hope that answers your question.

Dr. Floyd:          30:13          Yeah. So you also are a master gardener. How does one become a master gardener?

Randy Robison:      30:19          You know, I went- I actually went through a class way back in 1980, with a guy named Gene Klump and Bill Carlos and you take a 40 hour class and you learn about master gardening and then you volunteer. Basically you, my experience has been, and you guys probably experienced this in medicine, the best way you learn is through questions. The best way you learn is, and I always say this, is through making mistakes or at least I do. I'm not, you know, I'm a smart guy, but you know, I can read all the books and I can have all the experience. But if you don't make a mistake, what do you learn from the most? The mistakes. "Oops, Don't do that again." You know, you're in the backseat, you know you're back, the bus, things are going bad and all of a sudden you're like," Shoot, Something happen." And you think, "don't ever let that happen again." Or you learned something, something goes bad. But you learn from your mistakes. You don't learn from all your successes. You learn from those mistakes. So what I did was finding out, answering questions and that was the cool part during that period of time is that the master gardeners, you had to spend time answering questions. So at that period of time, in the early eighties we didn't have the internet. You couldn't Google, you just basically had to look everything up in a book and basically it stuck. So I spent more time researching stuff, spent more time looking up stuff. And that's what I did. And right now The Cooperative Extension has a class of master gardeners and you apply, I think it's about 300 bucks now. Back in that period of time it was free. You spent 40 hours in class, you learned about all different stuff and then you spent another 40 hours doing volunteer services and stuff. But I still teach every year and I teach the volunteers. I do a lot of stuff on the volunteer stuff, but it's just fun because you get to be a part of the community, you get to meet new people, you get to have a great time and you get to share. I say, my passion cause I love gardening and I love the soils and I love to be able to share that with people. So that's the big thing is master gardening. It gives you an opportunity to educate and share and be a part of the community. So that's how you start Cooperative Extension.

Dr. Floyd:          32:16          Awesome. Okay.

Dr. Devlin:         32:17          Yeah. You know, I'm always curious about people's engagement with the Burning Man Festival because it's such a eccentric gathering. Talk to us a little about how you got involved with them and then what role did you play?

Randy Robison:      32:29          You know, actually, it was kind of funny. I went out to burning man in 2004 had a bicycle that broke and I thought, shoot, this is not going well. And nobody out there had any repair facilities. They basically said, you know, I'm like everybody, buy a burning man bike. Get the old ones. They're not cool. If you have a show up with a new bike, you look like a nerd, you know, you've been to burning man. You know what it's like. You know, and nobody told me about being a darktard. Nobody told me about anything, you know, all this kind of stuff. So I went out there like everybody did and I was scared, you know, I didn't know anything. And then my bike broke and then you know how important that is on the Playa. So I came back and I started a bike rental business and I said, you know, I had a little real estate at the time. I sold a couple of townhouses and condominiums and I took all the money and I bought bicycles. So I started renting them out of my backyard. And I had, I don't know, maybe 500 but not very many. And I got, you know, like any education, I was using the word Burning Man and Burning Man called me. And then they said, Hey, you can't use Burning Man. And I said, "okay, well what can I do?" And they said, "well, we're going to set you up with a liaison." So then they said, we're going to do this, we're going to do that. So I worked with Burning Man a lot and learned how to work with them. And then we started setting up our website and they said, we really appreciate what you're doing, setting up a rental as opposed to a sales, because every time people buy bikes, they always left them on the Playa. And it was horrible. So what we did was we found beach cruisers, single speeds, easy, no breaks, no maintenance, no nothing. And then we set up a repair shop. So what I do is after everybody rented their bikes, I'd go out to The Burn and said, "Hey, if you have a problem with your bikes, bring them by, I'll fix it. I don't care. Just bring it by." Brought out a truckload of parts, brought out tires and tubes. I said, "you got a flat, bring him by. We'll fix it." Burning Man said, "dude, we really like what you're doing. We really like what you're doing." So they put us on Jackrabbit Speaks, and then they started putting us up on all their websites and they did a great job for us. But in the same thing, Burning Man is a community, if you're familiar with Burning Man, you realize that you've got to be a part of that community or you're not. So if you're just a looky loo, you don't understand what I'm saying. If you're one of those sparkleponies, you don't understand. But if you are a burner, you realize it's a community and your gift to that community is to be a part of that community. And my gift was to be able to make sure that nobody's ride broke. So I brought everything. I know what it's like to be stranded out there. So I brought all of the wheel bearings, I brought all it, everything that you- handlebars, seats, anything that you needed. And we set it up and we were rewarded. And we got so big that we ended up being the largest rental bike shop on the Playa. But we didn't do it on the Playa. They had to pick up in Reno, had to do everything here and then they went out there. But now it's gotten so big, everybody's kind of, you know, the greatest you know, compliment is basically imitation. So what happened is they said, now they've got people that ran on the Playa and do all kinds of stuff, but you know, I don't mind. We still continue to do it. I got overwhelmed with it, got a little sick and one of my boys Curtis took it over and now he's running the shop and doing a great job. So it was a fun time, but still go to Burning Man. Still have a great time.

Dr. Floyd:          35:32          What was the name of your bike shop? That Curtis now owns?

Randy Robison:      35:35          Black Rock Bicycles. Black Rock.

Dr. Devlin:         35:39          Works Perfect.

Randy Robison:      35:39          You know, and had a great time. And we still are involved with, with Burning Man. We spend some time with the org every year a big group down there, we go down every June has been time at the picnic with the org. So I spend a lot of time with those guys down there and I got to tell you, if you're a part of that community and you have to understand it's a community, not a festival, it's not a party in the desert, it's a community. And if you're a part of the community, you're there, and you understand it. But if you're just going for the festival and stuff, you're going to the wrong place.

Dr. Devlin:         36:11          Yeah, you know, there's a little bit of a philosophy that's sort of birth. I've been going since 99 and I will tell you that it has changed so much and so dramatically. I kind of don't even recognize it in some way. But on the other side of the coin, I think, well thank goodness people have come that never experienced it before because they'll always leave changed, and I think for mainly a positive way the impression it's left on my life has been profound and how I interact with my own community of peers and friends today is really based on the lifestyle that was really sparkled and sparked by my experiences at burning man. And you're right, it is a community and it's a loyal community and it looks out for one another. And it's autonomous. I mean, you go out there into the middle of the desert where not much lives, some stuff and you thrive, you thrive there spiritually, physically, mentally. It's a beyond explanation. So if you haven't been, I suggest you go.

Randy Robison:      37:09          And I totally agree. And I, you know I've already got my tickets. Probably you've already got yours. But the point being is that I can't go in- and again, it's that community thing. When we talk about gardening, we talk about anything in relationship with your physician. Let's really get down to the bottom line, in anything in life It's about community. Why are we here, to service each other? Service man, service to be a part of that community because that's what holds us together spiritually, emotionally. Everything about it is being a part of that community. It's why we have relationships with our wives. We have relationships with our friends because we want to be a part of a bigger thing. And that's what this is all about, in regards to Burning Man, they just make it home. When you get there, you recognize that and when you find that out you say, "Oh, okay, I get it." And if you don't, you don't come back. So anyway, I agree and I love the fact that it changes every year. Everybody's like, it's changing, it's changing. I'm like, yeah, I love it because it's different.

Dr. Devlin:         38:04          It's something new. And yeah, it never, no year is ever the same. And what's funny is that that same core constituency that I resonate with is still there and they're in different places in camp with different people and doing new things. And I, so I bring a book with me that I write in and, and I'll probably take 9,100 pages of notes during that week from going to seminars. I mean, we have Nobel laureates and politicians lecturing and know, of course Paul Stamets was out there. There is such a, a brain trust that exists on that desert for that week. It's mind boggling, truly mind boggling.

Dr. Devlin:         38:36          I think people don't understand the brilliance that is there. And I say that without a jest. Everybody thinks it's the billionaires and the millionaires and stuff like that. And that's fine. The perception is whatever you want to make it, but I can tell you, just truly, the brilliance is what always is amazing to me. I mean, one of the- as my customer list continued to grow, it was always some of my relationships and I still have wonderful relationships with my peers from that group. The brilliance from some of the people, you know, the neurosciences, the guys that were just brilliant were phenomenal, and I loved it. That's what I loved the most. Like you said, the brilliance. So yeah.

Dr. Floyd:          39:21          So you uh, you still mountain biking? I know you race downhill.

Randy Robison:      39:27          Oh yeah, Did that for years and years. I don't reach downhill anymore after my head injury from when I fell off, I fell off a ladder. I retired out of the fire service after 30 years, fell off a ladder. I hit my head and had an intracranial bleed. Took me about two years, took my, couldn't walk, couldn't talk, three letter words. It was really difficult. I was, part of the reason I retired from the shop is I was not only dyslexic, I couldn't do money, I couldn't do anything. So I basically figured probably a good time to have Curtis take it over. But from that point, I don't downhill anymore. I still have my bike, Curtis made that beautiful bike. Curtis Oberman makes these wonderful custom bicycles. But from that point, I still ride bikes, Steve Cleek and I go to Moab in the spring and in the fall. And then we ride here locally quite a bit. We ride bicycles, rode bikes, we do a lot of stuff. Haven't been riding much right now with all this crummy weather, man, I'll tell you, it's just been a real rough year for that, but I can't wait to get back on my bicycle. I'll tell you. It's a wonderful thing. Just a wonderful opportunity.

Dr. Floyd:          40:24          Awesome.

Randy Robison:      40:24          As you know.

Dr. Floyd:          40:27          Yeah, yeah. I've bought- how many bikes have i bought from you?

Randy Robison:      40:28          A lot!

Dr. Floyd:          40:28          "A Lot!" So, we can probably kind of start wrapping this up, but I want it to you know, you have the most popular radio show, is it in all of Nevada or-

Randy Robison:      40:43          It's actually in Northern Nevada. The KKOH radio top garden talk line. Yeah. We are the number one Saturday show from eight to 10 o'clock. Pawl Hollis, Dan Van Enoo and myself. Pawl's actually owns Rail City Garden Center and he runs the garden talk line and I'm the co-host with Dan or actually Dan Van Enoo is our host. He's the radio personality for KKOH and then Pawl and I are the garden experts and I'm the vegetable guy basically answer all this stuff and Pawl is kind of the bug guy and takes care of everything else. Pawl's pretty does pretty great job on everything basically. And Dan just basically is our radio host, he, he does all the- keeps us in compliance with the FCC and make sure that we're out of trouble basically, is what I say, our designated inmate and he gives us somebody to tournament because he always doing silly stuff. So we always can't wait to tormenting. But yeah, the number one radio show from 8 to 10 and we have a great time. You know, it's fun to be able to talk gardening and answer people's questions and spend all that time. And we do tons of interviews, we've talked to people, we talk to all the regional experts, and then we teach these classes and we bring in these wonderful experts, especially in gardening. We brought in Eliot Coleman, we brought in Mel Bartholomew, we've brought these top people that write these wonderful books to come in and teach these classes. Pawl and I, and, and Craig just got back from the New Mexico, Chile Institute down in New Mexico on how to grow hot peppers. Everybody wants to grow these zingy hot peppers. So, you know, we call him Randy and Pawl's excellent adventures and we always go on our excellent adventures and we always wind up in the shithouse somehow, but. One time we were down in Mexico or in San Diego and we wound up in Tiawana on accident. Of Course. Yeah, of course. So we're always having these excellent adventures, but we, we, we really just want to be able to learn and fill our minds and keep educated and so that we can keep that mind growing so that we, we don't stagnate, I guess, you know, that's the problem as we age is that we tend to allow our brains just to get into that remote control. And I'm not that guy, man. My brain is just too big and I want to be able to keep filling it, you know? And it's like all this information I just second part of my page and chapter of life, you know, I want to be able to keep more information going. So it's, that's what we do and we have so much fun

Dr. Floyd:          42:51          And you're, you're very, very good at it. Like I said at the beginning, every time I talked to you, I learned at least half a dozen things that I didn't even know I didn't know. But you make it really engaging and really fun and it stimulates me to try to learn more, to, you know, like I said, I'd at the end I'll get some more references for the audience so that you can go look it up. Real quick. The KKOH is what on the dial?

Randy Robison:      43:18          780 am. Yeah.

Dr. Floyd:          43:20          Okay.

Randy Robison:      43:20          "50,000 Watts of power".

Dr. Floyd:          43:23          And it's every Saturday morning.

Randy Robison:      43:25          Saturday mornings from eight to 10 o'clock. Yeah. Give us a listen. And Dan always says, you know, 50 Watts of power into your house or something. He's got this little saying, but it's, we cover everywhere. We got them in Idaho, Washington, we get listeners all the way up into Oregon and stuff. So we get all this great listeners and all this great feedback, but we just got our Nielsen ratings back and we're the number one show from eight to 10.

Dr. Devlin:         43:48          Awesome.

Randy Robison:      43:48          So we're, we're really excited about that. It's a lot of fun, you know, it's really a lot of fun. Just like this is, you guys know what it's like. You're having fun.

Dr. Devlin:         43:56          Well, We're just brand new, but we're getting our feet wet.

Randy Robison:      43:58          Oh man, you guys will get at it.

Dr. Floyd:          43:59          We're having fun so far. It's a little, a little intimidating at the very beginning, but you know, the more relaxed we get, the more fun we're going to have and,

Randy Robison:      44:07          Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Floyd:          44:07          Are you guys gonna think about doing video or just a straight audio?

Randy Robison:      44:12          You know, I'd like to get us to that point. We'll have to kind of see right now we're doing, uh have all our stuff set up on remotes. Everything we do right now we're doing on internet based, uh Pawl has an actual system that we set up that basically is all off webcasts. So we're all set on web.

Dr. Floyd:          44:27          Okay, cool. Awesome. Any other questions, thoughts, Sean?

Dr. Devlin:         44:32          No, no, just some thoughts are; thank you so much Randy.

Randy Robison:      44:33          Absolutely.

Dr. Devlin:         44:33          It was a pleasure. I know we had met earlier and sitting down with you today. It's humbling. Your knowledge is vast and, and I learned a lot myself and so it was a pleasure to have you here.

Randy Robison:      44:41          Thanks guys, I really appreciate being here. Hopefully I'll come back on or we'll call you guys and see what you guys got going on, and see how our ratings did. And if you need more we'll come back and then see if you guys need it again and we'll come back and then I'll put you guys up on our Facebook page and see how you guys do and see what happens. I'm hoping things will go well for you. I'm excited about this new event for you guys man. It's great opportunity for people to learn about especially locally. Great opportunity.

Dr. Floyd:          45:06          How can- do you have any final words about hot to get locals, like you're talking about right now, getting into gardening. How do you just, what's-

Randy Robison:      45:14          Cooperative Extension has a class currently I've got a class coming on March 23rd, I, it's basically it's gardening in Nevada series through Bartley ranch. There's a class through that and through the university Cooperative Extension called gardening in Nevada and it's basically through the Cooperative Extension and you can contact them through Facebook or you can call (775-784-4848) and schedule anything. And if you're going to go to those classes, really get there early, especially for this class that I put on, cause it's basically get there early. Cause if you don't you're not going to get a seat and they closed the doors and it happens every year.

Dr. Floyd:          45:49          Well that's good. That means it's popular.

Randy Robison:      45:50          Yeah.

Dr. Floyd:          45:50          Excellent. Again, Randy Robison, thank you so very much for coming on. It's a real pleasure, and we'll definitely have you back and for the listeners and viewers out there please go to iTunes and give us a review positive or negative. If it's negative, please make sure you give us some constructive criticism so that we can make it better and signing off of the medicine. Dr. Sean Devlin and Dr. Robert Floyd. And thank you very much.

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