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Interviews

Audio Interviews, Stories, & Podcasts
Featuring Brad Lancaster

Food Sleuth Radio, hosted by Melinda Hemmelgarn, interview with Brad Lancaster, rainwater harvester, permaculturist, regenerative design consultant and author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.
Hear how harvesting free, on-site waters transformed his community, reduced temperatures, and improved health. August 2022

When it rains in the desert, it pours. Why not capture all that water? by Peter O-Dowd and Jeanette Muhammad, Here and Now radio, 7-22-2022

Cultivated Audio, April 2022: cover cropping with Drew Leitch, water harvesting with Brad Lancaster, dowsing with David Yarrow.

Nameless: evolution begins within, season one, episode 10, March 2022: How do we inhabit the earth? Interviews with Brad Lancaster and Kainat Felicia Norton.
Interview with Brad Lancaster begins at 5:31 in the podcast.

The Water Table Podcast: Episode 4: Planting the Rain: An Urgent Conversation with Rainwater Harvesting Guru Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster’s solutions are radical, incredibly basic, and urgently needed. In this episode, Brad describes how he began harvesting street runoff at his home, where he harvests 100,000 gallons per year on 1/8th of an acre, and in his neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona where over a million gallons of stormwater is annually harvested to freely irrigate a growing native neighborhood food forest. Brad’s ideas grew into a citywide movement toward regenerative hydration practices in the desert. While California is in a predictable predicament with water—having over-allocated available resources and climate change exacerbating the scarcity—this conversation contains essential inspiration and practical tools you can apply at your home to withstand the ongoing drought and reduce your water footprint while enhancing your quality of life.

Rainwater Harvesting for Tiny Houses (and Beyond!) with Brad Lancaster #155
Tiny House Lifestyle podcast

The Water Table Podcast: 001:
Our first guest is California’s Senior Advisor for Water and Rural Affairs, Debbie Franco, who shares her personal thoughts on the state’s water inequities and how practices like rainwater harvesting can improve the health of the state’s watersheds. The conversation centers around reflections on an interview with drylands water guru, Brad Lancaster, who’s an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting and water management. Clips of Lancaster’s masterclass in ‘planting rain’ are interwoven throughout an insightful and inspiring talk on how California can realign its relationship with water.

The Water Table Podcast full interview with Brad Lancaster
Click on link and scroll down to interview with Brad

Heritage Acres Backyard Bounty podcast: 067: Harvesting Rainwater featuring Brad Lancaster of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond

Urban Farm U podcast 540: Brad Lancaster on Planting the Rain
• The revised versions of his books and the content and focus of each volume
• Gabions vs one rock dams with vegetation
• Roads as modern-day rivers and how to capture water before it gets to the street
• Diverting road water into street side plantings
• Water as a lubricant for exchange 
• How captured water impacts thermoregulation of our community and planet
• Mulching with organic matter vs mulching with rock and gravel
• How a village in India turned around their dry environment and created a water planting culture
• Organic matter and water as essential components of healthy soil 
• Brad’s epilogue in Rainwater Harvesting Volume II 

Permaculture For the Future podcast 003: Harvesting Rainwater For a Greener Future with Brad Lancaster
• Getting started by planting the rain within water harvesting using passive water harvesting basins
• Harvesting water from not only rainwater, but household greywater, and air conditioner condensate to create integrated living systems
• How to simultaneously reduce flooding and mitigate drought
• Rain tanks and cisterns are secondary considerations after passive water harvesting earthworks
• How harvesting rainwater to enhance plant systems and living soils – the Soil-Carbon-Sponge – can moderate temperature extremes and sequester carbon for more life giving life.
• Allowing water harvesting solutions to present themselves
• How once illegal rainwater harvesting systems have been legalized, incentivized, and mandated (1-2020)

Urban Farm U podcast 514: Brad Lancaster about Harvesting the Rain
Have you ever considered capturing free water for your landscape or community use? Brad Lancaster has pioneered rainwater harvesting in Tucson, AZ and around the world. He teaches how to reinvest rainwater into living systems that grow resources all for the cost of shoveling some dirt. Learn about rain gardens, zoning, benefits of rainwater, adjusting your mentality, developing your strategy, and integrating sun, shade, and gravity into your design. You’ll never look at your yard the same way! (1-2020)

AZPM’s Arizona Spotlight: interview with Brad Lancaster
Start listening at 1:06 where Tony Paniagua interviews author and ecologist Brad Lancaster about his efforts to promote water conservation, educate the public about this vital resource, and the release of the new full-color revised editions of his books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. (1-9-2020)

Earth Repair Radio with Andrew Millison podcast 25: Brad Lancaster Catalyzing Community Water Harvesting
This episode weaves through a number of stories of rainwater harvesting from around the world. This episode focuses more on the community aspect of water harvesting and addresses the question of how large scale water harvesting projects involving multiple stakeholders and communities actually happen? Brad has initiated his own extensive projects, as well as visited many others throughout the world. Please enjoy this lesson on catalyzing community and healing hydrology. (8-2019)

Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann 1807: Eat Mesquite and More! with Brad Lancaster and Jill Lorenzini
My guests today are Jill Lorenzini and Brad Lancaster of Desert Harvesters, here to discuss the new bioregional cookbook Eat Mesquite and More! We use that as a frame to talk about how to learn more about our natural world, to invite ourselves into wild spaces, and to deepen our sense of place through connection to the land, plants, and the meals that bring us together. (3-2018)

AZPM’s Arizona Spotlight: Feeding Our Future: Harvesting the Desert, story by Laura Markowitz
Laura features conversations about food security in Tucson with Desert Harvesters co-founder, Brad Lancaster; City of Tucson Sustainability Manager, Leslie Ethen; and director of UA’s Center for Regional Food Studies, Gary Nabhan. (October 13, 2016)

KXCI’s Weekly Green: Harvest Time, an interview with Brad Lancaster
Dan Laut interviews Brad about the potential of new agricultural systems using wild plants that thrive off rainwater alone. (May 17, 2016)

Interview with Brad Lancaster (Episode 9)
The Earth Friendly Homeowner is a new sustainability-oriented podcast by Diane Downey and Sheri Menelli. They will cover topics such as organic gardening, edible landscaping, rainwater harvesting, saving water, recycling, compost, removing toxins inside your home, alternative energy, sustainable living and much more. The link above will take you to the podcast on iTunes—look for episode 9. You can also find it on Stitcher and the Earth Friendly Homeowner website (where you’ll also find the show notes for the interview). (January 21, 2016)

Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann: Desert Harvesters with Brad Lancaster
Scott invited Brad back to talk about Desert Harvesters, an organization in Tucson, Arizona, that encourages neighborhood planting of wild food-bearing Sonoran Desert-plants irrigated with harvested urban rainwater runoff, and revives desert culture through community educational and celebrational events. Scott and Brad spend much of their conversation discussing the history and actions of this organization, before turning to how these ideas are spreading to other cities and towns. During the closing Brad shares some of the current research on using street runoff to irrigate roadside plants, as well as four water assessment suggestions that he uses to evaluate every site. (December 3, 2015)

Dining in the Desert: Wild Foods of the Chihuahuan Desert with Brad Lancaster
West Texas Talk host Tom Michael of Marfa Public Radio (KRTS) talks with Brad about the wild foods of Far West Texas, including mesquite, prickly pear, barrel cactus, nopal, and more. Brad lives in Arizona, where he is a leader of Desert Harvesters, a native foods organization he co-founded. He was previously a guest on this program, discussing rainwater harvesting. (September 17, 2015)

Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann: Water Harvesting with Brad Lancaster
In this episode Brad and Scott discuss the value of infiltrating water into the soil so that it becomes a resource that we invest during water rich times and withdraw from that bank only when needed during dry times. As Brad’s work includes more than just drylands the conversation also includes ideas for storing water in rich areas. Along the way we also look at several listener questions including fog harvesting, using living systems to hand wet basements, and observing to find the right match for plants suitable to wet clay soils.  (January 14, 2015)

“Water Values” Podcast: Planting the Rain with Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster joins the Water Values to discuss permaculture and rainwater harvesting. Brad tells us how he got involved in the permaculture community and harvesting rainwater and greywater. Brad also goes into great detail about the method he uses to “plant the rain,” which is used in his rain gardens to irrigate soil, plants, and trees. He also explains how the soil helps filter out toxins from greywater to keep us safe and healthy, but also transforms those toxins in the greywater into a valuable fertilizing resource for the plants. Brad talks about how other communities across the country are adopting the use of greywater and rainwater harvesting and how he’s working with them to create a more sustainable future. Tune into this week’s episode for fascinating insights on planting the rain! (December 9, 2014)

KZYX Water Wise series: Rainwater Harvesting interview with Brad Lancaster
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting aired a locally produced a weekly “Water Wise” series during the month of August 2014. These programs focused on ways to adapt to low-water conditions with strategies for home and landowners to make the best use of every drop and help mitigate the effects of drought in their home and landscape. The series was hosted by Linda MacElwee from the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Mary Aigner. Brad’s live interview with call-in questions was aired on August 26, 2014.

8 Principles for Welcoming Rain into Your Life and Landscape
Marjory Wildcraft’s interview with Brad Lancaster, July 23, 2014

Wise Water Practices
A pre-recorded presentation by Brad Lancaster with Q&A, part of the Live Activation Call series presented in partnership with Whole Earth Summit and Ashevillage Institute, April 30, 2014
Note that when you click the link above, and then click the subsequent link to listen to the program, you might see a message saying “Information: Program has concluded.” Ignore this message—the audio file should load fine and begin to play.
This audio file will be available for free streaming through June 24, 2014

For the Love of Water: Local Actions That Matter
A conversation with Brad Lancaster, Brock Dolman, and Laura Allen, hosted by Renée Soule, May 23, 2014
This interview is part of the Spring of Sustainability, a global tele-series where you can learn from innovators, visionaries, green pioneers and change agents who offer skills training, inspiration and powerful solutions for our global sustainability issues. For more information, please visit springofsustainability.com

Brad Lancaster, Rain Harvester – KNPR, Nevada Public Radio interview with Brad on July 2, 2013

Future Primitive Interview – Joanna Harcourt-Smith’s in-depth podcast/interview with Brad from April 2, 2010

Harvesting Rainwater by Not Letting It Go to Waste
NPR’s Morning Edition interview with Brad Lancaster, January 10, 2008

Tucson Man Harvests Rainwater
NPR’s Ted Robbins September 17, 2008 interview with Brad Lancaster

Sustainable World Radio interview with Brad Lancaster
Join Jill Cloutier of Sustainable World Radio for a September 2008 interview with Brad Lancaster permaculture teacher, designer, consultant and the author of the award winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain Into Your Life and Landscape and Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks (www.HarvestingRainwater.com). Water has been identified as a global crisis in the making. Southern California has one of the most-piped landscapes ever designed, relying on water from far away that may not be available in the future. Also joining the interview will be Wesley Roe of Santa Barbara Permaculture Network.

Dancing in the Rain: Interview with Brad Lancaster on New Dimensions Radio, Program #3175
Available in the form of an MP3 download from the New Dimensions Media website. Go to:
www.newdimensions.org then enter 3175 in the search box.
The annual rainfall in Tucson, Arizona, where Brad Lancaster lives, is about twelve inches. By harvesting the runoff from the roof, and the roads he radically reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation in the gardens he creates. By returning the water to the same watershed, he creates a cycle of abundance that sustains not just one family, but the neighborhood and the entire ecosystem as well. He adds solar power into the mix, and plants food-bearing native shade trees to cool the home. The result is an oasis in the desert, with a model that can be applied in any community, from desert to coastal ranges and from remote rural homesteads to suburbia. Most important, it’s a model that can help solve an impending water crisis facing communities across the globe. Mr. Lancaster’s enthusiasm for his work is contagious. He exclaims, “It’s all great, juicy stuff, because as you start to harvest the water, you start to harvest the sun, you really start to tune in to what’s around you, to the seasons, to the rainfall. I just love that, because it makes me feel a lot more alive, a lot more connected.” Brad Lancaster is a permaculture designer, consultant, and educator, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters, which promotes ecological and nutrition awareness for Arizona youth. He has taught at the Ecosa Institute in Prescott, Arizona; Prescott College; Columbia University; University of Arizona; Audubon Expedition, and many other institutions. He is the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape (Rainsource Press 2006). (Hosted by Michael Toms and Justine Willis Toms)

Harvesting Water from Rooftops
By Jason Margolis of PRI’s The World, January 15, 2008

Transforming Water Scarcity into Water Abundance
The issue of scarcity is arguably the most recognizable one surrounding water, particularly in arid regions of the world. Is water really scarce or is there abundant water if we simply choose to make changes in our lifestyles and land use activities? Permaculture, rainwater harvesting, and watershed restoration may soon become commonplace for people living in arid climates. Show aired on July 27, 2006 on Exploring Water’s Essence with Dr. West Marrin.

Turning Water Scarcity into Water Abundance – An audio podcast of Brad Lancaster’s presentation, Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance.
In the presentation Brad explains tools & techniques for implementing sustainable water systems for your home, landscape, and community, using onsite resources. His newly published book shares strategies to create integrated water-sustainable landscape plans with examples from around the world, some ancient, some new, including the inspirational story of Mr Phiri, water farmer from Zimbabwe. For more on the story of Mr. Phiri, other water harvesters, and how you can harvest water, see Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome the Rain Into Your Life and Landscape.

Articles referencing Brad Lancaster and his work

“Can Dryland Farming Help Growers Endure Increasing Heatwaves and Drought?” by Lela Nargi, The Modern Farmer, June 13, 2022.
https://modernfarmer.com/2022/06/dryland-farming/?fbclid=IwAR03VdIM-21DAdw_5oKYZbn6Ehcgz01lck9BDPtO9xBwMsOooWXXeYVUo5Q

“‘Save Our Water:’ Meet The Rain Harvesters Taking On The West’s Water Woes,” Marcello Rossi, The Guardian, July 8, 2021.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/08/us-west-rain-harvesters-rainwater-collection-drought-heatwave?fbclid=IwAR37BjB3ytTUI45xDYz_mdoC1NRF9vtDDbw1LdA9tpom5btryyQy48WqEy8

“A Desert City Tries to Save Itself with Rain” by Chris Malloy, Bloomberg City Lab, November 23, 2020.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-23/harvesting-rainwater-in-a-desert-city

“Neighborhood Foresters Work to Beautify Their Slice of Tucson,” by Doug Kreutz, Arizona Daily Star, November 17, 2017.
tucson.com/news/local/neighborhood-foresters-work-to-beautify-their-slice-of-tucson/article_9843dcf8-dd07-5095-82cc-c12e6c10d61d.html

“How Tucson Uses Rain and Greywater to Keep Local Gardens Lush,” by Carl Nettleton, Triple Pundit, December 22, 2016.
www.triplepundit.com/2016/12/tucson-uses-greywater-keep-local-gardens-lush

“Tucson’s Rain-catching Revolution,” by Tony Davis, High Country News, April 27, 2015.
www.hcn.org/issues/47.7/tucsons-rain-catching-revolution

“How to Harvest Water: An Interview with Brad Lancaster,” by Pierce Nahigyan, Planet Experts, September 8, 2014.
www.planetexperts.com/harvest-water-interview-brad-lancaster

“Rethinking Water Storage,” by Ivy Anderson, Water Efficiency, July-August 2014.
www.waterefficiency.net/WE/articles/26399.aspx

“Rain Man: How One Tucson Resident Harvests the Rain,” by Dan Kraker, MPR News, May 29, 2014.
www.mprnews.org/story/2014/05/29/ground-level-beneath-the-surface-tucson-rain-man

“My Space—An Xtracycle Cargo Bike,” by Gabby Ferreira. 3Story Magazine, Volume II, Issue 8 · March 2014.
3storymagazine.com/my-space-brad-lancaster/

“Rainwater Harvesters Reap Bounty in Arid Tucson,” an August 15, 2013, blog post from the Great American Adaptation Road Trip.
adaptationstories.com/2013/08/15/rainwater-harvesters-reap-bounty-in-arid-tucson

“American Oasis,” a 2013 pilot multimedia piece featuring Brad and others who are building on the Sonoran Desert region’s water-harvesting heritage and traditions.
www.kogainon.com/K/Pages/Oasis.html

“Extreme Digging,” by Melanie Lenart, Scientific American Guest Blog, August 13, 2012.
blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/13/extreme-digging

“Taking the Permaculture Path to Community Resilience,” by Steve Whitman, AICP, and Sharon Ferguson.
www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-18/taking-the-permaculture-path-to-community-resilience

“Where Every Day Is Earth Day,” by Julianna Crisalli, Aliso Viejo Patch, April 22, 2012.
alisoviejo.patch.com/articles/where-everyday-is-earth-day

“Eighth-Grader Designs Rainwater Harvesting Project,” by Carmen Ulloa, The Orange County Registry, April 4, 2012.
www.ocregister.com/articles/school-347526-water-harvesting.html

“Weed & Water Wednesday: A Favorite Desert Garden,” by Jessica Kellner, on Natural Home & Garden’s website, November 30, 2011.
www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/nh-living/weed–water-wednesday-a-favorite-desert-garden.aspx

“Think Green: Expert Offers Tips on Water Conservation to Local Builders,” by Adam D. Young, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 15, 2011.
lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-04-15/expert-offers-tips-water-conservation-lubbock-designers#.T4ObFY5hw5E

“In Tucson, Saving the Bath Water Too,” by Amy Feldman, in Time.com’s Intelligent Cities series, February 25, 2011.  www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2055576,00.html

“Neighbors: Area’s trees creating cool urban effect,” by Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star, November 21, 2010. azstarnet.com/news/local/article_1b49c599-0f87-5f2d-a44a-e95c10f37c12.html?mode=story

“US Consulate Jeddah hosts the visit of two US speakers in conjunction with Earth Day program,” Website of Consulate General of the United States, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 2009.

“Going with the Flow Curbs Water Waste” opinion by Sam Negri, Arizona Daily Star, October 7, 2007. www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/204445.php

“Home Sustainable Home” by Tim Vanderpool, Tucson Weekly, October 2006.
Features the home and sustainable strategies of Brad and Rodd Lancaster. Note: towards the end of the article there is a misprint. It says, “…the average the average Tucson family, which uses about 20,000 gallons of water each year.” Actually, the average Tucson family of four uses about 240,900 gallons of water each year.
www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Currents/Content?oid=oid:88379

“Going Green with Greywater” by Larry Copenhauer, Tucson Citizen, July, 19, 2006.
An article on greywater reuse in Tucson, Arizona.
www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/19548.php

“From the Top of the Watershed Down” by Nancy Hand, Downtown Tucsonan, April 2006.
Click on “vital signs”, then click on “permaculture” on the site below.
Features the home and water-harvesting work of Brad and Rodd Lancaster.

“Water-Wise Oasis” by Marsha Scarbrough, originally published in Natural Home & Garden (now Mother Earth Living), September/October 2005 issue, pp. 64 – 69.
Features the home and water-harvesting work of Brad and Rodd Lancaster.
www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/water-wise-oasis.aspx

“Interview: Brad Lancaster: Free, Ever-Dependable Power” 110 Degrees, Arizona Daily Star, June 3, 2005.
Brad and Rodd disconnect from the grid.

“Harvesting Sun and Water” by Rhonda Bodfield Bloom, Arizona Daily Star, June, 10, 2004.
azstarnet.com/lifestyles/article_9fa3fe80-dc31-5644-9349-706aa221c766.html

“Bountiful Harvest” by Kay Sather, Tucson Weekly, August 20 – 26, 1998.
Features Tucson water-harvesters.
www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/08-20-98/feat.htm

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