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Puyallup Speaker Spotlights: Lyle Estill, Biodiesel Expert and Mark Kastel, Locavore Advocate

5/26/2011 12:16:03 PM

Tags: Puyallup 2011, speaker spotlight, alternative energy, real food, Erica Binns

 Get to know Lyle Estill of Piedmont Biofuels and Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute. 

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR? 

I'll be presenting Industrial Evolution: Local Solutions for a Low-Carbon Future at 4:00 on June 4th on the Mitsubishi stage.

Lyle EstillWhat are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees? 

I went from deep frying turkeys in my back yard, and turning the used cooking oil into biodiesel, to becoming one of America's largest biodiesel cooperatives--operating a million gallon plant. I'm also a local economy guy who helped create high speed wireless Internet in our small southern town when the big companies could not be bothered. And I tell stories about our town, and how we have managed to figure out how to feed ourselves, fuel ourselves, and finance ourselves in the name of a resilient economy.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic. 

I've been an entrepreneur in Chatham County, North Carolina for the past 22 years. As such I have had a front row seat in the formation of our local Coop grocery store, our local currency (The PLENTY), and a handful of like minded businesses.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation? 

I tell stories that are guaranteed to make them laugh. And think. They will be inspired to return to their communities to effect some change in the world.

How will you get to the FAIR? 

Biodiesel powered car to airplane to public transportation.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR? 

The audience. I have a little D.I.Y. in me myself.

What advice do you have for attendees? 

Find work that you love so that you never have to work again. (I think that might be a Scott Nearing quote).

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose? 

A hardy kayak.


What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR? 

My first talk will cover who really owns the organic industry and what we as stakeholders (farmers and consumers) can do to assure that the true meaning is not sold out through exploitation in a corporate agribusiness takeover.

My second talk will be geared toward farmers and others engaged in direct marketing and will give them an arsenal of guerrilla marketing techniques that will help grow their business in a cost-effective manner.

Mark Kastel What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees? 

Organics, CSAs, local food and other marketing vehicles are based in a romantic story, protecting the environment, promoting humane animal husbandry and economic justice for family-scale farmers. It's our job, together, to protect the authenticity of this story.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic. 

I am the Co-director and act as the Senior Farm Policy Analyst for The Cornucopia Institute. We are a preeminent organic industry watchdog and fight for economic justice in the good food movement. I have spent the last 25 years in economic development and policy analysis on behalf of the family farm community and our urban allies.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation? 

If you go out of your way to either produce or eat, and spend a premium for in the marketplace, food that we know benefits our health and well-being, and that of society, you sure as hell have a stake in protecting the language and marketing vehicles that assure us access to authentically produced safe and nutrient-dense food.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR? 

I love the interaction with the people I meet around the country. My talks are in the fashion of old-style oratory (not PowerPoint!). I leave a lot of time for what I call a "town hall meeting" exploring issues surrounding the good food movement. I usually take a wireless microphone right down into the crowd. Everyone gets to learn a lot, especially me.

What advice do you have for attendees? 

Bring a small notepad and pen. It looks like the lineups of speakers will leave you with some practical "takeaways" to enhance your health and well-being, and that of the planet, not to mention economic impacts of the lives we choose.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose? 

All I want is... Everything! I'd want the same thing as I hope for here in Wisconsin; health and happiness. And that comes from being conscious and appreciative of what's truly fundamentally important in life (good food, clean water and healthy environment, and a loving and supportive interaction with others).

Thank you both. We'll see you at the FAIR! 


Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Puyallup, Wash. FAIR June 4-5, and upcoming FAIRs in San Rafael, Calif. and Seven Springs, Penn. Tickets are on sale now for all fairs.

You can also get FAIR updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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