The Why & How Podcast

Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph

The Why and How Podcast looks to answer big questions in agriculture, food, and the environment through casual conversations that are rooted in research. Host Josh Moran chats with graduate students, researchers and professors to learn more about the science behind today's hot topics and trends. This podcast is published by the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph.

Trailer
Trailer 1 min 18 sec

All Episodes

Biomass crops, like switchgrass and miscanthus, are used for agriculture products and biofuel production. These crops can improve soil health while removing carbon dioxide from the air. Sowthini Vijayakumar, a PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Sciences, is trying to find a practical solution to decrease atmospheric carbon through the conversion of agricultural land to biomass crops. She joins E’layna and Tahlia on the podcast to discuss her research in this area.

Nov 30

31 min 56 sec

There are some new voices behind the Why & How podcast. Our new host E’layna and friend of the show Tahlia welcome their first guest, Tyler Black, to the show after a brief hiatus. Tyler, PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Sciences, discusses his research on oil spills. They often make headlines when they occur, but what happens next? Through a toxicology lens, Tyler is looking to better understand how they impact marine organisms, specifically clams, and how to support restoration efforts in the future.

Nov 23

45 min 38 sec

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process in which microbes break down organic matter to produce biogas. This process captures the biogas, which can be harmful to the atmosphere and uses it for energy. Dr. Brandon Gilroyed, a professor in the School of Environmental Science at the Ridgetown Campus, chats with Graeme about his research in this area, highlighting how it works and the environmental benefits. This is our last podcast episode for a little while, but we will be back soon!

Jun 1

36 min 6 sec

Before recreational cannabis became legal in Canada in 2018, some rural communities in British Columbia relied on the illicit market for economic well-being. Legalization disrupted these communities’ way of life. Tracey Harvey, a PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, is researching the implications of cannabis legalization on these communities. She talks to Graeme and Jordan about the history of the illicit market, her methods for conducting research, and how her research will help support these rural economies.

May 11

39 min 3 sec

Producing informative research is the goal of all our guests, but ensuring that groundbreaking research is actually used is the focus of Dr. Amy Lemay. Amy, who is a post-doc researcher in the Department of Plant Agriculture, is working to determine why Integrated Pest Management practices (based on research findings) have been so widely adopted by farmers. She explains the “sociology of science”, why knowledge translation and transfer is critical to research adoption and how she’s hoping her own research will help others translate theirs into common practice.

Apr 13

34 min 34 sec

Ultra-processed foods are dominant in our Western diet, and this doesn't just include pop and chips. Many processed foods that consumers consider to be healthy (based on their ingredients) are negatively affecting our health. Dr. Mike Rogers, a professor in the Department of Food Science, explains the evolution of our diet and the impacts of processed food on our bodies. He also unpacks the complications of our current food system, which prioritizes technological innovation over understanding the impacts on our health.

Mar 30

43 min 12 sec

Using robots to care for dairy cows might sound a bit cold or even dystopian to some, but researcher Dr. Meagan King found a connection between automation and positive health benefits for both dairy cows and the farmers who care for them. In this episode, Meagan talks to Graeme and Jordan all about dairy cows and explains how her research in the Department of Animal Biosciences showcases the linkage between automation, strong herd health and benefits for farmer mental health. Note: Meagan received permission to visit and work with farms/farmers and followed policy set by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board. The research discussed in this episode, and all animal research at the University of Guelph, is done in adherence to the University of Guelph Animal Care Policy and Procedures.

Mar 16

33 min 18 sec

This past summer, hundreds of teachers across Canada played host to bee hotels in hopes of better understanding solitary wild bees. Sage Handler, a master’s student in the School of Environmental Sciences, tells Graeme and Jordan all about this unique approach to crowd-sourcing research data and why tracking wild bees is worthwhile. She also answers all of Graeme and Jordan’s bee-related questions.

Mar 2

27 min 49 sec

Onions, like all living things, need protection from pests and diseases. Sara Stricker, a PhD candidate in the Department of Plant Agriculture, sits down with Graeme and Jordan to explain how her research is protecting Ontario’s onions. Sara explains why onions are such a valuable crop, why they need protected and how it’s done. She also gives the inside scoop on completing a PhD and the University of Guelph’s 3MT Competition, which she won in 2020 by summarizing years of research into three minutes.

Feb 16

45 min 18 sec

Mice are one of the most commonly used animals in research, and Lindsey Kitchenham is on a mission to determine how their housing environments impact their welfare. She chats with Graeme about how integrating behaviour assessments and neuroscience will help us better understand how housing impacts mice brain development. She explains how her research, happening in the Department of Animal Bioscience, could have major ripple effects in the research world. Important note: In this episode, we discuss several sensitive and potentially upsetting topics, including the euthanasia of research animals. The research discussed in this episode, and all animal research at the University of Guelph, is done in adherence to the University of Guelph Animal Care Policy and Procedures, the provincial legislation and regulations of the Animals for Research Act, and the national guidelines and policies of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. This will be our last episode for a bit, while we figure out how to keep answering big questions in a safe and effective way. We hope all of our listeners are doing okay! Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2017%20-%20How%20might%20neuroscience%20shift%20animal%20welfare%20standards.txt University of Guelph Animal Care Policy and Procedures: http://www.uoguelph.ca/research/document/university-guelph-animal-care-policy-and-procedures Animals for Research Act: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90a22_e.htm Canadian Council on Animal Care: http://www.ccac.ca/en_/standards/policies

Apr 2020

25 min 43 sec

In this episode Graeme and Jordan learn about the Ontario hard cider industry, starting at the orchard and the apples. Derek Plotkowski, a PhD student in the Department of Plant Agriculture, talks about his search for the perfect apple variety for making cider. He explains why some ciders are sweeter than others, why “eating” apples don’t make good “drinking” apples and where to find some of Ontario’s best hard cider. Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2016%20-%20How%20do%20you%20like%20them%20Ontario%20cider%20apples.txt

Apr 2020

45 min 10 sec

When you imagine a Canadian farm, what does it look like? Who is running it? How big is it? Hongyu (Will) Chen provides our new host Graeme, and Jordan, with insights into what Canadian farms look like. Will, a researcher in our Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, digs into Statistics Canada data to highlight trends in Canadian farm size, demographics, what’s thriving and what’s not surviving.  Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2015%20-%20How%20are%20Canadian%20farms%20evolving.txt

Mar 2020

29 min 14 sec

Grocery shopping isn’t simple. Price, nutritional content, convenience and our values all seem to collide in grocery store aisles. Laura Stortz, a master’s student in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, talks to Josh and Jordan about research she’s doing on nutritional warning labels and pay-what-you-can grocery stores. (Ps. This is Josh’s final episode as host; a big thank you to Josh for his work on launching the Why & How!)  You can check out the labels Laura used in her study here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Nutrition%20Warning%20Labels%20and%20Demand%20for%20Foods%20High%20in%20Saturated%20Fat_AODAtagged.pdf    You can learn more about The SEED here: https://www.theseedguelph.ca/  Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2014%20-%20Front%20of%20Package%20Labelling%20Descriptive%20Transcript_0.txt 

Mar 2020

37 min 40 sec

The voices behind your favourite podcast chat all things Why & How over eggnog. Josh and Jordan give over the mic to producer Stephanie Craig, so they can share their thoughts on the first 12 episodes. They talk about the good, the bad and plans for the future. They answer listener questions and introduce the new podcast host for 2020: Graeme Li.   Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2013%20-%20Holiday%20Special%202019.txt 

Dec 2019

37 min 28 sec

Soil has superpowers. It can grow food and sustain life. But two researchers in the School of Environmental Sciences share their research on how it can also contribute to climate change. Kean Gao and Prof. Claudia Wagner-Riddle explain how different soil management practices affect our food security and our atmosphere.   You can learn more by following @SoilsAtGuelph on Twitter or visiting https://claudiawagnerriddle.uoguelph.ca/ Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/OAC%20Podcast%20%2312%20-%20How%20does%20soil%20affect%20the%20atmosphere.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. 

Dec 2019

38 min 42 sec

There’s lots of talk about trade and tariffs, but what exactly is free trade? And is it good or bad for businesses, consumers and farmers? Brendan McDougall, a graduate student in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, sits down with Josh and Jordan to answer these questions. He explains all the basics (in an interesting way) and tells us about his graduate research.  Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%2011%20-%20How%20come%20free%20trade%20isnt%20actually%20free.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. 

Nov 2019

31 min 54 sec

You've felt it. It’s hotter in the city. But why? Prof. Scott Krayenhoff of the School of Environmental Sciences explains why our cities are hotter than they should be, and what can be done to cool them down. Unfortunately, the solution is complicated by climate change. And keeping colder cities warm in the winter actually makes them more liveable. Thankfully Scott’s got some advanced computer models and equipment to try to figure out a solution.   Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Podcast%20%2310%20-%20Why%20is%20it%20so%20hot%20in%20the%20city.txt Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.

Nov 2019

40 min 42 sec

Animal agriculture is often pointed to as a key contributor to climate change. But what if we could breed cattle that burp less and emit fewer greenhouse gases? Adrien Butty and Kerry Houlahan, graduate student researchers in the Department of Animal Biosciences, are working on just that. They chat with Josh and Jordan about how through selective breeding of dairy cattle (based on genomics) a solution could be just around the corner.   Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%209%20How%20can%20dairy%20genomics%20fight%20climate%20change.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.  

Oct 2019

37 min 43 sec

Fishing is an important cultural and economic activity for many of the First Nations communities in Canada, but the governance of their fisheries is complicated. Chirag Patney, a rural planning master’s student, explains how he hopes his research will help shine a light on one community’s concerns when it comes to policies and programs that govern their fishing activities. You can follow @SEDRD and @UofGuelphOAC on Twitter for future updates on Chirag's research. Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%208%20How%20is%20research%20supporting%20First%20Nations%20fisheries.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.

Oct 2019

36 min 59 sec

From stouts to sours and everything in between craft beer is everywhere with no signs of slowing down. New breweries continue to pop up on the regular. Dr. Shane Walker, a facility manager and brewer in the Department of Food Science, chats with Josh and Jordan about all things beer. Including his own experiences and misadventures when brewing beer in the classroom.   Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%207%20Why%20is%20craft%20beer%20booming.txt Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.

Oct 2019

43 min 36 sec

Omega-3s are good for human brain health, and Omega-3 enriched eggs are a terrific way for us to increase our intake. But feeding laying hens food rich in Omega-3's might be causing their chicks to be more fearful and stressed out. Rosemary Whittle, a PhD student in the Department of Animal Sciences, chats with Josh and Jordan about the initial findings of her poultry welfare research.   Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%206%20Why%20are%20health%20trends%20stressing%20out%20chickens%20-%20Featuring%20Rosemary%20Whittle.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.

Sep 2019

32 min 46 sec

Simulated meat products are seriously trendy right now. The futuristic idea of replacing meat with plants, is today’s food science triumph. Prof. Ben Bohrer of the Department of Food Science chats with Josh and Jordan about what these new products mean for our meat-eating habits and menus.   You can follow Ben on Twitter at https://twitter.com/b3nbohrer  Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%205%20How%20does%20plant-based%20meat%20change%20the%20menu%20-%20Featuring%20Prof.%20Ben%20Bohrer.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. 

Sep 2019

35 min 31 sec

You probably knew that plants love light. But did you know they prefer specific wavelengths of light? PhD student Nicole Berardi explains how plants interact with light and each other. Like how they repel and reflect light, causing changes in growth and yield. If you’ve ever wondered why your succulents are growing in a weird way, this episode is for you. Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%204%20How%20do%20plants%20throw%20shade%20-%20Featuring%20Nicole%20Berardi.txt  Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. 

Sep 2019

35 min 43 sec

Everyone who’s interested in the environment has heard about the plight of honey bees. But this week’s guest, Dr. Alana Pindar, moves a magnifying glass onto the overlooked wild bees who live in our backyard and need our help.  You can follow Alana’s research on Twitter at https://twitter.com/1in3mouthfuls    Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. Transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%203%20Why%20are%20bees%20struggling%20How%20can%20we%20help.txt

Aug 2019

39 min 15 sec

We explore the world of plant tissue culture and how it can create 10 million trees from a sample of one. Masters students Kevin and James explain the science and technology behind this cool plant propagation technique.   You can follow Kevin’s start-up on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wevitro/ Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. Transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/Episode%202%20How%20can%20test%20tubes%20make%2010%20million%20trees.txt 

Aug 2019

30 min 54 sec

Our first guest, Alessia Roma, explains how nutraceuticals could treat diseases like cancer. She chats with Josh Moran and Jordan Terpstra about how her graduate research could change the way we think about fighting leukemia and “food science”. Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation. Follow Alessia on Twitter at https://twitter.com/roma_aless  Descriptive transcript available here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/system/files/OAC%20Podcast%20%231%20%28Final%20Copy%29.txt Funding for this episode was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.

Aug 2019

29 min 36 sec

Show host Josh Moran, with the help of Jordan Terpstra, introduces the world to the new Why & How Podcast, which features the research of experts from the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph.

Aug 2019

1 min 18 sec