The Wisdom of the Elders w/ Precious Phiri

The Wisdom of the Elders w/ Precious Phiri

Posted by Daniel Griffith on


In this conversation, Daniel Firth Griffith speaks with Precious Phiri, co-founder of Igugu Trust and African coordinator for Regeneration International, as she shares her background growing up in rural Zimbabwe and the influence of her grandmother's bravery and dignity. They discuss the connection between agriculture, food, and community, emphasizing the importance of food sovereignty and communal practices.

Precious highlights the need for a shift away from control and individualism towards a more communal and regenerative approach. They also explore the concept of Ubuntu and the role of wisdom from elders in building a more beautiful world.

The conversation concludes with a discussion on the impact of Daniel's book, Dark Cloud Country, and the importance of starting small and building community.



  • Bravery and dignity are essential qualities for overcoming adversity and building resilience.
  • Food sovereignty is about more than just food security; it involves community ownership and control over food production and seed systems.
  • The industrial approach to agriculture often leads to fragmentation and individualism, while regenerative practices foster community and abundance.
  • The wisdom of elders and traditional knowledge is crucial for sustainable and regenerative practices.
  • Building a more beautiful world requires starting small, working within communities, and embracing the complexities of each unique place.
  • Order in farming can go beyond traditional forms and lead to powerful results.
  • Mixing crops can create a chaotic yet beautiful and productive environment. Language is dynamic and plays a crucial role in connecting people and sharing ideas.
  • Expressing gratitude and finding grounding in conversations can be transformative.


Unedited Transcript

daniel_griffith (00:03.621)
Okay, looks like we are recording. Okay, welcome to another episode of Denuzion. I have the supreme pleasure and blessing to be joined with my friend Precious Piri today. She is the co-founder of Igugu Trust, the African coordinator for Regeneration International,

daniel_griffith (00:34.261)
Your work is stunning. I have long been around it, you know, within the savory community. That's how we originally met and got connected. I believe you worked with the Africa Center for Holistic Management for a long period of time. But we've always been around each other and I've just been so fascinated with your work and I am just so excited to dive into this conversation today and get to spend some time with you. Thank you so much for joining.

precious_phiri (01:02.64)
Thanks. Thank you Daniel. Thank you for having me here. Thanks.

daniel_griffith (01:08.301)
Absolutely. Well, let's start with maybe a little bit on your background. Obviously, you're from Zimbabwe. Maybe you can talk about that, or even the Wenge community, where I believe you were born and raised and is currently the community in which you work in. So let's just start there and see where the conversation goes.

precious_phiri (01:26.8)
Oh, that's amazing. And honestly, I'll continuously say thank you. First of all, for just thinking about me and having me here. And thanks for the kind words as well.

daniel_griffith (01:47.943)
Ha ha ha

precious_phiri (01:56.56)
to highlight some of the pieces about my life. I was actually born and raised here in Zimbabwe, rural Zimbabwe, as raised in the Wangekwamunau lands. I grew up with my beautiful grandmother, who I will consider for the rest of my life as one of the bravest women that Eva encountered. And she gave me that spirit of the brave. That meaning that life wasn't very easy. We grew up in serious deep poverty

as our sort of semi-offend, by semi-offend, I mean my dad passed away and we had a mom, but then sometimes the dynamics in Africa play out this way. You then get to be raised by a grandmother because especially if your mom remarries, she cannot bring you and your siblings to her new marriage. Yes, and unfortunately when that happened, we also incidentally didn't get to know our mom.

by our, it's my sister and I, I didn't get to know my mom until I was about 22. Yes, so basically growing up with my grandmother was getting older and older by the time. So I really got very used to working on the land, working in other people's fields for food, for everyday survival. And we belonged to some sort of religious sect for most people who know, most sects in Africa.

gave out girls to marriage very early. So my grandmother sort of put her foot down. I have no idea what drew her to that kind of mentality. She did not want us to marry young. So basically in the church, we were two tall girls. Well, because everyone usually got married early. And anyway, I've evolved over the years

precious_phiri (03:56.76)
So, yes, I don't belong there anymore. But so some of my deepest inspirations are really gleaned from the brevity and bravery of my grandmother, who really took the heat and raised us up to know that you can work for yourself and actually continue being human without degrading yourself.

daniel_griffith (04:19.142)
Continue being human without degrading yourself. What do you mean by that?

precious_phiri (04:22.8)
Yes. Without really selling your body so that you survive, you can use your hands, you can work, you go to people's fields, you know, a few lines of corn farms and millet farms, you do a weeding and you work and they'll give you like a bucket of grain, then you go and grind it, then you get your meal from that.

precious_phiri (04:52.701)
That's how far back I remember.

daniel_griffith (04:55.503)
Wow. Wow.

precious_phiri (04:56.489)

daniel_griffith (05:00.381)
You said this multiple times, but the idea of bravery, the bravery of your grandmother Obviously from the religious and marriage perspective that was one example, but she just sounds I don't know. I wish I could meet her or I could have met her if she's not with us anymore

precious_phiri (05:17.6)
Yeah, she sleeps now. But yeah, one of the things that I saw was, you know, when you're faced with hunger and famine, you tend to take very drastic measures maybe to survive. But one of the things that I saw her do, she would go without a meal so that we ate.

daniel_griffith (05:20.807)

precious_phiri (05:47.48)
and being open as well. To me that was all brave for a woman raising girl kids and still standing her ground. And so when she left I was about 16. So I headed my family, so that remained. And so that I carried all my life because I started taking care of things at a very young age.

daniel_griffith (06:09.842)
How much of your story is shared with most rural Zimbabwe families?

precious_phiri (06:17.141)
Yeah, so this may be a story from most girls who were left by their parents at an early age because it's hard to then transition into a new home, especially if your mom remarries. So yes. But some become fortunate because you can go to the city or to the next relative, but we had to stay alone for about two years.

daniel_griffith (06:30.708)
I see.

I see.

precious_phiri (06:46.12)
and I was basically really blessed to be sponsored throughout my whole education because of the circumstances that surrounded our growing up. So that's a bit of a mouthful but that's some of the things that have really shaped me and I'm very grateful to be where I am. To me life is an absolute miracle and I couldn't trade it for anything. All the experiences made me who I am.

daniel_griffith (06:56.287)

daniel_griffith (07:11.361)
Hmm if if if people are listening to this they miss my smile that I that I currently have on my face Your your energy and joy is contagious, and I'm not trying to compliment you It's it's very hard for me not to be smiling especially looking at your smile. So it's it's It's it's it's encouraging and and I think we need a lot more hope and encouragement today Especially here in the United States

precious_phiri (07:28.182)
Thank you.

daniel_griffith (07:41.363)

precious_phiri (07:43.065)
Yes, thank you Daniel.

daniel_griffith (07:45.761)
i'm fascinated right before we hit this record button you and i were chatting about the wangai community and i was just making sure i had my pronunciation right of some of these words and you made the comment that you were born and raised in this community in the rural i forget what you're calling it but this rural community in zimbabwe but that's currently where

daniel_griffith (08:14.661)
you know, growing up with your circumstances, you know, my first thought, and maybe it's a very Western American thought, which I'm happy to acknowledge, like, we see us, we see it as growing out of hardship, and then you move on and you leave. You seem to have stayed and you're working there, and you're healing there in the community and the ecology, which I really want to dive into. But maybe we can just start there. Like what kept you in place?

from the inside out. Like what does that mean to you?

precious_phiri (08:48.381)
So that's an incredible question, in fact. And the thing though is I've never really thought of being out of here.

daniel_griffith (09:00.263)
That's awesome.

precious_phiri (09:04.562)
I can't imagine how that looks like. So what happened is after high school I got another scholarship to actually access a degree level education and this happened in South Africa. So for some people who may be listening we also realize that most people when they get an opportunity

precious_phiri (09:30.56)
that abroad, they would really stay there and not because they don't like it at home, but maybe sometimes you tend to see much more wider spectrum of opportunities to say, oh, my goodness, okay, so I've been placed here. So what is in this place for me? How can I connect myself to this place? I mean, I can visit home while I work and leave and thrive

of pave a new future, a new life for myself here. So I somehow intuitively, honestly, just got whooped and got interested in finding solutions in agriculture and land management. I grew up along one of the greatest national parks, which is called the Wangan National Park. So the interaction with livestock and wildlife

precious_phiri (10:31.42)
with that of conflict. And so until there's even a word that is called human and wildlife conflict, which basically is trying to share and share some light on the unsettling truths that exist between us as communities of Wangge and the wildlife with which we belong from ages past to now. So half the time, if either there's a drought

elephant has come into the crop field or a lion has taken a goat from our neighbor. We didn't have livestock, but I could talk towards cropping. And so for some reason, even in schooling, I was always interested, even when I was doing what we call ordinary level, which is form form in this case, I was the only girl who was doing agriculture in class. My other friends were doing food and nutrition and fashion and fabrics. And so I now currently work with one of my teachers.

up a culture in high school is serving the same communities that I'm serving. So for me, I think my life was always embedded around finding solutions and when I was at college, I literally just checked myself into the savory center. I'm like, hey, my degree doesn't really need for me to study or to have an internship, but can I come in beginning things hands on? And when I went there,

precious_phiri (12:00.5)
I'm not predicting what I was learning in college, but it felt like home and it felt like I had really found something that I could also develop and connect myself to. And that was one of the reasons why I came back because the work made so much sense. And I came back home where I then got a family and everything. Yeah.

daniel_griffith (12:23.701)
Wow. What about, so you were saying the girls, the individuals that the family surrounding you were interested in, the fashions and the fabrics and the nutrition and the diets, what brought you down deep into agriculture? Like what about corn or cows or this conflict between agriculture and wildlife? What there drew you?

precious_phiri (12:34.)
Thank you.

precious_phiri (12:48.82)
Well, it seemed to me what drew me was hunger. I it's one of the things that I dread poverty and not being able to feed yourselves in thinking of my grandmother going without food. And at some point my ancestors dropped off school because I was the older one as the one who continued to go to school because we didn't have food. You would have you would forage for mushrooms and leafy vegetables.

precious_phiri (13:19.2)
from the maize meal or soga meal or millet meal. So now that I think about it, I may not have thought about it then, but I think it was one of the things that was embedded in my heart and brains. And at the very core of my being to be fair, to say, you know, I don't think I wish this even for anyone, no matter how bad they were in life, no one should starve and not be able to eat

able to have a decent life. So I feel like that's what inspired me and it's still resonates and I feel like it resonates with a lot of people.

daniel_griffith (13:59.981)
What, what, what, what, what's the connection between agriculture and food and health for communities?

precious_phiri (14:09.92)
So agriculture, as we have learned and I will borrow my mentors, absolutely wonderful men that I also know you look up to Alan Saviour, being the production of food and fiber, right, from the world's land and oceans and everything. So I'll speak on the savannah pieces. So agriculture,

precious_phiri (14:39.7)
over time things have evolved and we all think we can always get millimials from the stores, from the shops. So millimials is like one of our staple foods. But the idea is beyond food security, there is what we call food sovereignty. Agriculture and when it is owned and really governed at communal level, it gives us food and seed sovereignty. We are in

precious_phiri (15:10.32)
Is it culturally appropriate? Is it nourishing to our bodies and to the society and community that we belong to? How do I help my neighbor to also access seeds and food? Do they need my hand for me to go and help them plant, weed and harvest? So there's a lot of dynamic just beyond packaged food in a box for people to eat. There's a whole community that is embedded around that.

So it's really beyond money and what money can buy, but it's a lot of bringing people together.

daniel_griffith (15:46.921)
Yeah, yeah food food and agriculture brings people together. It's it's it's a good point Talk to me about sovereignty if you will you use that word twice communal See seeing agriculture in this communal lens with seeds and food and such what does that have to do with sovereignty?

precious_phiri (15:47.966)


precious_phiri (15:57.962)
Yes. So...

precious_phiri (16:09.7)
So it has to do with sovereignty, maybe a bit of a background in and show even if even for most people who are listening, we all know that we are also in the face of very industrious and how I'll use the word hectic, hectic forms of farming. So look for a better word. Where every day you experience and we found this knowledge, right? But the more we find it and the more people

engage in synthetics, fertilizers, pesticides, the more people drift apart from even working together. So now instead of coming together to help each other manage weeds and give each other plans on what other mixed crops can we put into manage like foreign weeds that can disadvantage our crops, you then resort to monocultures and here are some herbicides and here are pesticides in case your

And so that gives people a drift apart. But when we farm using our normal ways that way, what kept our civilizations and communities growing and growing for the longest of times. We find that we also are brought together by just sharing ideas, sharing seeds. Do you have this seed? I don't have this one. Oh, I traveled last week. I brought this form of seed. So for me, that is sovereignty.

precious_phiri (17:40.2)
and the preservation of the crop and the seed, despite what other governmental projects are going on around you, you are still able to say, hey, I have a plot of land where I would love to reserve and preserve for the seeds that have sort of defined us as a people.


daniel_griffith (18:02.809)
Do you know who Wendell Berry is? An American author?

precious_phiri (18:06.922)
Mmm, probably not. It's not.

daniel_griffith (18:07.621)
Wendell Berry, he's one of the early thinkers in like the sustainable agriculture, you know, ecological farming space here in the United States. And he has this essay where he critiques modern agriculture because of its rugged individualism is what he says. And that sounds to be very similar to what you're saying in the sense that pesticides

daniel_griffith (18:37.401)
I'm going to start using that if you don't mind. It pushes people away. It's so interesting to me that there's this tension, there's a connection I should say, between control and this industrial approach. As soon as we can control nature and we have the technological ability either in large-scale

daniel_griffith (19:07.561)
control allows us or this ability to control the natural world allows us to separate ourselves from community. That they're inversely proportional. That's really interesting.

precious_phiri (19:20.981)
Totally. And I think maybe after this you can send me so that I look up the author who wrote about how much individualism happens because over time Lend really will respond to show you that you're actually not winning by using all these synthetic introductions into my soil, into me, that's the soil talking. And it leads to scarcity and then scarcity mindset and then

daniel_griffith (19:28.909)

precious_phiri (19:49.2)
really disrupts them. The fragment and the beautiful weaving of the community. And for us and those I'm sure most of you who know, Ubon Tu is really like now it's like a new thing. Oh yeah, we are using the framework of Ubon Tu. Has it ever been a framework?

daniel_griffith (20:06.066)

daniel_griffith (20:19.103)
Ha ha!

precious_phiri (20:20.02)
Ubuntu is like breathing, you know? It's not, but now it's like a fancy word because it's like coming back again. Like where did it go? And when did we start losing Ubuntu? Because a child was everyone's child. We even have proverbs that say, a person who doesn't have, okay, let me speak it in my native language and I'll translate. On the last one, we are little talk.

daniel_griffith (20:22.627)

daniel_griffith (20:44.404)

precious_phiri (20:49.34)
without cows, they can still actually enjoy milk. So that's that's Ubuntu, which was sort of connotated by generosity and abundance thinking. But now even when you are working with communities, individualism is everywhere. And it's in all of us, we are all untangling and detangling ourselves

daniel_griffith (20:55.425)

precious_phiri (21:19.34)
the effects of industrious farming and probably manipulating parts to have a bumper harvest at any cost. We have prohibs that show that sharing food with a visitor will not necessarily finish your whole granary. They are just passing so we are at liberty to share but when you are training now and I remember one of the sessions I started talking about you know when we were creating what we call a holistic

aware of what it is. There's a person who really defined it beautifully for me one time. I can't remember their name. They say it's a vision of values that an island always says the life that would rather live or else die. You know, and so in the in the process of time we started talking about abundance and abundance mindset and I literally almost immediately knew that we needed to unpack

daniel_griffith (22:06.125)

precious_phiri (22:20.)
thinking is because abundance can still mean our nursing so that I abound as precious instead of my neighbor abounding. So when you unpack it and you translate it in our language it means both abundance and generosity. So that means even if I abound by myself if I'm the only one who is thriving when we go

precious_phiri (22:49.66)
the land has been deforested, you find that it's infested and affected by so many other issues in that environment, which is the same thing. So if you are bound by yourself, you're not necessarily prospering because prosperity is community and you put it so well in your book. It didn't say we belong to a community. We are community. They are just like in, they're just set in well in a spirit and it just

daniel_griffith (23:12.263)
We are a community.

daniel_griffith (23:16.726)
Ha ha.

precious_phiri (23:19.825)

daniel_griffith (23:20.922)
Let's stay here for a second. This is so powerful. Let's stay here. So you're saying in your language, the word for abundance doesn't just mean abundance as a thing, but it means abounding, but also generosity. There's this co-creative, communal type understanding of what abundance could mean.

precious_phiri (23:36.667)

precious_phiri (23:42.891)

daniel_griffith (23:43.243)
Could you say the word for us or the phrase that would denote that?

precious_phiri (23:46.2)
It's a phrase, it's a phrase. U'uanda lo gupana. U'uanda means abundance. U'uupana means generosity. So even if you are farming, you are bound, but you also are generous with the soil that you are working on, so that it will continuously be generous back to you. Literally, it's a continuously giving cycle. And I'm not over romanticizing everything

things again. Like what I expressed when I spoke about Ubu into that, it's certainly a big thing, it's in books and everything. And I'm like, is this half-heart down we were gone? You know what I mean? Yeah, so it's such a beautiful journey, this one, and it's not easy because the social dynamics are really heavy. And the communities, they still encounter big donors, big grants that still have

daniel_griffith (24:27.907)

precious_phiri (24:45.58)
coming here to save you, we're coming here to do this without you know so then the social stakes are still very challenging but I feel like consistency is one of the things that we should have as regenerators.

daniel_griffith (25:01.841)
consistency. That's a really good point. We talk about this a lot here. We joke, my wife and I, we joke that there's two people, whenever we meet people in this regenerative space that are from the United States, they fit into one of two categories. They're either daisy planters,

precious_phiri (25:04.227)

precious_phiri (25:28.982)
Is that right?

daniel_griffith (25:31.761)
individuals who want to, you know, get down and stay in place and and feel the pains and the abundance and joys of the place depending and they're there, right, and they're ready to work and the Daisy Pickers and don't we all need Pickers we all need harvesters But they're just they're there for experiences. They're there to learn more about harvesting this and then they're gone and then they're gone

daniel_griffith (26:01.781)
me, what I'm hearing from you is that there's a really, really open and needed space for people to move in, to be permanent, to work from the inside out, and be almost grafted into the landscape. We all know philosophically that the soil and us are inseparate. We are the soil, the soil is us. We come from the soil, we are one. That's what we were just talking about. But there's almost a re-grafting that needs to happen. You're saying you guys are relearning here in the United States.

precious_phiri (26:24.985)

daniel_griffith (26:31.981)
to the land that is totally required to take this next step for true regeneration of the soil in our community to take place.

precious_phiri (26:36.925)

precious_phiri (26:41.08)
True. I think during what you've just said has reminded me during the COVID pandemic, I remember talking to Alan, he said, you know, one thing that we've learned is that we either sink together or swim together as team humanity. So the farmer who's on the land is not

precious_phiri (27:11.04)
of us to work together in synergy and function together. And so the Daisy planter and the Havester and the pollinators and the rain and the sun, by the way, that are all living things to me right now because of reading a book, all have this role to play. And for me, it feels like

During the pandemic, we really reached the tipping point of an awareness that everyone has a role to play. Everyone can grow something. Everyone can end, I mean, respectfully should interact with the soil. Even if we are in the concrete jungles in cities, we should have a space to interact and understand the soil. The tragic happening of the pandemic and the

to my beautiful, um, loveable city of Victoria Falls, which turned into a costum within two weeks. And the most important thing at that time was food on the table. And we didn't have the luxury and the comfort of tourists coming in and out of a town and leaving tips and you bring your kids vegetables from the

precious_phiri (28:41.22)
And it was a beautiful manifestation of an opportunity and the reality that we've sort of always ignored and avoided, but it presented itself to us. And there were lockdowns. We couldn't necessarily access rural food per se for a while before roads were open for people to travel. So you know, so that was a big teacher for me that everyone has a space in this.

Here in lies the fundamentals of life and Yeah, I couldn't have said it any other deeper way. I wish I could express it But that's exactly we all are going through the same things We may be at different levels like you said that in America you're recrafting. We are re-learning. We are re-embracing And it's a very messy dance, but I feel like we're making headway

daniel_griffith (29:39.161)
Let's talk about that headway. And I'll just ask a very open question because you're involved with so many things and you're doing so much good work. I'll just let you take it whatever direction you like. But talk to me, how, either with, you know, Igugu Trust or Regeneration International or within the Wangae community, what sort of projects are you working on? You know, what's the vision for these projects? What success or hurdles are you experiencing?

precious_phiri (30:08.84)
Thanks. Thank you so much. And I guess as you had said earlier on a daily, I work with communities in the communal lands and it's, I have a beautiful privilege of really taking the lessons from the ground, bringing it to network levels. So as Regeneration International and the Google Trust, we are really close to see the

precious_phiri (30:38.16)
We have country-based networks. And then we have an almost pan-African network, which is called Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. So these are all groups of just African natives who are embracing and embracing practice, embracing frameworks, also embracing the idea that we should also continue to speak out for the food

the farming and the agricultural practices and regeneration, whether we're using agriculture, permaculture, regeneration, whatever you want to call it, we're all looking for the same thing. In the end, we all want the same thing. We want healthy communities, healthy landscapes, healthy economies, and healthy societies. And also for our voices to be heard,

precious_phiri (31:38.4)
We work on the ground with traditional leaders and some political leaders to a certain extent. At a national level now you're drafting policy documents to present to your governors and ministers of environment. And then we have sub-regional groups where we are creating communities of practice where people come to share homestead level regeneration to landscape level regeneration, just continuously connecting these pieces.

precious_phiri (32:09.48)
some of the challenges, like I said earlier, the landscapes are definitely degraded. And for the longest time, now you run meetings, some young people, once I ran a meeting and the young person was 26 years old, had never seen what we call a granary. A granary is where you

precious_phiri (32:38.16)
maybe let's start from six when she could remember. So for 20 years in that community, they had never been someone who has enough to harvest to actually store for the year. So that means in a rural community, people still buy food, which is one of the big markers of poverty and obviously leads to people buying unhealthy food. And then you have big corporations coming in as NGOs with

daniel_griffith (32:51.525)

precious_phiri (33:08.1)
You man, there's grants that get people going crazy. Like when you come and say, hey community, we have a grant of $50 million and everyone goes, be exact. Cause everyone's like, oh my God, all that money. And it doesn't really get to the communities hands in the end because of course these are big NGOs. They are all administrative targets. And these projects are not really, I tend to find, they are well planned. And these people mean well.

say, but half the time we miss out on the nuances of how to bring the communities together. How does this look like when we have left this community? And I feel like some of the movements that are happening in Africa right now, be it through Af Salat that I spoke about or see the Knowledge Initiative or my friends who are also small organizations, they call the Soft Food Alliance. You have all these little small groups of people that are doing small efforts, but eventually

place, it would make a resounding and beautiful weaving of work that's happening. Yeah, so and there's obviously sometimes big governmental projects that sort of encourage synthetics and pesticides and pesticides, all and everyone meaning very well, but the soil tends to respond with what we call in holistic management unintended consequences and we continuously

learning and embracing that.

daniel_griffith (34:41.221)
Wow, I think there's there's there's so much rhetoric today at least over here in the United States where we're looking for big solutions with big impacts with big changes via a singular channel, whatever that channel may be. I'm getting the opposite from you, right? We're seeing a weaving of small alliances and communities working, you know, more grassroots not top-down approaches

I don't know, talk to me about that. If we are to build a more beautiful world, do you think in part, and of course, even there's a weaving of big change and small change that needs to happen, but where should people look to start? I guess that's really what I want to ask.

precious_phiri (35:32.6)

daniel_griffith (35:38.105)
I love that.

precious_phiri (35:39.6)
Yeah, like look right where you're standing, what made your place to thrive? Even if you looked 20 years back, you have the elders, you have information, and what sort of technologies did they use to use? I mean native things that they used, and how does that look like now where we are? And if each place dug deep into the essence of what identified them as a people,

I love sharing some of the examples from just our communities. By birth, I am precious Dube, right? And Dube is a zebra. So when you want me to do anything for you, just sing the praises that identify a zebra. So that means the zebra and I are related. And when I see a zebra, I see me.

precious_phiri (36:39.12)
coexisted with these animals and they hunted them on foot. So that means the weak and those that wouldn't continuously carry the genes of the land, they'll be hunted on foot. And so if you're caught on foot, I don't think you belong sort of, you know, so that would be the food of the day. And so a person whose surname is a buffalo, they wouldn't eat a buffalo, you see? Now you're already regulating. And then there was meat like Elend.

which apparently is one of the tastiest, I still have never eaten it myself. But it's fatty and the kings and the elders loved it. And so because they wanted to have people not over hunt and overkill the populations of Elend at whatever cost, they put in a secretness around it. And so now the saying goes, if you're eating Elend meat, and it doesn't taste nice to you.


daniel_griffith (37:42.605)
in your mouth.

precious_phiri (37:54.16)
that it was a way of sacredness around that meat, knowing that it is the most preferred. And human tendencies were still in action then, but the elders had wisdom, right? The tendency is you want to eat what you like every day, but the elders will pull in some rubs of wisdom, and you sort of think twice before you try that meat. So, and I would say everyone look where you are.

daniel_griffith (38:07.026)

daniel_griffith (38:19.788)

precious_phiri (38:24.16)
fair if we think about politicians, politicians do what people like. So when they say that people love this, the multitudes, the consumers, farmers, marketeers and everybody is speaking this language, they jump on right away whether they understand or not, they'll understand when they are deep in there and that's how we can start influencing policy and I feel like in our movement we have lots of

precious_phiri (38:54.2)
your book, I can't wait for people to get their hands on it. And then there's people who can talk to the policymakers and then there's us who work with communities on the ground and keep taking stories to regional levels to say, hey guys, this is what we've seen works, these are some of the struggles, how can we be supported? And imagine if we also had regenerative funders, that would necessarily be bogged down to checking lists of, oh has this been done, has this been done, but what about if we

daniel_griffith (39:21.366)

precious_phiri (39:24.)
focused on harvesting outcomes. You know, this behavior, what has it brought and what are we learning? Like where should we be moving as this place? So there's no copy and paste. What works in this community may not work in the other one. Those are the dynamics. And I feel like that would at least put us on a track of going to some place where we'll be happy.

daniel_griffith (39:47.921)
Yeah. Wow. Wow, I love that. The human tendency to overharvest or do something negative, it's always there. But the wisdom of the elders, you said. The wisdom of the elders.

precious_phiri (40:00.34)
always, it's always been there. I mean like you have a baby, I have a two years, two and a half daughter. We always laugh, she wants all the things that you don't necessarily want to eat. And she's local. So you see, the human tendency is we're born with some of the things and the wisdom of the elders have to be at play.

daniel_griffith (40:25.646)

daniel_griffith (40:29.341)
Yeah, there's room that needs to be placed for that wisdom though, right? Because I think humans also have the tendency to eradicate such place.

precious_phiri (40:33.104)
Yes. Yes.

precious_phiri (40:37.44)
Yes, yes, yes, no, definitely. And you know, it's really complex in every sense of the word. And therefore, it's hard for you to give me precious, this is what I think will work for you. And I couldn't even start saying, Daniel, this is what would work for the world, which has been an unfortunate thing that we've watched where, regardless of where you are, this is the caring capacity of the place.

daniel_griffith (40:39.927)

precious_phiri (41:07.1)
the crop that you should plant. This is in so, unfortunately, that's how we've evolved to be where we are.

daniel_griffith (41:17.962)
When I first wrote Dark Cloud Country, you know, the prospectus is what authors call it. I sent it out to a number of publishers and all of them wanted Dark Cloud Country, the book, to be prescribable, to be practice-based. Now, you've read it. I don't know where I would have fit in practices. Like, this is how you utilize the relationship of chaos to regenerate your place.

precious_phiri (41:41.206)

daniel_griffith (41:47.141)
because publishers all thought to be readable, you know, for the masses, we had to cater to that very human tendency. And exactly, exactly. And I think they were totally right to believe that the book would sell many thousands more copies if you were to cater to those masses, you know, in the very human and unchecked tendency for prescriptions and practice. I'm still very glad we did what we did,

precious_phiri (41:54.201)
and say one, do this, two, and three, no.

precious_phiri (42:05.341)

precious_phiri (42:12.083)
Yes, yes.

daniel_griffith (42:16.221)
It's really hopeful and I think it's emotionally stimulating to believe that, you know, leading with hope and joy and community and communal type work is just as effective, especially for policy. Like you were saying, politicians just, you know, they follow that, the wording of the people I think is one way how you said it. There's hope there.

precious_phiri (42:38.92)
Yeah, yeah. Definitely. And you know, like, what you've just said about your book, the way you wrote it, the generations to come will read it, and it will still resonate. I saw that in your book,

precious_phiri (43:08.72)
quoted one of my favorite quotes. I think the quotes of how stupid we look when we fix something that we initially made wrong ourselves. When we are done fixing it, we're like, hey, look at me, I've done this. That book, The One-Straw Revolution, when you read it now, it was written in the setting of the mountains of Japan.

daniel_griffith (43:18.443)
Ha ha ha.

daniel_griffith (43:24.25)

precious_phiri (43:40.541)
the essence and it resonates and so I see like you say why anyone would be like you know maybe it would have been better if you really say you know if you want to make the most of the sun if you want to make the most of the rain if you want to make the most of soil and your neighbors this is how you would do it but when

precious_phiri (44:08.74)
You're reading a song. You are reading, I can't describe it, but what I know is it's timeless truths of complexities of what we manage. You take that book and put it superimposite into a family. The principles and the framework comes out. You put it in the landscape, the same. You put it on your crop fields, the same. On your animals, the same. So it may take time.

But where the voices of regeneration are going, it's a few more pieces that need to come together in the regeneration movement because right now we're still kind of holding our little flags. I'm Pema culture. I am agroecology. You guys, you have a weakness here. You guys have a weakness here, but we need that space where we will notice that we are actually saying the same thing. And where the direction of things are going, that book will be one of the most important

kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa k

daniel_griffith (45:14.502)
Yeah, I appreciate it. I showed you this you know previous to the call starting but your your blurb

daniel_griffith (45:23.561)
You know, I'm sure you've dealt with some some things like this where you put your heart and your soul into something And you send it out to people and you're like, hey, what do you think? And it's the most heart-wrenching very scary process and so You know, we received a bunch of you know blurbs from people all over the world for Dark Cloud Country the new book and yours I'll never forget My dad had just had a stroke. I was driving home from the hospital

precious_phiri (45:37.026)

daniel_griffith (45:53.141)
night and my wife was driving and I opened my phone just to kind of distract my mind and your email came in with the blurb. Now never forget it was a moment in my life that I all I can say is I will never forget it because even today I can't describe really like people you know try to do a podcast with me about about the book and I don't know just read it.

precious_phiri (46:09.6)
Thank you.

precious_phiri (46:19.405)

daniel_griffith (46:23.381)
I'll read it, but it says, a sacred encounter, the kind you keep closed somewhere special in your heart. And you had a lot of other words surrounding that, but that was the thing that stuck out. And I said, you know what? Precious got it. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, she got it. And I am so appreciative of your time in reading the book. I'm so thankful and blessed to spend the time with you today.

daniel_griffith (46:53.661)
I think we need many more preciouses all over the world in their places and their communities doing what their communities need But in honor and in regard to to you and your wisdom. I I'm not saying it to be nice. I promise I am not trying to You know just be nice on a podcast. I mean it I'm really thankful and blessed that we got to share some time together

precious_phiri (47:17.76)
I am so thankful Daniel and thank you so much for pouring out your heart to the world and for giving me this opportunity to be with you here and thank you for even writing that email to me to say hey can you read my book my life is changed forever and I like I told you that I have never

daniel_griffith (47:47.202)
Ha ha.

precious_phiri (47:51.881)
It was the craziest thing that I ever like, if I flashed my phone to show you how many notes I was taking. I think people need to know one of the codes that I'll carry for the rest of my life. I mean there's lots of them.

precious_phiri (48:19.12)
said it is not a lack of order but it is order that is beyond form so that sland me like I was like that's exactly why we say let's mix crops you know because I

precious_phiri (48:49.02)
There's just one crop and one season of very heavy sun. Everything is just withered and looking down like this. Then you get into a farmer's field that has been mixed immensely. It's chaotic, it's orderly, but it has no form. And that's what makes it powerful and beautiful. So I'm really, really thankful for your talents and for being brave to also let it out there. I don't know how you think

daniel_griffith (48:56.625)

precious_phiri (49:19.1)
frame your words as actually I hope people won't be laughing about this I was a bit worried about talking to you today I was like does this guy talk like how he writes

daniel_griffith (49:31.324)
No, I don't. Thank goodness.

precious_phiri (49:37.58)
definitely. But thankfully language is very kind and it's really dynamic. And I totally enjoyed connecting with you today on this podcast. And I know it's been forever and we were yada yada ring. But I'm really, really grateful. And thank you for grounding me, to be honest. You really grounded me. Thank you.

daniel_griffith (49:44.683)
Yes, yes

daniel_griffith (49:54.407)

daniel_griffith (49:58.266)

Well, I'm blessed by you and I'm glad it was reciprocal. Thank you again. It's been a great day. Thank you.

precious_phiri (50:06.966)
Yeah. Thanks.

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