Building bridges with Becca Skinner

Becca is a photographer, writer, National Geographic Explorer, and farmer in the permaculture food forest at her home near Bozeman, Montana. As you’ll hear in this episode, Becca started in adventure storytelling, but has since expanded her focus to include private land stewardship and sustainable food production, topics that are now central to her outlook and way of life.

As she wrote in a piece she co-authored in the inaugural issue of On Land, Becca describes herself as having a foot in two worlds: in one world there is the recreation-based environmentalist, in the other world there is the ranching family that works to sustain biodiversity and open landscapes while producing food for their community. Becca’s journey parallels many people’s, including my own. Despite our age of polarization, many folks in both of these communities are realizing they have more in common than they previously understood. Becca’s work continues to bridge these two worlds, from the center.


Topics discussed

2:32 – Becca talks about her work as a photographer and writer

3:00 – Shifting focus from adventure storytelling to farming and permaculture

3:30 – Private and public land conservation

3:50 – Talking about audience

4:40 – Reaching more people who care about food

5:17 – Balancing raising food and recreation

6:00 – Becca on what drives her creative energy

7:00 – Encouragement to place-based storytellers

7:40 – Being a bridge to multiple worlds

8:30 – Becca shares her love of community solutions to national challenges

9:30 – Amber asks, “who’s leading when it comes to solutions-based initiatives?”

10:45 – Becca talks about discovering the collaborative nature of people in agriculture

11:30 – The tension of hope

13:00 – Becca on her idea of stewardship

14:00 – A story of working with nature rather than against it

Links from this Episode

Becca’s website:


Rodale Institute:

Check out this piece from the inaugural issue of On Land Becca wrote alongside Laura Nelson:

And if you’ve got more time, check out this video Becca contributed to:

Thank you to Molly Manthei, whose art is featured in the opening of the video. Check her out on Instagram!

On Land is a production of Western Landowners Alliance, a non-profit that advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species. Learn more about WLA’s Women in Ranching program here.

Hosted by Amber Smith

Produced by Zach Altman

Theme music by Jason Shaw

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Amber Smith has been living and working in rural America since 2004, beginning at The Home Ranch in Colorado, where she worked as a wrangler. She and her husband are currently raising their two children and working to steward a 53,000-acre ranch in Cohagen, Montana. She is the director of the Women in Ranching program of the Western Landowners Alliance.