What would it be like to live in the Brazilian Amazon for over 20 years, off grid, 18 hours away from any hospital, hardly speaking the language, while simultaneously running a cattle ranch? John Carter of Aliança Da Terra today describes the many lessons he and his wife gleaned from their time there. From the health and happiness he observed among his neighbors, the Kamayurá Indian, to the negative influence of the government and corporations that he saw unfold over the years.
Visit his website for more information on his team’s efforts to preserve the land, while also cultivating it.
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Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
What would it be like to live in the Brazilian Amazon for over 20 years off-grid, 18 hours away from any hospital, hardly speaking the language, whilst simultaneously running a cattle ranch? This is episode 409, and our guest has had exactly this experience. He and his wife operated a ranch and a full-time garden, along with raising milk cows, cows for beef, beekeeping, and growing medicinal plants.
Our guest, John Carter, describes the many lessons he gleaned from his time in Brazil and from his neighbors, the Kamayurá Indians, who lived an untainted traditional lifestyle right by their side. Before we dive into the conversation, I want to remind you that we have resources in Español in Spanish. If you have Spanish-speaking friends who you want to introduce to the Western A Price Foundation and traditional ancestral healthy living, go to our website and click on the tab that says WAPF en Español.
It’s on the right-hand sidebar on our homepage. We have pamphlets and the Tradiciones Sabias, which is the sister show to the Wise Traditions show. We also have an Instagram account and a link there to that, so many resources. Go to our website, Western A Price, and click on the button that says WAPF en Español. A shout-out to Second Spring Foods. It is a family-owned and operated business with over 30 years of experience working with food, sprouting it, eating it, and sharing it.
Go to Second Spring Foods to find your favorite sprouted pantry staples, and use the code WISE for 10% off. That’s Second Spring Foods and the code WISE.
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Welcome to the show, John.
Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s an honor to be talking to you, Hilda.
For years, you and your wife have lived on the frontier of the Southern Amazon, and you’ve gotten to connect with Amazonian indigenous tribes. Can you tell us one story or lesson you learned from the traditional lifestyles you observed there?
That’s a tough order because there are so many stories and one’s better than the other. I was first introduced to them in 1997, and my wife and I moved to Mato Grosso, Brazil, which is the Southern Amazon Basin. It was an area predominantly forest, very remote off the grid. I was a pilot or am a pilot, but flying a bush plane to get around. The Indians to our West were some of our closest neighbors. It was a 45-minute flight to get there.
It’s a very profound experience because we get to meet culturally intact people at that time and very little contact with the outside world. They were landlocked, didn’t have access to towns, and most of the people there didn’t speak Portuguese. It was even difficult to communicate. What I noticed immediately was how happy they were contrary to what you would read in the press. Similarities probably to the American West, to be honest with you.
There’s a propaganda side to paint an image that you want for control, and then there’s a side on the ground where these were happy people, very healthy, and their skin glistened. They were very strong, had no body fat, and live off of and still now of primary diet of 4 or 5 foodstuffs. They’re constantly farming, replenishing, and sharing.
What I remember are the women sitting around fires drying or cooking these big pancakes, and it’s called biju in Portuguese. It’s made from manioc like tapioca. It serves as the basis or the plate for everything else they eat, put a fish on it, and whatever else they’re eating. My first impression was what happy and healthy people.
It’s so interesting that you remark on that because Dr. Price also noticed the optimism and the happiness among the indigenous people that he encountered on his worldwide tour of people groups. The interesting thing is, some people say, “You’re idealizing that lifestyle,” but you saw it with your own eyes.
I heard that before. What I saw, I cannot deny, and the happiest human beings I’d ever met. They were working in sync with each other as a community. Everyone had their roles. The kids, there’s a big lake in front, it’s called Ipavu. It’s massive. It’s probably a mile-long land lock a couple of miles away from the Xingu River, but it is a massive lake. The 6, 7, 8-year-old kids would be out in the water with their two-year-old siblings and no parents around, no adults.
Kamayurá Indians may be the happiest human beings in the world. They’re just working in sync with each other as a community.
The trust that the parents gave to their kids and the responsibilities they gave at such an early age. The kids were having a ball and playing in the water. It was like a utopia, to be honest with you, and that’s no exaggeration. That’s what struck my heart chords in the heartstrings, attracting me back there over and over again because it was such a fun place to visit.
There are pranksters and jokesters. There’s a whole stigma about Indian. They’re people. They happened to be there first before us, but they’re no different from us, no different whatsoever. They just have a different form of living that it’s like they struck gold in the whole format of how they live their life and how they govern each other.
I’m now talking to you from a homestead and I see some of that joy, that community feel, the happiness, the self-sufficiency, and the young children with responsibilities. I see some of that reflected here. I wanted to ask you, do you think modern-day people, like people who have been Westernized, if you will, and maybe have abandoned their original first nation culture, do you think we can return to that lifestyle, joy, and optimism?
That’s very tangible. I don’t think it’s hard at all. There’s no recipe to it. You put a person outside in the crisp fall air with dirt, animals, livestock, and grass. It’s that contact with the land that it’s innate to happiness. Modern society, the population of rural areas and stacking people into cities is a recipe for depression. It’s too easy too.
There’s something about a hard day’s work and having calluses on your hand and the satisfaction that brings, that’s cross-cultural. That’s no different from a farmer or rancher in Texas compared to a Kamayurá Indian and the Xingu. It’s the same level of happiness that you can see the same thing. That’s why I related well to them. It was like long-lost friends. We had a similar worldview on loves and passions.
What took you to that region in the first place, John?
Back in 1992, I got out of the US Army to go do a course at Texas Christian University called Ranch Management. It’s a Business course or beef cattle production, and it’s an international course. This gal from Brazil happened to be sitting next to me. We had to sign seats, and we graduated a year later. I flew down to Brazil to propose to her.
Little did I know what I was doing. Within a couple of years, we left Texas. We got married and lived here, and then we went down to the Wild West of the Mato Grosso frontier to manage a family ranch that was 22,000 acres, about 18 hours away from a hospital by car. No grid, no telephone, and shortwave radio. What took 18 hours by car would take 2 and a half hours by airplane. That’s how bad the roads were. We fell into the old West or fell into American West 1880, 1870.
What were some of the biggest challenges you all faced at first?
Security and safety. Within a matter of weeks, we’d had gunmen come on the property. We were schooled quickly that there was no law other than the law that you decided to do on your own as far as not being a vigilante, but you had to protect yourself. There’s a sense of vulnerability, a newbie to come in, you get tested. We were being tested and that was a real shocking thing. It wasn’t Kansas in The Wizard of Oz. It was a very violent place where at the time our region Northeastern Mato Grosso up to Southern Pará State, which is to the North. It had the highest murder per capita in the world. Fights over land, land invasions, frontiers, so as the American West all over again.
Were these the indigenous people that were coming at you at gunpoint? I was hoping it wasn’t the happy people.
No. They were already housed in their cages. I say that derogatorily because they already put in their reservations. Luckily, the ones that were closest to us, they made boundaries around them and didn’t relocate them. They didn’t suffer so greatly, but the people that were threatened were land grabbers, squatters, and organized crime led by politicians. If you know your true American history and not just reading New York Times bestsellers or reading the old memoirs, it was the same thing.
It’s like Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County Wars or Tom Horn in Wyoming. It’s the same type of thing. We were dealing with ranchers who had to have their own security forces. They’d have 10, 12 gunmen neighbors, a 160,000-acre ranch, and he had 10 full-time gunmen that would patrol their forest to keep lane invaders out. That gets old after a while. You then realize there’s no one to help you, and the police don’t help you. They’re all involved. They’re given orders to sit quietly. That’s the reality of the Amazon basin. It’s a tough place.
The people grabbing land were not probably just individuals trying to do it that way, but there was a corporate influence that you got to observe a cultural shift over the course of the decades that you were there.
There was a remarkable shift at the time that when we first moved there, the dynamics were different. You had a part to describe, but the Amazon is not just this one big chunk of land. It’s 25% roughly are estimates plus or minus 1% or 2% but about a quarter Indian lands, a quarter into conservation units and parks. About 25% is private property and 25% is undetermined. It’s the government’s asset list, so to speak.
Only about a quarter of the Amazon’s private property, farmers, and ranchers. They’re not the issue. The issue is other land that doesn’t have a park manager or anyone to take care of it, and it’s a land grab. You’ve got people going in like families, and you’ve got organized groups where they’ll truck people from a thousand miles away to take over a park and tear down the forest.
Political behind the scenes that then falsifies the title. With that false title, you can get a loan. There’s that whole black market. The Amazon is one massive black market . Over the years, as the frontier advances and deforestation happens, and then the first commodity was timber. The second commodity is beef, and the third commodity is soybeans. There’s a transition in land value. The higher the land value, the bigger the fight.
I believe you also said that you witnessed the deterioration of health among the indigenous tribes that you were describing earlier, as Dr. Price did years ago when he did his worldwide tour. He noticed that as the displacing foods of modern commerce started to shift the diet of the indigenous people groups, their health began to suffer. Tell us a little bit about that.
We lived on a ranch called Espanza Hope Ranch. We had our own garden and our own food. Our employees were all locals and natives. They were not indigenous peoples, but they were frontiersmen and they themselves would be much like Appalachia as far as knowing the medicinal plants and being woodsmen living off the land. We were surrounded by people who knew the medicinal plants, what you could eat, what you couldn’t, home remedies, etc.
To our West, about 45 minutes by airplane in the single-engine, was the Xingu National Park, which is 6.5 million acres. There are roughly fifteen tribes or separate indigenous groups there that speak different dialects and languages. The ones in the Southern part of the park were from that region. The park was made around them. It’s a story much like Lewis and Clark. It’s a phenomenal story, but that’s for another day. When I first went there, they were absolutely the happiest people in the world.
As I said, they’re extremely healthy and primarily 90% of the diet was their traditional diet. Very little food coming from outside. When you fast-forward to now with advancement of the frontier around their lands, the access of roads and the ability to come back and forth and more than anything, government policies and policies from the nonprofit organizations that supposedly work with the Indians gave them exposure to the cities and also the communications.
They put in satellite antennas and TVs in the tribes and had generators. It’s an acculturation process, purposeful. It’s funny. The Indians, in their traditional medicine, would call their certain diseases an Indian disease that they could cure, that they knew what plant or remedy to use. What happened was that they had an introduction to the White man disease that they didn’t have cures for, and it started to become a plague.
Diabetes, weight issues, heart problems, and tremendous anxiety also that they didn’t have before. They even know it. They see it themselves. They comment on it, and yet they continue to eat the sugar, salts, and processed foods and take them back to the village and stuff. It was black and white. What we saw before there was illness was very rare.
Now, the chief, who’s a close friend of mine who’s had heart attacks and diabetes. His dad, who passed away a few years ago, was very traditional, did not eat much White man food, processed foods, and died in old age, very healthy. You can see the comparison of father and son and that’s happening all across the Amazon. Everywhere you go, you see the same thing happen.
Even though they can see this happening on some level, is it the convenience or the allure of being Westernized? What is it that’s keeping them from returning to their traditional ways?
That’s a question that’s better asked of them than me. I say that because I’ve asked that question. The answer that I’ve received time and time again from them is that deep desire to remain within their culture and to keep the old ways, but there’s also addiction. Once you start eating sugar, you want to keep eating sugar in salt, etc.
What’s amazing is that they make their own salt. They make their salt a lily pad that grows in the river and the current’s not very fast. They harvest that and take it by boat, and then they dry it out hanging on wooden racks. You would think about buffalo and making dried meat in the plains Indian. They hang this stuff on racks, dry it out, and then burn it. They get the ashes and put them in the sieve they make out of leaves like a funnel.
They pour water over it and then at the bottom, they have a cup. It collects that water, and then they boil that water. What’s left is a salt, but it’s not sodium chloride. It’s sodium calcium chloride or whatever, I can’t remember. Anyway, that salt has a totally different taste. It still has a spiciness to it, but apparently, it doesn’t cause high blood pressure.
They’ve only had high blood pressure since they transitioned over to the White man’s salt, which is out of convenience because you don’t have to go through that rigorous process of harvesting and doing all that to get to their salt. There’s no telling how many hundreds of pounds of lily pads they have to process to get a cup of their salt.
Tell us about some of their traditional dishes that you observed that they were still eating when you arrived.
They still eat a lot of them. It’s not something you see and immediately catch onto. It’s taken me decades to understand the intricacies and things pop up every now and then. I say, “I can’t believe you do that.” I had no idea. For instance, there’s a tree called pequi. It’s native to Brazil. It’s very popular in the frontier states amongst the pioneers and the frontiersmen too.
It became a traditional dish of the pioneers. The Kamayurá, this one tribe, had cultivated varieties over the eons of pequi and theirs produces twice the pulp. It’s like the consistency of a mango with the seed inside it. It’s got thorns spike that means very thorny cactus-like, so you can’t bite into it. You got to be real careful and scrape off this pulp. November, December is when they’re harvested.
They harvest and then they do preserve any type of canning process in the estates. I didn’t know they did this. I thought they ate it and waited until next year. They harvest it, get this paste, put it into the palm frond baskets they make, pound it to get the air out, put a top on it, and then go out along the edge of a lake that’s in front of them.
They dig a big hole and bury it. This is much like if you think about putting up ham in the American South, you always do it after the first freeze, and then you would put them in the smokehouse and salt them. It’s very similar. They would wait for the rains to start because then the rains come, the lake starts to fill up and that water then covers the pequi that they have buried.
There’s probably 5,000 pounds per basket that they bury in the sand, then the water covers it, creating an anaerobic environment. I saw them out there in the lake digging. I said, “What are you digging for, clams?” He said, “No.” They pulled out the basket, and I was like, “I couldn’t believe it.” They gave me a bite, and it was a little bit tart, but not very much. It’s been underground or underwater for eight months. It’s amazing.
Coming up, John shares some of the hardships that he and his family encountered living in such a remote and, at times, violent area.
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Since you couldn’t speak the language and your wife spoke Portuguese, obviously, but you said the indigenous people didn’t necessarily speak it. How did you communicate with one another, and how did you begin to appreciate their way of life?
I’ve always been a big student of the old West and American history. One of my passions growing up in South Texas as a kid and it was pounded into me, I’ve always had a deep love of the American Indian and tremendous respect. A book that impacted me was Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I read that when I was in elementary school and I remember that Dee Brown’s book.
I always saw that history had two sides. When we went to Brazil and I realized, as a pilot, 45 minutes away from people who had recently been contacted that were feared by the pioneers in the region. The lore behind it was, “If you go there, they’ll kill you. They’ll stake you out on the beach. Stake your neck into the beaches and let the bugs eat you.” That drew me to my curiosity even stronger to go there.
We ended up having the opportunity to visit someone else who had a relationship with them and was a landowner on the edge of the park. This reservation took us there, which is almost like, “This is where I’m supposed to be.” My next trip back is probably a couple of weeks later or three weeks later. I had this real desire to go back, and so I flew in by myself and landed, which was a no-no. I said, “Do not ever do that.” You can’t go without permission.
You have to have authorization. You can only talk to them on shortwave radio. I didn’t have their frequency. They’re supposed to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Brazil, which is the same as the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the US. Back in those times, they were more there to take advantage than to help. I bucked the system, flew in on my own, landed, surrounded by dozens of kids with no clothes. Batt naked, brown as berries with these little palm frond belts on.
They’re all happy and laughing. Men and women came out and surrounded the airplane. I had a bush plane. I had a taildragger, got out of my cockpit and stepped down the ground. I was inundated with people. They weren’t there with bows and arrows and war clubs. They were there like, “You’re the guy who was here a few weeks ago.” This little kid ran up to me, parted his way through the crowd, and handed me something.
He tapped me on the back and then handed me a model airplane, meaning he’d built it out of a palm tree which is like balsa wood, very light and delicate. He then ran off. He was embarrassed and ran away. I looked at the plane, it was the spitting image of my plane, which they’d never seen before. That was strange. I was walking to the village with the chief and his dad, who was the head shaman. He was like the sitting bull of the Southern Amazon.
He’s very famous. His name was Takuma. I had the plane and asked him. He could speak broken Portuguese, and I said, “How did he know?” He said, “We knew you were coming,” very nonchalantly. I got chills from head to toe so that was one of a thousand experiences that my wife and I have had there. When you talk about food and culture, they go hand in hand. When you’re in harmony with the land and with who you are, it’s hard to even describe, but there’s a certain essence to them.
Are you telling me that this boy made the plane without having seen your plane first?
Yes. I had a unique plane then. First, I had a taildragger, and then I had another plane. It was called a Bonanza V35. It has a V tail. That’s the only plane in the general aviation fleet that’s got a V tail, and hardly ever seen in Brazil. Never out region like that. It was crazy. I had it and kept it hanging over my desk in a string for years until he finally disintegrated. That little boy grew up to be a man and is a good friend of mine now.
You didn’t want to be a fly-by-night, flash-in-the-pan kind of visitor to that region. It sounds like you felt a pull on your heart to get more involved to even establish the ranch that you and your wife did.
Spiritual in nature because it was a realization of who I am, who I was, and what my dreams as a kid were from early on. It’s like, “This is what I’ve always dreamed of. How did I end up here?” I spent one time over a month in the village. When in the village, you’re sleeping in hammocks, eating their foods fish fresh caught, peacock bass, piranha, catfish, and stingray.
During the rainy season, when it’s hard to fish because there’s so much water, the rivers flood the surrounding vegetation. It’s hard to catch fish. That’s when they hunt monkeys, spider monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. Depending on what type of year there, it depends on what the diet is. That was part of the allure. I was handed an opportunity to go back in history. I didn’t want to waste that opportunity, so I started learning some of their language.
Part of the allure of going to the Amazon is being handed the opportunity to go back in history.
I got to about 100-some words and then I quit. It was very hard. I was able to communicate with the younger kids, mainly the men, the boys that could speak broken Portuguese. That’s how I communicated, which is very hard to learn in the family units because they can’t say the name of another person. There’s taboo to it. You’d say like, “Who’s that?” They say, “That’s my cousin.” “What’s his name?” “I can’t tell you.” You then have to figure out how to find that out.
It’s like a big puzzle. I started mapping it out untiI I got to the point where I knew almost everyone’s name. It’s osmosis over time. It was like, “These aren’t this novel people. These are friends.” I had a hut. They built a hut for me and my wife. We had our own little shack there. It’s always going in there and I can’t even count how many times. That plus then on our ranch, living off the grid. Living off the grid is one thing.
This movement in the United States, home studying and everything, that’s about 5% of it because it’s the people and their character. People who are willing to go out there in the middle of nowhere and the hardships are almost insurmountable at times. That humanity comes out in people. What enamored me with the region is the human spirit, both from the Indians and non-Indians. It’s all across the board. There’s a certain spirit to it. It’s unique and precious.
What are some of the hardships that you’re alluding to?
From our ranch perspective, everything, electricity, we had a diesel generator that we would run 3 to 4 hours a day in the evening to have light and then to keep what we had in the freezer frozen. For the other twenty hours a day, you didn’t have electricity. If you had a motor problem, engine problem, it could take a month to get parts so far away.
We pumped our own water. We dug out a spring, and that spring gravity fed it down to a creek and that creek put in a water wheel and the water wheel had a pump. It would pump water about a mile up to a house. There was maybe a mile and a half of a pipeline. Water would stop flowing at times. Sometimes it’d be snakes that got in it, Anaconda that got in, stopped up the pipe and died.
We found out what it was because the taste of the water was rancid, and took a big gulp of water, and it was rotten Anaconda water, snakes in our house, snakes in our bed, poison snakes. We have 50-something poisonous snakes. Snakes are everywhere all the time, snake bites and snakes that are extremely poisonous. Lack of antivenom, that meant you could certainly die.
This is a threat for the indigenous people as well.
Yes. The massive storms in the rainy season. You don’t have your insurance company at the call the next day, your roof is torn off, and we had hundreds of bats in our house would sleep, and it took forever to get bats out. Ended up catching a bowl constrictor and turning the bowl constrictor loose. We built the ceiling to keep the bats from pooping on us at night. I then put the snake on the ceiling and lived there for about six months. Got rid of the bats. A boa constrictor did.
That’s a great idea. I have a friend that has a lot of bats in her attic and she can’t afford to pay a company $10,000 to $15,000 to get them out. This might be a good solution for her. I’m going to tell her to find a boa constrictor.
The biggest challenge wasn’t the animals. It was the two-legged animals, people, and this constant pressure that someone was going to get you. It was a very violent place, and we saw a lot of bad things happen. It’s like you’re in a combat zone.
You said early on in this conversation that it was a childhood dream of yours to go back to someplace off-grid, almost like the Wild West as you mentioned, and you fulfilled it. What do you think, John, is a dream now of some of the indigenous friends there in the Brazilian Amazon?
Talking about Appalachia, have you ever read the Foxfire series? It was a compilation of all the medicinal plants, herbs, and the entire Appalachian lifestyle into an encyclopedia, so you wouldn’t lose that knowledge. My grandparents’ dad’s side were from North Carolina and that nostalgia for that time in place was very strong. It was bred into me.
When I see now what’s happening, the same thing is happening in the Amazon basin where you’ve got this frontier and this fleeting moment in time when these ancient cultures are transforming rapidly. You also got the frontiersmen culture, which is similar to Appalachia. One of the positive stories out of all this is that with the Kamayurá, for instance, they’ve got a deep desire to preserve their culture.
Through technology and using cameras, they’re recording everything and documenting their medicinal plants and all their legends, stories, and myths. They’ve got a phenomenal inventory of everything. You can’t go back in time. That’s for sure. Every generation changes and loses a little bit, and it’s a fruitless fool’s errand to think you’re going to stop it in time.
What I see is that they’ve somehow conquered the challenge to self-determination and pretty much put their foot down. I was concerned because that first generation of adolescents that came that were wanting to leave the village. When they got over that and got into their twenties, they went backwards and said, “We want to stay, and we’re proud of who we are.” Our friendship evolved into other activities with them.
The biggest threat to their culture is fire, the wildfire on Amazon. It’s a huge swath of their forest getting burned down. That eliminates all their supplies to build their huts, all the bark they use, the trees, the wood, the timber, and the medicinal plants too, which they have hundreds of. The fire was hampering them because they were landlocked.
There are many people, tribes now that be able to move to different spots is impractical. They had to walk further and further in the forest to find what they used to find in their backyard. We trained them. We created our own firefighting unit. We had picked the smoke jumpers and hot shots down from Idaho back in 2009 and created our own wildland firefighting unit. We created the first indigenous wildland firefighting unit in Brazil, certainly in the Amazon basin.
Those Indians, these people, the Kamayurá tribe now has an active unit that’s now trained dozens of other indigenous firefighters too. Since they started about a few years ago, they’ve practically eliminated fire in their region. They held the line and that gave them great confidence that they didn’t need the government to be their babysitter, nor do they want them, actually.
As you said, they’re quite self-sufficient, and it’s nice that you could collaborate together and bring something that you knew how to do to the groups that you were connected to. I want to ask you a couple more questions before we wrap up. One is, what is your dream now, John Carter, as you’re an adult and sounds like you’re spending half of your time in the US now and half there. What do you hope to see in the days to come?
Brazil’s a part of me now. I’m a Mestiço, so to speak, and came to the US to put our kids in school and to, see the family and take care of my mom. My mom passed away, my brother passed away in 2022, so I’m a free bird again. My wife and I want to move back into Mato Grosso. Mato Grosso is a state and that stands for thick forest. That’s the dream to go back there and reap the harvest of two decades of a love affair with the people in the land there. We started a conservation group, too, that has exploded. We’ve got a lot to go back to and don’t have to work hardly because we have a great staff to do all the work. We can go enjoy it.
I want to ask you the question I often pose at the end of the show if the reader could only do one thing to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
Grow your own food. That’s it. Being a rancher and dealing with animals, they can’t talk to you. You’ve got to have the ability to read an animal by its body condition and body language. The main emphasis for livestock regarding animal husbandry is that a healthy animal doesn’t get sick. If you get sick and don’t have your nutrition in order, you’re behind the power curve. The same goes for us if we eat healthy food, eat right, exercise, and not think about my grandparents.
That generation and their parents had a cure for everything and I can remember those cures. They weren’t as sick people like us. It’s been my opinion. Poisoned by modern food systems and the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry. Growing your own food is the first step to freedom. I say that because we did it by accident, living where we lived. Difference coming back and eating processed food, went to restaurants, and store-bought food, it all tasted the same. It had a dull flavor to it, and we feel very heavy and lose our energy within about a week. That’s what I would say is to grow your own food. Good for your soul too.
Growing your own food is the first step to freedom.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, your experience and your wisdom with us, John.
It was an honor to be speaking to you, Hilda. Thank you very much.
Our guest was John Carter. Visit his website, Aliança da Terra. You can find me at Holistic Hilda. I’m the host and producer of this show for the Weston A Price Foundation. For a recent review from Apple Podcast, Washington DC Girl had this to say, “Love this podcast and Hilda. Keep up the great work, Hilda. Love this podcast, your professionalism, and your guests.” That is so sweet.
I stumbled across this review. It means a lot to me. Thank you so much for reading, my friend. You too can leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Go to ratings and reviews, leave us as many stars as you like, and tell people why you love the show. Thank you once again for reading. Stay well and keep your feet on the ground and your face to the sun.
About John Carter
John Cain Carter is from San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas, served in an Army airborne infantry reconnaissance unit, and attended Texas Christian University’s Ranch Management Program where he met his Brazilian wife Kika. They moved to Brazil’s southern Amazon Basin in 1996 to manage a family cattle ranch. They are practicing Catholics.
As a pilot, John was given a privileged view of frontier development as he flew 1000s of hours across the region. This perspective armed with the brutal experience of living in the frontier birthed the idea to build a good land stewardship movement that would harness emerging “sustainable” market forces to stimulate a saner development model. In 2004 that idea transformed into Aliança da Terra, a Brazilian non-profit that has since become a for-profit entity called Produzindo Certo that manages social and environmental data on over 17 million acres of private property today, half of which is native vegetation. Farmers and ranchers naturally rose to the challenge and delivered historic results while the “sustainable development” mafia retreated back into their hole with their money, shocked that someone called their bluff.
In 2009 Aliança da Terra built the first “Hotshot-equivalent” wildland firefighting unit in the Amazon Basin. Today, Brigada Aliança fields over fifteen highly qualified wildland firefighting units across three states. Where the Brigada Aliança operates, fire is drastically reduced at a ridiculously low cost, mocking the constant global narrative that fires are devouring the Amazon and that there is no one to put them out. As of 2023, the Brigada Aliança, to include the most highly trained unit of Amazonian Indian firefighters (Kamayurá), has eradicated fire in its operating regions by harnessing the good will of private landowners, all the while Western development agencies, foundations, and “sustainable” multinational corporations cut the Brigada Aliança’s funding, in large part due to its threatening results that destroy the narrative.
The experience of working in good faith under the financial control of big money and seeing the treachery and deceit emanating from the global environmental movement, John now understands that the only people one can trust to take care of the land are the private farmers, ranchers, and Indians who own it.
- John Carter
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