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Episode 567: Living Future ft Melissa Hoffman and Shawn Smith

By Jasmin and Mariann — November 21, 2020

This week we’re pleased to feature Shawn Smith and Melissa Hoffman of LivingFuture Foundation. The two live on SHO Farm, a 1300-acre regenerative vegan farm in Vermont, where they farm and steward the land so that all occupants can coexist in harmony. Shawn and Melissa are passionate about the long-term viability of food-medicine agriculture and the ecosystems that support life on our delicate, yet resilient, planet. Melissa is the creative force behind SHO Farm and is a perennial, plant-based chef and educator dedicated to the relationship between living land systems and the rich traditions of global plant-based gastronomy. Shawn is an animal rights activist, a lawyer, a real estate professional, and runs the Sanctuary at SHO—home to a rescued flock of ducks.

Today, Shawn and Melissa are sharing the details of their wildlife integrated approach to farming and the techniques they use to achieve their goals and further their central purpose. Highlighting the importance of understanding how ecosystems function, they discuss how we can eliminate the use of animals and still feed a growing population by redesigning the way we live and farm. Shawn also explains how SHO Farm disrupted the cycle of violence from another farm by not only rescuing ducks who were on their way to slaughter, but finding non-lethal and caring solutions when rats decided to make the duck barn their home.

In this week’s segment to support vegan businesses, we’re showing some love to Renegade Food, which makes 100% plant-based organic smoked meats with the belief that eating well should be easy and taste delicious, as well as to four children’s picture books from Eifrig Publishing by 19 year old author Lotus Kay and illustrator Chey Diehl, including the very timely A Thanksgiving for the Turkeys.

“There’s a movement called regenerative vegan. We’re still looking at regenerating ourselves, our communities, and the ecosystem, but we’re doing it in a way that does not use animals.”
– Melissa Hoffman

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • Bringing together the worlds of homestead farms, veganic farming, and the regenerative vegan movement
  • How sanctuary animals have become partners on SHO Farm
  • How everyone at SHO learned to love rats
  • Why Melissa and Shawn are expanding the types of crops they’re farming to include annuals as well as perennials
  • Mushrooms!
  • What Melissa is currently hard at work doing in the onsite food lab (it has something to do with mushrooms!)
  • Plans to invite farmers to SHO to learn veganic techniques
  • Why Shawn is working on drafting the first-of-its-kind conservation easement and how she envisions it helping other ethical vegan farmers and landowners and the animals who call their land home

Connect with Melissa Hoffman and Shawn Smith:

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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