A profound and deeply moving conversation with author Craig McNamara on his powerful new book, Because Our Fathers Lied: A Memoir of Truth and Family, from Vietnam to Today. We talk about his father Robert McNamara and Craig’s journey to finding peace.

Craig McNamara is an American businessman and farmer. He is the son of Robert McNamara, who was John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense and the architect of the Vietnam War.

Craig fell in love with sustainable farming during a 6,000-mile motorcycle and hitchhiking trip he took from California to Chile starting in 1971. After earning his degree in Plant and Soil Sciences in 1976 from UC Davis, where he met his wife, Julie (UC Davis master’s in entomology), Craig apprenticed under a farmer in Dixon and then rented his first 100 acres of farmland.

In 1980, he and Julie co-founded Sierra Orchards, which is now a 450-acre diversified farming operation producing primarily organic walnuts along the banks of Putah Creek in Winters, CA. Their daughter, Emily, and son Sean are both farming with Sierra Orchards, which is dedicated to using holistic and regenerative farming practices that preserve natural resources and surrounding ecosystems while creating the highest quality and nutrient-dense foods. Their son Graham is pursuing a career in technology and real estate in Austin.

Passionate about sharing his knowledge in sustainable agriculture and leadership with the world around him, Craig is also the founder of the Center for Land-Based Learning, a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire, educate, and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards. From 2011 to 2017 he served as president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture; he has also served on the UC President’s Advisory Commission, the UC Davis Dean’s Advisory Council, American Farmland Trust, Menus of Change, Roots of Change, and many other organizations. Craig is currently a board member or an adviser to the Edible Schoolyard Project, the Resources Legacy Fund, Farm to School, Coro Fellows, Project REGEN, and Project RENEW Vietnam, and on the leadership council of the Public Policy Institute of California.

Craig is honored to have been the recipient of several awards, including the Community Alliance with Family Farmers’ 2022 Climate Smart Farmer of the Year, the 2015 California Climate & Agriculture Network Leadership Award, 2014 Agriculturist of the Year, James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, the Leopold Conservation Award, California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the UC Davis Award of Distinction and the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

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What Matters Most
What Matters Most
Paul Samuel Dolman

Author, musician, and speaker Paul Samuel Dolman interviews a variety of people on creativity, the arts, relationships, and spirituality.

Read the Book That Inspires the Show

Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents, including special guest the journalist and author Bill Moyers.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.

This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.