Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

Curtis Stone of Green City Acres joins me to talk about his experience as a SPIN Farmer.

SPIN Farming is a methodology to grown a lot of produce on very little land. It provides you with a plan to get started now so you can get cash flow going, gain experience and skills. It breaks down the big barriers to farming, being owning land the access to capital. SPIN teaches you how to start farming with very little start-up cost and how to get a quick return on your investment.Typical start-up costs are around $10,000 and you can make $20,000 in your first year.

When Curtis started SPIN Farming he put $7000 into the business and made $22000 his first year. His main start-up costs included a rototiller, a walk in cooler, garden tools, and his irrigation supplies. Every year since they Curtis has grown his business and his earnings.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP026-12272013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,SPIN Farming -- posted at: 9:00am PDT

John Kitsteiner of Temperate Climate Permaculture joins me to discuss his series of blog posts, The Myth of the Perfect Job.

So many of us are stuck in the rat race. We want to be farmers, homesteaders, or something else that involves working closer to home, and not for the man. But we never end up doing that. Why? I think people are either afraid to take a risk and start, or they don't know where to start.

This podcast should start to address both of those issues and at least get you thinking.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Be careful of the danger of just pursuing your passion. At the end of the day you have to make a living and get some sort of yield for your work.

Balance: Biological, physical, social, spiritual health. Most people focus on one or two areas, not all. Consider this when pursuing a career path.

Start looking for a career where your passion and skills overlap. Then start adding in what does the world need (will they pay for it) and does it have meaning to your own life.

Think about if a new career is sustainable. Could you do it every day all day for the next 1, 2, 5, 10 years? Along with all of the side baggage that goes with it - accounting, marketing, legal, etc..

A lot of marketing is driven to you to consume more stuff. Often times that consumption is fueled by debt and is filling a void to pursue happiness.

Forcing kids into careers. How many people were "forced" down a career path by parents, counselors, and teachers because it "was a good career path." And the you could parlay that career into a life of "success with a big house, nice car, and a whole bunch of bills.

Embrace the idea of having a few primary careers, and multiple secondary careers. That creates resiliency and helps to eliminate boredom and burnout. Permie examples - think: Paul Wheaton, Joel Salatin, Darren Doherty, Rob Avis.

Permaculture Principle 10: Use and value diversity. "Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which is resides." [] Apply this thought to careers and finances. Embrace the diversity to meet your needs and become more resilient.

Money is the excuse, but fear it the reality. It doesn't take a lot to get our needs met. But it takes courage to step away from the rat race.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP025-12202013.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 7:02am PDT

Owen Hablutzel joins me to talk about patterns in permaculture and the power of setting a goal.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Patterns are the shorthand of nature. They take a large complex system of forces and processes and simplifies it down.

What is the long term vision of the project? A lot of designs fall apart on the social impact side of the project.

Take the time to set and write down a goal. That process greatly increases the likelihood that something will happen in the direction of your goal.

Think about setting a Holistic Goal.

"If you can understand patterns and what causes them to become the way they are, you can tell an awful lot about the processes that created it. And if you understand that, then you can create a design pattern that is going to best work with those forces."

"Begin with the end in mind."

"Without a goal it's tough to know exactly what you are designing for."

"If it's not written down then it is not likely to happen, or much less likely to happen."

"Don't buy the suit to match the tie."

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP024-12132013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 7:47am PDT

This is replay of the webinar that was recorded on December 5, 2013 with Rebecca Krassnoski. Attendees submitted their questions about raising hogs and Rebecca answered them.

the b reels: episodes of the Permaculture Voices podcast that just weren't a fit for the main weekly show. This is content that I have that is worth sharing, but it will be a little more raw, unedited, and no show notes. The b reels can come out at anytime, while the main weekly interview based version of the podcast will always come out on Friday.

These episodes are part experiment, so hopefully they give you as the listener some valuable information. Especially for the listener who just can't get enough permaculture in their life. Enjoy the show, and go out and be a part of the positive change.

And let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening and thanks for support us, and permaculture.

Direct download: b003-12092013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 6:07am PDT

Joey Delia of Tipuana Farm joins me to talk about overstory trees in permaculture systems.

We touch on species of overstory trees that grow in our area and the benefits of those trees to a system. Dealing with too much shade. Finding fast growing species and other thoughts that we have on the subject.

the b reels: episodes of the Permaculture Voices podcast that just weren't a fit for the main weekly show. This is content that I have that is worth sharing, but it will be a little more raw, unedited, and no show notes. The b reels can come out at anytime, while the main weekly interview based version of the podcast will always come out on Friday.

These episodes are part experiment, so hopefully they give you as the listener some valuable information. Especially for the listener who just can't get enough permaculture in their life. Enjoy the show, and go out and be a part of the positive change.

And let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening and thanks for support us, and permaculture.

Direct download: b002_-_Overstory_Trees_with_Joey_Delia.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 9:54am PDT

Michael Pollan joins me to talk about GMOs, organic food, the industrial agriculture, and his new book Cooked.

Points we hit on:

What will it take to ultimately get GMOs labelled in the US? And what affect will that labeling have.

Rewarding farmers for embracing sustainable practices.

Getting changes in agriculture from the grassroots, corporate and government level.

Getting representation for eaters on the government agriculture committees which are currently dominated by lightly populated corn belt states.

The importance of being able to demonstrate scientifically that we can do what we say we can do - relating to permaculture, sustainable agriculture.

The importance of cooking your own food and the trickle down effects. If you are cooking your own food then you have the ability to shop from local farmers, farmers markets, and CSAs. Fast food supports industrial agriculture.

10% of the food dollar goes to the farmer. The longer the food chain the less the farmer gets. Even the packaging manufacturers make more than the farmers.

By diversifying as a farmer and having more than a single crop you are able to being more of a price maker than a price taker in the commodity system.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP023-12062013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 6:40am PDT

Joey Delia of joins me to recap the recent Darren Doherty Regrarian Open Consultancy, talk about the Dehesa system of Spain, and an upcoming PDC at the new PRI Tipuana Farm.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Don't focus on tactics. Slow down, observe and embrace a more passive approach to permaculture.

Plant trees in the eroded gullies. Helps to control erosion while providing a valuable timber crop.

Use roads as catchment. Often times roads are permitable, water harvesting is not. Roads have a lot of surface area to harvest water.  Use it to your advantage.

Offset other systems off of the roads. This helps to create some order for systems like waterlines. If it is buried 5 feet off of the road then it will always be 5 feet off of the road.

Consider using HDPE line instead of PVC. The fact that it is flexible might make things a lot easier. And it is probably a lot less toxic.

Embrace the thistle, it is amazing.

Read about the Dehesa system as a perennial ecosystem. So simple, yet so interconnected and productive.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP022-11292013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:51am PDT

Stefan Sebkowiak of Miracle Farms joins me to talk about the what's lacking in organic systems - biodiversity. And why organic is good, but creating a polyculture is a lot better.

Stefan started out his journey purchasing a conventional non-organic orchard. He worked on converting it over to organic and realized that something wasn't right, something was missing. The system was lacking the biodiversity that you see in nature.

So Stefan converted over his organic orchard into a permaculture, polyculture based system. He removed a lot of apple trees and replaced them with other fruit trees and support species. He added more diversity to the system giving him more products to sell, more wildlife, and ultimate a healthier, more resilient system.

A lot of commercial orchardists say that polyculture won't work. Stefan has show that on a tree by tree basis he is getting as much yield as a conventional orchard.

He is out there trying to prove that you gross $1.00 per square foot in a polyculture system that value adds from multiple yields - poultry, fruit, vegetables, herbs, etc.

"You can read a lot, but you need to go out and test things."

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP021-11222013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,fruit trees, orchard -- posted at: 6:54am PDT

David Barmon of Fiddlehead Landscape Design joins me to talk about urban lumber. We discuss how we can start thinking about urban trees as not just a source of beauty, but as a valuable, sustainable resource.

Most people don't really think about what happens to a tree in an urban setting. Most of the time it ends up as fireword, mulch, or goes to the landfill.

David thinks that we could be sourcing 10-20% of our lumber from urban sources. This creates a lot of value for landowners, both private and public, in addition to adding all of the other benefits that trees bring to a landscape.

Creating valuable lumber from urban trees sequesters carbon while providing a renewable resource.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP020-11152013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,lumber,woodworking -- posted at: 7:31am PDT

Joel talks a lot about how young people can get into farming by establishing synergistic relationships with older farmers as he tries to dispel the big belief that you need land to farm.

He touches on the farming business and how conventional farmers can start to transition to a perennial based agricultural system.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Convert a little bit of acres at a time, when converting a large amount of land from an annual based system to a perennial based system.

Converting a corn, soybean operation over to grassfed beef. It would take a year to plant the grass, an d it would take another year to come into production. You could start grazing it the second year and 3 years out you would be making more money per acre than you would on corn and beans.

Possibly sell some land to get yourself enough wiggle room to convert your farm over to a more regenerative agriculture system.

Prune off enterprises that don't work. Maybe you can't figure them out. It doesn't fit your marketbase or your unfair advantage. Each enterprise has to carry its own weight.

Beware of the enslavement of highly capitalized infrastructure. Too often that infrastructure controls the decision making process for right or wrong due to the amount of money invested into it.

Use in place infrastructure to help transition to a perennial polyculture. That equipment is already in place. Make use of it.

Take the Stephen Covey approach. Control your own sphere of influence.

This episode of the podcast is the audio from an interview that I did with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm back on May 22, 2013 in Big Bear Lake, CA.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP019-11082013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:44am PDT

What do you do with 350,000 gallons of rainwater runoff that enters your property with a high velocity causing erosion?

One option is to harvest that water, slow it down, and take away the erosion by constructing some permaculture earthworks.

Alden Hough of the Sky Mountain Institute joins me to talk about some earthworks that were constructed on his 7 acre property last March during a Paul Wheaton earthworks workshop.He will also talk about some of the upcoming events at the 2013 Fall San Diego Permaculture Convergence that will expand these earthworks.

Joey Delia of Evoke Hope and Tipuana Farm also joins the conversation to talk about the plant systems that were put in place after the earthworks construction.

During the workshop last March we constructed a pond and a long swale to capture the 350,000 gallons of storm water that were running off of the road onto Alden's property, causing a lot of erosion in the process.

The dam was constructed at the highest part of the property allowing Alden to gravity feed the water down-slope and zig zag the water across and down the property through a series of swales decreasing its erosive qualities and hydrating the landscape in the process.

The earthworks have turned the problem (high velocity, high volume water) into a solution; providing water to grow native habit and food in a winter rainfall area, where water isn't cheap.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP018-11012013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 5:22am PDT

Rebecca Krossnoski of Nature Delivered Farm joins me to talk about her passion for pigs. Rebecca left her job as a construction estimator 6 years ago to start pasture raising pigs. She realized that her old job wasn't going to be there forever so she began the transition into the farming business while she was still working at her old job. She had no prior farming experience when she embarked on the venture, learning along the way from her grandfather's notes, other farmers, and books, then building on that book knowledge with real world trial and error.

Rebecca is another example of someone who decided to follow her passion and make a go of farming with no prior farming experience. She could have easily made excuses about why it wouldn't work or what her disadvantages were, but she didn't focus on that, she focused on the positive and made it happen. She put her heart and soul into her pigs, did her research, and worked her ass off. Like any new business there were some troubles and mistakes made along the way, but in the end she was successful.

Today Rebecca pasture raises her pigs in central Florida. She rotates pigs through 1/2 to 1 1/2 acre parcels. The pigs spend 3 to 4 weeks in each parcel.

Rebecca's advice for anyone who interested in raising pigs. Start with a couple of barrows (a castrated male before puberty) and raise them. See how you like living with pigs. Then process the pigs, and see if you can actually do it. After this you should know if pigs are for you.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP017-10252013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Darren Doherty of Heenan Doherty and Regrarians joins me from Australia to fill in some of the gaps surrounding Keyline design.

While the whole Keyline design system is complex and way beyond the scope of this podcast.This episode should give you a brief introduction into what Keyline is, where it can be used, and what it can accomplish. Like all other design systems Keyline isn't the be all, end all, it is another tool in the tool box help design a regenerative landscape.

For those that want to learn more check out Darren's work, some of it below, and P.A. Yeomans books. Darren recommends The Keyline Plan and The Challenge of Landscape.

Keyline design is a foundation of technique and planning using a scale of permanence. It's focus is on reacting to a climate of an environment, a site, and then using the landscape's shape to maximize the possibility of a sustainable, regenerative environment.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP016-10182013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm joins me to talk about his new book Fields of Farmers which focuses on the next generation of farmers.How young people can work with existing farmers to transition into farming. He talks about young people can do today to take advantage of the huge opportunity that is out there. Topics range from leasing land to forming synergistic, non-competitive enterprises on existing farms. The whole key is that you have to start. Movement creates movement.

Joel touches on the cultural stereotype against farming. So many people get "forced" into a job that they hate to satisfy their parents only to do that career for a few years and realize that they hate it.All along that person only wanted to do something with their hands. So why not encourage the youth to follow those passions and pursue them with all of their skills and talents.

This episode also has a very heavy entrepreneurial component. Hopefully it will motivate some people to get out there, stop thinking about farming, and actually start farming.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Invest in hydration. Get water into the landscape.

You don't have to own land to farm. Look for land to lease. Look to add another enterprise onto an existing farm. Focus on mobile infrastructure.

Insource carbon instead of outsource carbon. So many farmers start out bringing in fertilizer at the beginning.Start building up your soils at the beginning to lower your long term input costs.

Grow what you like to eat. You may have to eat through your inventory.

Be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. That might mean putting in a lot of hours, making a lot of sacrifices, cutting expenses, and taking some odds jobs.

Make use of what you have first. Don't buy anything. So many people want to run out and buy things when they first start out. Access what you have, use that, and only buy what you absolutely need.

Better to become 80% self reliant that get analysis paralysis and not doing anything while trying to become 100% self reliant.

Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Stack multiple enterprises on a single land base whenever possible.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP015-10112013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:49am PDT

John Backes of Circle B Ranch joins me to talk about raising pastured hogs on 90 acres in Missouri. John didn't come from a farming background. He transitioned into farming in 2009 with his wife Marina after leaving a career in mechanical contracting. They set out to produce high quality food while focusing on the welfare and humane treatment of their hogs.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

-Be steadfast with pricing. Stay away from brokers, sale barns, and commodity pricing.-Stresses the importance of educating and connecting with the customer base. That involves a lot of marketing your own product through tools like social media.

-Pick a spouse that is a good compliment to your skills as a farm. It’s a team effort.

-Stress affects meat quality. So try to minimize the animal’s stress.

-Maintain good relationships with the hogs. Keep them calm because ultimately they are big and you want them working with you.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP014-10042013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 9:35am PDT

Darren Doherty of Heenan Doherty and Regrarians joins me from Australia to talk about the regrarian philosophy that he has put together and how it can be used to regenerate landscapes and farming enterprises.

This is a system that borrows and includes tools from multiple disciplines like permaculture, keyline design, the transition movement, carbon farming, and the work of of people like Joel Salatin, Paul Stamets, and Dr. Elaine Ingham. These tools give you the ability to design a system that ultimately regenerates land while producing numerous agricultural products. The system deals with everything from the work done on the land to how you can synergistically stack multiple enterprises in the same system, and ultimately how to market and distribute those products to the people that actually want them. The system emphasizes participating in all 4 legs of the farm income stool - production, processing, marketing, and distribution. This allows you to be a market price setter, not a price receiver.

If you are involved in an agricultural enterprise, or if you want to be involved in an agricultural enterprise, then you need to pay attention to the regrarian system and learn this information. The current status quo of agriculture isn't working; it isn't sustainable, it's degenerative. The regarian system IS regenerative. And it gives you the tools to produce the products that the consumers ultimately want, all while living the farming lifestyle that you want to live. It won't be easy, and it will be hard work, but hey that's farming. And I think farmers that farm in systems like this have fun and enjoy their life because they can make good living while restoring the land.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP013-09272013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 7:12am PDT

Doniga Markegard of Markegard Family Grass-Fed comes on the show to talk about ranching, permaculture, and the regenerative power of rotational livestock grazing.She is a real life rancher, who is out there successfully doing things the right way. On her ranch she is using cattle, sheep, and pigs to build the soil and supply the San Fransisco Bay area with high quality food.Doniga discusses why traditional ranching methods often fail and lead to degenerative cycles with the soil; and how a more holistic, permaculture approach can actually repair landscapes. She talks about how they use permaculture on their ranch to increase species diversity and to increase the water holding capacity of the soil. She touches on how to get into ranching, the advantages of small herd dairy, and the importance of leasing land.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

-The healing power of using proper livestock rotational management on a landscape is tremendous. Doniga often sees the benefits after just one or two rotations. The disturbance created by the livestock starts to build organic matter in the soil, sequester carbon, increase water infiltration, and that then leads to increased species diversity.
-The big impact of stock ponds. Early keypoint dams have played a huge role in the health of their farm. Water is kept on site, instead of running off site, causing erosion. Retaining this water has helped to rehydrate the landscape.
-Don't be afraid to lease land. Land is prohibitively expensive in California, so leasing is a good option for ranching. It will require some work, but a lot of land is available.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP012-09202013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 9:31am PDT

What if you could gross $100,000 per acre in a small sustainable agriculture operation? You could make a good living and/or you could afford to pay someone a decent wage. If you can gross roughly $2.50 per square foot, per year, then that translates into a gross revenue of $100,000 per acre, per year. How can permaculture techniques be used to accomplish that goal?

Chris Young of SoCal Shrooms and Closing the Loop joins me to talk about just that. His goal is to show that you can gross that $100k so you can hire one person to work an acre of land and pay them a good wage to work it. He aims to achieve this by reducing input costs and stacking revenue generators, all while improving the quality of the land and producing a high quality product.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

-Oyster mushrooms have a nice advantage of having a quick turn around. They can start creating cash-flow in 4 to 6 weeks. Similar to selling sprouts and micro-greens which have a 2 to 3 week turnaround.

-If possible tap into an existing distribution network. This gets you contacts right out of the gate.

-Get more out of the same amount of land. Property taxes will go up the future, water costs will go up in the future, and more and more land is being developed away from farmland. So try to be more productive on the same amount of land while improving the quality of that land.

-Consider the cost of your own time in the business. And pay yourself.

-You have to do the real numbers for you business.Don't fudge them. The numbers won't lie. If something isn't working, then look at the numbers and see where you can start making changes to make the numbers work. When you have exhausted all possibilities, then it is time to move on.

-Start broad and control your risk at the beginning. Then look at the numbers and refine down overtime to optimize each system or business.

-Celebrate the small victories. There is a lot of drudgery that goes along with business and farming, so enjoy the good times.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP011-09112013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 8:22am PDT

Cathy Payne of Broad River Pastures joins me to talk about heritage breed livestock and her journey into farming that began in her mid-50's.

Cathy and her husband started changing their diet in their 50's. Their quest for nutrient dense food led them to local farmers, and a lot of visits to their farms. One day they decided, why don't we do this, and they began their journey into farming. They jumped in with the goal of growing the food that they wanted to eat. This meant that they would raise the right animals, the right way - incorporating holistic livestock care, permaculture practices, and sustainable organic farming.

Now they are a few years into their farming adventure. The farm is slowly growing and expanding it's education outreach a long the way. They actively support heritage breed livestock and education via outreach and their on-farm internship program. Both Cathy and her husband feel better than they have ever felt in their life due a combination of lifestyle and nutrient-dense food. They continue to learn along the way and they are making a difference. Keep in mind that they started all of this as virgin farmers.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:
-Start small, observe, then decide if it is worthwhile to scale up.This could be applied to livestock or a commercial crop. It is easier and less risky to make small incremental changes.
-Choose livestock breeds that match your climate and farming style.
-Do not underestimate the importance of data collection on the farm. The data ultimately drives the direction of your breeding program and the farm.
-Breed to suit your environment. Each generation ultimately can improve the genetics for your location since you can selectively breed for the traits that you favor.
-Don't forget value adds. Such as raising wool sheep where you can sell the fleece in addition to the meat.

Show Notes:


Direct download: PVP010-09032013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 9:03am PDT

Joey D'Elia joins me in this episode to talk about why people are afraid of embracing the order that comes in the "disorder of nature." We also ask why should anyone even care about food forests. Along the way we touch on embracing the "messiness" of permaculture and the importance of over-stacking the system with pioneer species early on.  This saves time and adds resiliency.

Are people afraid of order? I know I can be. I tend to think in terms of straight lines and right angles, so embracing a swervy, zig zaggy permaculture system can be hard for me. I am sure other people encounter this as well. So how can a straight line thinker adapt to a permaculture system that wants to have the system follow nature's not so straight lines.

The messiness of permaculture. Geoff Lawton has talked about this. In the beginning a lot of permaculture systems look messy. That can be hard for people to accept. Yet, that is the way that nature systems evolve. They aren't clean and tidy.Again, this is another challenge that some people have to overcome.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP009-08302013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 1:53pm PDT

Paul Greive of Primal Pastures joins me to talk about being a grass farming entrepreneur. He talks about how the thought of Primal Pastures went from an idea to a reality one weekend while sitting around with his in-laws. This small step was the catalyst that helped develop Primal Pastures into a thriving beyond-sustainable meat business. Today they are continuing to grow the farm, their community, and the soil, but this isn't without its challenges. Paul discusses these challenges, and successes that he encounters on a daily basis as new farmer entrepreneur. He stresses the importance of connecting with your customer via Social Media, the advantages to starting out in the pastured poultry business, and the big advantages of leasing land over purchasing it.

Episode Takeaways:

-Don't undervalue and underestimate the value of connecting with your customers.
-Stop focusing on the why it won't work, and go out and actually do something.
-You can establish a profitable sustainable agriculture business with a small amount of land and a small amount of initial seed capital.
-Learn as you go and learn from your mistakes.
-Take advantage of direct marketing.Sell product and take payment online and deliver to drop points.
-Looking into leasing land instead of buying it. It is much cheaper, so it it opens up a lot of land that was previously unattainable. Provide utility to the land owner.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP008-08232013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 8:39am PDT

Sarah Aubrey of Prosperity Consulting joins me to talk about being an entrepreneur, starting a business, and her journey. Like many entrepreneurs she started her "career" in the corporate world and quickly realized that life wasn't for her. So she took her skills from the corporate world and applied them to a business that she could stand behind.

Takeaways from this episode:

  • When you start down the road of forming a business do a lot of research on why a business would or would not work, the costs involved, the benefits to the customer, the risks involved. Most people don't do enough front end research.
  • Be unique and differentiate yourself from your competition.


Visit for show notes.  H

Direct download: PVP007-08052013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:09am PDT

Want to be a farmer? Always dreamed about having your own farm? Lessons from a family farmer who has gone from grassroots to prosperity in 8 years. If you are young and thinking about starting your own farm, then this podcast is a must listen.

P.S. It wasn’t easy and required A LOT of hard work and sacrifices, but it was done. And that means that you can do it too.

Adam Klaus of Bella Farm joins me in this episode to talk about his journey into the small farm business. Learn how he bought an abandoned apple orchard with his wife at age 25, and in 8 years they have turned 12 acres into a thriving small family farm that raises dairy cattle, a market garden, chickens, and multiple tree crops.

Adam definitely brings it in this episode. It is absolutely jammed with knowledge and tidbits that you can use to improve your existing farm or plan your journey into the world of small farming. He keeps it real, and he might shatter some people’s romanticized views of farming with his emphasis on how much work it will require and the possibility of a big change in lifestyle. But he might also motivate some people to change their lives. It is hard to not feel the happiness when he talks about his farm and his lifestyle. I think that a lot of people will listen to this and think “I don’t talk about my job that way. What he is doing sounds pretty awesome. I want to live more like that.” And we all can by just focusing more on really matters the most to each of us.

At the heart of Adam’s story is the biggest benefit of running a small family farm, his family and going through life with them. He is a living a life that he wants to live, working his land with his wife and kids, and to him that is what being rich is all about.
Adam talks about what worked and what didn’t work along the way; and he doesn’t sugar coat it. He will get people thinking. His story is educational and inspiring, and it proof that if you have a plan and put a lot of hard work and thinking behind it, then you can succeed at farming.

If you enjoy this podcast with Adam, you can see more of him next year at the Permaculture Voices Conference. Adam will be giving two talks, one on small farm dairy and one on biodynamic farming.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP006-07182013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 8:32am PDT

'Building a better world, one permaculture brick at a time.'

The full and complete audio from Paul Wheaton's standing ovation keynote presentation at the Southern California Permaculture Convergence on March 9, 2013 in San Diego, CA.

"Most folks that want change tell a dozen people how bad people should stop being bad.  Over a ten year span of time, they may have told 100 people about which bad people to be angry at.

I believe that conflict come from difference of knowledge set.

I play the long game:  hundreds of tidbits of knowledge spread out over many years

If I say “permaculture” after each tidbit, then eventually a person might think “I keep hearing this word associated with cool things” and then search for more permaculture stuff on their own.

This is my strategy for world domination." Paul Wheaton

Paul presents 72 different permaculture based strategies for changing the world.  Some of these strategies are big and some are small.  Some can be done very quickly, some will require a significant amount of time.  Odds are that some of the permaculture strategies will resonate with everyone.  If each person just does a few of them, then we are all changing the world.  "Rather than being angry at bad guys, I want to share a thousand bricks for building a better world." Paul Wheaton

Visit for show notes. 

Direct download: PVP005-07132013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 11:49pm PDT

How do we get more food forests into suburban yards? We can start by planting a legume anytime that plant a fruit tree.

Then what?

Joey D'Elia joins me in this episode to discuss just that. How can people start down the path of building their own food forest in their suburban backyard.

What are some easy ways to identify trees that will work in your system?

How to not get caught up in the design phase forever and start planting now.

This will be the first episode in a multi-part series about permaculture food forests. In this episode of the podcast we ask - If food forests are the coolest thing in permaculture, why aren't there more of them? And what strategies could anyone do to start planning their food forest today.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP004-07112013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:32am PDT

In this episode of the Permaculture Voices Podcast I have my friend Ben Kotnik of Suburban Food Farm on the show to talk about the recent presentation that he gave to a local permaculture group, 12 Months of Fresh Fruit. The first part of the presentation highlights some of the varieties that can be grown in Southern California to achieve the goal of a year round fruit harvest. While the varieties that we talk about are specific to SoCal, the theory behind how why the varieties were selected can be applied to any location. The second half of the presentation focuses on different techniques that can be used to grow more varieties of fruit in a given space. And these techniques can be applied anywhere in the world.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • A variety of 13 fruits that could be grown in Southern California giving you 12 months of free fruit. The trees are specific to SoCal, but the theory is applicable anywhere.
  • Ben’s favorite sweet citrus varieties.
  • The beauty of the forgotten fruit, the white sapote. And why everyone should be growing it in SoCal.
  • Why you should remove some of the fruit from a tree in the early years.
  • Techniques for growing more fruit in a space.
  • How to use dwarfing rootstocks to your advantage. -Why to prune and train your trees.
  • Grafting several varieties onto one tree, multi-graft trees.
  • Working with neighbors to grow more trees.


For Show Notes Visit:


Direct download: PVP003-06282013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 10:00am PDT

In this episode of the podcast I am happy to welcome Brandon Williams from Iron Edison battery company to talk about long lived nickel-iron batteries and why they are so much better than the more common lead acid batteries for off grid home power applications.  These types of batters are applicable to preppers, the average home owner, and permies who have remote homesteads or need mobile power sources.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • How batteries fit into permaculture design.
  • The history of nickel-iron batteries.
  • The science behind nickel-iron batteries.
  • General maintenance for battery systems.
  • Advantages of nickel-iron over lead acid batteries - long lived, less toxic, wider temperature range of operation, greater depth of discharge.
  • ROI of nickel-iron vs. lead acid.
  • How the average suburban household can benefit from a battery backup system.
  • Solar panel and battery system integration.
  • Mobile power applications.
  • The difference between mobile batteries and stationary batteries.

Visit for show notes. 

Direct download: PVP002-06212013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 10:47am PDT

Gasification and Wood Gas: How to Grow Your Own Energy and Get Off the Grid

Our very first episode!

In this podcast we focused on the topics of gasification and wood gas. Local experts Troy Martz and Jared Pisell of joined us to talk about their company Off Grid Pro and the line of gasifiers that they are rolling out, the future of wood gas, how gasification fits into a permie or prepper's plan, and why you should never build a fema gasifier.


For Show Notes Visit:

Direct download: PVP001-06042013.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:32am PDT