Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

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