Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture joins me to talk about the business of permaculture - a right livelihood.

We live in a world where we are surrounded by environmental liabilities that have a real economic impact. So why not solve those problems and earn a living in the process?

Rob talks a lot about approaching permaculture as a profession. What opportunities are out there. What works in permaculture based business and what doesn't. And how we in the permaculture community should embrace business, charge an appropriate price for our services while we solve the world's problems.

This episode should dismiss the myth of the pauper and permaculture. There are legitimate large scale problems that need to be solved. And permaculture provides a matrix of solutions to solve those problems. There are a huge number of business opportunities out there do what you love to do, earn a living, and make a better world. The hardest part? Just getting started.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP035-02282014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 9:03am PDT

Grant Schultz joins me to talk about developing a perennial polyculture in the middle of row-crop corn and soy country Iowa.

He discusses a lot of the innovation and developments taking place on his farm, including some really innovative ways of doing GPS keyline design.

We spend a lot of time talking about the business of farming. The importance of monitoring cash flows and being cash flow positive. And how Grant is using USDA funds to help pay for pieces of his system and getting moving in the right direction.

Key Takeaways:

Importance of making your operation cashflow the whole time. Expenses will pile up so start getting cashflow and a customer base early.

Consider buying rootstock and graft it over later. It is much cheaper to go that route and grafting isn't that hard.

Get plant systems going early on. It is fairly inexpensive and gets the system starting to advance.

Have a plan but evolve as you go. Having an end in mind gives you a goal and a direction to head in, but things will change along the way as you learn the intricacies of the system.

Plant the earliest maturing fruit trees downslope. That way when you are browsing them the manure runs downhill.

How do you want your system to look at maturity and what are the action items to get you there? Then the thing to do is the one with the most impact. What has the earliest yield to get you to the move to the next impact item.

Do not underestimate the importance of monitoring and planing out cashflows.

When you are farming on broad acres you have the same advantages that conventional farmers have. Crop insurance.

Consider using a nurse crop that also cash flows. Grant's example of raising oats for cover crop seed.

Consider the balance of high value versus high labor. Is the value worth the labor?

There is a huge need for more local genetic permaculture plant material.

Recognize the importance of planting dense. Buy trees in mass. It gets cheap and doesn't cost you more to plant at high density. You take advantage of genetic selection and protect yourself against losses.

Irrigate your trees if possible - think keyline, swales. Growth rates of trees that are irrigated versus those that aren't is huge when the trees have consistent water availability. Consider the economic impact of the yield with water versus no water. The work now can make you a lot more money down the line.

Take advantage of all available resources: USDA, NRCS, EQIP. When starting out pre-sell as much as you can. Build a local customer base from Day 1.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP034-02212014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 6:32am PDT

Patricia Foreman the author of City Chicks joins me to talk about backyard chickens, chicken tractors, and general chickenery.

We will talk about all of the great things that chickens can add to a permaculture homestead - fertilizer, pest management, food, disturbance, baby sitters.  :)

Pat will touch on soil building using chickens in composting systems and chickens tractors.  And how chickens can be used to close the loop on our waste stream... and in some case even save tax payers money.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP033-02142014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 10:01am PDT

Darren Doherty walks Doniga and Eric Markegard through the Holistic Design process.

This is the second podcast that takes you to one of Darren's open consultancies. The consultancies themselves are workshops that center around a real world farm planning and development process. The hosts and Darren open up the process so you can learn from a real world application of theory.

This audio was recorded at Darren Doherty's Regarian Open Consultancy at Markegard Family Farm on October 22 and 23, 2013. The workshop was open source, so thanks to Darren for allowing me to share this with you all.

Direct download: b006-02122014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,regrarian -- posted at: 1:27pm PDT

Javan Bernakevitch of Permaculture BC joins me today to talk about finding your niche in permaculture.

Javan will take you through some of the insight he has for finding your niche.

Javan is a permaculture teacher and designer who has worked with countless students helping them sift through the everything that is permaculture to help them figure out what really fires them up, and what’s just OK.

If you want to turn permaculture, or anything, into a career, just having the knowledge isn’t enough. You need to really think about where you fit into it all. Where do you want to go and what will give you a the fulfilled life you want? One key piece of figuring that out is discovering where opportunity and your passion overlap.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP032-02072014.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:31am PDT