Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

Taylor Walker from Green Dreams Florida joins me.

In this episode we talk being a designer, propagating and selling plants, and we get into specific plant species. Some of these are zone specific; some are more universal, like Mulberry. Towards the end of the episode Taylor goes in depth about 5 not so common plant species that make up a nice permaculture plant guild. He’s growing these plants in Zone 9 in Florida, but maybe you can find some microclimates in your own climate zone to take advantage of some of these species.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP099-ReRun.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Today is Part 2 of an interview with farmer John Suscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions.

You can listen to Part 1 of the interview here.

Part Two was recorded a year after Part 1, and was recorded in February 2016.

So you will get two perspectives from the same person, separated by a lot time and experiences.

You hear about what John learned about life and farming over the course of year and how his farm evolved based on what he's learned.

Today's episode focuses on how things have changed on the farm over the last year.  John will talk about what operations he dropped on the farm and why.  He will break down the economics between laying hens and broilers.  And he will talk about the macro concept of focusing on less to do things better overall.

See some of John's videos in the show notes at

Direct download: PVP118-02262016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today is part one of an interview with farmer John Suscovich.  

And today's episode was recorded one year ago in February 2015.  And Part Two was recorded in February 2016.

So you will get two perspectives from the same person, separated by a lot time and experiences.

You hear about what John learned about life and farming over the course of year and how his farm evolved based on what he's learned.

Today's episode will help a lot of your looking to start a farm or a business by tacking on questions such as, why going from intern to full on farmer as a business was a foolish move for John. And what advice he would have for someone just starting out. He will also share his thoughts on taking on part time farming with job versus going full time farming first. And how he deals with a farm that has a diversified product offering.

Then in part two we will circle back with John one year later and see how things have changed on the farm, and why they have changed.

Because a lot has changed in the last year.  

And as you will hear in this episode, in farming and business, life if going to do whatever the hell it pleases to you. All you can control is how you react to whatever life throws at you, and you can either shut down or you can soar.”

See some of the notes and John’s videos at

Direct download: PVP117-02242016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 5:30am PDT

In this episode Curtis and I dissect an article that was published on Alternet on January 1, 2016 by farmer Jaclyn Moyer.  

An article titled....

What Nobody Told Me About Small Farming: I Can’t Make a Living - People say we're "rich in other ways," but that doesn't fix the ugly fact that most farms are unsustainable

This one is a good one and we cover a lot of business basics such as...

  • Who is your customer? What is their demographic? And what do they want?
  • What are you selling?  Is that the right crop?
  • What are you focusing your time on?  Is that the right thing?
  • And are you the right person to be doing this job.

We will break down the article to hopefully help a lot of you avoid some of the troubles that Jaclyn talked about in the article.   

Read the article at

Direct download: TUF043-02222016.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 9:18pm PDT

Neal Spackman is regreening a portion of the desert that gets 3 inches of rain a year on average, but lately they aren’t even meeting the average. Greening the site by using true cost water accounting, meaning that they only use the equivalent of water that falls onto the site to establish the vegetation. With minimal rainfall, no pre-existing plant life and 100 plus degree summer temperatures, it is no easy task. Throw in the economic and social challenges of the village that he is working with and the task becomes even harder. But despite those challenges, progress is being made, and the sounds of crickets are now being heard. Life is coming back.

We heard his story originally in Episode 78,, and today we get an update and find out how much life is coming back.

Learn more at

Direct download: PVP116-02192016.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 5:30am PDT

Marty McDonald will be one of the speakers at PV3 in March 2016.
Learn more about PV3 at

The latest trend in marketing is story marking.  Telling your story in a way that unique, honest, and in a way that resonates with your target market.  

But not all stories are created equal.  And not all stories should be told by anyone.  Because a good story told poorly is in affect a bad story.  

So what makes a good story?  

It's a bit like pornography; you know a good story when you hear it.  

But at it's core good stories take us on a journey.  They are easy to follow and resonate with us emotionally.  Good stories are often concise and have a clear theme, which also makes the stories shareable.  Which is something that benefits you as a brand, if your customers can easily retell your story to their friends.

In today's show I am joined by marketer Marty McDonald to talk about story marketing.

Marty is Creative Director and Founder of egg in Seattle, a 12-year-old (and the first) communications firm focusing exclusively on sustainable brands.  He has over 20 years of national ad agency experience, and he knows his stuff.  You'll like this one.

Learn more at

Direct download: PV3Marty.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Be very cautious about how much you are imposing on the landscape.  That's something that Darren talked about on this podcast before.  Because it's a big problem out there within the permaculture space.  People doing work on the land because they want to do the work, not because the context of the land justifies that work.

It's a mistake that most of us have made.  And it's a mistake that Darren Doherty has made in his career.  

With over 2000 clients and 25 years of professional design experience all around the world, Darren has seen a lot and learned a lot.

In this episode we'll talk about what he has learned over the last 25 years.

Darren shares a lot in this interview and takes on the hard questions like will this method of land design ever catch on?

And what are some of the mistakes that he has made in his career.  

You'll learn a lot about design in this one, including simple ways to be better than the average farm, and the importance of fiscal discipline.

As you go through this episode think about your design work, and how some of the insights that Darren discuses could apply to your world.  

Because at the end of the episode you may realize that a lot of the work that you have done or that you want to do isn't needed, because it's not in context.  And when you think about start thinking about design in the personal, environmental, and financial context, many designs become a lot simpler.

Learn more at

Learn more about the Engineering Success with Darren Doherty at

Direct download: PVP115-02112016.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Curtis Stone is the owner of Green City Acres, a multi-locational urban farm based out of Kelowna, BC, Canada.
In 2014 his farm generated $75,000 in gross sales on 1/3 of an acre, spread over 5 small plots of land that consist of front yards and vacant lots.

In this lecture, he will share with you his 10 essentials to profitable urban farming that will help you work less, and make more money at the same time. If you are currently farming, and looking for ways to improve efficiencies on your farm, or just getting started.

This presentation could save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time by implementing these steps.

See the slides from this presentation at

Learn more from Curtis on the Profitable Urban Farming workshop held in person and online on March 6.  For more information visit

Direct download: PVP114-02102016.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 5:30am PDT

At the end of the day, month, year, decade or your life, the amount of #shityougotdone isn’t going to matter. 

It’s the Quality of Life you’ve reached and maintained. It’s the relationships with your family and friends, the connection you have to your clients and land, the feeling you get when you go to sleep that matters. It’s the amount of personal work you’ve done to pull yourself out of negative thinking and mindsets of scarcity that you’ll appreciate the most.

It’s not the number of new crops you tried, cider batches, or projects developed… it’s how you lived that will mean the most. Getting shit done for the sake of #getshitdone can be a trap. It could very well become today’s equivalent to what pursuing “retirement” meant 20 years ago, or the ever-expanding idea of “more” and being rich: when is enough, enough? When is enough shit done, enough done? And are some activities completed more important than others? If those activities support a life that’s truly well-lived, then, yes: you’ve succeeded where many have tried and failed. If not, you’ll want to join us to ensure you’re getting the #rightshitdone.
Learn more about Javan at
Learn more about the Mastering the Mastermind workshop at
Direct download: PVP113-02092016.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

"They weren't just buying the product; they were buying the whole package."

That's how Chris Thoreau was able to go to a farmer's market selling one crop.  Just one.  Sunflower shoots.  He was able to go to market with just one crop because he was selling a product that had a great story. 

It was a product that was produced hyper-locally and one that was delivered to market via pedal power on a bike.

Since Chris started his microgreen business nearly 10 years ago he has grown the business into one that has multiple employees and one that will do over $200,000 in sales in 2016.

If you want grow microgreens commercially, listen to today's episode.  You'll see how important it is to systematize your production and constantly record and analyze your results.  

It's the constant testing, analyze and adaptation that has made Chris' business hugely successful.  

I think that you will really get a lot out of this interview.

You'll learn how Chris introduced a brand new crop to his market.  How he priced that product.  

And how and why he thinks about new products to sell.

There's a lot of in depth applicable business content in here for the experienced growers.  And for the beginners you will learn what Chris suggests for some good crops to grow.

There's a lot in this one and at it's core this interview focuses heavily on core success principles - relentless testing and experimentation, constant record keeping and analysis, and knowing what to focus on.  

Learn more at

The Growing Your Microgreens Business Workshop mentioned in this episode –

Direct download: PVP112-02082016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Scott Hebert started farming in June 2015 when his family business shut down. At that time he didn’t have anything to fall back on. But he had always had an interest in farming, and within a few days of getting the income shock warning his wheels had been put in motion and he was putting a plan into place to transition into a career as a farmer.

He contacted Curtis to visit his farm, so he could start leveraging Curtis’ experience to plan his farm and his future. Because he knew wanted to farm, but didn't want to be broke, therefore, he had to make money at it, and that meant he had to have a plan and a strategic approach.

And it’s that approach that we will be talking about in today’s show.

It’s currently February 2016 and this episode was recorded with new farmer Scott Hebert a couple of months ago in December 2015.

Let’s get into it and see what a transition into small scale farming is really like...

Learn more at

Direct download: TUF042-02032016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 5:30am PDT

Erik Ohlsen will be one of the speakers at PV3 in March 2016.
Learn more about PV3 at

My guest today Erik Ohlsen took a risk when he started his business. And it's a risk that paid off because he has grown that business into a design firm that grosses over $1M a year.

But his business, Permaculture Artisans, is one that started small.

It started with a $15 an hour job that Erik used as a leverage point to build on.

In this episode Erik is going to talk about what it takes to be successful including the importance of being patient, the importance of having a good attitude, and knowing that your work becomes your resume and can open doors.

Learn more at

Direct download: PV3-ErikOhlsen.mp3
Category:permaculture -- posted at: 4:01pm PDT