Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

2016 has been an interesting year for me.  

It's been one of transition and growth and change.

It's been a year that's ended a long career in one world and kick started a new career going out on my own.

It's been a year of loss losing pioneers like Toby Hemenway, Gene Logsdon, and Bill Mollison;  and it's been a year of addition as a beautiful daughter entered my life.

I have a grown a lot and changed a lot as a person.  And honestly I feel like I am more me than I have ever been.

It's a me that's been found through a lot of self-reflection, writing, literally hundreds of podcasts, and conversations with people like Javan.

Along the way I have learned a lot.

Today I will be sharing some of what I learned as Javan and I go through our top 5 lessons from 2016.

In total 10 simple ways of looking at life, approaching life, and thinking about life that can change your life tomorrow.

I look at a lot of these lessons as base principles in an approach to life that very much contradicts the status quo.  

None of these lessons require any money or technology to implement. There are no tools or techniques here.

It's simply changing your approach.  

As 2016 comes to an end, take what you can from this episode, to align what you do in life more with who you are.

Learn more at www.permaculturevoices.com/javan

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Direct download: PVP-JavanE62016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - I'm wondering if you have any information about inoculating trees to grow truffles. I have read that hazelnuts are sometimes used in truffle production and, while there are nurseries that sell (large quantities of) inoculated trees, I can't find any information about doing it yourself. It seems like the method is to introduce some kind of inoculum into sterilised seeding media just prior to germination, but what is the inoculum? Ground up truffles? Can you grow out the inoculum prior to introducing it to the soil to expand your supply?

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter.

 
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Direct download: ASKPeter-21-Truffle.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

In terms of journeys, today I am going to highlight an epic one.  

It's the story of Justin Rhodes.

Justin who has gone from someone one government assistance and in debt to someone who is self-made, out of debt, and now making a living through his various online businesses.  

A remarkable feet in an of itself.  And even more remarkable given how quickly it has played out.

It's a truly inspirational story that started from this show.

Learn more at www.permaculturevoices.com/133

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Direct download: CD142-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - The question is whether or not mushrooms could be used in a brooder to help break down the wood based bedding, manure and spilled feed and maybe get a mushroom harvest. My brooder, along with others across the country are basically going to sit idle over the winter. Come late winter I go in there with some tools and clear it out. It is my least favorite day of the entire year. I'd be interested in inoculating the bedding with a mushroom and seeing what could be done. Any reduction in the amount of bedding would be a gain. If I could get some mushrooms out of it, all the better.  My thoughts were to cultivate something over the winter while the brooder is inactive and then clean it out before my first batch of broilers begins late February. Not sure if that would be a long enough time frame for mushrooms.

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter.

 
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Direct download: ASKPeter-20-Brooder.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - I have an abundance of woodchips.  Any thoughts on inoculating the pile to "rapidly" break down the pile of chips into compost, or is it not worth the effort and just let nature do the work?

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter.

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Direct download: ASKPeter-19-WoodChips.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

For notes related to this episode visit permaculturevoices.com/growmicrogreens.

When you think about what your selling, don't forget that what you are selling isn't just what's in the cooler behind your booth.

You're selling yourself, your story, and the role that you play in a bigger movement; all intangible assets that can allow you to succeed without having a diversity of products.

But if you want to grow, and you don’t have more products to sell to customers, then you need to find more customers, and that likely means diversifying beyond the farmers market.

That’s the subject of today's show where farmers market is one of the market streams that we dig into as Chris talks about his experiences selling to a diversity of market streams without a diversity of crops.

For notes related to this episode visit permaculturevoices.com/growmicrogreens.

Direct download: MICRO-E4-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

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About one year ago Season 1, Episode 37 aired. It was us taking a look back at Curtis production for the 2015 season.

Today we will do something similar for 2016, because a lot has changed.

Let's start by rewinding the clock and go back that previous episode from December 2015...

"We are officially out of the main season and for the most part, Curtis is now done producing crops off of his farm.

In this episode we will take a look at what Curtis produced on the farm in 2016, and how much of it he produced.

And as a hint, he produced a lot.

All in Curtis produced about 17,500lbs of product off of his farm this year. That's a lot of food coming from a small space. Remember Curtis is only farming off of 15,000 sq.ft. which is spread out over 5 plots. And this year he made the most of it producing over 17,000lbs of produce on those 5 plots. And we aren't talking corn and potatoes here. For the most part many of the crops which he produced really aren't that heavy, he simply produced a lot of product. 3000lbs of tomatoes, 2500lb. of radishes, 2500lb. of spring mix, 2000lbs of turnips. Big numbers for a small farm."

That was then.

Now let's go to present day of December 2016.

And while a year ago the production season was over, this year, it's not. We are still in production season, because Curtis's farm now produces year round, with sales every week of the year.

That's just one of the many changes that took place at Green City Acres this year.

As we look back at 2016, it was a year where Curtis farmed less land than 2015, cut back on certain crops, and added others. Part of those changes came as a result of changes in his market streams as he cut back on restaurant sales, eliminated the farmers market, and started selling a lot more to local grocers.

Big changes, that have had a big effect on what he's growing and how much he's producing...

Let's jump into it and take a look at Curtis 2016 farm production... what was produced, what wasn't, and why it changed.

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Direct download: TUFS2E35-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - Is it possible to have a raised "bed" of hardwood chips with multiple strains happily cohabiting and fruiting in different seasons?

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter.
 
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Direct download: ASKPeter-18-RaisedBeds.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/141

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Stefan Sobkowiak of The Miracle Farm is encouraging more vegetable farmer to consider planting some fruit trees. And to start planting some trees now, so they are established and producing when you or the vegetable farming gets old.

Now you may be saying, "I barely have enough time to do the work that I am doing now."

Establishing this orchard might not take as much time as you think. And the slow growth of trees might be on your side.

As Stefan will talk about in this episode he manages his whole operation on just 50 hours per year.

That includes all pruning, training, irrigation, spraying, clean-up, the whole lot.

And he thinks that one person could maintain 4 to 6 acres.

Overall making it a doable takes that makes your farming enterprise less fragile, while adding some diversity to your famers market booth or CSA box.

If that sounds intriguing stay tuned.

Overall Stefan brings it in this one.

    He walks through what a typical season is like.
    Talks about why you want to be a price maker not a price taker.
    Talks about the pros and cons of a u-pick model.

There's a lot in this one, and I am willing to bet that it will have you looking at small scale o

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Direct download: VOC141-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/theurbanfarmer

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Anytime that you do something for a long time, over and over again, how do you keep it fresh.

Let's be honest, any time that you do something for weeks and years, eventually that honeymoon phase wears off.

As should be expecting, things changes, life changes, and you change.

If that think that's getting old is you farm, and your livelihood is dependent upon it. How do you battle this evolution of getting stale?

One way is to branch out and do other things.

Maybe that's research and development, maybe that's teaching, maybe that's furthering a cause and maybe crowd sourcing inspiration globally as you try to get more people interested in farming.

That's where Curtis finds himself now. After seven seasons of full time farming his farm has changed dramatically since day 1, and even going back to the beginning of 2016 things have changed quite a bit.

It's those changes and the desire to grow and innovate that's helped Curtis stay motivated and keeps things fresh, when it could just as easily get old...

That's the topic of today's show on The Urban Farm

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Direct download: TUFS2E34-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - What are your thoughts on looking for local strains of mushrooms to cultivate out versus ordering or receiving genetic material from someone from a strain that isn't indigenous to your particular area where the strain will be grown?

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter.

 
Support the show at permaculturevoices.com/support.
Direct download: ASKPeter-17-Indigenious.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/140

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What if you live in a suburban or urban area on a small lot?

A lot of those the chickens living in those areas live in degenerative systems, spending their days on mud runs and dirt patches that are more of a net negative than a net positive.

What can be done to avoid this issue?

This is where we turn to the techniques that are used on broadacre properties and look to scale it down, rotating birds over a portion of an acre versus multiple acres.

It's an idea and concept that I have been playing around with my 3/4 acre property here in San Diego and it's one that I think holds a lot of promise, and it's the subject of today's show.

Earlier this year I was contact by a Canadian name Shaw McCarty.

Shawn raises his 16 layer chicks on his property which is just under an acre.  He rotates the birds through several small paddocks on that small suburban lot.

His overall goal is to advance the system while giving the chickens access to as much fresh forage as possible.

And so far it's worked.

As Shawn stated..

"I thought the chickens would help me by ‘mowing’ the pasture but their actions have caused it to grow faster, and thicker than it has in the past.  With 16 chickens I still need to cut the grass in each paddock a couple times a year to keep it fresh and palatable, once it gets too long the chickens will choose other forage."

Shawn's system is one that could be implemented on most small plots, it shows you what's possible.

The goal here is to get you thinking.

Too many chickens in small urban lots live out their lives on dirt patches.

Here's a system that might inspire you to change that.

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/140

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Direct download: VOC140-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/theurbanfarmer

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A lot of people who want to start farming, don't start because they focus too much on what they don't have and not enough on what they do have.

Land's too expensive.
Lack money to start a farm.

Common complaints that you hear about starting up a farming enterprise.

And I will fully acknowledge that those constraints are very real. But let's put those constraints aside today, and focus on what is possible.

Possible by all of us.

Everything that we are going to talk about today deals with getting better and NOT spending money.

If you stop and think about it, there are a lot of things that you can do to improve your business, make your business more competitive, and attract more customers that's free.

If you ever feel like you are at a disadvantage because of what you don't have, start looking at the situation in terms of what you do have, and what you can do, because it's a lot of those things that will make the difference and give you a leg up on the competition, money or not.

Today's episode is us exploring this idea - of what are some of things that you can do to make your farm better, without spending any money.

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Direct download: TUFS2E33-2016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

We are experiencing the end of an era as a new era in human civilization is beginning. It is a time of great risk but also a time of great potential.

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/103

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THIS EPISODE IS A REPLAY OF PREVIOUS PUBLISHED EPISODE.

We now know that it is possible to restore large-scale damaged ecosystems. It is possible to sequester carbon and re-regulate the hydrological system. It is possible to restore natural fertility and to remove toxicity from contaminated soils and water.

We are required to do this so that future generations will live in peace and abundance.

For humanity to further evolve it is necessary to transition from a society dedicated to consumption to a society dedicated to ecological function.

Although sometimes obscured by the collapse of the old order this heralds a time of full employment, equality, purpose and fulfillment.

This is THE GREAT WORK OF OUR TIME and we are called to understand and participate in it.

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/103

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THIS EPISODE IS A REPLAY OF PREVIOUS PUBLISHED EPISODE.

PV2 Audio: permaculturevoices.com/pv2audio

Direct download: PVP103-REPLAY.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Mycologist and author Peter McCoy of RadicalMycology.com takes on the question - What are the current roadblocks to being able to consistently grow your own morel mushrooms?

To learn more about Peter and see all of the ASK Peter episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/peter

 
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Direct download: ASKPeter-16-Morels.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 5:40am PST

Learn more at permaculturevoices.com/javan

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There are many reasons that we can do something. To survive, to get paid, to compete, to make ourselves better, to achieve a goal, to seek fulfillment, the list goes....

All valid reasons. None of them more universally right than another.

Some are more applicable to some people at a given time in a given situation. It all comes down to context. It comes down to what are you seek.

Something short term and material, something quantifiable, or something bigger, something bigger than yourself that you really can't put a finger on...

To further explore this idea, let's go to the classic fable of the Three Stone Cutters as told by then Harvard University president Drew Faust...

"A man came across three stonecutters and asked them what they were doing. The first replied, “I am making a living.” The second kept on hammering while he said, “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire county.” The third looked up with a visionary gleam in his eye and said, “I am building a cathedral.”
The first stonecutter is simply doing a day’s work for a day’s pay, for the material reward he receives in exchange for his labor. The substance of his work, the purpose of his work, the context of his work do not matter.

The second stonecutter has higher aspirations. He wants to be the best. The second stonecutter is an unshakable individualist. He believes in the power of the human mind, and its capacity for reason, in the drive for quality and results, and in the usefulness of reducing complex reality to a simple equation. His world is competitive and meritocratic. It is cosmopolitan; he measures himself against the “whole county” as the story has it—even the whole world.

Yet somehow the vision of the second stonecutter is also incomplete. The focus on the task, the competition, the virtuosity, is a kind of blindness. Consumed with individual ambition, the second stonecutter misses the fundamental interconnectedness of human kind, of societies and of economies. This stonecutter fails to see that there would be no stones to cut if there were not a community building a cathedral.

The third stonecutter embraces a broader vision. The very menial work of stonecutting becomes part of a far larger undertaking, a spiritual as well as a physical construction. This project aspires to the heavens, transcending the earthbound—and indeed transcending the timebound as well, for cathedrals are built not in months or even years, but over centuries. A lifetime of work may make only a small contribution to a structure that unites past and future, connects humans across generations and joins their efforts to purposes they see as far larger than themselves."

An idea that we will explore in this episode.

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Direct download: PVP-JavanE52016.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Homesteader Justin Rhodes of AbundantPermaculture.com takes on the question -  Basic advice, suggestions and learnings on breeding chickens on the homestead?

To learn more about Justin and see all of the ASK Justin episodes visit permaculturevoices.com/justin.
 
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Direct download: AskJustin-32-Broody.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 10:53am PST

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