Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

Shannon Jones, a young farmer from River Hebert, Nova Scotia joins me to talk about what it is like to be a young farmer on her farm, Broadfork Farm. She started the farm with her partner Bryan Dyck in 2011.

Both Shannon and Bryan farmed on other farms for many years before they started their own farm. The lived simply and knew what they could get by without. That made the transition to farming a lot easier. Their path of frugality is one path into farming. But like Shannon said, find what works for you and don't just copy what someone else did.

At the end of the day it is very clear that Shannon loves what she does. Living her dream, working her dream job, as part of the next generation of farmers.

Show Notes:

Direct download: FSFS_-_Replay_-_1_-_Shannon.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Geoff Lawton joins me today to talk about permaculture. Geoff talks about his early days in permaculture, where we are in permaculture today, and where we need to go in the future. He touches on what he has learned along the way and what he finds most valuable.

Geoff then goes on to answer a lot of audience questions about tree systems, water harvesting, his new chicken tractor for composting, and his upcoming online PDC.

Key Takeaways:

Consider starting a community group. They provide a whole lot of support to keep things moving in the right direction.

Realize the ability of pioneer plants and succession to work for you. One of Geoff's early mistakes was not allowing plants to work more for him. Later he embraced and accepted plant rampancy.

Don't just do things in patterns for the sake of patterns. Rationalize and legitimize every placement and connection you make.

So many people are stuck in the matrix. They know things, they just don't do anything.

Permaculture needs to focus on feeding people in urban and peri-urban areas.

Use chickens in your composting system. There is a huge benefit to using chickens at the beginning of a composting cycle.

Consider aquaculture as a use for wetlands in temperate wetlands. Whatever you dig in wetlands you gain in soil, so you intensify the water. You get drier land and wetter water using a temperate climate chinampa.

Show Notes:

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Direct download: PVP031-REPLAY.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

When it comes to this world of farming small, what is this world?

Is it a bunch of small farms each operating independently?

For the most part, I think the answer is yes.

Given that, what's the next step.

Is it more small farms operating independently or is those small farms growing to be larger small farmers.

Now I am not talking 1.5 acre farms scaling to 100 acres, I am talking about 1.5 acre farms scaling to 10 acres.

If small farms do that, what does that look like, both for this world of farming small and for each independently operated farm?

Is that scale manageable on a people powered biointensive level? Or does this style of farming not scale?

It's a question being asked by one of the leader in this movement, JM Fortier.

A few years ago JM Fortier left his 1.5 acre farm behind to start working on an experimental 10 acre farm to test the idea and validity of scaling these types of farming methods.

It's project which has produced some answers, but one which has also produced a lot of questions, some of which are the focus of our show today.

It's all about the future of market gardening in this episode with farmer JM Fortier.

Get JM's audiobook version of The Market Gardener at

Direct download: FSFS_104_2017_JMFortier.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today's a special episode.

It's an interview that I did, but on the other side of the microphone.

The episode you will hear today is a replay of an interview I did with Oliver Goshey of The Abundant Edge.

The focus of it all centers around the lessons I have learned doing what I do every day.

If you like what you hear in this episode and you want to hear more from Oliver, check out where he has a variety of podcast episodes in the archive spanning topics from permaculture to one of his specialties, natural building.  One of the subjects I don't ever touch because I am not very knowledgeable on the subject, but Oliver is.

But that's not the case in this one, because I touch on a subject I know very well, failing.

I tried to keep it real in this one, I hope you get a lot out of it, enjoy it.

Listen to hundreds of more episodes in the archives at

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Direct download: VOC_227_OliverGoshey.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

What’s the organic inspection process really like? It’s probably a big hassle, right?

Let’s find out straight from the source, in this episode with independent organic inspector Laura Murray

Last episode with Scott Murray covered the topic of why organic and what goes into getting certified. Today’s episode builds on that episode and we go a rung higher on the ladder taking on questions such as:

Once the inspector shows up on your property the first time, how does that process unfold?
What should you have in order when you have the inspector show up?
Explain the annual inspection process?
Would a property ever be inspected more than once a year?

To answer these I am going straight to the source to talk to someone who deals with this every day. I’ll be talking with independent organic inspector Laura Murray. Laura does organic inspections of all over the country for organic certifiers. Her inspections span all types of farms and all types of organic product production facilities. She’s seem a lot over the years, and today she shares what the inspection process is really like both for the initial inspection and annual inspections.

If you were thinking about getting certified by the inspection process made you a little uneasy, maybe that will change after you hear what it’s really like.

This show is brought to you by CoolBot. Get a discount coupon for CoolBot at

Looking for more? There are over 100 episodes in the archive at

Direct download: FSFS_103_2017_Laura.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Will Harris III from White Oak Pastures joins me to talk about his inspirational journey of converting his one time factory farm to a beyond organic farming operation that celebrates polyculture and closes the loop on wastes.

Will runs the largest USDA organic farm in Georgia farming 1200 owned acres and 2000 leased. He has over 2000 head of cattle and raises 60,000 pastured chickens. He has built two abattoirs on site - one for red meat, one for poultry. He has an organic vegetable CSA and heirloom orchard.

His farm closes the loop on sustainability through rotational grazing, solar power, and the recycling of all of his various "wastes" from his animal operations. All of the wash water, bones, and other animal "wastes" end up back on the land, building the soil over time.

But it wasn't always that way. Prior to 1995 White Oak Pastures raised cattle in an industrial system, a monoculture. Then Will made the decision to change what he was doing. So began the conversion over the beyond organic, mulch-species thriving farming operation that it is today.

Will's story in an inspiration, and another example of what is right in modern day agriculture.

Show Notes:

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Direct download: PVP028-REPLAY.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Organic certification.

We all know what that is, seeing that green stamp on products in the grocery store and on signs at the farmers market.

But, is it worth it?

Is it only for large farms?

I use organic methods, do I need the stamp?

What goes into getting certified?

Should I get certified organic?

These are all common questions that I hear being asked with the small scale farming community. They are also questions that my guest today Scott Murray gets a lot, and helps a lot with.

Scott’s a 40 year organic farming veteran who’s been around the organic farming movement since the beginning, before it was a big thing. Today he will share his knowledge of what he’s learned about the organic movement and how he views organic certification in terms of who it’s right for, when it makes sense to get, and what goes into getting it.

If you were thinking about getting certified, but had some reservations, this episode will address those common reservations and leave you with a clear idea of what’s involved in the process. And it just might not be as expensive or cumbersome as you think it is after all.

This show is brought to you by CoolBot.  Get a discount coupon for CoolBot at

Looking for more?  There are over 100 episodes in the archive at

Direct download: FSFS_102_2017_Scott.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today is Part 2 of The Anti-fragile Property Series with Rob Avis of Adaptive Habit.

If you missed Part One, go back and check that one out, Episode 222.

In that episode we looked at the idea of owning land as insurance, today takes the discussion of finding an anti-fragile property a step further, and take a look at how you should approach purchasing a property if you are worried about things like climate change, the financial system, debt, terrorism, disease, water insecurity, a fragile food system.

Any, all, or none of those issues could hit you in a significant way during your lifetime.

How do you protect against them?

One way is through property, specifically an anti-fragile property.

What's anti-fragile?

As Nassim Taleb defines it, it's simply something that gains from disorder.

Broken food system, your food forest becomes more valuable.

Energy crisis, an off grid homestead and timberstand keeps your devices running.

But the food forest, the technology and the timerstand are all things that sit on the land.

Today, we'll look at how to pick the right piece of land to make what you put on it more meaningful, or simply not even needed.

The Anti-fragile Property Series with Rob Avis of Adaptive Habitat - Part 2

DOWNLOAD the show notes at and CLICK on Episode 226

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Direct download: VOC_E226_2017_RobAvis3.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT