Farm Small Farm Smart Daily (permaculture,agriculture,farming,business)

Joel Salatin's talk on Stacking Fiefdoms from PV1.

"The whole idea is to create customized fiefdoms so that people are autonomous and have the authority to run their own fiefdom within your own umbrella, and you can't believe how many things you can get done that way."

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP089-11142014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 2:19am PDT

Luke Callahan author of The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens and the co-founder of Seedwise joins me to talk about starting and running a microgreens business.

It’s a business that can make some serious money when you are selling the product of that business for $50 to $150 per pound. With those prices, and selling at scale we are talking about the very realistic possibility to generate $1000 to $2000 a week in sales.

This isn’t conjecture, these are real numbers. The real sales numbers that my guest today, Luke Callahan was taking in running his microgreens business. It was a very successful business that generated some good revenue. The prices that he was getting per pound for his product, $50 to $150, and the $1000 to $2000 are a week are attainable. It isn’t some get rich quick scheme.

You are going to have to go out there put in the time and grind, it does take hard work. It does take a lot of relationship building and pounding the pavement. But it’s doable.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP087-11042014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 7:55am PDT

This is the very real story of Chad Stamps and his unromantic journey into farming.

It's the reality of life that makes this story unromantic, versus the common romantic notions that you hear when someone speaks about going into farming. Long hours, driving, and hard work are par for the course. Entry into farming is often a grind. But it is that grind that has become some people's destiny.

People like Chad.

Chad has gone from no farming experience to now full time farmer. He looked for land for 6 years and started with just 4 feeder pigs and the rest is history. As Chad says in this episode, "The perfect time will never come. Start before you are ready. If you wait, you'll never get there."

And, oh yeah... This episode was recorded 4 days after Chad quit his job to farm full time. This is as real as it gets.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP085-10282014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 5:54am PDT

This is the real world view of an organic farmer who is serving a community by producing food on scale, farming organic or better, for over 30 years. It hasn’t always been easy, and every day isn’t a tea party, but it has been enjoyable and resulted in a lot of great friendships and memories. This is the story of Nigel Walker and Eatwell Farm.

"Communication is the key, and it is the number one priority for the whole farm for me every week."

"Make your best educated guess, then see what happens and have a contingency."

Key Points brought up by Nigel: Money is the energy to do things. Realize the importance of understanding money. Run the numbers and use the numbers to help think of things on the farm and make priorities. When buying land think of the water situation. Is there a stable water source? Keep all of the water on the farm. Harvest every drop that falls from the sky. Always be looking for new business opportunities and value adds. There are big benefits to shelf stable products. You can sell those products over time. Listen to what customers are asking for and them make that. Easier to make more for existing customers than acquiring new customers. Talk to customers and find out what they want. Consider all of the businesses based on the land-base even if some are small, they all add to the farm income.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP072-09092014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 7:37am PDT

I think we are in the perfect storm right now for regenerative agriculture and permaculture. The economy isn't great. We have a huge number of people dissatisfied with their jobs who are looking for a fulfilling and creative outlet. People that want to work and make a difference. The environmental side of things is a mess. So much so that we have big scientific meetings in Beijing talking about it. We have a food and water crisis brewing that is legitimately viewed as a looming global problem. But all of these crisis's have created an opportunity. An opportunity for permaculture to step to the plate be the solution.

The tools are there.

And this is the hard part of the game now because it is early in the game, but it isn't as hard as it was 20 years ago or 10 years ago. Forward progress will be made, but I think it is going to take some balls and strategic planning. We need to realize that we are pioneers forging a new path and and we don't have a ton of models to refer to and to fall back on. But there are some - Mark Shepard, Darren Doherty's work, Peter Allen, Kevin Woltz at the University of Illinois, and of course Grant.

It won't be easy, but the path is there. It is just a bit of a bumpy, winding dirt path right now, not a smooth asphalt road straight into the future that most of use are used to. For some of us it is time to adult unschool and put the boots on the dirt and hit the path. And it is on that path where we live between easy and dangerous where really feel alive and are at our best. So if you want to go for it, there is no better time. The perfect storm is here and like Grant says, "You do have to jump on it; you have to go now because tomorrow might be too late."

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP069-08292014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 7:08am PDT

This is a real story, about a real farm based business, that is now profitable. In a world filled with reasons why things won't work and with stories about why your children shouldn’t grow up to be farmers, this is story about why they should.

Philippe's story is another story about what is possible. He will tell you that anyone could do this, he wasn't unique, but it does take work and time. But that’s the nature of farming. In an industry where the median farm income was negative $1453 in 2012 you can decide how your time is spent.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP065-08122014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 8:25pm PDT

This episode today isn't just applicable to farming. Ronan's story and what he is talking about is a metaphor. These ideas are applicable to everything under the permaculture umbrella and beyond. It all comes down to starting something small, making some mistakes, and learning and adapting along the way.

Ronan' story is so simple, so common, yet uniquely inspiring; IT IS GREAT.

This is a real story from a real person. Starting with 75 chicks eight years ago and growing that to over 10,000 today. Going from the corporate world to full time farmer; Ronan didn't start as a farmer, he became a farmer.

In a world of negativity there are a lot of people out there doing absolutely great things. People just like you. People that listen to this show. Ronan is one of them. These are the stories that inspire me to keep doing what I do and give me hope in a better future. The change is happening out there. You might not see it yet, but it's happening..

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP062-08012014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Today I am talking to two people who are changing the model of the modern farm. They are operating within the current system of rules and regulations, but approaching farm development and operation with a different model, a model they call PermaEthos.

Jack Spirko and Josiah Wallingford join me to talk about the launch of their flagship farm Elisa's Spring and the PermaEthos concept. PermaEthos is a permaculture farm model that is built and designed around permaculture principles and community.

The goals are to design, implement and operate profitable farms while creating educational opportunities and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to empower themselves by establishing on farm businesses. The model gives people a chance to help out and participate in changing their future, and the future of the food system.

Like Jack says in this episode, "there's so many people that would put in a full days work if they just had something meaningful to do." PermaEthos is now officially underway and there are a lot of people putting full days of work to make it a reality.

Farm number one is in progress and there are more lining up for future development. This concept has the ability to change the way that farms are developed, and the way that food is produced. It changes the system, not by protesting, but by changing the model.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP055-06242014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Mark Shepard of Forest Agriculture Enterprises joins me to talk about the future of agriculture.

Mark has a pretty clear view on how he thinks the future of agriculture could be.. restoration agriculture style farms dotting the landscape with animals roaming through grasslands dappled with trees, a perennial polyculture system that builds soil instead of destroying it, a system that sequesters carbon instead of volatilizing it, a system that utilizes all of the water that falls on a piece of land, a system restores the land, and importantly a system provides nutrient dense food on scale - bulk calories and makes money doing it allowing a farmer to earn a decent living in the process. These systems could restore the land and rural America. I think it is totally possible, and when you hear Mark speak I think you will feel the same way. This is the future of agriculture.

This is probably one of those episodes that you will need to listen to a few times to get every little juicy nugget out of it. Whether you want to farm broadacre or not, this episode is busting at the seems with knowledge and wisdom.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP039-04122014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 8:46am PDT

Kevin Muno is on the show talking about his new start-up restoration agriculture style farm, Montado Farms.

Kevin talks about why he is doing what he is doing against a lot of heavy odds - highland prices, limited water in Southern California, and he doesn't come from a farming background. He touches on all of the big issues like how do you fund a $1M farm as start-up.

Kevin is approaching the farm as a business and we address everything that goes along with that - the farm business structure, raising capital, and cash flows.

If you don't think anyone besides Mark Shepard is farming these types of systems, you are mistaken. These systems are starting to come on line and Kevin is one of the ones leading the ay.

There are a hundred reasons that you could give Kevin on why he shouldn’t do what he is doing and why it might not work. But, I don’t think he cares about why it can’t be done, because he is focusing on getting it done. That’s what makes his story different. He doesn’t have that farming background that you would expect him to have, but he has the drive and determination to leverage the skills that he has to figure out a way to make his dream happen.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP036-03032014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming,business -- posted at: 1:20pm PDT