Tag Archives: permaculture

Episode-2272- Darby Simpson on Farm Business Essentials

Darby grew up on his family’s seventh generation farm located in Central Indiana, just 25 miles outside of Indianapolis. However he never learned anything about the family business. He began his own farming enterprise in 2007 after reading “Pastured Poultry Profits” by Joel Salatin as well as several other sources of information pertaining to small scale pasture based meat production.

The operation produced 150 pastured broilers that first year that were quickly sold and generated a base of avid customers who were left clamoring for more. In 2008, the enterprise grew to 1,000 birds while pastured pork was also added, with the hogs all being spoken for thru successful marketing to the existing customer base.

By 2012, the farm was producing up to 3,000 pastured broilers, 125 turkeys, 60 hogs and 12 beef per year while using less than 20 total acres. The farm now financially supports Darby and his wife Brandy, along with their two young boys, Ethan and Zach.

Darby has transitioned himself from a successful mechanical engineer into a full time farmer and enjoys the many benefits that come with being self sufficient in ones livelihood. His success shows it is possible to build a business from scratch with little or no knowledge of what Joel Salatin affectionately calls “lunatic farming”.

Today, Darby spends his “extra” time teaching others how to pursue a rewarding and financially viable career in farming. His new project, along with business partner Diego Footer, is an A-Z online course for profitable farming called “Farm Business Essentials” (www.farmbusinessessentials.com).   The course covers everything from how to raise livestock, to marketing, business planning, contextual goals, infrastructure, equipment and more.

Resources for today’s show…

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Six Inches of Rain and Almost Empty Swales – What Happened?

We just got a blessing.  6 inches of slow soaking rains over about 5 days, breaking a zero rain drought that began on May 30th.  Our mid swale with all the hard catchment that funnels into it, therefore took on over 96,000 gallons of rain from mostly hard catchments.

To put things in perspective we took 6 inches and the swales themselves are only 11 inches deep but almost all the water is gone.  So where did it go?  Was this a good thing or a bad thing?  Tune in to find out.

 

Episode-2252- A New Understanding of Permaculture

I should probably call this podcast “an accurate understanding of permaculture” but “A New Understanding of Permaculture” has a better ring to it.   This show was in part inspired by a video by my good friend Curtis Stone called “What Permaculture Got Wrong“, while I love Curtis it could have been called “What Curtis Doesn’t Understand About Permaculture”.

Though that is in NO WAY a dig at Curtis.  His opinion is based on seeing what people call permaculture and how those same people define it.  I see a huge problem here and it comes down to conflating technique and tactics with overall strategy.

Permaculture is a strategy, more accurately…

Permaculture is an ethical design science used to create specific strategies for any given situation using appropriate methods and techniques for the purpose of specific goals.

Many have struggled to define permaculture over the years but I would hold that the above one may be the most accurate, simply because it separates strategy from techniques and tactics.  Permaculture is a systems thinking process, it is not simply a collection of techniques that are natural and safe ways to grow food.  Today we examine how that simple understanding allows Permaculture to actually live up to all that it promises.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • What does permaculture actually promise
  • What is permaculture at its core
    • The Prime Directive
    • The Three Ethics
  • How politics screws everything up
  • Understanding
    • Strategy
    • Method
    • Techniques
    • How the three lead to good design
  • How many critics get it right and wrong at the same time
  • What is really meant by appropriate technology
  • Some common methods and how they go wrong
    • Mulching
    • Swales
    • Hugulkulture
    • Rotational Grazing
    • Food Forestry
  • Some common myths about permaculture
    • There is no annual production in permaculture
    • There are no real pest/weed problems
    • Permaculture is only good for back yards
    • You can’t do mechanized harvest and do permaculture, etc.
  • Some of Permaculture’s biggest pitfalls
    • Obsession with a method
    • Unrealistic goals
    • Lack of experience (equating knowledge with skill)
    • Attachment to ideology
  • The keys to success
    • Start with realistic goals
    • Define the end game
    • Accept the following
      • Budgets (time and money)
      • Your ability
      • Market realities
      • Climate limitations
  • Why I feel Permaculture when understood is the best of all worlds

Resources for today’s show…

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Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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Episode-2219- Wicking Beds for Easy Garden Production

As many of you know I have become a huge fan of aquaponics over the past two years, but if you said, what is the best thing about aquaponics, okay, I’d say fish and cool water gardens.

Though if you said what is the best part about aquapnics for growing vegetables, I would say, two words, wicking beds.  I don’t really think I would be that big into aquaponics without them.  I would likely have one small system or just garden ponds.  Once I learned how to integrate the two, I was hooked.

And yes, they go together like beer and pretzels, but i don’t always have pretzels with beer and you certainly don’t always need to have aquaponics with wicking beds, in fact most people that use them, don’t.   And the good news is as long as you design them right, if you ever want to add fish, it is just running a few pipes.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

Resources for today’s show…

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Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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The Basic Layout of my Three Aquaponics / Aquatics Systems in Video

This is our core system with a heart of two 330 gallon recycled IBCs, running 2 ebb and flow beds, 8 soil based beds and one deep water bed.

This system could be expanded to have dozens and dozens more wicking beds. Still running on a single pump.

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This system is far more an aquatic system with aquaponic elements unlike the first system. Still it shows what can be done with only one small energy input. This system could expand almost infinitely with wicking beds.

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The third system is built on the timber frame pond concept we developed last year. This system is growing a ton on thing on shelves in the pond, it is also running 3 wicking beds and one ebb and flow bed.

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Episode-2195- Growing Food and Balancing Regenerative with Pragmatism

Some Projects are Clearly Regenerative, Others Are Not So Clear

One of my really good friends and a man I have huge respect for in the permaculture movement recently noted that paraphrasing here, “nothing or very little about aquaponics is regenerative”.  I both agree and disagree with this statement depending on how it is examined.

Broader though there are many such dilemmas in the world of agriculture and permaculture today.  Take GMO for instance, while I am a staunch opponent of GMO, I can’t deny that GMO could be useful if properly used and not seen as a way to ignore soil health among other things.

What about where you buy what you can’t grow, is organic really more regenerative or even less bad for the environment than conventional in most instances?  Well that is a big ass it depends isn’t it?  If you are hunting, fishing and growing your own meat, and even buying meat local, should you never buy conventional meat, due to simple necessity or perhaps a desire for something you can’t get another way?

Say you take a piece of cattle panel and make a bean trellis with it, how long will it be before the calories from the beans will exceed the energy needed to make that panel, will it rust to the ground before that happens?  Is that bad if you do it, should you feel shamed for using a product that works, is inexpensive and lasts a long time?

What about ocean fish, are they being over fished?  I think most honest people would say we are better off on managing that than say 40 years ago but still we are very much over fishing.  Worse while the US has a lot of common sense controls on fishing, we often just buy from nations that don’t, offshoring our damage?

So now full circle, say we have that aquaponics system, we produce 25 fish meals for our table a month we don’t buy from the market, well, how does that change our evaluation of aquaponics?

More over, technology is not slowing down and while industry does a lot of damage, a cleaner energy future is coming, how does that impact all these things?  I will be doing sort of a self conversation with this concept today, challenging myself with questions and dilemmas like these, and would love to hear your thoughts on them in the comments below.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • Regenerative vs. sustainable vs. reduced impact – where do the lines blur
  • Can a some what imperfect action have a far reaching net positive result
  • Examining some examples of practices with an open mind
    • GMOs, can any good come from them
    • Soil conservation even with conventional farming
    • Raising quail in stacked systems
    • Aquaponics – what is the real impact
    • The average garden, how much good does it really do
    • Buying choices, local, organic, conventional, etc.
    • Materials we use in our projects, metal, plastic, recycled, etc.
    • Making cheap cider vs. all mash or extract beer from gain and hops
  • What might the impacts of future technology be on much of this
  • Should we revisit the idea of the 10 Percent Project
  • Why I feel individual actions even imperfect ones have the largest impact
  • Looking at your total impact vs. just individual components
  • The real question is how do we make more people want to do these things

Resources for today’s show…

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Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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Episode-2158- Jeff Reiland on Permaculture Landscaping in the Suburbs

Jeff Reiland has worked in Commercial Agriculture and Biotechnology over 20 years striving to “feed the world” but now he is a Designer of Healthy & Productive Landscapes that Enable Resilient Communities. Jeff’s business, Abundant Design LLC, and personal lifestyle both center around living in harmony with the environment.

Growing up in rural Iowa he spent a lot of time outside on and around his family’s acreage, where he helped his dad and mom build their home. Scholarships and summer construction jobs helped him pay for college where he got his degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. Following college he did GPS field mapping and soil sampling, but after his company closed that part of the business he worked on a landscaping crew and dabbled in starting his own landscape company.

Job security and expectations drew him back to science, livestock and companion animal vaccine production and research, then to genetically modified crop research and testing. Interest in survival topics following Y2K led him eventually to the Survival Podcast, where Jack and then Diego Footer of Permaculture Voices inspired him to begin his entrepreneurial journey. Jeff is in the MSB and a PermaEthos Founding Member where he took his PDC.

Abundant Design strives for beautiful and productive landscapes, that will actually improve the quality of our waters, fertility of our soil, and the health of our planet.

He runs a local meetup for permaculture, teaches classes at a learning farm and volunteers at a local community orchard.  He joins us today to discuss permaculture landscaping in the suburbs.

Resources for today’s show…

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Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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Episode-2147- Seed Starting Primer for 2018

Last week we talked about a lot of great new plants to grow for 2018 so today is a good time to talk about starting all those seeds you’ve ordered or will be ordering this month.  Today’s show was prompted by a question about leggy seedlings of tomatoes grown for market sales, but I think it will help everyone.

Today’s show includes a segment from a show back in 2012.  I am doing this to help save my voice during my cold (dubbed snot slinger flu).  More so however, because I think this information is imperative to understanding how to get best results with seed starting, and frankly the way I teach it hasn’t changed in all these years.

Join Me Today To Discuss…

  • Understanding how seeds germinate in the wild (this answers so many questions)
  • Setting up your seed starting systems
    • How much do you want/need to start
    • Indoors, garage, outdoors. green house
    • Lights (LED, T5, T8, Natural)
    • Heating (mats, space heating, etc)
  • Determining your starting dates
    • Determine last frost date
    • Plan at least one week later
    • Count backwards based on time to “set out”
  • Trouble shooting
    • Slow / Low germination
    • Leggy
    • Poor color
    • Mold, slime, etc.
  • Final thoughts

Resources for today’s show…

Sponsors of the Day

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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Episode-2126- Geoff Lawton on Permaculture’s Future

Geoff Lawton is a Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in 1983. He holds a Diploma in Permaculture Education, Design, Implementation, System Establishment, Administration and Community Development. Both of these were awarded by the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison.

Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administrating and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organizations and multinational companies.

He has currently educated over 15,000 students in Permaculture worldwide. These include graduates of the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course and courses focused on the practical design of sustainable soil, water, plant, animal, energy, structures, legal and economic systems.

Geoff has embraced the technology age. Not only is he the driving force behind the World Wide Permaculture Network (created in 2011), he also has an online training and education website named Geofflawton.com.

Geoff established Geofflawton.com in 2013 with the aim of educating as many people as possible in Permaculture and environmental sustainability. He has released Permaculture educational and inspirational films to his members regularly throughout each year and holds one Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course event per calendar year.

In 1996 he was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world.

In October 1996 Bill Mollison, upon his retirement, asked Geoff to establish and direct a new Permaculture Research Institute of Australia (PRI Australia) on the 147-acre Tagari Farm. The Institute was a global networking centre for Permaculture projects. It is currently located at Zaytuna Farm at The Channon in Northern NSW, Australia. Geoff is the Managing Director.

The institute is a self funded non-profit company limited by guarantee. The institute has since founded PRI USA, PRI Jordan, PRI Sunshine Coast. Other Permaculture Research Institutes that have been launched or are in the process of being launched including: PRI Canada, PRI Chile, PRI Turkey, PRI Greece and PRI Afghanistan. PRI Australia won the Humanitarian Water & Food Award for 2010 for their initiative “Greening the Desert“.

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

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Episode-2079- Nick Ferguson on “Homegrown Liberty”

Nick Ferguson is the host of the popular homesteading podcast Homegrown Liberty, is a Permaculture Designer and Consultant.

Nick was home schooled, and was able to attend college as early as 16 years old to supplement his education.

Nick also received his Permaculture Designers Course certificate from Geoff Lawton, course teacher for the Permaculture Research Institute Australia.

He now travels the USA and abroad teaching Regenerative Agriculture, and Holistic Homestead Design, and of course he is one of our Expert Council members.

Nick joins us today to discuss his new educational initiative and Hybrid PDC Course that will be released via YouTube and is supported through his Patreon page. You can learn about that project at www.patreon.com/homegrownliberty

Resources for today’s show…

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Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.