Consider Becoming an Investor in the Flagship PermaEthos Farm — 33 Comments

    • Also, there was a space for questions on the form. Can we expect an answer in email form, or a Q&A podcast type thing?

  1. Who would make the big decisions? You said if it was an epic fail and the thing was sold in a couple of years, people might make a profit or might lose money. How would that decision to sell be made and by who?


    • Yea it would likely be me with advice from the BOD, “Board of Directors”. It would strictly be a fiscal decision.

    • It depends. Since we are capitalizing an investment it may not be like, click a button to buy here when we take in funding. So it may not be feasible.

      Also even if we do, under full disclosure, we will be converting to cash at once. We can not subject investor money to currency swings in any currency other than the US dollar. In fact given the PUBLIC nature of this and that it is an investment, we may have to totally rule out the concept of bitcoin from a pure fiduciary responsibility to investors stance, but this applies ONLY to investments.

      And I just realized that this is how I am answering you.

      On another angle, will we take bitcoin in selling plants, seeds, produce, livestock, eggs, rent of a guest house, attendance of a class, etc. YES absolutely YES.

  2. Just listened to the permaethos podcast. I’m in 100%.
    Everything about it I absolutely like. It reminds me of the spirit of kickstarter in a way (but more personal because of who would be investing). In general I would consider an investment by me, as mostly charity/donation/help for a cause I think worth while that I want to see do well and spread. A monetary return is definitely a 2nd, because I see the possibility of launching more permaethos farms as a worthwhile investment.

    • Ha. Just heard you say “I don’t want charity”. I should further clarify my statement, while I said charity, I see it as “I want permaethos as something that can be used as a model for establishing more permaculture systems, particularly in places where permaculture ideas and designs might have a difficult time making it.”

      I too believe that if you have a product worth selling, and you get out of the way and do the basic fundamentals, it will sell itself. Period.

      • Oh I get what you meant, I will actually be talking about it today. I had an attorney suggest we do a 501 because a “corporation” can’t do what we want when in fact ONLY a corp can do what we want. Return of surplus to investors. What he was saying in things like open book accounting (and that is ONLY TO SHARE HOLDERS BY THE WAY) and revealing secrets (how to make a seed cross I guess) and publicly admitting mistakes are “bad for business”. That you can’t put an ideal ahead of making money in a corporation.

        Sorry I have to say this, it is the only true and honest way I can convey how this made me feel.

        FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! I know now that PermaEthos must happen, it must occur and we have got to demonstrate how completely fucked up business and the beliefs about business are in America. Plenty of corporations put the spreading of an ideal first and profit second, because as I said yesterday, when you do the right things in business, profit is the result.

        The reality is many do do this, they just don’t say it, they are afraid to. Further a public company (openly traded) really can’t due to legal restrictions and market manipulation. In a private entity where shares don’t freely trade that shit is out the window. We are going to prove this can be done. Today’s show will have some comments about this before our interview segment.

        • Wow.

          I can totally see how those laws got passed:

          Plush conference room.. table surrounded with worried looking overweight men in three piece suits..

          ‘What are we going to do? Once the public sees our books, the gig is up? And those reporters won’t stop asking, at some point we’ll have to show them our books.’

          ‘Well lets go down to ‘our man’ in Washington and get a law passed that says we CAN’T show them our books. Then when they ask we can say our hands are tied.’

          ‘But what about those three guys that died in our Nebraska plant.. if anyone sees how we were running that factory, its manslaughter.’

          ‘Our congressman can take care of that to. We’ll get a law passed saying that we can’t divulge how we operate our business.. and no one will ever know.’

          ‘Hey, can ‘our’ congressman take care of that problem with the orphans to? Kicking ’em out into the street in December is bound to piss some people off.’

          ‘Of course. We’ll just get a law passed saying we can only do what’s most profitable.. no matter how morally reprehensible. After all, we did make an extra $50/month by throwing them out.. and even if we didn’t we can always cook the books so they say we did.’

          deep chuckles..

          ‘Cigars and Scotch all around.. here’s to ‘our man’ in Washington..’

        • @Insidious.
          Atlas Shrugged. That’s literally what you just described.
          What we’re all talking about here, and what is the unsaid thing is that its not business, its cronyism. Its not treating your customers with respect or viewing them as somebody who you’re trading with. Its the next person you’re going to stomp on to get to the top without him knowing it. Reality is customers know thats what businesses do (or are so jaded they think EVERYONE does that).

          That’s one thing about you Jack that you’re talking about business has really molded the way I view businesses and how a business SHOULD work. You’re concern is not providing a service for a customer. No no no, you’re making it your business to see that a customer is TAKEN CARE OF. That’s a very different mind set. “Here is a bunch of cheap shit that you’ll buy because you have no choice. Oh you want something else? Nah, go pound sand.” That’s how I feel a lot of businesses work. “I will only conduct business where I see that the person I’m dealing with does better and is better off as a result, in theirs and my mind.” In alot of ways that’s a business (or person/service) being an asset to a community and to other people, and to themselves.

        • @The New Mike, you said, “I will only conduct business where I see that the person I’m dealing with does better and is better off as a result, in theirs and my mind.”

          Do you realize it was with that that I founded the MSB? I had people trying to donate money to me in the beginning. I am telling the truth when I say some found my paypal email and sent me money and I sent it back. Once TSP had legs I made a commitment that any dollar spent on TSP would deliver at least two back in value. Do some buy MSB and not use the benefits? Yes but it is only by their own choice the product and value are there.

          I was open source all the way, and some say you can’t make money that way. Well I am proud of my success today MSB is a six figure business and I don’t apologize for it. So it can be done, but it is about to be done again in a new way.

          Oh there are still shit piles of government BS in the way, wait till you hear the latest problem for us. It will be in the front part of today’s TSP episode. I think when you hear it you will want to shoot yourself but when you hear my solution, well, you will like the results. Frankly I think many people today are about to see why medication or intensive “you are special counseling” for a person with aspergers is a bad idea. Today you will hear the mind of one such aspie tear apart a barrier to entry for new companies in a way that might blow you away.

        • @Jack
          The statement about the attorney isn’t surprising at all. Not in the slightest least. I might also say he should stick to what he’s good at (if he is), and you should stick to what you’re good at (business). You should have asked him for farming advice while you were at it. hah.

          I’m sure you’ve considered it, but have you considered not doing “any” tax status or official organizational status? Makes me think of Rob Gray before he had to do the corporation thing. I’m guessing you can’t call them shares, or collect shares without being called a corporation. Could you call it something else? Could you “kickstarter it”/ crowd source it where you have rewards? I mean that seems like literally the exact same thing except nobody has to get a corporation going in order to get their “rewards”.

        • Yep. Man am I glad you snapped a gasket at that one. 🙂

          I have been saying that for decades the way we work is broken.

    • Yep I can’t see doing Kickstarter or Indigogo unless we really need to pull from outside this audience and so far I don’t think we will have to. I think we have well over 100K conservatively in potential investors already via the form released yesterday.

  3. I like the model so far from what I’ve read on your posts. I think it works better for me and its something that I was looking for. I also feel like I get to participate, I’m not sure in the other model if I could have moved. I have to watch your video to get the details still.

    Sorry about the frustrations in setting this up, it makes me sad. What a hell hole we live in where a man can’t even setup a simple business that wants to be open to its customers and investors. Then people complain businesses are all about money and we need laws to protect us 🙁

    • Why do folks keep referencing a video, there is no video there is only an audio. Did I convey something wrong here? I want no one misled.

  4. Jack, sorry to throw more ideas into what seems to be a close to final product in Perma Ethos, but have you thought about establishing this as a non profit initiative? I am in non-profit management and development professionally, and see the potential of this evolving into such an entity. I am not a lawyer but think there are many benefits to such. I have no doubt you have pursued this angle already, so will not bore you with what I believe to be the potential benefits. However, if you and your partners have not discussed this, I’d be happy to offer my thoughts and any limited expertise I may have in this type of project. Thanks for all you do!

      • Jack,

        There are many ways to set it up whereby the nonprofit engages in business activities, sells products, etc and does make money for the non profit which can be distributed back to people without a problem. The entity would be free of tax burdens on the land. There are many cases where people work for a non profit and also live on the property owned by the nonprofit and receive funds from the entity based on the successful business they do ie summer camps, etc. Like I said I’m not a lawyer but think the non profit route could be a potential solution if you were looking for alternative ideas. I’m actually looking to start something similar with a few other families in the greater Houston area. We are definitily in infancy but have the vision. And yes, i meet people on a daily basis who believe in something much bigger than themselves who give very generously without expectation of a return. Thanks Jack!

        • @Charlie

          You said, “There are many ways to set it up whereby the nonprofit engages in business activities, sells products, etc and does make money for the non profit which can be distributed back to people without a problem.”

          No that is absolutely 100% not true it is absolute for a 501 to declare a dividend and pay it to share holders. You can pay a salary to an employee but not a dividend or a portion of profit to a stake holder. If you can prove me wrong on that I will be over my ass pig in shit happy about it so please do.

        • Jack

          Everything you quoted me as saying is 100% true. However I never said it would be returned back to the shareholders as a dividend. What you could do is have a desperate board of directors that is compensated for their time and effort apart from the operational board, call it a development board as such that is 100%legal to compensate for their time and effort. Check out this article:

          I would say that from what I have heard you say about your vision for the community, its people, and the mission is 100% able to be viewed as a non profit organization. Every non profit I have helped is engaged in business activity, selling books, memberships, etc etc etc and has property and boards and well paid staff.

          The last bit I mentioned earlier is that every time I hear your passion for what you and others are trying to accomplish with the organization and people, at least in my estimation, aren’t so concerned about making a return on their investment, but making a difference and anything that follows would be an extra bonus.

          Thanks Jack!

        • Sorry that was supposed I say “separate board of directors” not “desperate”. Stupid iPhone autocorrect.

  5. OK, so I’ve been working on/thinking about a crazy concept that might be able to dovetail into permaethos.

    Working name is ‘the Farm Bank’..

    The way it works.. people with homesteading organisms (plants and animals) post standard contracts offering said organisms.. with their desired rate of return.

    Offering: 10 Laying Chickens of breed x
    Terms: 12 Laying Chickens due 1 year from contract commencement

    Contracts can also be ‘swaps’ (5 chickens for 7 bare root cherry trees).

    After contract is ‘filled’ it can be sold by the holder.

    Buyers and Sellers get ratings and reviews, and Buyers can choose to publish their financial info.. or Sellers can require it to enter into contract. (not handled by ‘the bank’.. the bank just keeps track of the contracts).

    Why this is good:
    Homesteaders and farmers can get the materials they need in year one, without having a ton of cash, and then pay back the ‘loan’ in goods they’re producing on their property.

    How it ties into permaethos..

    Leave x shares unsold to cover material costs. After property is purchased and designed, publish a list of needed materials (x chickens, y trees, etc.). Open competitive bidding for the materials in fractional shares.

    We need ten hazelnut trees of type x. Who will provide them for the least number of shares?

    This does two things.. gets you the materials MUCH cheaper.. and allows people without cash, but with materials, to ‘buy in’.

    At the end of the period, you sell any remaining shares for cash, and use the cash to buy any materials that were not supplied during the bidding process.

    (bids obviously have a ‘max shares’ which is the market price for the material.. so you’re not being ‘forced’ to buy a material at an above market share/material rate)

    • This works for independent permaethos farms as well as they can supply material to each other during the bootstrapping phase.

      Which means at some point you’d probably establish ‘seed farms’ where all they do is produce material for ‘loaning’ to other permaethos startups.

      This could also be true for establishment.. where you have a mobile ‘establishment team’ that shows up and kick starts the farm. With extra volunteer/paid labor supplementing the core group.

      Again, this could be non-dollar denominated trade/buy in. (I’ll work on establishment for 100 hours for 2 shares).

  6. @Modern –
    I’m assuming that your desire not to take monetary donations is due to a desire to prove that the concept can work as a for profit business.

    But, there’s a bit of an inconsistency.. in that you’re accepting ‘free’ labor.

    In other words, openness demands that the books show if the concept is profitable WITHOUT free labor (Woofers) or only with free labor.

    Along this same vein.. a way to incorporate ‘donations’ while still being able to prove the profitability of the concept.. would be to use all donations to buy shares in the corporation, which would be assigned to ‘The PermaEthos Foundation’ a not for profit that donates all of its shareholder proceeds to the local community.

    That way anyone who wants to donate is establishing a trust for the local community, the local community is strengthened/enriched, the farm is held in even higher esteem, and the books still prove the profitability of the concept.


    • I think you are missing it, if I could take “donations” but still pay the donator back legally I wouldn’t give two shits what you called it.

      Also no one is working for free. The tenet farmers are paid a stipend, the head farmer a small salary. All three have bonus potential. The tenet farmers are all being trained to build their own farm. No one is working for free.

      Now we might do some “workins” like a BYOF and BYOB workshop with no money charged but that would be OWNERS working on their own farm for their own interest.

      Understand the 501 issue isn’t one of a technicality, it is this. If I do a 501 and you invest 2000 dollars you get NOTHING IN RETURN. Got it?

    • I guess you might say WOOFers work free but they get food plus room and board plus experience.

      • Yeah, I was talking about the woofers. Not the farmers.

        And I’m not in anyway suggesting you do this as a non-profit oriented organization. I understand your goals there.

        • Well then again, WOOFers don’t work for free. They get room and board and experience.

  7. @Jack love what you’re trying to do. Count me in. We just bought a 30 acre farm in Jasper, TX where we’re working to get an orchard, a farm, livestock, etc. up and running. We have a lot to learn and would love to be part of this project. Great idea!