Listen to my interview with Conference founder, on: Business with a Holistic Approach

Get your tickets now


Descriptions of the other presentations with helpful resources and links

Presentation Descriptions

Daniel Brisebois: Integrating Commercial Seed Production Into The Market Garden (3HR)

Growing seeds can be a profitable addition to your market garden. There is a market to sell local organic seeds to small seed companies. Or you can start your own retail seed company. Both of these sales strategies can be profitable but they do have very different costs.

The best way to compare wholesaling and direct marketing seeds is to think of seed production and seed sales on your farm as two different enterprises.

At the base you grow bulk seeds and then you sell them wholesale to your own seed company that then sells them directly to customers.

Growing bulk seed is a lot like growing vegetables: you need to prepare your soil, transplant or seed your crop, weed, maintain your crop (trellising or pruning), weed, and then harvest. And like a market vegetable operation these tasks can be done more or less profitably based on your skills, experiences and tools.

The space and time used to grow bulk seeds is very comparable to the space and time to grow market vegetables. Well managed bulk seed crops can generate $20-50 000/acre (sometimes significantly more!) And with effective harvesting end extraction methods, you can be processing over $100 of seeds an hour.

Unlike growing market vegetables, seed harvest is seasonal rather than ongoing. And your marketing happens at once rather than on a weekly basis such as when you deliver CSA vegetable baskets.

If you know what you are doing and have the market for wholesale seed crops, they are as profitable as growing market vegetables if not more!

At first glance the difference between selling seed at wholesale prices and direct market prices is simply that you are packing up seed into small packets. You then sell pinches of seed for a lot more money!

However if you sell this seed wholesale, you only have to deal with a couple of customers. To sell to a direct market you need to sell 10 of 1000s of packets to a number of  clients. And there are a number of additional  packing and marketing costs you take on. If you plan on piggybacking a retail seed business on a market vegetable business, there goes your winter. If you just want to be a seedy character, well you might be able to make it!

Key Takeaways List:

  • Seed crops can be profitable on farms of all sizes.
  • As market gardeners, we rely on seeds. If we don’t participate in the seedscape on some level we weaken our farm system.
  • Good food starts with good seeds.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to integrate seed crops in your gardens.
  • How to grow seeds on your farm so they adapt to your farm.
  • What are the easiest crops to start producing for seed.
  • What differentiates a profitable seed crop from a waste of time!
  • How to approach seed companies & develop a relationship.

Learn more at…

I will not be spending a lot of time on basic seed production. The audience can learn a lot about this from:

My blog has a number of posts about growing and selling seed, and seed crop profitability.

The Organic Seed Alliance has a number of great publications including: A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and  Farmers (,cntnt01,download_form,0&cntnt01pid=12&cntnt01returnid=139)

Small-scale Organic Seed Production, by Patrick Steiner covers some business basics you don’t find in other books (

Daniel Brisebois: Crop Planning to Kick Ass (3HR)

Developing a crop plan is how you make your farm profitable.

In this session we will start with your financial goals and convert them into a marketing plan and a production plan. We will explore how to evaluate whether a crop is profitable or not. And we will look at how a crop plan evolves over the growing season and successive growing seasons.

I will use examples from farms with different scales to illustrate how crop choices and farming systems influence a crop plan.

Key Takeaways List:

  • Having a plan and being able to adapt that plan as circumstances change will make your farm a profitable farm.
  • Even if you only have partial information, a partial plan is better than no plan at all. Your crop plan is in evolution and will get better year after year.
  • The best time to make a plan is before you start something!

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to plan for what is really important on your farm: your quality of life and living your values.
  • How your financial goals translate into your marketing and production plan.
  • How to quickly evaluate the profitability of your crop selection.
  • How to use spreadsheet pivot tables to make your data go further.
  • That what makes a crop profitable on your farm changes greatly in function of your landbase and farming systems.
  • That plan is a 24-letter word: plan-monitor-control-replan (this is a holistic management concept)

Learn more at…

I will be drawing heavily on the Crop Planning For Organic Vegetable Growers handbook I wrote with Fred Thériault.

Darby Simpson: Farm Marketing & Business Planning: Real World Proven Strategies (3HR)

Regardless of what products you are farming, you must have a diversified marketing and business plan for your farm to be successful. Darby Simpson has developed from scratch a “real world”, successful direct marketing approach for his farm thru nearly 10 years of trial and error. In addition, he has figured out a cash flow system which works for his operation, that for years didn’t include much in the way of a “line of credit”.

In his three hour workshop, he’ll cover all of the basics you will need to successfully sell your products for a profit. The marketing portion will focus on how to build a marketing list, marketing displays, free marketing tools, how to select a farmers market, customer interaction and eduction, income diversification, working with restaurants or health food stores and more. During the business planning session he will deal with various business strategies, cash flow management, production cost analysis, economies of scale, setting retail and bulk program prices, tracking expenses, liability insurance, legal protection and more.

While Darby’s presentation will be tailored around his pasture based meat enterprise, the materiel covered will be applicable for anyone desiring to make a full-time living from any sustainable farming enterprise. None of the information presented will be theory, but rather real world techniques used by Darby & Brandy Simpson on their farm. In 2015, their farm produced and sold over $165,000 in product and was the sole source of livelihood for their family of four.

Key Takeaways List:

  • A successful marketing strategy can be extremely effective and very inexpensive.
  • Failure to implement a working and profitable cash flow strategy is disastrous for full-time farming.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to select a great farmers market (and avoid terrible ones).
  • Where (and where not) to spend limited marketing dollars.
  • How to identify and educate key customers that will support your farm.
  • Why you should happily spend countless hours educating customers.
  • How Excel never lies and why you should listen to it when setting prices.
  • What type-a errors to avoid that will put you out of business before you even realize your dream of farming full-time.
  • How to predict and manage a profitable cash flow for your farm.
  • How to implement tried and true strategies to successfully sell your product for a good profit.
  • There will be no “theory” presented in this workshop.

Learn more at…

Erin Axelrod: Realizing the Regenerative Economy (1HR)

A permaculture economy is emerging, with mission-driven entrepreneurs leading the way.

A multi-million dollar community-supported kitchen produces “baynutella” with nuts foraged from CA landscapes. The largest textile corporation in the world has manufactured a mainstream “backyard hoodie” from cotton sourced within a 150 mile radius.

These are the vanguards of an economy in which needs are met using regional resources — and they are making money while keeping their values intact.

This talk offers a vision of a future “next” economy that is already being built, organized according to key areas of resilience including food, shelter, fiber, water and energy. I will describe trends in company human culture, business investments in carbon farming strategies, and emergent & unconventional patterns of capital raising such as direct public offerings (DPOs).

You will walk away having reexamined your values and achievable shifts you can take today to begin experiencing and creating the next economy.

Seeking a permaculture business idea?

You will walk away with at least one new idea to explore.

Already have one?

You’ll leave with clear next steps to recast and/or scale up your current business idea.

Key Takeaways List:

  • The “Regenerative Economy” (an economy that benefits all life) is being built by entrepreneurs all around us, every day. Here are the 10 principles these entrepreneurs are using that you can use too, starting today.

  • Resources aren’t the limiting factor, our internal values/mindsets are the primary constraints. Changing our perspective and framing is the first step to seeing and becoming a part of this movement.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • The 10 key principles of the regenerative economy

  • How these principles are being utilized by bioregionally-based permaculture businesses earning over $1 million in annual gross revenue, today!

  • The most profitable values-aligned aspects of these companies, and how you can replicate these core value propositions in your own life

  • The value of making “just enough” to be ecstatically, unconditionally happy

  • How and why to NOT come up with the next “unique” business idea (and be okay with it)

  • Ideas for how to finance your dream permaculture business, starting today

  • How our framing shapes us, and what to do about it

Learn more at…

Greg Judy: Successful Implementation Using High Density Planned Grazing (3HR)

This presentation will be covering all the topics involved with implementing a high density planned grazing operation from ground zero.  It will explain the difference in high density grazing versus rotational grazing.  How to convert over to high density grazing and why you may want to. Every step will be covered of what works and what does not work.

It does not matter if you have one acre or 2000 acres, this management practice will work on either.  You will learn how to monitor livestock in their daily grazing periods. You can use this information to heal the land with their daily grazing behavior.

Livestock bunched together and moved frequently are a tremendous soil building machine. Only this machine runs on solar energy instead of fossil fuel. The mob of livestock defecate, urinate and trample forage onto the ground surface which feeds billions of soil microbes, resulting in an explosion of new grass and forbs. With the livestock constantly being moved to fresh forage, they are leaving behind all the parasites and pests. The soil life under the surface has a daily smorgasbord to devour, which eliminates the need for fertilizer applications.

Easy simple economical fencing and watering techniques will be covered. With any livestock operation you must be able to keep the animals where you want them and provide them with high quality water. Will go over the do’s and dont’s of water and fencing that make a great grazing operation perform without all the daily maintenance. Build it right at the very beginning you are done.  Moving the animals with different rest periods will be covered. How much forage do you graze off? How much rest period between grazings? What should the pasture look like when you turn your animals in and the condition of the pasture when they come out? How to daily monitor your plants and livestock to ensure everything is going as planned. Growing forage for winter grazing to reduce hay dependency is a huge economical boost to your farm income, this will be covered in depth.

Selecting the right genetics for your forage based operation is critical. You cannot bring in animals that were bred for grain feeding and expect them to prosper on solely grass. Most of the animals today are bred for getting fat in a feedlot, not in a pasture full of grass. Will go over in detail with pictures so that you can easily identify the correct animals to use on your farm.

If you want to make money with animals grazing their own forage every day, you really will get a full knowledge of how to go home and do it.

Key Takeaway List:

  • With this Planned High Density Grazing presentation you can learn how to make a very good living from the land while healing it with your grazing management
  • It all comes down to management, you can build vibrant healthy soil , diverse wildlife populations, clean water cycle, produce healthy food, all powered by solar energy herbivores. Let’s do it!

In this presentation you will learn…

  • Learn how to regenerate your farms soil by using a mob of animals
  • Learn proper rest and recovery periods between grazing’s
  • How to monitor your animals and forages daily to ensure maximum performance
  • Grow more nutritious grass by learning the methods of high density planned grazing
  • Increased profits by grazing more animals over time
  • Lower your cost of production by eliminating fertilizer, lime, seeding, mowing, baling

Learn more at…

Several books that you can read to bring you up to speed are “Comeback Farms, Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management.” “ No Risk Ranching, Custom Grazing On Leased Land”. You can also go to our website: for more articles and methods we are using on our farms.

Greg Judy: The Economics For Leasing Land, How To Find It and Develop It For Maximum Income (3HR)

This presentation will cover the steps involved in finding land to lease, securing a lease, economics of leasing land and low input methods for developing the land.

The more undeveloped the land is the better candidate it is for getting an economical long term lease. With a blank piece of idle land with no infrastructure in place, you have more to offer the landowner. What has not worked well with leasing land will be explained to give you some red flags to watch out for.  We will go over what works and does not work with meeting prospective landowners. To be successful in securing long term land leases it requires building good relationships with the landowner. The landowner needs to be involved or kept up to date with what you are doing on their land.

Once you get a lease, how do you develop it economically? Fencing, water, handling and loading facilities will be covered. Timber stand improvement methods will be discussed.

Adding other enterprises besides cattle? Multi-species will be covered. Timber management, mushroom enterprises, hunting, recreational activities. Custom grazing livestock for other people brings in immediate income with no risk. Do’s and don’ts of custom grazing are discussed.  Advantages of leasing versus owning land. Leasing land is a great way to build a high profit operation from the ground up with very little equity required.  Using leased land is a huge unfair advantage simply from the standpoint that you do not make any land payments or are expected to pay land taxes on the property every year. The lease payment is 100% tax deductible, land payments are not. There is no interest payments to the bank, you make the lease payment; remaining income is yours to keep.  How to market what you raise off the leased land. Developing your own market without being dependent on a commodity market. How to become a price setter, not a price taker. Building multiple income streams from your leased land. If you don’t fail at one thing a year, you are not thinking outside the box enough.

Key Takeaway List:

  • Leasing land is much more profitable than owning it when beginning your farming operation
  • The key to successful leases is learning how to work with landowners as your develop their land.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to secure land without incurring debt to begin your farming operation
  • Learn how to build your operation with minimal equity
  • This presentation will show you how to find economical leased land and secure long land leases
  • Land is the biggest cost of any ag business, learn how to eliminate that cost right at the start
  • Learn the highly profitable economic enterprises developed with leased land
  • This presentation will give you everything you need to know to lease land successfully
  • 1999 we were broke, today we have 15 farms, no debt, 100% full time rancher, not possible without leased land
  • There is no other legal method that is as profitable as securing long leases on idle land and healing it with grazing animals

Learn more at…

To get a jump start on the topics to be covered in this presentation you can read “No Risk Ranching, Custom Grazing On Leased Land” available on our website:

Jack Spirko: Ducks for Fun, Profit and Land Development (1HR)

Move over chickens it is time for a new bird to take the lead.  Well, perhaps not the lead but definitely a better seat at the table.  Two years ago well-known speaker and Podcaster Jack Spirko, along with his wife Dorothy decided to step into farming for profit, and Nine Mile Farm was born.  Initially focusing on chickens for farm fresh pastured eggs and meat they also kept a small flock of ducks just for fun.  They soon stumbled into a new and growing niche, pastured local duck eggs.

It took a bit of effort to get their customers to try duck eggs but once they did the next decision was simple, out with the chickens and ramp up the ducks.  Rather than fight with over a hundred local producers to sell chicken eggs for 5-6 dollars a dozen the couple now stays constantly sold out selling duck eggs at 8 dollars a dozen.  With about 50% of their sales going to a single high end restaurant (Ida Clair – Named to the Top Ten list of new Dallas restaurants for 2015) and their other 50% going to direct to consumer sales.

In his talk Jack will cover how to build up a flock fast and build a customer base just as quickly.  He will also discuss importance of looking like a professional farm in web presence, social media and even a dedicated phone number in gaining customers.  Jack will be discussing the top breeds for profit, why he doesn’t even think about “meat ducks” and how to use a single specialized product such as this to build a multiple product offering, while only needing to build a customer base once.

Additionally in this talk you will learn some of the amazing reasons farming ducks for eggs makes more sense for many small land owners then chickens.  These include, less competition, higher profits, breeds that outlay chickens, a herdable and trainable flock, greater suitability for brittle land and more.

You can learn  more about Jack and Dorothy Spirko’s duck exploits at their website and though their YouTube miniseries located at

Key Takeaways:

  • Ducks represent and underrated niche market
  • Ducks are perfectly suited to the part time farmer
  • Ducks can help you build a customer base for other product sales
  • Ducks are soft on land when properly rotated and improve brittle land

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to inexpensively build a customer base
  • The right breeds for profitability
  • How to easily set up rotational grazing with ducks
  • Low tech water solutions that spread fertility
  • How to get 100% of your customers to come to you
  • How to work a list if you ever have a surplus of eggs
  • Management practices that produce a superior product
  • How to make your cull ducks worth more than a so called “meat duck”

Learn more at…

Jean-Martin Fortier: Profitable small-scale farming. How design sets the stage for success. (1HR)

Tools and horticultural techniques make up the best part of what makes a diversified vegetable operation profitable, but in this presentation JM Fortier, author of the best-selling book The Market Gardener, will discuss how the design stage of any farm might be even more important. Gleaning for the experience of his own 2 acre market garden and that of a new 5 acres one, he’s currently setting up, JM will elaborate of some of the design principles he has followed.

Key Takeaways List:

  • How to lay out a site to optimize daily and ongoing market garden tasks.
  • A look at the important features of a site and of planning installations.
  • How good design saves labor and management costs.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How Jean-Martin has taken his experience farming two acres to scale it up.
  • How Jean-Martin and Jonathan have integrated permaculture design into a larger scale farm design that also focus on productive market gardening.
  • How the design is also aiming towards supporting a profitable farm business model

Learn more at…

To learn more you can read JM’s book The Market Gardener.

Mary Beth Storjohann: Personal Financial Planning for Entrepreneurs: Before, During and After Your Business (1HR)

Wanting to launch your business, but not sure if your finances are on track? Or perhaps your company is growing, but you’re unsure of how to juggle personal and business finances, where they intersect and how to ensure you’re covered for today, tomorrow and the future? If you’re looking to get clear on your financial priorities, set a plan in motion for efficiently managing your money, ensure you’re taken care of for the future and ditch the stress that comes with managing and building your wealth, then you need to learn what questions you should be asking, the correct actions to take, and just what kind of goals really matter. Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP® and founder of Workable Wealth, will walk you through these questions and more to ensure your finances are on track and your focus is on building a business you love.

Key Takeaways List:

  • You can do it all. You just can’t do it all at once. Learn how to set and prioritize financial goals that are in line with your values and what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • The financial considerations you need to absolutely make before launching your business.
  • How to manage your finances on a variable income.
  • When you’re an entrepreneur, there isn’t an employer to ensure you’re saving for retirement. Learn the accounts available to you to stash away for your future self.

In this presentation you will learn…

  • How to establish clear-cut financial priorities.
  • What personal financial considerations to make before launching a business.
  • How to manage your finances (and save for the future) on a variable income.
  • Considerations to make in your personal and business cash flow.
  • Steps to take to plan for your financial future.

Learn more at…

To learn more, please visit Mary Beth’s blog at for more financial tips and insights geared towards entrepreneurs. In addition, pick up her debut book, Work Your Wealth: 9 Steps to Making Smarter Choices With Your Money on Amazon (March 2016).  

Zach Weiss: Elemental Ecology (3HR)

Elemental Ecology is an approach and strategy to cultivate a more synergistic relationship between human and ecosystem.  Water is the most valuable capitol for any ecological/agricultural en-devour, how can this best be used and captured within landscape?  What are some of the possibilities for creating economically viable enterprises that regenerate landscape while also creating beauty, health, and natural abundance?  How can a farmer yield equitable economic returns for their time interacting within the ecosystem they work?  How can humans use an enhanced connection with nature to restore degraded and desertified landscapes; shifting deserts to paradise?  Zach Weiss, protege of Austrian Rebel Farmer Sepp Holzer, will provide an animated, picture and story based presentation to answer these questions with real world examples.

Harvesting natural processes (rather than fighting natural tendencies) transforms the relationship between farmer and landscape.  The other organisms and processes within the ecosystem become valuable allies and workers as the farmer is now working with all the forces of nature.  This type of ecological farming can also yield ample economic returns when clever strategies to monetize the natural production are employed.  A picture and story based tour of various projects with Sepp and the Holzer family at the Krameterhof and Holzerhof in Austria, in various locations in the United States, and a handful of international projects.  The presentation will also delve into some of Zach’s projects both in North America and Internationally.  The aim is to provide both a fundamental approach and strategy that is applicable for everyone, as well as real world examples of implementation to illuminate how elemental this approach really is as well as actionable scale to really start making a difference.

This presentation will also share the traits that are most helpful to cultivate an improved connection with nature.  What areas are most helpful to focus on developing within oneself to be better prepared to intuitively manifest in landscape?  What elemental forces are fundamental to our cultivation of landscape but vastly undervalued and utilized?  How can we creatively capture those resources for the betterment of the homestead as well as the greater ecology.  What are the challenges and potential problems when implementing these strategies?  What is an actionable scale for various situations and context?  These questions and more will be touched on over the course of the presentation.

The hope is that this presentation serves as a starting point for people to learn more afterward and immediately begin cultivating an improved relationship with nature.

Key Takeaways List:

  • The importance of water and an introductory understanding of how to regenerate the earth’s hydrology
  • Understanding some of the actions humans can take to restore watersheds, forests, and landscapes on a large scale
  • Methods and examples of working within natural systems and harvesting their surplus to create a viable economic entity

In this presentation you will learn…

  • Learn how to improve your relationship with nature and landscape
  • A view into the management of the Krameterhof and Holzerhof with stories and examples from each
  • An introduction to Elemental Ecology, an approach based on the work of Sepp Holzer
  • Vivid examples of varying strategies for working with nature to a productive and economical means
  • Vivid examples of restoring desertified landscape back to productivity and health.
  • How to work with and react to dynamic forces, where to start, and how to develop and gain experience

Learn more at…