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Holistic Management

First Steps Toward A Global Change

As I began to think about how to begin doing this, I had some initial conversations with thinkers whose ideas and experiences I value.  I realized that I could make larger impact by sharing my thinking with groups who already are doing the work of trying to transform systems and cure large-scale social ills through philanthropy and business.  My work with TGI generated a lot of good thinking and experience around transforming supply chains, and gave me encouragement that many many dollars that flow through corporations are at the ready, just waiting to flow into better systems of production.  I know that businesses with tremendous economic impact are hungry for sources of goods and raw materials that have great transparency in how they are made, and for goods grown or made by the hands of people who are treated and paid fairly, and who have healthy communities and intact natural systems.  The demand is there, and rapidly growing.  This is good, because it shows me that there are enough people on the planet who at least say they desire something better than what is currently offered by the broken dominant system so rampant with exploitation, pollution, and destruction on all levels.  What is not yet there, is the fully developed and fully actualized alternative source.

I began searching for a way to start working from the grass-roots level at transforming the big things that current corporate ways of doing business are not good at doing – Even the best actors are not good at actually supporting long-term development, at the necessary level of investment, for the true transformation of those supply systems and putting their money into really transforming the quality and agency of the lives of those people upon whose backs their businesses are build and maintained. Currently, the dominant business models of eventually always trying to improve efficiency and cut costs wears down any innovators who might be trying to take a business in a more transformational direction which values multiple forms of capital, not just financial profitability.

So, I began thinking that transforming philanthropy and helping donors see the importance of understanding the true ramifications of their investments might be another important leverage point for shifting this global system into transformation.

There are so few aid programs or donors that truly think through what happens after their funds are injected into places and peoples lives are transformed.  Sure they hyper focus on short-term metrics, but its the long term story and the big picture the almost always are missing.  Its the million dollar question “Then what?” that never gets asks or reported on.

In this current broken global system we all live in, those transformed people almost certainly, if they get “helped”,  get sucked into the force of human beings that is causing the worst problem humanity has ever faced.  They too aspire to join their develped peers, and get sucked into the illusion of happiness which is actually just a twisted compulsion called over consumption, which seems to lead to a culture that cultivates humans that feel they live in a soul-less void where caring that the earth is undergoing biocide and humans are facing climate genocide, doesn’t faze them at all.  In this model, it would be better to do nothing, than spend billions of dollars adding more souls into the destructive forces of the dominant culture destroying the fabric of all life.  If an alternate reality isn’t explicitly designed into a donor’s approach, the dominant system prevails, and even though the donor might explicitly desire to alleviate social ills – because climate chaos is happening at the global scale and driven by our collective actions, all status quo actions actually lead back to contributing to the same problems that they set out to try to solve.

The logic driven, reductionist modality of thinking behind dominant culture, has ill prepared much of society to understand and think in ways that can grasp enormous challenges of this scope and figure out ways that can solve them.  To tackle these types of complex problems, basic ecological literacy, economic literacy and social systems must be well understood, and then critical thinking using a holistic approach must be utilized and actions evaluated that are equally enormous in their response to the problem the seek to solve.  I myself haven’t seen that type of thinking and educational background listed as a job requirement for any political or business leaders making important decisions that affect the fate of the world today.  If we continue to let them lead, unqualified and unprepared as they are, and equally arrogant and unwilling to listen to those who have spent the time to hone those types of skills, or to those who’s cultures remain intact enough to still foster that way of knowing, we will also be to blame for the outcome of our in-actions.

 

 

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Join Me in Leading – It’s Time For a Change

We have hit the exponential growth point in the curve of climate change, and all around the world, farmers that I work with are intensely aware of the present day realities that climate chaos is wrecking on their lives.  I am truly frightened by the enormity of the destruction we have allowed to advance to this point.  I am hopeful that the human spirit will triumph and we will rise to the challenge and stop this before it is too late.  I must start to act as I’ve finally realized that it may already be to late, and so far, no one else has fixed this.  Will you join me?

I finally realized I must act when I took the time to take a real hard look into the true and real depth of these realities. Now that I have seen them, the only way for me to emotionally and psychologically cope with these realities, is to be brave, stand up, and “Take the Lead” .  I decided rather than lie awake at night full of anxiety, I would be better served using my skills, knowledge and networks to start to fight for an alternative future than the one that current leadership has led us to.

I know I can not do this alone, but I must try.  I can’t sit here and wait for the world that I love to be destroyed by others who don’t see what I see.  I also know there are many, many, many of you out there, who feel as I do.  Together, we can fix this and I think I know how to start.

My seedling Vision for the Dawn of the Era of Regeneration

I know there are plenty of people on this planet today, probably the vast majority, who would love nothing more than to stop this madness today.  That knowledge is why I dare to act.   I know that it was just a handful of humans who got us into this mess,  so I believe that if a few of us put our heads together, we can figure a way out.

I’m not talking about a whole big decades long inter-governmental negotiation process for an abstract concept of trading carbon credits and allowing polluters to keep on polluting, etc. etc.  Government solutions have always been way behind the real innovation and solutions on the planet.  We have to do this  ourselves.  Their process won’t work in time, if at all. Its not focusing on the true root of the problem and that’s us.  Its humans, everyday, run of the mill, people doing what normal people do, but doing it increasingly in ways that are way out of balance with the realities of the natural world.  Since we have created this, the solution has to lie in changing how we behave and what we put our daily actions into changing.

It is time we take control of our destiny and protect what is rightfully ours.  We need to stop hiding behind stories that we are not in control.  This is our life that is at stake.  We must stand up and protect ourselves and stop giving that power over to governments and corporations and greedy individuals.  There just should not be any scenario where we let them continue to be able to destroy, pollute, abuse, and desecrate what is our, with no thought to our rights in the shared gift that is the Earth and its inhabitants. If we unite, we have power, more power than any other entity on this planet.  It is time we realize our power and use it to save ourselves.

With our collective intelligence, creativity, experience, social and financial capital, we have what is needed to make a rapid transformation of society.  We must start now, and we must begin with the steps we are able to take.  We don’t need to know every step of the journey in order to start.   Our path will reveal itself as we make progress.

I envision starting on this path, by putting my energy and resources into supporting areas and people on the planet who already know the truth in what I am saying, and who have already started out on their own paths to take back power and to reclaim the rights that are theirs, and others who are working tirelessly to regenerate their living systems.

I seek to help bring people together to figure this out, and then to spread our ideas and gather others into our network.  Together I know we can begin to make progress on a realistic path forward where individuals and communities become increasingly empowered to act.

I seek to find others with more resources and more energy,  so we can work together to  contribute to a rapid transformation of global systems into a new global paradigm where humans can reclaim the wisdom we evolved with over millennium, wherein we lived in families and communities with cultures that knew how magnificent and sacred the fabric of life is.

I know we have living examples and leaders ready to show us how to embark on a different way.  A way that humans can live in this world today, in ways that make sense within the real bounds of the natural world.

It is time to use all the amazing technology, wealth, and learning we have amassed, to re-establish systems where humans know their place within that delicate fabric of intricately threaded interrelationships of all life.  These leaders are already trying to help us all learn to live in ways that create true justice for the oppressed, and within systems of abundance that can meet our basic needs joyfully while repairing the damage done to the earth, and in ways that serve as an inspiration for rich inner lives where people can feel loved, and cared for, and can live in safety, health, and feel connected to all people and all of creation.

As our collective action takes root, and nodes of vibrant alternative systems emerge, more and more people will join us, and be able to see our progress as the beacon of hope in what otherwise will increasingly feel like a scary and desolate place of absolute powerlessness and ultimate destruction.

 

 

Beginning in Treatment Free Beekeeping with a Flowhive

This is a whole new world for me. I’m really enjoying delving into the research and musings behind all the various versions of beekeeping wisdom for newbies out there. Today I was directed to this resource, by the Franklin County Beekeepers Association President.

I’m trying to figure out where to get bees to get started with my flow hive. I’m trying to find some that are as local as possible, that have mite resistant genetics, and that were raised without chemical treatments and antibiotics to start my new hive out on a good foot. Reference:

The
Complete Idiot’s Guide to
Beekeeping
(released May 4, 2010,
by Penguin

Kirk Webster of Champlain Valley Bees & Queens seems to have made a long term living example of the potential for this approach.  His bees are sold out for 2016 though, so am still looking for the first bees as the source for my venture into beekeeping. I’m hoping to learn more, go to his bee days in April and July, and do some plantings around my hives to augment the natural pharmacy available to the bees, based on some research that just came out that showed a couple of natural compounds from plants like wild tobacco and ones that contain thymol can improve certain parasite/illness conditions in bees up to 80% .

http://kirkwebster.com/index.php/feral-bees

I’ll keep you posted.

Common building products killing honey bills

https://pharosproject.net/blog/show/209/honeybee-killer-products

I got my flowhive in December and am just starting to watch videos and attend workshops to learn about bee keeping. I am enjoying learning about bees more than I expected. Youtube has a channel set up by FlowHive with some introductory videos which I’ve enjoyed. I also attended a portion of a Natural Beekeeping workshop at the NOFA winter conference last weekend. I have to say, I feel like I’m gaining confidence, but the test will be when my first package of bees arrive in the spring. I will start assembling my flow hive soon. More to come…

We are speaking at Permaculture Voices Conference, San Diego March 2-5th, 2016

http://www.permaculturevoices.com/business-with-a-holistic-approach-what-do-you-want-and-how-do-you-design-a-path-to-get-there-the-founders-story-with-mary-johnson/   Listen to my interview with Conference founder, on: Business with a Holistic Approach

Get your tickets now

http://www.permaculturevoices.com/

 

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 http://www.goingtoseed.wordpress.com 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 (http://seedalliance.org/index.php?mact=DocumentStore,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 (http://www.farmfolkcityfolk.ca/resources/seed-resources/seed-manuals/)


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…

www.lifteconomy.com/blog/


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: Greenpasturesfarm.net 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: greenpasturesfarm.net.


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 http://www.ninemile.farm and though their YouTube miniseries located at http://www.theduckchronicles.com

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 www.workablewealth.com 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…

Dreaming of starting a farm enterprise?

Help spread the word.  We are currently looking for 3 to 4 great people who

 

want to share a house and homestead and collaborate on permaculture and earth based regenerative businesses.  I am offering some consistent professional mentoring in permaculture design, PDC teaching, and farm business planning to those who come to live here. Continue reading “Dreaming of starting a farm enterprise?”

45 ac farm for sale $369K

https://permaculturefarmforsale.wordpress.com/

Amazing property, permaculture designed features, great barns, and holisticly managed grazing pastures.  Home of Vermont Biochar.

Contact me for a viewing today.

 

For sale by the owners.

 

1 week till 2012 Ashfield Design Course, spaces left

Students are booking their travel, packing their tents, and making their way to the small New England town of Ashfield, Massachusetts to partake of this year’s exciting Permaculture Design Certificate course. Christian Shearer of the Panya Project in Thailand, Eric Tonesmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables, and Jonathan Bates – owner of the Permaculture Nursery at Food Forest Farm will be teaching this years course. Students hail from as far away as Colombia, and include returned peace corps volunteers recently working in Malawi, along with veteran farmers from New England and 3 recent graduates of the Holistic Management International’s Beginning Woman Farmer training program.

A few spaces remain, it’s not too late to join this group for an amazing 72 hours of instruction in the fundamentals of permaculture design. Read more at https://wrcinashfield.wordpress.com/2012-pdc-9-days-ashfield-ma/

Greetings from chilly Ashfield, Massachusetts!

Tom and Colin are learning about farming by starting their own farm business with mentoring from local farmers, and assisting with preparations for the 2012 Ashfield Permaculture Design course as worktrade students. Follow their progress through their blog.

Solid Footing Farm

It’s a beautiful day here in Ashfield, the temperature is a crisp 47 degrees, and I’m enjoying it by sitting inside and writing my first blog post.

Just because I’m in here doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of work to do. Tom and I already have our first batch of chickens, which are already out exploring the world, foraging, and supplementing their organic feed with grubs, greens, and whatever else they can find in the yard. We’ve only been here a week and have already discovered the joys of sitting and watching the chicks scratch, dust-bathe, forage, play-fight, and simply be chickens. Hopefully, we’ll have some pictures of the chicks romping-around the yard soon.

These chickens are a breed known as Freedom Rangers, born a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. This breed is derived from both American and European old heritage breeds and was developed in the 1960’s…

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