Why get into pastured poultry farming?

It was an emotional roller coaster this morning over my AM cup of coffee. It started with revisiting a state of depression that almost sent me sulking on the couch for the rest of the day, and ended on news so great that I did a complete 180 and shed a few happy tears. In one morning I felt the range of emotions that started me in chicken farming in the first place.

I started farming because I wanted to be a part of the alternative to our conventional agricultural system here in the United States. Once I became focused on my own nutrition I realized that we are producing calories but not food. We have a lot of things that look like food, but are so void of nutrition that diabetes, heart disease, and other food-related illnesses are now common place. 

Put aside nutrition for a second and think about the farmers producing this food. I don't believe that there are evil farmers. No one gets into farming to treat animals inhumanely or to pour chemicals on the ground. Generally folks get into agriculture because they grew up with it or answered a call back to the earth (or both).

The Sad

This morning two things I enjoy aligned to bring me the video I am about to show you. Part of my morning routine is to check YouTube for new videos from the channels I subscribe to. Part of my evenings are to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.

Even though HBO is a paid subscription, Mr. Oliver puts many of his segments on his YouTube channel. This morning I came across an old segment on poultry farming.

That was the low point. Imagine waking up to watch something that intense. Yeah, sad morning coffee. But then this happened:

The Glad

With a little extra gloom in my heart I left YouTube for the vast unknown, my email inbox. You just never know what might be lurking in there. A recent email caught my eye, so for once in my life I opened an email.

The email was from Rhonda Tomko of TBS Micro Farm in Southern New Jersey. Rhonda did not write in asking for me to solve something for her, she wrote in having solved a problem herself, she just wanted to make sure I was OK with her using my content.

Backstory

Rhonda has chosen agriculture as a second career. Second, third, or fourth, it doesn't matter. The point is she left a desk job to pursue a life connected to her food.

In her area of Southern New Jersey there are no options that she can find for processing pastured poultry. No State inspected facilities, no USDA facilities, there was nothing for her to use. So, she took matters into her own hands.

Rhonda is launching her own mobile poultry processing facility this April 2017. Like a good business person she's not only working on setting up her facility, but she's already starting to market to potential customers.

This April Tree By Springs Micro Farm is launching its' poultry processing facility. You can see Rhonda's advertisement for whether or not pastured poultry is profitable by clicking on the picture above or on this link. For information on her fee structure click here.

The Takeaway

This morning was a win for me on a couple levels. I have specialized in chickens because I like chickens, and I don't like the way they are being raised in the United States. While I am doing what I can to fight the system I don't think about it every single day. After all, I have a life to live.

To be reminded of how bad our food system is can be a downer. My momentary sadness was replaced by the joy in knowing that I am doing all I can to fix what I see as wrong.

Then to get such a lovely email as the one that I got from Rhonda just made my day. Here's someone I never met in person, working for the same change I want to see in the world.

The whole purpose of publishing information on Farm Marketing Solutions is to have other people learn from my successes and failures and build on what I have done. "Standing on the shoulders of giants" as the phrase goes. 

I am standing on the shoulders of people like Joel Salatin, Jeff Mattocks, Harvey Ussery, and all the folks involved with APPPA. My hope, as I get better at sharing information, is that you reading this, you, go out and take action like Rhonda. Not just talk about it, not just start a food-related Instagram feed, but to go actually take action toward a better food system.


Want to get started with pastured poultry farming?

Chicken Tractor Plans

Build a chicken tractor to raise broiler chickens on grass. Raising a chicken on grass gives them a healthier life, makes for tastier meat, and works toward a better food system.

Pastured Poultry Packet

Make sure raising chickens is going to work for you. I will not sell you on whether broiler chickens are going to make financial sense for you. I will however show you how to define your own number.  

Through PPP#1 you will calculate your start up costs and determine how much it will cost you to raise each chicken. Use these numbers to plan your farm or refine your operation going forward.

Buy the Books  |  Free Broiler Resources

GFP089: How to Raise Pigs on Pasture

Raising pigs has to be one of the most fun things that I do on farm. I truly enjoy almost every part of it. I mean, don't get me wrong, they could smell a little better every once in a while but who can turn their noses up at their floppy ears, curly tails, and curiously happy demeanor?

I get my pigs for the season in less than a week. I'm raising 20 pigs this year for various different markets. It's a step up for me. A far cry from big production, but big enough to feed some serious people. I plan to market and sell through:

  • Whole and Half Hog
  • Pig Roast
  • Retail at Famers' Market and Farm Store
  • Restaurants for Beer and Spirits Dinners

You can see how I raised pigs last year with this YouTube Playlist:

 

Resources from this farm podcast:

Farm Quote of the episode:

"Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty but the pig will love it..."

 

GFP088: My Background

No matter what you've done before you got into farming, it applies. It all applies!!! Granted some of us are going to get into farming full time and run our own farms and others are going to be happy with a backyard garden. The important thing here is that we're all willing to get our hands dirty.

I take a small amount of pride in that I've worked hard over the years to make my life interesting. It sounds a little egotistical perhaps, but I'm alright with that, because it's been fun.

In past years I've biked across the country, worked with Howard Stern, put on plays, worked as a food photographer, web designer and programmer, and so many other odd things. Through it all I have finally learned one important lesson.

That lesson: enjoy the process! Nothing is going to go according to plan and it is certainly not going to happen as quickly as you want it to. And that's OK. If you learn to love the day to day tomorrow will eventually come. Find something you love to do, pursue it, and enjoy "getting there".

That was a major hurdle for me to overcome. I still get stressed. I still get down sometimes. But the majority of my time is spent appreciating what I have and wondering how I can make it even better. If I work to make it better, it usually happens, and guess what? It's even better!!! It all sounds so silly to put into words, and a few years I might have even made fun of the guy I've become. But on the other side of my freak out, I feel good, and I'm ready to get my season really moving.

GFP087: Urban CSA and Apothecary

I have been in love with the idea of more farms appearing in urban settings. That is how we bring food to the masses and help wrangle that ugly beast called food security. Clever uses of otherwise untapped resources.

On today's farm podcast episode we visit one of those urban farms to see how it all fits together.

Items covered or mentioned on today's farm podcast:

Farm Quote of the episode:

"Don't worry. If plan A fails there are 25 more letters in the alphabet." - Anonymous

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP086: It's My Birthday

I'm a day older than I was yesterday, but today I got to use a whole new number. I've made it to 31 and I'm pretty happy about it.

In this podcast episode I talk about what my plans are for the farm this year and why they are that way. Then I go over what's happening on Farm Marketing Solutions and content for the year and I ask you for help.

Ya see, I cannot do this without you. Talking into the abyss of the internet means nothing if there is no one to listen and interact. That's where you come in. I share some of my thoughts for how I think the podcast should go this year but I would much rather do something that you guys and gals are going to want to hear rather than just guessing and hoping to get it right.

That's where the comments section of this post comes into play. Get on there and let me know what you think I should be doing this year for Farm Marketing Solutions. I'm trying to keep it simple so that I can do a little more than I've done in the past, but I don't want it to lose any value to you.

And now, a fun YouTube video:

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

Farm Update January and Audio Test

I wouldn't say that 2016 has come in with a big! More like a pop, and a sizzle, a little shuffling, and then a nap. Scott and I have been working on getting the website back to 100% with only some luck. It is taking some time to undo several years of technical blunders in order to save everything and move on.

The site did not get hacked, it is not unsafe. What happened is that we were getting mired in technical updates, code fixes, and general nerdy stuff. What we really want to do is produce content to share with you.

With that in mind we have made the move to SquareSpace. In oder to get everything changed over and still maintain some online presence there are inevitable blips. Getting the podcast feed to update is one of those blips.

Let's see if this works! If it does and you come to the new site let us know what you think. We know about the broken links, fixing that. More curious what you think about the design and direction.

GFP084: Starting a Farm Crawl

There was a problem that I now had a farm stand, I did a lot of work to make my farm beautiful and accessible, but no one was showing up. How do you get people on your farm without breaking your marketing budget? The answer: Farm Crawl

A farm crawl is a one day event where multiple farms in the same area open their doors, hold tours, and cross-market each other to the benefit of all. Customers travel from farm to farm to see what the farms have to offer, get tours, meet the farmers where they work, and become more connected to their food.

My farm is off a back road that’s off a back road. There is no such thing as incidental traffic from someone just driving by. I needed to think of something that would draw people to let them know that I was back here. As usual when looking for inspiration I looked to the other farmers that I know. Ethan Book of Crooked Gap Farm has a great podcast where he talks about his farming journey. Some one those episodes mentioned a farm crawl and BOOM, inspired.

I borrowed the concept from listening to the Beginning Farmer Show with Ethan to start my own farm crawl. In this episode Ethan and I discuss my new farm crawl, his established farm crawl, and how both of them came to be.

 

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • How setting up systems will make your life better
  • How to look for efficiencies on your farm
  • How to start your own Farm Crawl
  • My “first world problems” with getting a new computer

 

Interview with Ethan Book of Crooked Gap Farm


Ethan Book grew up on a quaint little street in Cedar Falls, Iowa playing with toy tractors on his bedroom floor and pretending to farm with his John Deere pedal tractor in the driveway.

Weekends were often spent on his dad’s farm or the farms of his uncles and extended family. As Ethan grew up his dreams of being a farmer faded a little bit, but never truly went away.

Ethan has pursued that dream of becoming a farmer and has done a great job of documenting his journey through his blog and podcast over at The Beginning Farmer. I am honored to call him a friend. Though we have never met in person I feel like I know so much about him through the stories he shares on his podcast, through his writing, and in conversations I have had with him “off air”.



Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:



Take aways:

How are you going to get people onto your farm?

What is one area on your farm that is in desparate need of increased efficiency?


Farmer quote of the episode:

“Computers are like Old testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.” – Joseph Campbell

“Never trust a computer that you can’t throw out a window.”- Steve Wozniak

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP083: 5 Lessons Learned On Farm This Year

I know we have all learned a lot this year. There have been good times, there have been bad times, and everything in between. This farm podcast episode focuses on five lessons learned by one of the Farm Finance Challenge participants Jonathan Woodford of Sugarwood Acres.

  • Better record keeping is the key to success.
  • Things don’t always go according to plan.
  • It’s important to take time to help others.
  • Do what it takes to get the job done.
  • A farm is a wonderful place to raise a family.

 

What is my name?

Jonathan Woodford

What is the name of my farm?

SugarWood Acres

A brief description of my farm:

160 acre certified organic farm on which we produce hay, maple syrup, small amount of grain and corn. We raise couple beef and pork for meat.

Where is my farm located?

388 North Third St. West Farmington Ohio, 44491

What are my main operations?

In 2013, we ran a 700 bucket operation, increased to 1200 buckets for 2014. 2014 we sold small square bales, mostly for horse feed. We also did some large round bales, which sold for a beef operation. We bought two angus heifers to start a breeding stock. We have raised a couple feeder cows in our front yard for a few years prior. This year we started with three feeder pigs. For 2015, we are looking into expanding into bees, more feeder pigs, two dozen chickens and half dozen turkeys.

How big is my farm?

We have about hundred acres of fields and forty acres of woods. My wife and I both work at the local school. I farm to provide my family with food that we know where it comes from and how it was raised. I enjoy farming and try to make a little extra money while doing it.

How would I want people to contact me?

SugarWood Acres on Facebook

@SugarWoodAcres on Twitter

Why am I participating in the Farm Finance Challenge?

I started keeping track of hours spent collecting sap for the past two years. I try to start keeping track of tractor time but failed to do a good job at it. I have wanted to get a better idea of how much time we spend doing things and if we are making our time back in our sales.

What is one thing you are struggling with on your farm?

This year will be the first time doing farm taxes. I have no clue what to expect. I have a hard time pricing my products for sale.

What do you hope to get out of the Challenge by the end?

At the end of this challenge, I hope to have a better understanding of where I spend my time. I also will have a better idea of how much time and money it will cost me to run the farm.

 

Take aways:

How will better records effect your decision making?

How do you create those positive habits that will propel your farm forward?

 

Farm quote of the episode:

“Decisions are the hardest things to make. Especially when it is a choice between where you should be and where you want to be.” – Anonymous

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP082: Managing Employees

I am super pleased to bring Curtis Stone back on the show for another episode to talk all about managing the farm, employees, and growing more farmers for the future. We cover the nitty-gritty of harvesting information on farm and what to do with that information once you have it.

Managing employees can be one of the most emotional and difficult things you can do farming. Forget crop losses, acts of God, and poor markets, other humans have the potential to drive you insane like nothing else. I am finding however that there is a way to mitigate and even eliminate that stress. Data.

Data is the key to most things. Knowing where you’ve been, where you are at, and where you are going using cold hard data to drive your decision making.

Alright, so I have fun writing “cold hard data” because I’m sure I saw it in a movie once. I’m not a cold hard person. Far from it. I mean, have you seen my daughter Mabel? She turns me to mush every time I think of her. The problem I run into as a manager is that at times I need to be cold and hard and without concrete facts that can be very difficult to do.

However you do it, and for whatever reason, tracking things on your farm is critical to growing your business. I get asked all the time, “John, I want to start farming, where do I begin?” Begin by tracking your personal finances, budgeting for yourself, using a calendar to keep organized, and if you do all that go out and try to grow some stuff.

 

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • Spreadsheets don’t have to be scary
  • Curtis’s three most used spreadsheets on farm
  • It’s good to dork out about data management
  • Using data to:
  • discovery market trends
  • sort out best practices
  • maintain a financial picture of your farm

 

Interview with Curtis Stone of Green City Acres

Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. Up until 2008, he had been living in Montreal, trying to make a go at being a working musician. It was many years ago, when he heard the old cliche, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. That was a turning point for him in that he knew that it was important for us to be active participants in our society, rather than just being by-standers.

But it wasn’t until Curtis discovered Permaculture, while searching around on the internet for sustainable building methods, that it opened up a pandora’s box of information and inspiration for him. From there, he knew that he wanted to live in a way that was life affirming, not destructive. He left Montreal in March of 2008 to return to his home town of Kelowna, BC, to try and pursue this kind of life style. It was a bike tour down the west coast from Kelowna to San Diego in fall 2008 where he visited off-grid homesteads, eco villages, and urban farms, that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions.

Upon returning from the trip totally inspired and ready to do something involved in sustainable ag, but not exactly sure what yet, a friend of his directed him towards SPIN farming. The stars must have aligned at that movement because once Curtis discovered that there was a way to farm that required very little investment, no need to own land or heavy machinery, he was confident that he could do it. He spent the rest of the fall and winter of 2009 studying SPIN farming and various other gardening and farming books, and then decided to go for it. With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, he had everything he needed to start a farm.

After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught in the SPIN farming models, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those who have no experience.

Through the off-season, Curtis works as public speaker on food related issues, and is a consultant for multiple community food projects throughout Kelowna. In September 2010 he was awarded ‘gardener of the year’ from the city of Kelowna’s Communities in Bloom.

 

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 


Take aways:

Can you think of at least one stressor in your life that could have been solved by having better information?

Ever want to strangle an employee? Think about it. Was it actually your fault as a manager or theirs as a worker?


Farm quote of the episode:

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.” – David Dunham

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP081: On The Shoulders of Giants

What separates professionals from amateurs is experience. There’s no getting around experience. You can read all the books, watch all the videos, take all the classes, but until you try and do whatever it is you’re trying to do it’s all just theory. What I cannot help be be fixated on these days is tracking that experience, documenting it, so it is easier to learn from past experiences and work toward my holistic goals on farm.

“Standing on the shoulders of giants” means that you are picking up where someone else left off. Learning from their experiences and building your own. We live in an age where information is processed and passed along at lightning speed, why not take advantage of it and start to share some of your own?

There are two sets of “giants” in your life. The first are the farmers that came before you who have written books, made the videos, set the stage, and carved the path that we’re following now. Those include the people who are discussing what they are doing in real time much the way I am doing with Farm Marketing Solutions.

The second giant is YOU! You have the opportunity every day to gain experience and build on what you have already done. You don’t need to share your experiences with anyone else. Not everyone is comfortable with airing their dirty laundry for everyone to see. But internally, within your farm, you can take pictures, take notes, create records, and detail your actions so that at any time you can go back and see exactly how and why you did something.

You make the best decisions you can at the time based on the tools (which includes knowledge) you have at the time. Looking back and thinking “man I wished I had done that” is pointless. Instead look back and say, “man, I did that and it didn’t work out. Why? What can I do to improve?” Figure out how to improve, and then go do it! Take action! No more theory! Get out there and gain more experience and embrace failure as openly as you do success.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

 

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • the story of a guy who keeps trying
  • $75k on 1/3 of an acre farming
  • the benefits of being specialized
  • the necessity of being agile
  • how being organized can save time, money, and headaches
  • DATA, F-ING DATA
  • it’s ok to make mistakes

 

Interview with Curtis Stone of Green City Acres

Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. Up until 2008, he had been living in Montreal, trying to make a go at being a working musician. It was many years ago, when he heard the old cliche, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. That was a turning point for him in that he knew that it was important for us to be active participants in our society, rather than just being by-standers.

But it wasn’t until Curtis discovered Permaculture, while searching around on the internet for sustainable building methods, that it opened up a pandora’s box of information and inspiration for him. From there, he knew that he wanted to live in a way that was life affirming, not destructive. He left Montreal in March of 2008 to return to his home town of Kelowna, BC, to try and pursue this kind of life style. It was a bike tour down the west coast from Kelowna to San Diego in fall 2008 where he visited off-grid homesteads, eco villages, and urban farms, that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions.

Upon returning from the trip totally inspired and ready to do something involved in sustainable ag, but not exactly sure what yet, a friend of his directed him towards SPIN farming. The stars must have aligned at that movement because once Curtis discovered that there was a way to farm that required very little investment, no need to own land or heavy machinery, he was confident that he could do it. He spent the rest of the fall and winter of 2009 studying SPIN farming and various other gardening and farming books, and then decided to go for it. With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, he had everything he needed to start a farm.

After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught in the SPIN farming models, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those who have no experience.

Through the off-season, Curtis works as public speaker on food related issues, and is a consultant for multiple community food projects throughout Kelowna. In September 2010 he was awarded ‘gardener of the year’ from the city of Kelowna’s Communities in Bloom.


Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:


Take aways:

What are you doing to document and learn from your mistakes?

Are you making time on farm for record keeping? Is it enough time?


Farm quote of the episode:

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP080: Welcome Back

Hello everyone! The podcast was on hiatus as we deal with the technical issues of a 3 year old website and podcast. Technologies change and I was unable to farm and keep on top of the changing times.

But that’s OK!

Because the Growing Farms Podcast is back. Back with the every other week schedule. Scott has a new day-job which is monopolizing his time so Farm Fantasy Camp is on hiatus until further notice.

In today’s show I go over what I’ve been up to on farm and with Farm Marketing Solutions as well.

 

Items Mentioned in Today’s Farm Podcast

 

Take aways:

If you had to pare-down to the minimum you needed to do to get by, what would that look like?

Is there anything you can take a break from in order to come back fresher?

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook, or leave a 5 star rating iniTunes if you liked the show.

FFC004: Lightbulbs

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. John & Scott do not like Skype
  2. Windows 10 might reinvent how we look at garbage
  3. John’s going on vacation, Scott too has gone on vacation
  4. Is there valor in working long hours?
  5. Hours Tracker App on iPhone for logging work hours
  6. Accepting that things will not be perfect
  7. How many things would fix themselves if I did not touch them?
  8. John uses an iPhone 6+ to shoot, edit, and upload videos
  9. Lower polish and increased iteration
  10. Adjusting what you grow to suit your needs and the needs of your market
  11. John goes camping in Canada
  12. Why take time off in the summer?
  13. Things are going to go wrong, and that is OK!
  14. John speaks nonsense…
  15. Mabel is the 4th generation going to this camp ground in the Suscovich family
  16. Sugar Island of the American Canoe Association
  17. Does camping losing its’ novelty when you live on a farm?
  18. Scott loves to take trees out of the ground, very exciting.
  19. Flame weeders are not sophisticated
  20. Work-life blend vs. work-life balance
  21. Finding work that you love makes everything easier (surprise)
  22. Four lightbulb theory: family, friends, work, health
  23. Getting to the core of why John & Scott work together
  24. John strokes his ego and thinks he’s super-human
  25. How easy is it to “check out” and quiet the chatter in your brain?
  26. The E-Myth Revisited
  27. Diego and Curtis on The Urban Farmer: Systems
  28. John recaps the Farm Crawl, it was a success

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP079: How to Start a Hop Yard

Topics covered in this farm podcast include:

  • Mistakes made when starting a hop yard
  • What hops are
  • How hops are grown
  • How many plants can you fit per acre for production
  • Sometimes there’s just no choice but to spray
  • Insight into the Craft Beer Industry’s effect on hop production
  • Where do you find good farming information

 

Interview with Geoff Keating of The Hop Yard

Geoff has spent the majority of his life as a Maine resident, leaving only to earn his bachelor in Communication and study the principles of marketing at colleges and universities in Vermont, New Hampshire and London England. He returned to Maine in his 20’s to co-found Level8 Design Studio, a design and development studio focused on innovative web solutions.

Beyond internet technologies, Geoff’s passion and curiosity has led him into the world of craft beer. Captured by the allure of beers intangible flavors, and retained by the continuous exploration of craft beers industry pioneers, Geoff has embedded himself into this exciting field.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 

Farm Quote of the Episode:

“The basic thing is that I want to do the best work possible, and I can only do that if I’m relaxed and have a lot of energy. And that can only come from taking time off.” – Jason Scott Lee

 

Take aways:

How can you help spread useful information for other farmers?

What mistakes have you learned from that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating iniTunes if you liked the show.

FFC003: Talking Nonsense

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. Scott’s microphone is marginally improved, though slightly robotic
  2. John’s feelin’ good post-meltdown and the farm’s running smoothly
  3. Bears! A bear on the farm
  4. There are B.S. artists out there. Dr. Oz is one. The Food Babe is another
  5. The Food Babe makes some pretty outrageous claims
  6. John gets questions about “chicken hormones” at the market
  7. Among other things, worrying about food trends (e.g. uh oh, eggs are bad for you again) encouraged John to pay closer attention to food
  8. John read a book about how information spreads on the internet, Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
  9. Generating ad revenue from content tends to dilute credibility
  10. A portion of the internet runs on “Google University
  11. John started Food Cyclist Farm as a result of reading about how approachable and profitable farming can be
  12. We think Joel Salatin is great…
  13. … but his is one of the books that paint a rosy picture of farming
  14. Poultry farming was tough, but it resulted in an opportunity to manage Camps Road Farm
  15. The “farming is easy” content seems to mostly homesteading-skewed
  16. Young people getting into farming use the blog posts and books as a means to convince them it’s easily achievable
  17. Call to action: share your story. Share your insights with the farming community
  18. YouTube has become the great source for how-to; a major change from 10 years ago
  19. Hacking/remix culture has been a great way to iteratively improve methods over time

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP078: Commercial Kitchen on Farm

Have you considered diversifying with a commercial kitchen?

Diversifying your farms’ offerings is always a good idea. Many of the guests who have been on this podcast have talked about it, and it is a large part of my business model. Have you considered diversifying with a commercial kitchen?

On today’s episode Laura McKinney of Riverbank Farm talks about how her kitchen got started. She also talks about life on farm, how she got started in AG, and where she sees it all going.

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • triumphs and failures from an experienced farmer
  • pros and cons of starting a commercial kitchen on farm
  • good advice for farm apprentices
  • great advice for dealing with farm apprentices
  • perspective on why we toil

Riverbank Farm

Since colonial times, the farm has passed through the hands of four different families who raised crops and milked cows. Currently, Riverbank Farm grows a diversity of certified organic vegetables, cut flowers and hay. Nourished by the fertile bottomland soil of the Shepaug River, the farm uses no herbicides, synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides.

Laura & David, Farm Owners

David Blyn founded Riverbank Farm twenty years ago and was joined by his wife, Laura, in 1996. David originally moved to the farm in 1989 in hopes of running a carpentry business. Although, the barn and house were in poor condition, David was drawn to the landscape and river bordering the farm and decided to call it home.

As David began to work on the barn, he also decided to grow a half acre of vegetables. The half acre increased each year until David began farming full time in 1991. He continued to farm on his own, jumping from tractor to tractor as he managed his small, diversified operation with old cultivating equipment and an array of farm machinery.

In the summer of 1996, while delivering produce during a full moon in Long Island, David met Laura. She had come east for the summer after finishing sustainable agriculture studies in Santa Cruz, CA. Laura knew she wanted to farm, but never anticipated being on the east coast. Their love for farming and each other blossomed into a bountiful farm.

Through hail storms, deer damage, late work nights, frosts, unpredictable weather patterns, and bug and weed outbreaks, they have learned to build a resilient farming operation and truly enjoy the harvest. They now have three children, Lily(8) and Alice(5) and Stella (2) who add love and laughter to each farm day. David and Laura believe that once you eat vegetables from the farm, the farm becomes part of you.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 

Take aways:

How can you add value to your unsold harvest?

Do you have an “apprentice guide” that you have new workers sign? Could save you a lot of headaches.

 

Farm quote of the episode:

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating iniTunes if you liked the show.

FFC002: I Call Shenanigans

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. Scott traveled to Iceland and Denmark
  2. John tailoring FMS to different situations than New England farming
  3. John disliking possessions/responsibilities as it relates to travel
  4. Scott taking stock of possessions while moving, realizing there’s very little
  5. Micromanagement and preventive measures to extend the life of possessions
  6. Having “your name on something” resulting in high standards
  7. Soylent follow-up: John had Soylent, Scott might not rebuy, case closed
  8. John’s getting a root canal, Scott hadn’t been to a dentist in a long while, Dr. Oppenheimer
  9. Mini excavators versus regular ones
  10. Dr. Oppenheimer wants some chickens
  11. We’re not yet very good at segues
  12. John’s still post-meltdown
  13. Recycling doesn’t matter? Sustainable farming doesn’t matter?
  14. Chipotle is great. Scott even had it three meals in a row

 Right click here to download the MP3

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP077: Permaculture Voices

What we are about at Permaculture Voices..

How can you change the world if you can’t make a living in the process?

It’s too common for people within the permaculture and sustainability movement to do work that they care about, but scrape by financially.

And the reality of that is, at the end of the day that type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable – the values are there, but the economics are not.

Can you make a living from a career that aligns with your values?

We believe you can.

Our mission at PV is to help people who embrace permaculture’s ethics to make a profitable and comfortable living doing work that aligns with who they are and what they stand for.

This means doing work that is financially profitable,and looking beyond the numbers to make sure that the work is environmentally, social, and emotionally profitable.  Think of it as whole systems business.  Without looking after each of these components the whole thing falls apart.

And we believe that when more people start doing that type of work, then we change the world.

We are at a point in time where there is a lot wrong out there. And we can either complain about it and accept it and live with it, or we can step out of our comfort zone and change it.

Permaculture Voices is a catalyst for that change.

Many times that change comes in the form of business. Whether we work for someone else or for ourselves we spend a huge part of our lives doing work.

Does that work matter? Does the world care about your work? And more importantly do you care about your work?

On the flipside, are you doing work that matters to you, but is it financially sustainable? Not just now, but into the future. Will the work that you love support the life that you want to live?

These are important questions to ask, and difficult questions to answer. We are here to help you with that process.

We want to see you align your work with your values and grow your business, revenue and impact so your life both purposeful and sustainable.

diego footer
diego footer

It’s totally possible.

Stick around for a while and you will hear the real stories of people out there doing it.

Cheers,

Diego

Founder & Head Story Teller

 Right-click here to download the MP3

In This Farm Podcast You Will Learn

  • Ideas evolve, keep them in check
  • "Behind the Scenes" of Permaculture Voices
  • "You are not going to achieve great things flying close to the middle."- Diego Footer

Resources Mentioned in This Farm Podcast

--

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.