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Permaculture business plan

                            


Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 18
I'm wanting to see some real, solid figures about permaculture. I love the ideas, and everything I've read, and the videos, and the excitement in the forums. Now, I want to see some actual numbers and data on everything from yields to inputs to soil analyses. I want to see examples contrasting before and after implementation of permaculture principles, lists of species being grown and their symbiotic partners, a diagram of each of the systems implemented, and a schedule of operations from day 1 through the first few years and beyond.

I'm an aspiring entrepreneur. Son of a fourth generation farmer. I think that I've really found something here, but I can't go to investors or sell the idea to anyone armed with only a bag full of hope and optimism. Let's get down to brass tacks.

I realize that specifics will vary from region to region and between individual farmers. If you can't give me quantitative figures, can you point me in the direction of someone who can?

When performance is measured, it improves. When it's measured and recorded, the rate of improvement increases.

Thanks! Go permaculture!
Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
Just a thought but...

http://www.permacultureglobal.com/

(Permaculture Research Institute of Australia)

& if you know Deutsch with an Austrian accent... you could try talking to this gentleman Sepp Holzer in Austria.

Beyond that, gl with making a business plan for Permaculture.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
Well, first of all, I believe Bill Mollison taught us that permaculture should show a profit in order to truly be sustainable (you should make some money selling some produce to be able to buy clothes and mason jars and cooking oil, etc). That being said, I don't think I have ever heard of someone wanting to get into it for the money.  I'm not sure it could be done profitably as a turn-key business - the biggest barrier being that creating great soil takes time.  I suppose if you signed people up for a long term plan, and they were willing to go through periods of time where their property might have areas which are an "eye sore", it could be possible.  With that much energy though, I think there are much better ways to make a buck, if profit is your driving force.


Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
chip sanft


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 118
Location: 18 acres (and heart) in zone 4 (central MN) -- current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 or 7?)
    
    3
I asked a related question here: <http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=47284>.

I don't think anybody is getting into small-scale organic production, permaculture, etc. in order to get rich. Though, like Paul, I will be very happy if somebody can pull it off. For me, the interest in figures is a matter of planning.

I'd love to hear if you turn up any other information in your search!
                            


Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 18
Thanks, so far, for your replies and input.

Getting rich is not my motivation. I am interested in establishing a resource that can continue to produce a yield indefinitely after an initial investment of capitol with minimal maintenance costs. My motivation is to feed people.

An acqaintance of mine owns 150,000+ acres in Utah. The current operations are, in my opinion, being mismanaged and much of the land is not even being utilized. My friend doesn't mind too much though: 1. because the entire thing is less than 1% of his net worth 2. because the farm gets close to breaking even each year and 3. he just has to show that he is using the water in order to keep the water rights. I want to put together a proposal to implement some permaculture design principles on this land.

Can you imagine a food forest that is 200+ sqare miles growing in the middle of the desert in Utah? This is what I first envisioned after watching a youtube video of Geoff Lawton in 'Greening the Desert'. The line, "You can solve all of the world's problems in a garden." struck me. An entrepreneur solves problems. People are unemployed and can't feed their families. That's a problem. This could be an amazing example of permaculture's viability which would help persuade farmers to move away from traditional techniques and start a global trend toward permaculture.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
That's an awesome vision and opportunity.  You're going to need lots and lots of help. I don't know much about this stuff, but I would think that a good thing to consider would be to set it up as a non-profit charity, get some experienced permaculture designer to spearhead it, and have him or her enlist volunteers (aspiring permaculturists) to be unpaid interns to help the vision unfold.  In Utah your initial issues will probably be water harvesting and soil fertility.  You'll need lots of funding, but if your heart is in the right place, and you can spread your passion to others, there will be a long line of people who will line up to help you.
                            


Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 18
Thanks, PermForLife.

Help I can hire, if I have funding. Funding I can get, if I have a plan. A plan contains details which I'm looking for via some experienced permaculture designers. I'll spearhead it.

If it is economically viable, why set it up as a not-for-profit or rely solely on temporary volunteers when I can also create long term jobs for a community (permanent culture)? Which is more charitable?

Investors will want  a return on their investment and an exit strategy. Then, workers can buy shares and become the true owners. Corporate philosophy will be based on permaculture values.

There is plenty of water, just need to channel the swales, and I am confident that permaculture is the solution to soil fertility.

I guess what I'm looking for is a list of the best permies out there with contact info so I can get some figures and projections from those who have done it.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Bullock Brothers:  http://www.permacultureportal.com/contact.html

Sepp Holzer:  http://www.krameterhof.at/en/index.php?id=kontakt

BeanTree Farm http://beantreefarm.com/: ; beantreefarm@gmail.com 

Geoff Lawton:  http://permaculture.org.au/contact-the-pri/


Idle dreamer

Kirk Hutchison


Joined: Feb 05, 2010
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
150,000 acres? That's pretty incredible. I think that there are a lot of variables involved in starting a permaculture system, and yields depend a lot on climate and the creativity of the designer. I would suggest convincing your friend to let you start a forest garden on an acre or two of that land and see how it goes. Then you'll have a good picture of what it would look like on a larger scale.


Paleo Gardener Blog
Neal McSpadden


Joined: May 04, 2009
Posts: 269
You have to consider what, to me, is the most important permaculture principle: the problem is the solution.

So might have access to all this land. Great. What are you going to do with it? What product demand do you plan to fill?

The answer to this question will be highly contingent on what sort of climate and microclimates you have in your area. Since you say this is Utah desert, you might want to consider very hardy crops to begin with. After all, a food forest isn't grown overnight.

The main ideas that come to me would be swaling, using that imprinting machine that makes tiny pockets in the desert ground, and growing brush. Then you could bring in a pastured goat operation and sell halal goat meat, goat milk, goat cheese, etc. This would be a modification of Yeoman's keyline concept of using root masses to create soil depth.


Check out my Primal Prepper blog where I talk about permaculture, prepping, and the primal lifestyle... all the time!
Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
chip wrote:
I asked a related question here: <http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=47284>.

I don't think anybody is getting into small-scale organic production, permaculture, etc. in order to get rich. Though, like Paul, I will be very happy if somebody can pull it off. For me, the interest in figures is a matter of planning.

I'd love to hear if you turn up any other information in your search!


To get rich?  Hell no!  That leads to bad ethics IMO.  I am doing this for the health of my family, friends, community and earth.  Wow, I remember having to do this stuff in college (kind of), and I honestly wouldn't remember where to begin.  Permaculture makes up such a diversified food portfolio.

Then again, how do you make a price tag on a food forest (food, &  medicine) that has lasted over 20 generations in 1 family?  How do you set up a business plan to take into account multiple generations or hundreds of years that trees live?

Here is my example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5ZgzwoQ-ao
                            


Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 1
Hi, Just happened upon this forum and remembered that someone is putting
quite a bit of research into similar topic.  Find the following site and there is a large file
to download. Best wishes, M

http://appleseedpermaculture.com/the-power-of-enterprise-budgets-permaculture-holistic-management-and-financial-planning/
                              


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 1
I believe that large portions of Utah have been severely eroded/desertified due to poor cattle management, but soil health can also be restored through proper grazing management.  Salatin is a permaculturalist known for using a form of ultra-high density grazing in the east but it is also an incredibly powerful tool in arid/brittle environments.  Check out Holistic Management International:
http://www.holisticmanagement.org/

I like that quote about solving the world’s problems in a garden, but if you have a large tract of desertified land (with water available) cows might be a key component to jump-start the soil building process.  It could also help you turn a profit sooner, though I admit I don’t know much about rangeland economics.
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 847
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  15
Powell, J.W. (1876). "A Report on the Arid Regions of the United States, with a More Detailed Account of the Lands of Utah"

Powell proposed designs for delineating land use focussed on the arid west, and watershed management (ultimately neglected in favor of the township/range system).  It seems like at 150,000 acres you are working at a landscape scale and would be talking about a variety of different systems based on the geomorphic attributes of the land.  You'd be testing systems across multiple settings.  I imagine there are optimal settlement sites for things like orchards or foodforests where you bring in water, but also seasonal migrations to take advantage of the moving peak of annual productivity that is more livestock based.

I'd look into future water reliability of water rights in your system, and climate change predictions, if you are planning on designing a long-lived system.  Utah is the kind of place where deserts follow in the footsteps of men. 

Creatures other than cows probably have a higher meat per acre yield -- just harder to harvest.

Sorry, no economics, just philosophy.

@velickym -- Great link -- thanks.

Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
If you decide to go the way Amanda suggests and start off with cattle, do yourself a favor and look to the many experts in innovative cattle management ideas which are showcased and presented at Agro Innovations:

http://agroinnovations.com/index.php/en_us/multimedia/blogs/podcast/

There is a wealth of information there, with some amazing minds to be picked.

Permaculture is so perfect for the homesteader who can handpick various goodies of all types from around their property, so I am anxious to see how a food forest operation will actually deliver food on a large scale.  There are many exciting things ahead for mankind.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6574
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
Good luck with your plans.

Would the existing water rights cover your needs, or would the owner need to extend the rights?  I believe Montana does it on an annual per acre charge.  What would be the charges in Utah to get enough water sustainably?

As far as soil fertility is concerned, NPK are minor issues.  For minerals & trace minerals, the best source in the US is based in Utah.  Up front, it is expensive for somebody buying enough for a few acres, but being that close to the mine, you could probably get it by the dump truck load at very reasonable rates.
Check out:

http://www.azomite.com/http://www.azomite.com/
Richard Kastanie


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 64
Location: Missouri Ozarks
    
    2
Here's an article about a permaculture farmer in Wisconsin which you might like,

http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-11-12/mark-shepherds-106-acre-permaculture-farm-viola-wisconsin

Also, particularly with the mention of large landscapes in the dry climate of Utah, I would recommend reading Allan Savory's book "Holistic Management". While it's not permaculture by name, it's a very similar philosophy, and he made some very important discoveries on how to restore land that's prone to desertification.
Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
Wanna fix a pasture?  Biochar & earthworms baby! 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
http://www.holisticmanagement.org/

http://www.holisticmanagement.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=63:usa-southwest&Itemid=31
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 409
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
I do not have the nerve to design a system for somebody elses land!!!

That being said, isn't most of Utah a desert with flat land and a short growing season? I would think cattle and alfalfa hay, but that is just me. He would need water to get the alfalfa started, but you say that he has some.

Honey bees to pollinate the alfalfa, perhaps? Commercial honey sellers need equipment so any honey sales would have to be figured out for profitability.

My reason for thinking about cattle is because deserts naturally want to have plants that are widely spaced. This means that harvesting that much land would be a pain and expensive. Cattle have long legs and so they would be able to harvest the plants (grass) and then be brought in to be harvested themselves.

My reason for thinking about alfalfa is because it is deep rooted, can be used by cattle in the winter, and it responds very well to being watered with giving much higher yeilds and the farmer wishes to keep his water rights and so he must use the water. Also, alfalfa has a potential market for people who want horse hay. Again, with hay you need equipment.

Understand, I have no cattle and no alfalfa myself. Consider the source!

Oh, yes. Yields for irrigated or unirrigated alfalfa from my area would not serve you: you would, of course, need yields from Utah. That might be one reason why you are having trouble finnding yields and prices and other numbers.
                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
Morganic Farms wrote:
Thanks, so far, for your replies and input.

Getting rich is not my motivation. I am interested in establishing a resource that can continue to produce a yield indefinitely after an initial investment of capitol with minimal maintenance costs. My motivation is to feed people.

An acqaintance of mine owns 150,000+ acres in Utah. The current operations are, in my opinion, being mismanaged and much of the land is not even being utilized. My friend doesn't mind too much though: 1. because the entire thing is less than 1% of his net worth 2. because the farm gets close to breaking even each year and 3. he just has to show that he is using the water in order to keep the water rights. I want to put together a proposal to implement some permaculture design principles on this land.

Can you imagine a food forest that is 200+ sqare miles growing in the middle of the desert in Utah? This is what I first envisioned after watching a youtube video of Geoff Lawton in 'Greening the Desert'. The line, "You can solve all of the world's problems in a garden." struck me. An entrepreneur solves problems. People are unemployed and can't feed their families. That's a problem. This could be an amazing example of permaculture's viability which would help persuade farmers to move away from traditional techniques and start a global trend toward permaculture.


I know it's not your fault or whatever but AAARRRRGH!  Here in Texas people waste water just to keep their water rights.  It's disgusting.  Sorry to get off topic.
jesse tack


Joined: Jan 28, 2011
Posts: 55
Location: SE Michigan, Zone 5
You should check out Darren Doherty and his free spreadsheets found here: http://www.australiafelixpermaculture.blogspot.com/

For large-scale permaculture works he is one of the most experienced. I suggest emailing him or calling to pick his mind once you are further along with your planning.

I love the large scale approach to your thinking. For me, I see money as energy, and wasted energy is everywhere; military spending, corporations legal tax evasions, and im sure i dont need to go on, but it seems we need to establish regenerative landscapes as fast and as many as possible to both provide an alternative working model to the status quo and, given that trees and ecosystems take time to develop, to get it started NOW!

I love home-scale permaculture but large-scale is a matter of literally growing the evolution of human consciousness. That is what we need and we ought not to wait for permission either

Now, let me climb on down off my high horse and say good luck!
And thanks Paul for running this forum so dern well! 


Mekka Pakanohida


Joined: Aug 16, 2010
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
charliecharles wrote:
You should check out Darren Doherty and his free spreadsheets found here: http://www.australiafelixpermaculture.blogspot.com/

For large-scale permaculture works he is one of the most experienced. I suggest emailing him or calling to pick his mind once you are further along with your planning.

I love the large scale approach to your thinking. For me, I see money as energy, and wasted energy is everywhere; military spending, corporations legal tax evasions, and im sure i dont need to go on, but it seems we need to establish regenerative landscapes as fast and as many as possible to both provide an alternative working model to the status quo and, given that trees and ecosystems take time to develop, to get it started NOW!

I love home-scale permaculture but large-scale is a matter of literally growing the evolution of human consciousness. That is what we need and we ought not to wait for permission either

Now, let me climb on down off my high horse and say good luck!
And thanks Paul for running this forum so dern well! 






No, stay on that horse and preach it everywhere!!! 
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6574
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
For the record, honey bees do NOT pollinate alfalfa well.  They have learned the hard way how to rob the nectar without pollinating the plant.  Do a Wikipedia search on alfalfa to see the problem/solution.

For development purposes, you might consider subdividing it into 10 parcels, and developing the first 1 or 2 now.  With lessons learned along the way, later parcels will be even better.  With the survivalist instincts of the local Mormons, each of the parcels could be sold for the equivilant value of the entire parcel today.

With success, you would be the pioneer of a huge movement in Utah that could spread elsewhere.
                            


Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 18
RustysDog wrote:
... With the survivalist instincts of the local Mormons, each of the parcels could be sold for the equivilant value of the entire parcel today.....


Ya, us local Mormons like to be self-reliant, it's true.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
For a new, but growing source for permaculture professionals and enthusiasts, see:

http://www.permacultureglobal.com/

It is just getting off the ground, so many important people aren't listed there yet, but keep checking for updates.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
Here are some permies in Utah:

http://www.truenaturefarm.org/

                


Joined: Mar 06, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Boulder, Utah
Good to know there are other permaculturists in Utah!

would love to connect!

Eden Gal
True Nature Farm - Sustainable Living & Wilderness School,
Boulder, Utah
www.TrueNatureFarm.org


Eden Gal

True Nature Farm - Sustainable Living & Wilderness School
www.TrueNatureFarm.org
Isaac Hill
volunteer

Joined: Feb 28, 2011
Posts: 343
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
    
    8
If you're looking for interns, there are probably a lot of younger permies looking for some real experience. Like me. Hit me up if it gets rolling, or if you need help getting it rolling.



"To oppose something is to maintain it" -- Ursula LeGuin
                          


Joined: Mar 07, 2011
Posts: 10
as the climate should be about the same this would be a good working template no.

im a complete noob so I really dont have a clue about any thing but if i was going to do permaculture in a hot arid area i would want to see this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw&feature=related


http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php
http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php
http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php

I said it three times let me say it again look at this site.

http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Teljkon wrote:
as the climate should be about the same this would be a good working template no.


Probably not, I think Utah is a lot colder in the winter than most of Morocco. 
                


Joined: Mar 06, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Boulder, Utah
Hi Salamander

We are always happy to get some help from permies! check out our sustainable farming internship at: www.truenaturefarm.org/intern.html
thanks,

Eden Gal

True Nature Farm – sustainable Living & Wilderness School
PO Box 1474, Boulder, Utah, 84716
Email: Eden@TrueNaturefarm.org
Web: www.TrueNaturefarm.org
Phone: 801-717-9293
                            


Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 18
Can anyone give me some real numbers or is it all just sunshine and philosophy? I've seen the youtube videos and read several books. Is it all just flower power, yoga, and hippie nonsense garbage? WHAT ARE YOUR YIELDS? WHAT ARE YOUR INPUTS?  Costs? Schedule of operations for year 1, year 2, etc.

You can hope in one hand and drop your compost in the other and see which one fills up first.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Have you contacted those folks I linked to above?  What were their responses to your questions regarding yields and inputs?

                          


Joined: Mar 07, 2011
Posts: 10
I think the real numbers are that thier are no real numbers to be had on this group those that have the amount of land to give you the data are most likley not tracking it well enough for it to be of use.

That said you may have to ask/pay for your numbers from a institute like the one that made the video that i learned from. Or you may need to hire a institute to actually take the numbers. You may be able to make a trade arangment.

I will pay for the computer software scales etc to take the numbers if you will take them.

I am just getting into this my self and am not a hippie actually alot of times the heavy hippie attitude of the commercial world is evile makes me gag too.

But no reason to get angry. You simply have more obsticals to over come than you thought  dont give up the world need entrapenures like your self and I to make it change my current goal to save the dying art of the Toji. 


This is the institute in auz he also has a forum connected to his site.
http://permaculture.org.au/
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 409
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3

Ludi wrote:
Have you contacted those folks I linked to above?  What were their responses to your questions regarding yields and inputs?



I get perhaps 6 gallons of fruit from 3 20' rows of blackberries. In Kansas.

I can get 12 pounds of honey from one bee hive. In Kansas.

I believe the average yield up North per hive is 120 pounds of honey. That is a 10 fold difference because of the difference in climate and soil and rainfall.

What we have been trying to tell you is, the yields we get will in NO way reflect the yields that you get. What I get and what you get will be absolutely different numbers! You NEED to contact your state extension service to get numbers that will work where YOU live!

I was going to sell produce. I used the acre in my back yard to practice on and to find varieties that are suited for my area. I made sales for the practice of learning a skill.  I then bought land to expand on  but a few days after that the symptoms of multiple sclerosis set in and so I have never been able to put in the sweat equity that I needed to do to expand my backyard blackberry business into the size that I desired: instead I cut back to what my own family uses.

I  think that your unspoken question is to ask if the info here is something that you can use. My answer is that ABSOLUTELY there is info here that you can use, but only *IF* you adapt the infoormation to your area. In Hawaii 3/4 of an acre can graze a dairy cow, here in Kasas you woul dneed 3 acres and you would also have to buy a lot of hay: numbers from one area will simply not apply to another area!

I realize that the data here is not presented as a cohesive whole: that is partly because it is a new field and all the data is not known yet. We here are taking what *IS* known and seeing what will work in our areas. 

My advice? Decide on what plants you would like to raise. Find out what they yield in your area. Dfind out what you can sell them for in your area. Develope a business plan AFTER you have the numbers, because you are correct in thinking that you need them. But, because I know the numbers for Kansas, I cannot help you there! Only grass does well in Kansas but any grass plant (including corn) does very well indeed> And, in California where I grew up yields of fruit was high but grass never grew more than 2' tall while in Kansas grass in my yard grows 4' tall.

The numbers you need will be local numbers, plain and simple.
[
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 409
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
Morganic farms, I just re-read your first post.

If you are wanting to sell the idea to investors, are you more interested in the design aspect or the hands on aspect?

If you are more interested in design, then perhaps you should look at the beginning permacuture design class that is on-line as previously suggested.

If you are more interested in getting dirty, then perhaps you should decide what you can sell, what will grow in your area, what equipment you have or can borrow, and then work out a permaculture way of growing it.

My OWN goal, because I am rather handicapped, is to have a steady flow of produce with very little work involved other than picking. I have had success with pears, apples, asparagus, tomatos, blackberries, and peppers. This year I am expanding into native american plums, elderberries, huckleberries, and sweet potatos.

Notice please that none of that is machine harvestable: partly because I am using ever bearers to things will not be ripe all at once. . For you that might be a problem. If you are thinking large scale production of one food then you would have to hire pickers.

What state are you from, by the way? Do you have farm equipment that you can use to change the countour of the land or will you be adapting your planting to what is already there?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Terri wrote:
In Hawaii 3/4 of an acre can graze a dairy cow, here in Kasas you woul dneed 3 acres and you would also have to buy a lot of hay: numbers from one area will simply not apply to another area!


Absolutely true.  Here in my locale it takes at least 20 acres to feed one cow.  To the west, it might take 100 acres per cow! 
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6574
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
By the very nature of permaculture, it is difficult to put number$ on it.
If you were to put the entire 150A into a corn/soy rotation, it would be easy to calculate numbers.  Small scale urban permaculture (not ™) may have a hundred different edible crops.  With 150A, you could have 3 times that many.  Some of these varieties will be in marketable quantities, others will only be in sufficient quantities to provide variety to the farmers (and back-up in case others have a poor year).  In a typical food forest, machine cultivation and harvest are not options.  Manual labor for 150A could be very costly, depending on your crops, terrain, and infrastructure (roads, irrigation, processing facilities, etc).

The emphasis in permaculture is in perennial crops.  Once the labor has been done to establish the forest, most of the labor is strictly harvesting.  Annual crops are planted to provide abundance of summer veggies and winter storage.  And hopefully some marketable surplus to cover taxes, utilities, fuel and other expenses.

It is hard to provide you with meaningful numbers without knowing what will do well in your environment, and how you plan to operate.  Most permies are operating on a single family basis, rather than a business basis.  How do you put numbers on labor in a case like that?
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 409
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
OK, I looked at some of your other posts. You are wanting to have a permaculture garden in Utah, and some water is available.

Earlier somebody posted a picture of a very old permaculture garden in an oasis, which means that both places have desert-type soil and water available.

Think about the date palms: what kind of tree grows in Utah and produces a saleable crop? Use those trees instead of palm trees.

What kind of yield does that kind of tree produce? Labor to pick it? Will pests be a problem? Will you be pruning them? Thinning fruit? The extension service can tell you most of this, but your yields and prices will be very different from mine.The palm trees were widely spaced to allow light for an understory: would you be doing the same?

The oasis had citrus and bananas and other plants as an understory: is there a local equivalent that you could grow that would also bring in an income? Or, will you be growing legumes for natural fertilizer? I suppose you could raise some of both.


Once you have figured the number of trees you will plant on an acre, figure the average yield per tree in your area, times the number of trees on an acre for your gross yield. Add in any yield for your understory if it will produce anything saleable instead of producing nitrogen for your trees (or perhaps you can grow both as an understory)

Yield of trees times price  plus yield of understory times expected price, and then you get to subtract the costs.

Permaculture is more about fitting things together so that plants support each other and us as well, than it is doing something totally new.

One ver old  example of permaculture would be the person who put Christmas trees in his cow pasture: The cows ate the twigs which made the trees more dense, ate the grass to grow meat, and fertilized both the grass and the trees. Right now trimming by cow will not make a tree perfect enough to be saleable but 100 years ago that farmer was on to a very good thing! And, it was also an example of permaculture: he sold the cows and the trees, and he had to put in very few inputs to keep things going.

Oh, yes: I just thought of something. Permaculture is meant to make the most of what the land has avaiable. Making a swale to catch the available rain to keep the water from running away  is permaculture, but you are still dealing with a limited amount of rain in Utah. The amount of growth that you will produce will not release enough humidity into the air to make more rain. There is so much you can do to change your ecosystem, and no more!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://permies.com/battery
 
subject: Permaculture business plan
 
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