Sep 192014
 
 

Click here to download the episode.

On September 6th Photographer John and I traveled to Ithaca, NY and the surrounding areas to participate in the first even Finger Lakes Permaculture Site Tour, organized by the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and sponsored by Ithaca Beer Co., Alternatives Federal Credit Union, GreenStar, Sustainable Tompkins, and a Neighborhood mini grant.

This experience allowed us to visit functioning examples permaculture sites. There were twelve sites total, but we weren’t able to visit all of them. Rather, we made it to four:

Wellspring Forest Farm

This is Steve Gabriel’s homesite. A past, and returning, guest on the show, it was nice to see his home where he puts the practices we’ve talked about in the past, including farming mushrooms in the woods. Steve walked the open area of the farm with us and discussed the grazing practices he uses with the sheep as a way to control weeds, but how initially he had to knock down and remove a bunch of the woody material to get them to softer grasses the sheep could eat. Since they they’ve been effective at ground control. With ten sheep on pasture, we discussed how many he might add. He also showed a discharge swale connected to a hand-dug pond that would flood with overflow and move water through the landscape.


As other visitors arrived John and I parted with Steve and went on a self-guided tour of the wooded area to see the mushroom production area. Unlike in my speaking with others in Pennsylvania, farming mushrooms in the woods of New York is a serious undertaking. All four sites we visited produced mushrooms in some capacity, all in much greater quantities than I or others I do.
On the edge of the woods, not far from Steve’s home in the yurt, were a large series of wire mesh compost bins holding both garden and yard waste, as well as compost from the outdoor toilet.

Emerging from the woods returned us to the large vegetable gardens situated along the main drive. Here a variety of plants grew, and provided a space for us to speak with Steve about cover crops. John and I both learned that if we want to use daikon radish to break up soil and add organic material, but also possibly harvest it for food, that we might stack functions, then it is important to pick radishes that are selected for food quality, not just tillage.

Around this time more guests began to arrive so John and I headed on to Cayuta Sun Farm.

Cayuta Sun Farm

Cayuta Sun is the home of Michael G. Burns and forms a teaching campus for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. Along with meeting Burns and his wife, we also spoke with a number of the interns on-site and walked around to see the buildings, including the Octagon, a reciprocated beam round-wood structure that is the primary classroom. Looking up through the top the overlapping beams are visible, which the staff and students nicknamed, The Eye of Mollison.

After the initial introductions Michael began an ongoing walking tour where people could drop in and out as needed. Along the way he showed us his brush-on-contour experiment that he is using to measure and judge runs for an agroforestry installation with his chickens. I really liked this idea, especially here in very wet Central Pennsylvania, because of how I could adapt this using brash I already have on my home site to layout and begin developing contoured fence rows to filter floodwaters and capture debris. Michael also showed us his Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), which he uses as a ground cover and for biomass.

We also saw his pigs, though I never did ask what breed they were. The piggies, however, were quite friendly and wandered alongside while we continued the tour back around to the front of the property to look at and discuss the energy budget of the home. On just a small wind turbine and a few solar panels the Burns’s meet all their energy needs, though with some concessions, such as a limit on small kitchen appliances.

Here John and I split our party. I went to talk with the other folks onsite and he went to tour the Chicken Salad Bar garden and the Burns’ energy efficient home. John reported back that he was amazed by how efficiently the living space was utilized and how the way choices were made in order to maximize both the beauty, illustrated handsomely by the rich stain on plywood countertops. Inexpensive, pleasing to the eye, replaceable, but will take hot or cold foods or the slip of a knife.

As I have a bent towards the social side of things, I was amazed by the number of people onsite as part of the tour, as well as the collaboration of the interns and long term residents. As a teacher, I liked to see the way the interns worked on their teaching ability as they ran continuous workshops on mushroom cultivation and introductions to permaculture.

When John and I reconnected we had a nice chicken barbeque lunch and then headed over to the MacDaniels Nut Grove.

MacDaniels Nut Grove

Located on the Cornell campus, the MacDaniels Nut Grove started as a clear cut space that Mr. MacDaniels used as a research area to graft nut trees in the early 20th century. As Jamie, the onsite guide explained to us, Mr. MacDaniels saw nuts as an alternative to grain based agriculture. To develop the grove he would visit various farm shows and other agricultural events where nut competitions were held. There he sought out the winners of the events and asked to take cuttings of the award winning trees. His focus was on nut quality and overall productivity. Throughout the grove were a number of fine specimen trees.

Fast forward to the 2000s and Dr. Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel began restoring the site from just standing trees. Now, in addition to the original Nut Grove, other woodlands products are being investigated, including PawPaw and mushrooms. There was a simple majesty to standing in that human-managed space that reminded me that we can work with nature to create beautiful landscapes that serve not only human needs, but other life as well.

After visiting with Jamie and taking pictures there was one last site to visit, so we headed to Edible Acres.

Edible Acres

At Edible Acres we met Sean Dembrosky, who was unknown to me before attending this event. He has a very well developed small farmstead implementing permaculture, and his site is a reminder that money doesn’t need to be a barrier to this practice.

He split black locust and combined it with some hardware cloth and some wire to keep out small animals as well as deer. Total cost? Under $100. Many of his plants he propagated himself over the past several years. Multiple times Sean referenced how he used design in order to minimize his cost outlays, then combined them with free or durable products in order to maximize the usefulness of his work.

This hand-dug well Sean uses to collect rainwater runoff from surrounding fields. Using an inexpensive, $20, bilge pump he purchased off of eBay that is then connected to a solar panel and truck battery, he pumps that water up into a storage tank. Then, as needed, he opens the valve on the tank to flood irrigate his raised beds. He hand-leveled the beds by scraping the surface level with a hoe after flooding them, to show high and low spaces. This allows him evenly distribute water to all the beds.

Now by flooding the garden water percolates into the edges of the raised beds and the surrounding ground. Because of the soil building he’s done, and by watching the landscape when he waters, little goes to waste.

There were other examples of this throughout Sean’s property but we were short on time after the full day so headed back to the Ithaca Beer Company to process our pictures and post some to the Facebook page for the show, facebook.com/thepermaculturepodcast.

The Reception

After the data download, thanks to the Ithaca Beer Company’s WiFi, we had a few pints, a bite to eat, and hung around with folks in the Finger Lakes region of New York who were interested in permaculture. In addition to Steve Gabriel and Michael Burns, we also met Karryn Olsen-Ramanujan and Rebecca Cutter, and spent time speaking with Matt Stillerman, and Chris, whose last name I didn’t catch. This was an enjoyable time because we learned more about the people and places that are doing this regenerative design work, including at the sites we didn’t get to visit. So where do we got from here?

What’s Next?

I want to go back up to the Finger Lakes and spend a few days in the area getting in-person interviews including first time conversations with Michael Burns and Rebecca Cutter, and follow-ups with Karryn Olsen-Ramanujan and Steve Gabriel. I also want to visit with Matthew and Petra of Fruition Seeds and speak with them about their unique plant breeding work to develop localized seeds using traditional methods.

In the area is Melissa Madden, at Good Life Farm, who is someone practicing broadscale perennial agriculture. While there I also want to visit the other sites I didn’t visit on this trip, such as Sapsquach Maple Syrup or Hawk Meadow Farm. That trip organized for early 2015.

If you like this kind of report and hearing about the various regional approaches to permaculture and the practitioners in the area, help support these field reports so we can learn more about the incredible permaculture projects active around the United States and elsewhere in the world. Go to www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support to make a one time or ongoing contribution to this work. If you’d like you can include a note saying “travel” and I’ll earmark what you give for future trips of this kind.

I do have two more journeys on the calendar. The next will be to Bridgeton, New Jersey, on October 11th for Chabacon, to see Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute deliver a keynote address and to engage with others on how a community can move towards more sustainable, and regenerative, practices.

After that, from October 20th through the 22nd or 23rd, I’ll be in Roanoke, Virginia. As part of that trip I have a farm tours and interviews scheduled with Lee and Dave of Radical Roots Farm, in Keezletown, VA, Rick Frederick of Lick Run Farm, and Holly Brown of Island Creek Farm. While there, on Tuesday, October 21st, at 630pm I’ll be at the Roanoke Natural Food Coop, at Grandin Village, to share a short piece on permaculture.

That’s it so far, but with much more to come. Thank you for your support to share permaculture as far and as wide as possible.

Get In Touch

E-mail: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Phone: 717-827-6266

The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

Facebook: Facebook.com/ThePermaculturePodcast
Twitter: @permaculturecst

Share
 Posted by at 12:00
Sep 172014
 
 

Click here to download the episode.

My guest for this episode is Mark Shepard, owner of New Forest Farm and author of Restoration Agriculture. This is the second of three pieces that Mark and I recorded together to talk about Restoration Agricultural practices and to answer listener questions.

In this episode we discuss four topics based around listener questions.

  1. Mark’s nursery techniques.
  2. Grafting vs. Seeding.
  3. What tools and infrastructure are needed to start a nursery project?
  4. How Mr. Shepard markets his tree crops locally or otherwise.

We also discuss the importance for each of us, that means you and me, to be growing, selecting, and breeding our own plants from seed. To make this easier Mark shares his STUN method of seeing what plants are best.

What does STUN stand for? Sheer Total Utter Neglect.

After listening to this episode, even if you don’t have a green thumb, there’s no reason to not be playing with plants on a variety of scales.

Here is another discussion about how to bring profit and entrepreneurship into permaculture. It is something I continue to work on and struggle with at times, but it is something we can do. As Mark said, we do this and then ask other systems to try and keep up with us as we create a better world now and for the future. This is not a game or something we play at, but real work to make a difference. We can do it.

To support that, I have some interviews that will come out over the coming months with people like Ethan Roland to discuss the Eight Forms of Capital and Regenerative Enterprise and how we can apply permaculture to business. Then Carol Sanford joins me to discuss how we can apply business to permaculture, find the essence of our entrepreneurial work, and grow what it is we are doing to bring functional permaculture models into the mainstream.

Support the Podcast

If you value this show and the work of the podcast in spreading the word of permaculture to the world, lend your assistance in supporting these projects. Share links posted to the Facebook page, facebook.com/thepermaculturepodcast, with your friends or followers. Retweet messages sent from @permaculturecst. Leave reviews on iTunes or your favorite podcast sites. The show can also use your financial support, either as a one-time or ongoing monthly contribution. Find out how to do that at: www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support.

Going on the Road

The show is going on the road so that I can go report on events of interest to the growing movements to build a better world, and to continue to spread the word of this wonderful system of design we call Permaculture. Next up I’ll be going to CHABA-Con, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on October 11th, 2014 where Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute will be the keynote speaker for a day of lectures, discussions, and tours on how to transform the world we live in.

The last of the currently planned trips is to Roanoke, Virginia, from October 20th-22nd, interviewing farmers and local permaculture practitioners. I am also delivering a presentation, “Permaculture: Creating a Better World by Design” on 630PM on October 21st, 2014, at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op at Grandin Village. If you’re in the area I’d love to see you there or at any of these other events.

Get In Touch

E-mail: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Phone: 717-827-6266

The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

Facebook: Facebook.com/ThePermaculturePodcast
Twitter: @permaculturecst

(Episode: MarkS2)

Share
 Posted by at 09:00
Sep 142014
 

Welcome to a Permabyte from the Mother Earth News Fair, presented by The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann, a listener supported program. This is Photographer John’s first interview. He spoke with Jason Drevenak of the North American Bushcraft School. This school caught my attention because their sign mentioned re-wilding, a subject covered in the past on this show with Ben Weiss and Wilson Alvarez. Displayed throughout their booth were a number of flintknapped arrowheads, tanned hides, bushcraft knives, and other useful simple tools. I wanted to go back around and get more information, but was called off to something else. Shortly thereafter I looked up the hill to see John recording some video.

So, without further ado, here’s John’s short interview with Jason. Enjoy.

http://www.northamericanbushcraftschool.com/

Share
 Posted by at 12:48
Sep 032014
 
 

Click here to download the episode.

My guest for this episode is Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist and mycologist who, along with his wife Olga, owns and operates Mushroom Mountain near Greenville, South Carolina. He is also the author of the book Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation from Chelsea Green Publishing.

In this interview we sit down and talk about his book, the science of microbiology and mycology, entrepreneurship, and also touch on the power of mushrooms for remediation. This is a rather candid conversation that includes thoughts about why ideas that can change the world should be open-source and owned by the people. Why treating employees well and paying a good wage for labor matters. Why making a difference can be more important than making money.

Find out more about Tradd and his work at MushroomMountain.com and at his author page at Chelsea Green. You can also order a copy of his book directly from the publisher.

If you enjoy this conversation and want to meet Tradd he will be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania on September 12th – 14th, 2014. While there his talks include, “Shrooming Off the Grid,” “Mycoremediation of Home and Farm Waste,” and “Medicinal Mushroom Gardens: Cultivation, garden design, and preparing extracts and tinctures.” I’ll be at this event with Photographer John and look forward to connecting with Tradd while we are there.

On The Road

As part of the ongoing journey for me and the podcast, the show is going on the road. In addition to the Mother Earth News Fair, Photographer John and I are going on the Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour on September 6th, 2014. If you are in the area you can still register to go on this self-directed tour of multiple functional and operating permaculture sites. Hosted by the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, we’ll be there taking plenty of pictures to share with you and report back on the first of the planned annual tours.

I’ll be going to CHABA-Con, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on October 11th, 2014 where Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute will be the keynote speaker for a day of lectures, discussions, and tours on how to transform the world we live in.

The last of the currently planned trips is to Roanoke, Virginia, from October 20th-22nd, interviewing farmers and local permaculture practitioners. I am also delivering a presentation, “Permaculture: Creating a Better World by Design” on 630PM on October 21st, 2014, at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op at Grandin Village. If you’re in the area I’d love to see you there or at any of these other events.

Review: Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation

As you can hear in the interview, and like I’ve mentioned appreciating in other reviews, he does this work. He’s not a sage on the stage, but a guide on the side living this and encouraging others to do the same.

Of all the books I’ve encountered on mushrooms, and I’ve looked at quite a few by names you know, Tradd’s it the most functional useful book on mushroom cultivation, education, and the science of it all that I’ve encountered. Just as I recommend The One-Straw Revolution as the first book to read when starting down a Permaculture Path, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is the first book I point people who want to get started with learning about mushrooms.

The book is divided into four sections.

Part I: The Fundamentals of Mushroom Cultivation contains what you need to know about mushrooms and how to grow them.

Part 2: Mushrooms for Life: Innovative Applications and Projects Using Fungi covers composting with mushrooms, urban growing, off the grid growing, mushroom products, mushroom infused adult beverages, mushroom marketing, and fungi in the classroom.

Part 3: Advanced Techniques and Research gives you what you need to know to get started building your own lab, start cultures and spawn generation, store your cultures, advanced cultivation and research strategies, a research update on morel cultivation, and an introduction to mycoremediation.

Part 4: Meet the Cultivated Mushrooms. A listing of Twenty-Four mushrooms Genus with notes on the difficulty of raising them, general description and ecology, fruitbody development, common strains and ideal fruiting conditions, wild spawn expansion techniques, lab isolation and spawn cultures, preferred fruiting substrates, outdoor cultivation notes, indoor cultivation notes, and also information on harvesting, storing, marketing, the nutritional value and medicinal uses, and uses in mycoremediation.

Did I say that this book was packed with information? It is, yet all of that, as much as it sounds like, is easy to read, well indexed, and includes just about everything I could ask for in a guide for a home grower, a teacher in the classroom, or someone wanting to get involved in commercial production. It’s that good and worth adding to your library if you have an interest in mushrooms.

I’m including the final print version of this book that I received from Chelsea Green in the Traveling Permaculture Library project. If you would like to be included in the mailing list for future books as part of that go to http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/library for more information.

I Need Your Support

If you value this show and the work of the podcast in spreading the word of permaculture to the world, lend your assistance in supporting these projects. Share links posted to the Facebook page, facebook.com/thepermaculturepodcast, with your friends or followers. Retweet messages sent from @permaculturecst. Leave reviews on iTunes or your favorite podcast sites. The show can also use your financial support, either as a one-time or ongoing monthly contribution. Find out how to do that at: www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support.

Class Announcements
Upcoming Edge Alliance’s from Jen Mendez, at PermieKids.com.

Sunday, September 7th 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
David, from Rites of Passage Experience (ROPE) and The Center for the Advancement of Youth, Family, and Community Services for inspiring us to think about the following:

• When you were growing up, how did you know you were an adult?
• Did you have a “tornado” experience in your life and after you went through it – it altered the way you saw the world and people saw you?
• What do you see as milestones in your children’s lives?
• What do you think a rite of passage is? Can you describe or share an experience in your own life that might fit within this?

Sunday, September 7th 6:00-7:00 p.m. (EST)
Collaborate with other educators and parents from Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) on the following questions:

• What does it mean to be a mathematical person?
• What have we, the educators, experienced throughout our lives that have helped us develop a playful attitude and curious nature towards mathematics?
• How can we explore and approach math with children in a way that meets them not only where they are, but also where they are going?

Sunday, September 21st 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
Kelly Hogan, an educator from Mother Earth School, and Marissa, a PERMIE KIDs parent, educator, and founder of PermaCognition who recently attended the Advanced Permaculture for Youth and Child Educators program, join us for a lively discussion on the following questions:

• What sort of knowledge, concepts, or skills are needed to have a solid foundation as a permaculture youth and child educator?
• What sort of things are integrated into the environment of a permaculture-minded educator?
• How does our own and our shared story influence us as educators and our children? How can we use storytelling as an educational tool?

Sunday, September 28th 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
Lisa Harris and Jerry Mintz from Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) for join us to talk about the following questions:

• What role might discrimination and tolerance play in children’s relationships with themselves and others?
• How can differences, disabilities, and grouping impact children?
• How do we start talking about such issues with young children?
• What are some techniques and tools to help children (and us, the parents and educators) re-design our relationships to address important issues like these head on?

Get In Touch

E-mail: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Phone: 717-827-6266

The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

Facebook: Facebook.com/ThePermaculturePodcast
Twitter: @permaculturecst

(Episode: tradd)

Share
 Posted by at 10:59