In this conversation we start, as usual, with his background and how he came to be a working farmer and a name known in the permaculture community. The experience of how he got to this place forms the ground we walk over while discussing his work starting, growing, and looking into the future of D Acres. As is often the case in these interviews, he is candid about the mistakes, successes, and the amount of work that actually goes into making a go at this kind of project. Though it took time, that effort is now paying off.
I wrapped up this episode soon after the release of the interview with Erik Ohlsen, so still had that chat with Erik fresh in my memory. What Josh is doing represents another way to consider how to make a living while doing something that you love. In this particular case, in order to support D Acres, it is through a diversity of income streams ranging from farming, to the bed and breakfast, wood working, and selling cord wood, among others.
With that work, and I don’t doubt at all that there’s plenty to go around, is the salvation that Josh finds in his labor with the land, the animals, the products that come from it, and the people that come through it. I’m on a bit of a kick thinking about how all the ideas of the various guests interrelate in describing the broad umbrella of ideas we can consider as part of permaculture. I say this because Josh’s efforts speak to the dignity of labor that Bob Theis and I talked about. Josh’s idea of land stewardship echoes Bob’s thought about not despoiling some piece of land that doesn’t need us, but to look for a house in the city that does. In Josh’s case, this isn’t about the city, but looking for ways to preserve farm land in a way that doesn’t require familial bonds to keep it in perpetuity for the people that would choose to live and work there.
Then there’s the experiences that Josh has gone through in order to get where he’s at. Building a name for himself through what he did. Overcoming those initial thoughts that he and his companions would grow exotic asian greens and sell them to hip folks at $20 a pound. Going from that first ½ bushel of garlic in the late 1990s to less than 20 years later to being well beyond subsistence, growing enough food to eat the majority of their meals from food grown on-site meals, while also serving thousands of other to the people who visit, and still maintaining a well stocked root cellar. Here’s a working model to show others in the community, and to the world.
Going further into the archives is Ethan Hughes and his idea about meeting people where they’re at. Josh has had to go from moving in and being an oursider, to becoming a regular and involved member of his community. He couldn’t do that by being insulated from, or fighting against, the town he moved into.
I’m still amazed at how each guest on this podcast finds their own way to what they’re known for. Even as people proceed down similar paths the results are so varied that there’s still room for others to try their hand at various tasks until they find their own niche.
The last thought I’ll leave you with from this interview was Josh’s statement:
I think the answer is in trying to seek solutions.
We will find a way forward by doing. Go out there and get started. I’ll meet you along the way.