The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1314: Waste Farming with John-Paul Maxfield


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    My guest for this episode is John-Paul Maxfield, a business owner from Denver, Colorado, who launched a sustainable agriculture company that began as a successful commercial composting business. The journey began in 2009 with a truck and $9,000. Now he and his team are on the next stage of that journey, providing products and tools empowering individuals to reconnect with the food system, and in turn making urban farming more accessible to everyone. Part of this is through the Maxfield’s brand of products, which serve as the basis for their ability to do good work.

    When I first heard about J.P. and his company, I was reminded of the conversation with Andrew Faust on the difference NYC could make by processing food waste in the city, rather than shipping it out by the truckload, how that could in turn build healthy soil, and allow more food to be grown in the metropolis. There is so much food and lawn refuse in the United States, and elsewhere, that composting and other related businesses present numerous possibilities to leverage creativity and permaculture design into sustainable solutions in the current market. Where J.P. and Waste Farmers make a difference is in tying the business to a set of values that guide the work each day.

    Rather than try and reiterate these ideas in my own works, I’ll read you the Maxfield’s vision statement:

    “At Maxfield’s we believe that the hope for worldwide agricultural harmony begins in every backyard. The revolution starts small, and it starts with your own two hands. Establish your roots, work with nature, celebrate the harvest-and cultivate the farmer within.“

    The 10 core values that guide the company are:

    1. Use passion to fuel change, allow imagination to drive it, and take pride in the vessel.
    2. Don’t be afraid to take the contrarian point of view.
    3. Believe there is more than less but trust that less is more.
    4. Don’t be “right,” seek truth.
    5. Strength through diversity, life builds life.
    6. Trust your gut, listen, and always ask questions.
    7. Civil disobedience through self-reliance.
    8. The only productive move is to move forward.
    9. Power ceases in the instant of repose.
    10. Take time for tea.

    Best of all, they’re making this work, so here’s a model of success to consider. Though the world of permaculture design is broad, there’s room for everyone to find their way to make a difference in building a better world, and that’s why I chose to interview him. I’ll join you afterwards with some further thoughts.

    Waste Farmers
    Waste Farmers: What We Do & Why

    Is Sustainability and Oxymoron? by Toby Hemenway. I believe this is the article J.P. refers to during our conversation.

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