• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • r ranson
  • Nancy Reading
  • Anne Miller
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Matt McSpadden
  • Rachel Lindsay
  • Jeremy VanGelder

Growing Free by Michael Hoag & Laura Oldanie

 
gardener
Posts: 1195
Location: Tennessee
790
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

 
Summary
(From the introduction, pp.12-13) "...it's time for an entirely different kind of money book, one that puts our values, quality of life, and care for the earth first. We need a book that will give us alternatives to destructive stocks and soul-sucking business practices. We need a book that will help us change the whole economy, not just our personal finances. We need a book that will help guide us from wherever we are, to wherever we want to be.

That is what we have tried to create in this book. We believe the patterns and adventures in this book will help you create a plan for the future, and transform your life from exactly where you are now....We will not give you more one-size-fits-all advice as though there's only one corporate approved path to dealing with money. But as you read this book and skim the 'patterns and adventures,' we hope it will give you many ideas you can take and replicate, and action items we call 'adventures' you can follow and hopefully will provide you with inspiration to create your own unique, life-enhancing relationship with money."  


Where to get it?
 
Author's Site
Amazon


 
Related Threads
are there currently millions of permaculture millionaires? (the story of Gert)
Early Retirement/Saving Money When Poor with Low Wages

Related Websites
 
Rich and Resilient Living--Laura Oldanie
Transformative Adventures--Michael Hoag
 
Rachel Lindsay
gardener
Posts: 1195
Location: Tennessee
790
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns.

A giant (480 page+) book on livelihood and lifestyle design! It is exactly what you would expect to see from Permaculturists who believe in “Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.” It was a wonderful tour of the intersections between our present Western economic constraints, and many choices we can still make for our lives based on our beliefs and values.
     This truly is the missing volume in my Permaculture library that I have been desiring for quite a while. It being a Permaculture book, many solutions are presented, but anyone looking for a “if you are X, then do Y” mathematical algorithm will be disappointed. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all in the Permaculture garden, of course there is not one for people. Readers have to think, seriously do the exercises in the book, and engage minds and hearts in a deep search for solutions that will be different than the prepackaged ones presented by the mainstream modern world. This takes courage, but the authors promise it will be overwhelmingly worth it.
     In the next edition, I hope that the authors will pull and weave together more throughout the book, the engaging and dynamic contrast between the metaphor of the modern consumer economy as a voracious “Wendigo spirit” (out of Great-Lakes Region Native American mythology) vs. the desired regenerative, human-scaled, ecologically-respectful economy seen as a THISTLE (cleverly it’s an acronym as well as metaphor here). It’s well-thought-out, and I think underplayed to its full effect.
      I thought the authors hit the balance perfectly of describing and explaining so many things that are wrong in the “developed” world, and why, but the book does not bathe in that, making it an unpleasant slog. Just enough is shown to emphasize that there is something we need to do, which then provides a springboard of what we could do based on what we identify as wrong.
       I never got bogged down when I was reading this book. Even though it is long, it is a lively read and there is energy in the writing that you can tell comes from a place deep in the authors' hearts and a love for regenerative enterprises, and agriculture. I love books about applying permaculture ideas to things that are not the garden, so I knew I would like this book, but also the garden is consistently brought up as part of the author's livelihood is from permaculture consulting and gardening.  
 
author
Posts: 18
16
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My co-authors Michael Hoag, Jenny Nazak, Eric Brown, and I really appreciate this opportunity to have our book Growing FREE reviewed and highlighted here on The Permies forum this week. The timing is especially meaningful for us since tomorrow 11/28 marks the one year anniversary of the publication of our book.

Much in line with the spirit of our book about creating a financially viable life outside the destructive corporate economy we self-published our book. That means there are other ways to buy our book besides just Amazon and some of the other mainstream retailers.

There are currently 3 versions of our book available in different formats & at different price points -

*Paperback color edition $39.99webpage

*Paperback black & white edition $24.99webpage

*eBook on sale 11/27 - 12/10 for $20.00webpage

We're very excited to be engaging with you on this topic this week so bring on your questions, comments, thoughts and let the discussion begin....
 
author
Posts: 35
13
forest garden urban woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, thanks to Rachel Lindsay for such a kind review!
 
Mike Hoag
author
Posts: 35
13
forest garden urban woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is that THISTLE strategy/metaphor Rachel mentioned. Everyone I’ve seen be successful at creating thriving Permaculture livelihoods has done all these things, whether they did it intentionally or not.
C605FDB7-4048-4FDE-AA52-A73BE12AC83A.jpeg
[Thumbnail for C605FDB7-4048-4FDE-AA52-A73BE12AC83A.jpeg]
 
gardener
Posts: 859
Location: N.E.Ohio 5b6a
591
food preservation homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are a couple threads that are active right now in the financial strategy forum.  Please feel free to jump in and discuss.

https://permies.com/t/234744/challenges-financially-viable-permaculture-life#2145054

https://permies.com/t/234727/EOL-Planning-Wills#2144785

https://permies.com/t/234246/Running-business-building#2132211
 
Posts: 21
2
3
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Maybe a few discussion prompts would help to get the conversation flowing...https://permies.com/wiki/234630/Michael-Hoag-Laura-Oldanie-authors#2145286
Your questions show how difficult it is to live a Permaculture Financial Life.
The questions:
1 Challenges:
Borrowing land to make a Permaculture lifestyle means you may not be able to continue when they develop it.
Eldercare can be a loving, but  taxing time commitment.

2 Successes: Living on Less than we make, when a crisis comes, a person may lose it all but still survive.

3. What learned about the THISTLE lifestyle for Permaculture  especially as it applies to building true/regenerative wealth as individuals & in community
THISTLE
T-Transition- Changing our suburban yard- self watering, drought resistant, gardening wicking beds, compost and bee area, lawn Native plants, and more wild birds
H-Holistic- Making the whole a system of  living on less than income  EX GERT
Invest, Stack - (I have no idea)
T-Team up- Livelihood-Teaching ADULTS in Adult Ed gardening, creating  a gardening community of kindness and respect for one another.
See "Santa Clara Teaching Garden" in  Facebook
L Luck, Swaps, freecycle - reuse of items. Someone recycling what we need, and we recycling out what not using.  Example old Paint as Primer for an Old Shed
E- Enough - A grateful heart to live another day of laughter and life.
 
Posts: 247
Location: rural West Virginia
54
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay I want this book--but the price is a bit high for me, especially as I don't want the e-book for this one. Why? because I've already pretty much achieved the financially free, off-grid life (in part because my partner and I get Social Security, which could change). I still think I could get something out of reading the book, but the bigger reason I want to win a paperback edition is that after I read it I want to donate it to my local library. Some books I like a lot I'd hesitate to donate because I'd be afraid nobody would check them out. This one I think would call to readers where I live (rural West Virginia, which is a fine place for off-grid living but not many people here even have gardens these days). I do a garden column in the local paper, but would like to help form a circle to talk about ways we can create resilience both as individual households/homesteads, and as a community. I have in mind something like a Transition Town or Mutual Assistance Disaster Relief group--but I don't have the people skills to get something like that off the ground. I think this book could help.
 
Laura Oldanie
author
Posts: 18
16
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mary, I hope you win one of the copies of our book this week because I love everything you wrote...

Okay I want this book--but the price is a bit high for me, especially as I don't want the e-book for this one. Why? because I've already pretty much achieved the financially free, off-grid life (in part because my partner and I get Social Security, which could change). I still think I could get something out of reading the book, but the bigger reason I want to win a paperback edition is that after I read it I want to donate it to my local library. Some books I like a lot I'd hesitate to donate because I'd be afraid nobody would check them out. This one I think would call to readers where I live (rural West Virginia, which is a fine place for off-grid living but not many people here even have gardens these days). I do a garden column in the local paper, but would like to help form a circle to talk about ways we can create resilience both as individual households/homesteads, and as a community. I have in mind something like a Transition Town or Mutual Assistance Disaster Relief group--but I don't have the people skills to get something like that off the ground. I think this book could help.



If you end up not winning though, just late last week we released a black and white paperback edition of our book, which makes it even more financially accessible at $24.99. You can find the link to that herewebpage

I love the thought of your community Growing FREE together. (And would love to see an update or two here as you progess.)
 
pollinator
Posts: 163
Location: west Texas (Odessa/Midland)
44
2
cattle dog foraging trees rabbit tiny house books chicken pig writing homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are currently on some version of this dream.

We are trying to move from west Texas to south Georgia. It is closer to our families in north Florida but the land is cheaper and there are fewer regulations on building. But we have to reach certain financial goals while here where my husband can make really good money as a diesel mechanic taking calls to oil drilling rigs.

One thing we are doing is putting any cash that comes our way into gold coins (and yes they are buried so don't get any ideas lol). We view this as a hedge against inflation. If it really goes well, we may find a seller who wants the gold as is without cashing it back in.

We started homesteading 3 years ago. Had chickens prior to that but I didn't consider that homesteading. We have studied permaculture though other than recycling the rabbit poop through the chicken pen and then using that amazing compost, I can't point to big things. We do manage/conserve water from our well which is 2 gallons/minute and serves two homes, 12 RV spots and the business and homestead. We have no pasture. Space for the homestead is 1/2 acre.

I would say our biggest asset is a Can Do spirit. And I mean in the face of No That Won't Work opinions. Our first Jersey cow calved in August. It is not easy to do a cow without pasture nor would our methods be necessarily Permie approved. But we now have fresh raw milk for ourselves, our dogs, our chickens and a pig. I hear the rabbits can eat it as well but that is too much work. We also do the cow without access to a large animal vet who will come to us. Working on converting a work trailer to a livestock trailer. In the meantime, I use homeopathy, watch her closely and pray a lot. We have now made it through calving and bloat on those resources. Though I missed out on getting her AI'd due to not being able to get prescriptions for the two necessary drugs to sync her system. AI may not be Permie kosher either but we are not in dairy country though if we have to stay here, I'll find someone with a smallish meat bull. I say all this to say that my most useful family dairy cow forum believes that I am practicing cow abuse by not having a vet. To be fair, I thought there was a vet who would come but I was wrong. I also thought I had access to 3 acres next door that was weedy but would have improved with a cow on it. Drought took care of that.

I was on my way to feeding my meat rabbits off our land until the drought hit. That will be easier in Georgia. Top of my want list is Pasture. Then trees. That's the list, the end.

We have been going minimal with personal possessions but not with tools.

We are very close to being debt free. Not whining but Covid shut down a profitable side business and hurt our regular work and part of this is final recovery from that. Not to mention that the cow, who will cost next to nothing to feed in GA, is pretty expensive to buy feed for. I doubt we are alone in not forseeing consequences that can side track the overall journey.

We do our own animal processing. As of now, that includes 3 pigs, a steer, a number of chickens and dozens of rabbits. It is not fancy but it does the job. The animals are instantly dispatched and no added cost.

My husband and I are very much in sync on our goals. That is critical. And we try not to get bogged down in "could have, would have, should have." We are susceptible to close family members getting in our way (costing us money) and also scammers. I hate to admit that but we have had to admit to ourselves and set boundaries and procedures to avoid traps like the poor couple stranded on the side of the road who need help but have gold jewelry to trade for the little bit of cash they desparately need to get home. Yes, you can laugh. I am shaking my head typing it out. But I am going to say it because, again, I doubt we are the only well intentioned people who get it that way.

Can't think of anything else immediately. I hope something in here is on topic. The book is going on my wish list.



 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ThankYou Rachel Lindsay for the thoughtful review! Much Appreciated!
 
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Mike and Rachel, congratulations on joining and doing a great give away!
 
Mary Cook
Posts: 247
Location: rural West Virginia
54
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
to Karen Mack--I agree that being in sync  with your partner on goals is critical. And hope that you can make the move soon, because half an acre is not enough, especially with all that animal husbandry. A goal of mine is to minimize what I must import from outside; I live on a land trust on a ridge in West Virginia, and my leasehold is 10 or 12 acres but as with every farm around here, it's 90% steep wooded hillside, which because it's steep should remain wooded. So I have one cleared acre; but the only animals are chickens, now confined to a large run which encompasses my orchard, because the predation got to be too much. But--while I wish to reduce need for outside inputs, I don't think it's even a goal to grow EVERYTHING myself. I've had a deal going for a  couple years with someone 5 miles away who has goats; trading my extra produce for milk and sometimes chevre or soap. I like that, though I'd like it more if I didn't have to go five miles. I also agree that reliable rain in Georgia and lack of building codes are important pluses.
 
Karen Lee Mack
pollinator
Posts: 163
Location: west Texas (Odessa/Midland)
44
2
cattle dog foraging trees rabbit tiny house books chicken pig writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mary Cook wrote:to Karen Mack--I agree that being in sync  with your partner on goals is critical. And hope that you can make the move soon, because half an acre is not enough, especially with all that animal husbandry. A goal of mine is to minimize what I must import from outside; I live on a land trust on a ridge in West Virginia, and my leasehold is 10 or 12 acres but as with every farm around here, it's 90% steep wooded hillside, which because it's steep should remain wooded. So I have one cleared acre; but the only animals are chickens, now confined to a large run which encompasses my orchard, because the predation got to be too much. But--while I wish to reduce need for outside inputs, I don't think it's even a goal to grow EVERYTHING myself. I've had a deal going for a  couple years with someone 5 miles away who has goats; trading my extra produce for milk and sometimes chevre or soap. I like that, though I'd like it more if I didn't have to go five miles. I also agree that reliable rain in Georgia and lack of building codes are important pluses.




Oh Mary, I hope so too!! Let's put it this way, I want to be moved well before next November.

I, too, think it is a nigh unatainable goal for most of us to produce everything. I plan to network like crazy. There is a good farmer's market which I will make my home away from home even before I have anything to sell. Though it is just one cousin of my husband, he was prolific so we will actually start with extended family. My husband has a LOT of skills so he tends to be welcome anywhere people are doing much of anything. I have the least network here of anywhere I ever lived and I've been here ten years. It is a strange place. Huge transient population, a lot of it illegal which I don't especially care except that they have to live so far under the radar as to be nonexistent to folks like us. And the natives are nice but leery and I have never found a real in. We make good friends on the oil drilling rigs but most of them are from out of state. It's truly singular. I have created networks repeatedly from moving. Of course, having grown kids doesn't help - it was easier with young children for me. And I stopped attending church for reasons strong enough not to do it just to have a network. But I'll bring all my learned skills into play and even more - I plan to have a dedicated notebook with me at all times!!!

No, you don't want to cut trees on a hillside!

I may have you mixed up but did you show my pics from when you had a couple of cows?
 
Mary Cook
Posts: 247
Location: rural West Virginia
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, that was someone else. I've never had cows.
 
Posts: 10
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We've been struggling with transitioning away from the big city corporate world and would like to create a local economy with like minded people based on what we can produce with our time and energy with the land.  Sounds like this book may give some guidance and tips on making that a reality.  Thank you for this contribution and congratulations on self-publishing it!
 
Posts: 71
Location: Virginia
30
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the idea of this book. I grew disenchanted with my career years ago, and immersed myself in the world of FIRE. I upped my savings rate as much as possible and tried to think of ways to earn additional income so that I could progress faster. But my heart rebelled against the common suggestions to grind it out in side hustles (thereby spending even less time on enjoying life, which was the motivation for my interest in FIRE in the first place)  and to dig in deeper in a career I hated to climb the managerial ladder. I did end up ignoring my heart and taking a managerial position, and it was horrible. I was miserable for years in the job, suffering from insomnia, anxiety, depression, and burnout. It was brutal. All my free time was spent, not living, but merely trying to survive, trying to muster up enough energy to hold myself together for another day. I realized that my heart had to be a part of any path toward financial independence.

So then I started to explore concepts more based in simple living. Books like "The Abundance of Less," "The Good Life," and "Simple Living in History," resonated with me so much more than a lot of the FIRE media that emphasized hustle culture. I wanted my financial independence strategy to reflect my values instead of doubling down on the aspects of culture that I was critical of in order to get ahead. So I decided that I needed to focus on lowering my expenses, and I knew I would need to move to a LCOL area to do that.

Last year I left my burnout job and reduced my expenses by moving to a LCOL area where I knew no one but finally had some land to pursue my homesteading dream. I took a leap of faith with no plan and no real sense of how I would support myself. I have been working temporary jobs on and off, which was nice in some ways because I could take weeks or months off to focus on personal projects. I was making enough to subsist, but not enough to save, which made me nervous. In addition to wanting to be prepared for emergencies, I also wanted a cushion to fund a pivot to new lines of of work. So recently I took a permanent position going back to my old work, and I am starting to get sucked back into the feelings of chronic stress, lack of fulfillment, and time starvation that I felt before. I can already feel the toll it is taking on my health, and I fear it is too high a price to pay.

I want to find a middle path, a way that I can do work that is fulfilling without burning out or becoming homeless and starving. I don't have any role models to guide me as my friends and family do not believe in deviating from the professional career script. I have shocked them all by making this leap, but they continue to feed my fears of financial insecurity. I have to continually battle against the feeling that suffering through a job I hate is the only way to live. It is either that or starvation, or so I've been made to believe.

That is why I find the premise of this book fascinating. I would love to learn about paths toward financial independence that allow people to still live authentically and honor their values.
 
Mary Cook
Posts: 247
Location: rural West Virginia
54
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dang, Angel, I want this book but you NEED it. Stop listening to family and find new friends; the ratrace is only an acceptable way to live for a couple of years. Typically it sucks you into thinking you NEED to spend lots of money you really don't. I live in a LCOL place, WV, which is not ideal in some ways, and in fact I feel stuck here--been here 46 years...but it IS LCOL, cheap land, and part of the low cost is that, as a friend said decades ago, "it's legal to be poor here."  In a rural area you can build a low-cost, high efficiency house without fussing about building codes--if you aren't in the ratrace, you  can get all your clothes from Goodwill or Salvation Army. When I got divorced 20 years ago, I had $5000; I had a job that paid $24,000/year for 15 months, then moved in with my now husband and got a job that paid $20,000/year for two years. At the end of that time we'd decided to move onto a land trust at the invitation of long-time friends, and started building our house; I had almost $30,000 saved. Those were considered low-pay jobs, even then, but I was still able to save over half my income.
Knowing how to live frugally is part of it but I see another factor. Your post says only "i."  When you have a partner, you really can live much more cheaply--not to mention the balm to your mental health when there is someone who cares how your day is going, and you care how he or she feels. But I guess this is useless advice as you can't just say, "Oh yes, I need a spouse," and go out and buy one--it happens when you get lucky.
 
Laura Oldanie
author
Posts: 18
16
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you, Angel, for that honest share about your experience so far pursuing financial resilience. I empathize strongly with your story. In my own case I was able to design myself out of my job and into a part-time consulting gig with that same employer while I built up other streams of income & skills and worked to reduce my cost of living.  If you're on Facebook you may want to consider joining the Women's Personal Finance (Women on FIRE) groupwebpage. (although, the group is currently paused through 12/4) It's definitely not a permaculture minded group, but there are plenty of people concerned about climate change and interested in sustainable living and the two foudners of the group are familar with permaculture. I mention it because the women there are super supportive of each other and share all kinds of helpful career transition advice and so much more.

I'd also encourage you to check out my co-author Mike Hoag's recent post here in the forums - What Ways are YOU Investing in a Better World? webpage This shift to thinking in terms of investing (and not in the stock market) is fundamental to pursuing a FREE (financially resilient & economically empowered) life. We go into it in great detail in the book, but his post also gives you the gist of this much larger concept.
 
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic