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Patricia Foreman @ PV1 - "Why Chickens are the Enablers and Heroes of Permaculture"

Posts: 3674
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
hugelkultur urban chicken food preservation bike bee
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Me again!

So, are you sad that you didn't get to go to the Permaculture Voices conference? Did you go but you can't remember what was said? Well, I am an obsessive note taker (most of the time) and I took notes at most of the talks I attended.

I will share them here with you!

Please note that this is in no way a transcription. These are my notes, taken in real time, on the fly, whilst trying to look at the slides and follow along. I find that note taking helps me synthesize information. None of this should be construed as an accurate quotation, even when I put it in quotes. (For example, I'm pretty sure not a single speaker used the utterance "Yo.") Much of the time, I am trying to summarize and it's entirely possible that I've gotten some things wrong.

My next notes document is Patricia Foreman. The topic this time was "Why Chickens are the Enablers and Heroes of Permaculture Design and Healthy Sustainable Living"


Patricia Foreman

Chickens have ruled - they’ve been with humans for 10,000 years, about as long as dogs and cats. We’re doing a project on the east coast, giving chickens to families. We want chickens in every back yard.

My books: City Chicks, Day Range Poultry, Chicken Tractor (written back in 1992!), Backyard Market Gardening.

We did a third edition of Chicken Tractor to emphasize proper chicken harvest.
Our market gardening book, even the USDA has used that as a textbook.

Nutritional Poverty and Hidden Hunger
Biomass Recycling - chickens are maybe the best biomass recyclers ever

I studied pharmacy at the same time as animal science. In pharmacy school we were taught about recommended daily allowances, which is just the minimum needed to keep disease from showing up. In animal science we were looking to produce optimal health in our animals. Optimal health in animals, but just disease avoidance in people??

Happy healthy happy healthy happy healthy dead. That’s my plan.

We need people to know that it takes much more than the RDA to make people healthy. (ed: and many don’t even meet those)

Pic: obese versus starving. The starving individuals are easier to bring back to health than the obese individuals. They’ve got so much toxic stuff to unload.

I’m a Weston A Price person.

Empty Harvest, by Jensen and Anderson, is over 20 years old, still a great book. “Understanding the Link Between our food, our immunity and our planet.”

How many people here don’t have allergies? Wow, that’s the best ever. This is the right crowd!

Are the hybrids, GMO crops and factory meats causing nutritional poverty and hidden hunger? The nutritional content of our produce has been going down over the past 50 years. The veggies are selected for higher yields, sugar content, uniformity, etc.

Back in 1950, broccoli had 13mg/g of calcium, now it is *** (less, missed the #)

Use Heirloom seeds that were developed before 1950. Before WWII, vegetables were grown in living soils and selected for taste. After WWII, they started using chemicals on the soil and developed for those things above.

Pic: Kroger chicken versus one of my roosters. The difference in the nutrition between these two is dramatic. This guy could barely waddle around. His meat is hypoxic. It has lower levels of iron, and folic acid, and other vitamins. This guy is near death—he can’t support his own weight.

I will just boil the whole carcass (of the home rooster) down for bone broth. It’s just the thickest, most gelatinous stuff ever. Ever since I went to the big Weston A Price conference, I’ve been eating bone broth every day for breakfast.

Analysis of organic broilers - omega 6 to omega 3 ratio was as high as 9:1, when it should be 2:1, or even 1:1. More of the energy came from this (unhealthy) fat than from protein. These animals are obese - does eating obese animals lead to obese humans?

Cost of mental illness “greater than almost all our other health burdens” (in the UK). Is it possible that eating messed up fats leads to messed up brains? If you don’t have the right fats, you can get cross linking between cells (ed: ?membranes) in the brain.

The answer is to use heritage livestock. A “Freedom Ranger” is not a heritage chicken. It should have developed in the 19th century, be naturally mating, have a long, productive outdoor lifespan and a slow growth rate (ready in 16 weeks, not 6)

I would encourage you all to join “The Livestock Conservancy”

Jared Diamond wrote “Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed” Highly recommended book. Two most valuable commodities: top soil and water.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (bible, somewhere)

Robert Rodale thought the farms of the future would be hyper productive chinks of land within human development.

We need a new vision of food production, where biomass ‘waste” becomes top soil.

Biggest crop in America is lawn. 40 million acres of fescue, etc.

We are not lacking in land. It is a matter of vision and telling ourselves a different story. What can you have in your back yard? Chickens!!

Health starts in living soils. To garden you need topsoil.

I took kitty litter buckets to local restaurants and they filled them with “food residuals” I took it home and dumped it on a heavily mulched area and there was a feeding frenzy! The dogs, the chickens were all over it. After an hour or two, it was all spread out and buried. Now the soil organisms can eat. That night, the earthworms come up and eat what’s left.

About 50% of all “trash” is biomass. Of that 50%, about 1/3 is residential.

The family flock can help process yard waste and kitchen waste. Not all chicken food should come from a bag. We could save major taxpayer dollars by doing this. It doesn’t have to be every person, but on every block I’m sure there’s one or two people who would like to do this.

My version of composting has changed quite a bit. I keep a little can in the kitchen, and every so often I just dump it in the yard - and it’s gone.

The city of Diest in Flanders, Belgium gave 3 hens to every household who would take them, to decrease the waste stream.

The Vermont Compost Company is in the capitol city of Vermont, on Main Street, on 5 very hilly acres. They take food residuals from 49 restaurants and institutions, including the high school and prisons. 750 tons of residues/year were diverted from the landfill and transformed into organic potting soil and compost.

Very important to keep the little plastic tabs out of your food waste. VCC would reject a whole bag if it had just one little plastic piece, as it would make them lose their organic certification.

They dump this food waste onto thick mulch and the chickens get to work. They pile everything up and they keep working this.

why don’t we just franchise this? the reason is the health laws. You have to really have the population on board to get this stuff done.

they produce 1000 dozen eggs a month and they don’t buy any chicken feed. Their guard dogs eat from the food waste as well—they don’t buy dog food, either. They do buy food for the baby chicks.

Comparing eggs: mother earth news did a great comparison of factory eggs versus good eggs.

Know your “egg shed.” The average person eats 250 eggs a year. (I eat far more than that.) The average commercial hen lays 259 eggs/year. So, generally one layer hen will meet the needs of one person.

so, if you had a population of 30K people (like in my home county), we’ll need 7.5 million eggs. Wow. That’s a lot of eggs. If 3000 people have 10 hens, then boom, you’ve got your 7.5 million eggs, from 10% of the population.

Eggs are an amazing food, because they have everything needed to build a baby chick in just 3 weeks. If you can manage to eat the shell as well, you will have complete nutrition. I just toss them in my blender, it’s a little gritty, but. . .

If just 60 farms had 50 layers/farm that would also get you to 7.5 million eggs. If 5% of the population is farming.

1918 “Uncle Sam expects you to keep hens and raise chickens. Two hens in the back yard for each person in the house will keep a family in fresh eggs.” In time of peace a profitable recreation, in time of war a patriotic duty!”

Top soil - slow insidious soil erosion threatens human heath and welfare more than anything.

Soil is being washed away 10-40 times faster than it’s being made.

How do we replace and create topsoil? Insiduously and consistently create soil in those hyper productive chinks of land.

Pic: 4 raised beds along with a pen that fit on top, could rotate between beds.

Chickens are marvelous pest consumers. Their manure is marvelous fertilizer. If you use the manure in your garden you can recoup 75% of the cost of the chicken feed.

Whoever controls your food supply, controls YOU! Keeping a flock is a part of emergency preparedness and a matter of national defense!

Your family flock can replace the fertilizer, the herbicides, the pesticides. “I look at my flock, and I see clucking oil wells in the back yard!”

global economic instability, growing population, losing top soils, health care crisis, climate change, peak oil, nutrition and health concerns
(chickens can help with 8 of 9 things here)

I’m chicken taught. Everything I teach I learned from my birds. I stand here on the wings of my chickens.

We have a “chickens and you” training series that leads to a master backyard chicken keeper certification. If you get enough students together, we’ll send trainers. Gossamer Foundation

Get on my mailing list. We won’t give your email to anybody, but we’ll tell you about our courses.

I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody. Instead, I'm a tiny ad.
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