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Permaculture Should Profit

 
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Dan Hill wrote:We would do better to do the hard work of withdrawing as far as possible from reliance on financially mediated relationships.



I would like to see a lot more discussion of that subject and how people are actually doing it.

 
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John Polk,
Your post was moved to a new topic.
 
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@Tyler Ludens You're bang on there, that's what I'm here for too. Some of the best examples I have heard of people living profitably by managing permaculture systems have been quick hints from Bill Mollison along the lines of "I knew on a group who ran a [insert system - usually aquaculture based] and made [insert silly money - usually 6 digit Australian]". I see that as being the goal here but in order to get there I felt it was important to read up the history of finance and debt - partly because I'm a history geek but mostly because knowing the rules of the game is a good way to win!
 
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Man I would be the happiest person in the world if I could get by on $300. per mo.! Unfortunately, just my taxes and my farm insurance will run around $216 per mo. That does not include any health insurance, nor does it include any food items that I cannot produce myself, improvements to the little farm, fencing supplies, vehicle payments. So, back to reality. I really need to be able to produce $1200 per mo for mortgage payment and if permaculture is going to be viable and if other people are going to find this method of farming attractive then it needs to eventually be able to make the monthly mortgage payment.

How does that happen?
 
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Mary Lou McFarland wrote:Man I would be the happiest person in the world if I could get by on $300. per mo.! Unfortunately, just my taxes and my farm insurance will run around $216 per mo. That does not include any health insurance, nor does it include any food items that I cannot produce myself, improvements to the little farm, fencing supplies, vehicle payments. So, back to reality. I really need to be able to produce $1200 per mo for mortgage payment and if permaculture is going to be viable and if other people are going to find this method of farming attractive then it needs to eventually be able to make the monthly mortgage payment.

How does that happen?



Could you pursue permaculture profit on 3 to 5 acres closest to the house and rent the rest of it out to conventional farmers? This is more
practical than idealistic but it might work.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mary Lou McFarland wrote:
How does that happen?



Here are several examples of people who seem to make a living using methods compatible with permaculture (they might not call it "permaculture" however):

Skeeter Pilarski grows herbs and other plants "closed canopy organic gardening is food forest prep"


Joel Salatin raises chickens, rabbits, and cattle: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/ has written several books about how to do it

Sepp Holzer raises pigs, fish, fruits and vegetables: http://krameterhof.at/en/

Path to Freedom raises vegetables: http://urbanhomestead.org

Anna Edey ran a successful vegetable business using a greenhouse http://www.solviva.com/solviva_book.htm

Fairview Gardens is a suburban farm which grows vegetables and fruit: http://www.fairviewgardens.org/

Eliot Coleman was a successful market gardener for years and wrote a useful book "The New Organic Grower" about how to set up a vegetable operation http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/


Many of these operations include a teaching and/or tour component which contributes to the income. This list is not meant to be in any way comprehensive, they're just the ones I could think of at this time.
 
Alex Ames
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Tyler the last time we got on a similar topic you posted some agro forestry links and I thought that
is a way to make money and buy time until the more permaculture projects became profitable. Fruit
and nut trees can generate a good bit of money but not overnight. Even asparagus takes awhile to
get going good.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think a strategy might be to make a total plan for the land, with short, medium, and long term goals. Income-generating projects can be devised for each stage, perhaps starting with annual vegetables and pastured eggs as a CSA or farm stand operation while the agroforestry/food forest/managed rotational grazing types schemes come online. Long term goals could include nuts and timber. It's easy for me to say this, because I don't have to actually DO it! :p

Eliot Coleman advises that 2 acres of intensive vegetables is the most one person can manage and even then will need seasonal help. I think it is probably very easy to bite off more than one can chew, there is a limit to the number of acres one person can manage. One person might be able to manage a rather extensive food forest, but the yield per acre will be much much lower than that of the same acreage in annual intensive vegetables.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I like to think that someday my permaculture systems will be in place well enough that having an income of $300 will be massive. 90% of my food will come from the land. I don't really need to drive anywhere. The thought of travel is of no interest because where I am is cooler than any other place. I have people and community on the land. So if I have $300 per month, I'm not sure what I would even spend it on.

I very much like the idea of getting to this point some day. It feels .... easy and safe. Free. From this point it seems like I might even be creative. Whereas it seems difficult to be creative when you have to come up with thousands of dollars each month to make ends meet.





nice thoughts i'm sure that you would buy more land sooner or later.

 
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For me its a simple matter that if we want to access and transform larger amounts of land we need the financing to get started and the business model to a) stay alive and productive under global petro-capitalism and b) have a profitability in terms of actual caloric efficency and accumulation of real wealth like relationships, plant variety collections, and long-term water capture and soil building strategies.
 
paul wheaton
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Apparently I have not been clear enough.

On this site, we encourage people to make monetary profit using permaculture techniques.

And, on this site, we do not allow anyone to suggest that anybody on permies.com is anything less than perfect.

So, suggesting that somebody that earns a profit is stealing, does not meet my publishing standards.
 
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I can't look at a garden and not see profit, the produce is profit. If I can't eat it all I put it in a savings account by pickling, brewing, canning, freezing. profit isn't bad. If I need transportable profit I sell it for something that doesn't spoil and is easily carried usually money. Money isn't bad it's a way for my product to be carried stored and traded. If I have a skill and a full belly I don't need food I could trade for something that wouldn't spoil beer maybe. If I don't drink beer I need something that compensates me for my skill that I can transport and eat or trade for something later.
 
paul wheaton
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I deleted more.

And I see that in my very first sentence in my very first post in this thread I spell it out clearly. So it isn't like people have not been warned.

paul wheaton wrote:I think discussions about capitalism is for outside of these forums. That's a political thing.

I do think I encounter a lot of people that are passionate about feeding the world's hungry with permaculture. I think that this is an excellent path and I think permaculture offers a plethora of solutions down this path.

And there are people that are passionate about persuading today's conventional farmers to try permaculture instead. And the primary bait they are offering is greater profit. I think this will help to change the world for the better also.

And there are people that are passionate about exploring food excellence. For the foodies (super delicious-ness). Or as food as super-medicine. I think this is another positive path.

So I have outlined three possible paths. Something that seems to pop up once in a while is people from the first path are uncomfortable with the choices of the people in the second and third path. They say something like "permaculture should not be about profit" or "that's not permaculture because it has a profit motive."

I wish to be clear: it is okay for them to wish for these other things to be not profit driven. But profit in permaculture is, officially, okay. Further, I wish to give the stink-eye to those that would attempt to shame others away from profit in permaculture.


 
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I think one problem some may have with the concept of profiting from permaculture is that it seems to open the loop- Resources are being sent outside of the system, instead of being cycled back in.
In my opinion,this lies in a philosophical concept of each implementation of permaculture being an isolated self-dependent structure. (I'm an island)
This might work for the rugged individualist deep in the wilderness, but not for the majority of humanity.

I picture permaculture as sub-systems in a larger system (I'm a cell in the body) each cell is an implementation of permaculture concepts, but tied into the outside structures of human society. Ignoring the fact that humans form interdependent societies seems non sustainable to me.


If I sell my produce and I make enough profit to get my leaky roof replaced, then the surrounding society "profits" from my produce and from work I give to local carpenters.

Money is not evil, it simply stands for value of goods and services. Sure, I could pay the carpenter with watermelons, but how long will it take the carpenter to find someone that will trade a needed hammer for some watermelons? monetary profit is simply another resource.







 
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Chris B.,

I like your point about interdependence still being a closed loop. I think that the fundamental rift in this conversation has been the definition of profit, not anyone's fears or motivations. The problem, of course, if you have a word with a slippery definition is that it can lead to hazy logic down the road. In writing business models, for instance, using traditional methods--the best ones for functioning in the current financial system, for getting loans for instance--profit is defined as more than one needs to keep the system running. A business can pay all of its employees a living wage and still not turn a profit, because the business is a separate entity, and all its expenses stand against its yields in the ledger. My goal, personally, would be to obtain a yield, but to never turn a profit--individuals would be paid solid wages, surpluses would be reinvested in the business and the community.

A good example of this model is Essex Farm in Essex, NY. It's a 600-acre, horse-powered full-food, year-round CSA. They raise animals for meat, vegetables, some grains, even do maple sugaring. Their employees are cheerful, skillful, and happy to be working there, from what I could gather on my visit. And they raise more food than their CSA members could ever eat so that each member can choose more or less of whatever they desire. What do they do with all that surplus? Give it away. To friends, neighbors, the food bank, thousands of pounds. They're making a living, but not a profit, and they're redistributing the surplus instead of keeping it. You can bet that they've budgeted for the roof--and the tools, and the labor, and probably a rainy day fund, too--but that's reinvestment in the business, not profit, by any accountant's definition. And, like it or not, accountants, bankers, and so on, are the ones setting the definitions, until we can get together and collectively rework our language--and the way our money works (not necessarily whether or not we use money).
 
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Making money with something you enjoy? GREAT.

Though there are some minor issues i see all the time when i look at some workshop fee's:

- it's usually really expensive(in some cases obscene)
- people seem to expect you to work for free and profit even further by selling you food and accommodations that are included in that fee.

the rest of them are even minor so don't think i'll put any more fuel into the fire.

ps: opened the tab to reply last night... Marvin, great post
 
Cris Bessette
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Marvin Warren wrote:Chris B.,
.... I think that the fundamental rift in this conversation has been the definition of profit, not anyone's fears or motivations. In writing business models, for instance, using traditional methods--the best ones for functioning in the current financial system, for getting loans for instance--profit is defined as more than one needs to keep the system running.

.....My goal, personally, would be to obtain a yield, but to never turn a profit--individuals would be paid solid wages, surpluses would be reinvested in the business and the community.



It is a good idea to more clearly define the premises of what we are talking about.
(and also to define exactly how the concept of profit fits into the philosophical concepts of permaculture / sustainability. )

Definitions of PROFIT per Merriam-Webster:

1: a valuable return : gain
2: the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions; especially : the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
3: net income usually for a given period of time
4: the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales
5: the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent


Is Profit (in any definition) in any way incompatible with the philosophical concepts of permaculture?

I personally cannot answer this question.


 
paul wheaton
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I think if somebody works really hard and then saves their money to have a safety net - that sounds wise to me. If they work really hard and save their money and use that money to travel and see the world - that sounds wise to me. In the end, if a person works hard and saves their money, I kinda feel like it isn't my business what they spend it on. And I cannot support a system that commands that they are not allowed to save, or that demands how they spend their money. I wish to be very clear: permaculture in no way dictates anything in this space. Yes, there are a few people that say that it does - but they are not Bill Mollison.

Marvin's example of Essex farm is excellent. They have selected a wonderful path. And it sounds to me like it fits well within the definitions of permaculture.

And if they have unpaid interns/wwoofers/volunteers that sounds excellent too. Even if they have some people working there for years at a time because they love it and some outside-the-system arrangement has been made.

And if there are people involved that are saving their money - that sounds great too.

If the owner(s) are setting money aside for future expansion, projects, or just-in-case - that sounds mighty smart.

And if somebody owns a lovely farm like this and gets to the point that they want to sell the farm and do something else - that seems like something that can be a good thing.

And all of this seems well within the permaculture umbrella to me.

Though there are some minor issues i see all the time when i look at some workshop fee's:

- it's usually really expensive(in some cases obscene)
- people seem to expect you to work for free and profit even further by selling you food and accommodations that are included in that fee.



Then don't go.

If people charge too much, then nobody will attend and the people offering the workshop will learn a lesson.

On the other hand, if the class ends up being full, then the price was actually too low.

If you would like to see classes offered for a lower price, then I think you should offer those classes.



 
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paul wheaton wrote:

And if somebody owns a lovely farm like this and gets to the point that they want to sell the farm and do something else - that seems like something that can be a good thing.



How do you feel about somebody buying farmland, setting it up in a permaculture system and then selling the place for a profit? There was a huge boom in real estate a ways back from people buying houses and adding wood floors, granite everything, and lots of shiney stuff. People bought those places like the money was free ( it kinda was).

Might there be a future in "farm flipping"? Seems like a lot of people are looking to get out into to country. There might just be a market for "turn-key permaculture estates".


Could you imagine an ad like : 4 bed, 2 bath farm house, Root cellar, 20 acres of food forest, lumber lot, pasture and gardens. Includes chickens, goats and a guard dog. Just move in, keep the animals fed and reap the profit. Annual profit of $245,000.00 Plant lists, and harvest schedules included for easy success. $$$ ?

Just a thought.

Seems like a neat way to get permie pros to transition more land faster and also to get more "lay-people" educated and living the life.
 
paul wheaton
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Suppose there was somebody that bought a farm for $300,000, did the permaculture thing and then sold it for $1.4 million. And then did something similar four more times.

I think this would send a strong message to millions of the value of permaculture. I think we would see a strong upswing of interest in permaculture. People would be bragging about how the land is productive and never been sprayed. How they added polycultures and ponds. How there is a vast array of systems aligned with nature. Maybe they could say "Geoff Lawton came to the farm in 2011 and said it was a great example of permaculture" - so then people will want to look up Geoff Lawton. People that have no intention of selling will look into permaculture.

There are a lot of people that currently avoid permaculture because they are concerned that it will lower their property value. So I very much like the idea that flipping a property this way has huge value.
 
Craig Dobbson
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paul wheaton wrote:Suppose there was somebody that bought a farm for $300,000, did the permaculture thing and then sold it for $1.4 million. And then did something similar four more times.

I think this would send a strong message to millions of the value of permaculture. I think we would see a strong upswing of interest in permaculture. People would be bragging about how the land is productive and never been sprayed. How they added polycultures and ponds. How there is a vast array of systems aligned with nature. Maybe they could say "Geoff Lawton came to the farm in 2011 and said it was a great example of permaculture" - so then people will want to look up Geoff Lawton. People that have no intention of selling will look into permaculture.

There are a lot of people that currently avoid permaculture because they are concerned that it will lower their property value. So I very much like the idea that flipping a property this way has huge value.




Great response! Now that that is settled, who has a small mountain of money that I could "borrow"? I'd pay it back.

How many permies would donate to transform one property if they had a reasonable expectation that they'd get a return on that investment? That return could be money, a PDC taught on one of the sites or maybe your name on a memorial tree. Who knows.
A thousand people throwing in a hundred bucks a piece might get something like that off the ground.
HA!

Ideas?
 
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Here is a story.

I was walking with someone I know last week on their ~300 ac. property that has been somewhat abandoned for the past 20 years (partly overgrazed). That person had just purchased it ~2 years ago and was telling me how they had put in tiles last fall and plowed parts of it and how they were going to clear that parcel that was starting to get overgrown, and how they should plant canola next year. I asked why and the answer was: "because it increases the value of the land".

I am working on getting that person to be more familiar with permaculture, but the point of my story is that it would be great if instead of degrading the land, improving it with permaculture would be the accepted way to increase value.
 
John Ram
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paul wheaton wrote:I think if somebody works really hard and then saves their money to have a safety net - that sounds wise to me. If they work really hard and save their money and use that money to travel and see the world - that sounds wise to me. In the end, if a person works hard and saves their money, I kinda feel like it isn't my business what they spend it on. And I cannot support a system that commands that they are not allowed to save, or that demands how they spend their money. I wish to be very clear: permaculture in no way dictates anything in this space. Yes, there are a few people that say that it does - but they are not Bill Mollison.

Marvin's example of Essex farm is excellent. They have selected a wonderful path. And it sounds to me like it fits well within the definitions of permaculture.

And if they have unpaid interns/wwoofers/volunteers that sounds excellent too. Even if they have some people working there for years at a time because they love it and some outside-the-system arrangement has been made.

And if there are people involved that are saving their money - that sounds great too.

If the owner(s) are setting money aside for future expansion, projects, or just-in-case - that sounds mighty smart.

And if somebody owns a lovely farm like this and gets to the point that they want to sell the farm and do something else - that seems like something that can be a good thing.

And all of this seems well within the permaculture umbrella to me.

Though there are some minor issues i see all the time when i look at some workshop fee's:

- it's usually really expensive(in some cases obscene)
- people seem to expect you to work for free and profit even further by selling you food and accommodations that are included in that fee.



Then don't go.

If people charge too much, then nobody will attend and the people offering the workshop will learn a lesson.

On the other hand, if the class ends up being full, then the price was actually too low.

If you would like to see classes offered for a lower price, then I think you should offer those classes.





I actually do offer free classes, but on subjects that i have a firmer grip than permaculture. It doesn't mean that i couldn't charge for them, but i chose to offer instead.
I'm pretty involved with the local bushcraft community, that covers a lot of permaculture subjects. Next workshop we'll be tanning hydes my treat.

What happens is precisely that: i don't subscribe them, and so does everyone i know that might consider it.

Comming back to permaculture profit, in plain words as i see it: permaculture is fair trade.

 
John Ram
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:Suppose there was somebody that bought a farm for $300,000, did the permaculture thing and then sold it for $1.4 million. And then did something similar four more times.

I think this would send a strong message to millions of the value of permaculture. I think we would see a strong upswing of interest in permaculture. People would be bragging about how the land is productive and never been sprayed. How they added polycultures and ponds. How there is a vast array of systems aligned with nature. Maybe they could say "Geoff Lawton came to the farm in 2011 and said it was a great example of permaculture" - so then people will want to look up Geoff Lawton. People that have no intention of selling will look into permaculture.

There are a lot of people that currently avoid permaculture because they are concerned that it will lower their property value. So I very much like the idea that flipping a property this way has huge value.




Great response! Now that that is settled, who has a small mountain of money that I could "borrow"? I'd pay it back.

How many permies would donate to transform one property if they had a reasonable expectation that they'd get a return on that investment? That return could be money, a PDC taught on one of the sites or maybe your name on a memorial tree. Who knows.
A thousand people throwing in a hundred bucks a piece might get something like that off the ground.
HA!

Ideas?



Craig, come to live in my beautiful country.

Land here is dirt cheap. You can buy 1 ha = ~2.5 acres of forest for about 1500 euros...

In time it will rise again, the econimic crisis is fueling this. Land here is as cheap as it ever was.
 
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For my two cents worth, or is it .02 cents? I think permaculture can be a gateway drug to existing outside of capitalism... (and yes, I'm obvs. not saying that you're not going to make money... trying to make a soapbox plea XD )... We live in a world that has 'capitalism' as a method of exchange through the abstraction of money. Within the abstraction of 'money' there is no fundamental concept of 'enough.' In a barter system, if I trade a service (whether it is carpentry or even just some typical housework) for some goods of food, both parties have a weighing of value to consider. And as long as my needs are met, I have obtained a status of 'enough.' I don't think I'm doing it much justice but it just seems to me that inherent within the 'money' system is extravagance --- the more money the better, because then you can eat with SILVER forks, not just regular ones, you can live in a house with HUGE rooms, not just regular ones, etc. etc.

To me, growing stuffs through permaculture, growing beautiful beautiful land and soil is an attempt at fully honoring and respecting my mother earth, turtle island... and I will grow more food this year than I need, to eat. And at that point I will trade some for seed I don't have, maybe barter some, and give the rest away to friends and family who can benefit from healthier foodstuffs. There is a definite 'enough' point at which all the excess I grow will be used to promote permaculture, to promote sustainability and healthy relationships with our mother nature... I'll have more than enough....

Hope you're all well, and the sun shines strong on your plants!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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My understanding of money is that it is a store of value. Something that will not physically degrade over time, that is rare (so I cannot just make it up as I go), and that is widely accepted as a mean of exchange. I think we could argue that paper money will degrade and that the government can create money as we go, etc. The point is that I think money is just A way to store your surplus for reinvestment later.

There are many ways to store the surplus, aka profit. Prahlad, I think you are describing a choice to convert that surplus into something else than money. Something that you find more useful. This is a really valid path too.
 
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I've been struggling for years with the dilemma of "if" I should make profit from my permaculture garden homestead and if so, how. Like most, I've a long list of possibilities, but the things I've tried have not been lucrative. I'm just not very good a selling and bartering products. So, some type of Permi educational service has risen to the top of the list and we all know there is demand and profit there. Another, enhanced by Pauls recent podcast on the 5 diamond permi-ish restaurant, is my own guerilla restaurant at my homestead, cooking high end meals for small groups of people permi-style. I've recently tried this with some success.

The idea of persuading conventional farmers into using permaculture science to make profit and helping permi farms through donation like KickStarter is super cool. Then I thought of the long standing Farm Aid concerts raising money for small farmers struggling with loans. Which reminds me of the recent Occupy idea called "The Rolling Jubilee" where Occupy, through donation buys up peoples defaulted loans for pennies on the dollar and pays them off freeing people in debt due to unpaid medical bills. They have paid off nearly $10,800,000 of debt for $530,000 (to date). Wouldn't it be great to take that idea and help pay off loans for struggling conventional farmers and in return encourage them to practice profit making permaculture farming? Hmmm... maybe I should start a non-profit organization like a Permaculture Rolling Jubilee, make a modest salary while helping to promote permaculture science by converting in debt conventional farms into profit making permaculture farms.
 
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If someone bought a regular monocrop farm that was making 1/4 million a year and then turn it into a permie farm making the same 1/4 million profit is this a "sin".Should we have just left the farm as a monocrop.

If I have medical/educational/mortgage/etc bills, should I pay for it with the farm produce or should get a regular job supporting non-permie industries/McDonalds.


Maybe its not so much about profit and its just a strong dislike of people non being completely self-sufficient and thus trading for anything.
AKA as a self-sufficient permie, you should never encourage someone to be depended on you, for sustainable grown crops.

Maybe the problem is that certain people think that we should only make a profit of 33% after expenses. But then we have to define what are these expenses. Do I make the 33% profit plus what I also pay my self for my thinking and manual labor.

I am just going to assume that most people are not against a farmer selling his produce.
However some might not want to see a farmer working 40hours a week and making $4,000/wk.
They would instead prefer if he only makes at most $1,000/wk ($52,000/yr) after paying employees/gas/loans/etc.

Personally I think that after factoring expenses a farmer should make at most a 33% profit.
But very few farms or companies ever make that much profit.
So I am not up in arms that farmers including permaculture farmers are making too much profit.
 
Robert Ray
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Once we start talking profit and capatalism things seem to go a bit wonky.
Profit is when I through my efforts end up with more than I started with. When I have more i can save or trade. I will never be totally self sufficient and I have reservations that any of us will ever be. Hopefully there will be some redundancy in my supply chain but I will rely on others and I hope that I have a permie product that others want.
When I harvest or produce a product or supply a service I affix a value to it and believe that the person who supplies a service or product to me should be allowed to affix a value to what they have produced. Capatalism simplified.

Should we encourage a mono crop farm to change to permaculture operation well I think that's a given. I think that we need to be good stewards of the land and applying techniques that are regenerative or does no harm is what we should be required to do. Sin is a powerful word to some but I think just looking at a general " better or worse for all" is an easier way to classify things.

I personally am not in favor of those not involved in my efforts telling me what my efforts are worth. My apple, worm free and without pesticide is in my opinion more valuable than a waxed apple that has been sprayed with or sucked up systemic chemicals. My apple doesn't have blemishes those are beauty marks. If nobody wants my apples I preserve them perhaps adding value for when apples aren't available again my efforts are creating or preserving my profit.

I like song and dance I appreciate some beautiful things without producing more i wouldn't have the abilty or time to appreciate those things that can make my inner being happy ( soul for some). I appreciate things while I work, a life of gratitude let's say, but profit gives me the ability to relax for a bit and enjoy my inability to dance,that inability adding much to the enjoyment of those watching.
 
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Mary Lou McFarland wrote:A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) my girls would watch a show called Reading Rainbow. anybody remember that? Anyway, they featured one book that always stuck with me. It was called "Oxcart Man" Basically, it was about a farmer. During the year he grew his crops, Any male calf his cow had became a teamster ox and the farmer also built an oxcart. In the fall when the crops were harvested, the farmer loaded up his harvest into the oxcart he built. Hooked up the team of oxen and went into town. He sold the team of oxen. he sold the harvest. He sold the oxcart. Then he took his years earnings and walked home.



That's a nice story, but unless the farmer didn't have much product or maybe it was a nice gentle downslope to town, a team of 8 or 10 month old calves can't pull a whole lot. Maybe he brought the ones that were a year-and-a-half old? Still, one cart isn't very much stuff. Traditionally, a steer is not an ox until he's 4 yrs old, when he can pull a plow and pretty much any normal load. Before that they need more rest and lighter loads.

john at tillers
scotts, mich
tillersinternational.org
 
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Gary Abshire wrote:It doesn't matter what your motivation is for practicing permaculture.



ha! Brilliant!

I love the coomment about $ being the monocrop of the modern economy, that's so true.

This whole topic is great.

I'm getting so much profit from volunteering on the food forest in Boston (google it -- it's at the Boston Nature Center!) and it's
--free networking event with people who have some congruity with my passions
--health-giving and soul-nourishing
--beautiful beautiful beautiful f-cking place in nature!
--fresh deLIIIIIIIIIIIIIISHous food! OMG best cantalope ever don't know how to spell that and BEST kale
--I'm learning another way to hugel and take care of/resurrect fruit trees, experientially, rather than just reading and making my own mistakes
--I got a free kale plant to take home and transplant, and that sh-t is good!
-- Ijust have SO much fun, I really really love all the people who show up for these things.
--networking with someone who's working in global finance stuff but also take eth time to wheel a wheelbarrow--priceless!

I love the both-and thinking of permaculture.

I don't really get the "this is the way to feed the world's poor" idea because I think the world's poor generally know more about permaculture than the rest, but free exchange of info is a great boon to all...I think the world's poor are mostly harmed by the meddling and intervention of the world's wealthy/powerful often in well-intentioned ways or unconscious paternalism....missionaries kidnapping kids and shaming people about their own cutlure, and businesses spreading shallow ideas of what wealth is when the people there have so much wealth beforehand...Linda Stout learned that she was poor one day, and before that she was happy, after that she was ashamed. It wasn't about the money, it was about believing she was less-than. And that has created worsened conditions where people then have actual starvation and famines who hadn't been having that before. I don't know this with absolute omniscience, but it just seems to me that if you can start growing your own food in your own country and stop messing around in other countries trying to extract their resources and get your needs met from over there, you're helping both your country and the other one to get better. So, I think there's total harmony between true profit at home and helping others profit abroad.



 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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In some ways this is a tgreat idea. You have people with expertise making the farms better than they were before, rather than each person having to reinvent the wheel.

At the same time, you do need people to know what they're doing; each of us needs to learn how to survive. not for financial reasons or material reasons, but so that we can have inner security. Knowing we can take care of ourselves by the age of 12 would mean we would have confidence, a genuine, deep confidence that doesn't need to make a show of bombast in order to prove itself, but rather a simple ease in knowing we dont' have to be dependent on anyone else to live, only on nature.

So, we can do both things. Have farm flippers, but also have homestead owners learning by experience how to manage the essentials of life. (And of course this farm-flipping system requires this naturally, since if you purchase a food forest and don't know how to run it you're going to run into problems eventually, or quickly. Granted, you can pay someone to manage your food forest for a while, but it's still closer inputs and outputs to the food supply than shopping at a supermarket.

I think this is good progress, and would indeed allow permaculturists to scale their impact.

I realized also that the thing that was confused in this thread was "focused on maximizing profit at the expense of everything else" on the one hand with "including profit among the goals pursued" on the other.




Craig Dobbelyu wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:

And if somebody owns a lovely farm like this and gets to the point that they want to sell the farm and do something else - that seems like something that can be a good thing.



How do you feel about somebody buying farmland, setting it up in a permaculture system and then selling the place for a profit? There was a huge boom in real estate a ways back from people buying houses and adding wood floors, granite everything, and lots of shiney stuff. People bought those places like the money was free ( it kinda was).

Might there be a future in "farm flipping"? Seems like a lot of people are looking to get out into to country. There might just be a market for "turn-key permaculture estates".


Could you imagine an ad like : 4 bed, 2 bath farm house, Root cellar, 20 acres of food forest, lumber lot, pasture and gardens. Includes chickens, goats and a guard dog. Just move in, keep the animals fed and reap the profit. Annual profit of $245,000.00 Plant lists, and harvest schedules included for easy success. $$$ ?

Just a thought.

Seems like a neat way to get permie pros to transition more land faster and also to get more "lay-people" educated and living the life.

 
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:
Might there be a future in "farm flipping"? Seems like a lot of people are looking to get out into to country. There might just be a market for "turn-key permaculture estates".



I think if you are in the real estate market and know something about that, an investment like this would have a humongous return on investment. Find cheap land with decent access and real potential for permaculture development, invest in whatever machinery, earth works and off-site resources you need to get started, flip it with a well-designed 5 year planting and management program, and sell it ready to live in, ready to reap the rewards. With the profits on the first you might start thinking about hiring outside help to really get things cooking on a second and third site.

Small turn-key permie properties already exist to some extent. I've seen houses being sold with a forest garden attached (complete with plant list) Mollison even sold the Tagari farm (if I remember correctly) as a ready-to-harvest estate. I just don't think it has ever been done full-scale as an intended property development scheme.

This would probably be geared toward the people who can afford a property whose value is intended to be high, and there might be some bells and whistles you would have to put on the site to make it appealing to those people. Near-perfect four-season access, dependable off-grid energy generation, a nice-looking house, and elements like ponds and appealing grassy areas might be some of those bells and whisles one would want to include.

This idea is less" homestead" for the middle-to-upper middle class and more like "richie-rich" property development. People with the money would flock to a paradise if you had one to sell. The down side is that they would probably have to have the intention and money to invest in a small business if they have a few thousand fruit and nut trees ready to explode, and the people to harvest it and continue the management. Which leads me to believe this is more a "richie-rich" type endeavor, since they can include those costs in the purchase price. A thirty or forty-something couple with kids and a mortgage just aren't going to have the time, capital, or gumption to manage a large property. Anything beyond 50 trees and bushes would be cumbersome for them I think.

In any case, if I had the money or if a bank or an investor would invest in it, that's one thing I would be doing to generate serious income. I think flipping farm property has potential profits beyond that of the housing market (which people have historically done with good, dependable results) and is probably less risky in the long run. I don't think there is a land bubble generally speaking, prices tend to be more stable afaik. Unless detroit happens to you. Speaking of Detroit, buying land in there right now would put a permaculture project at a huge advantage when it comes to land's potential value 5, 10 years down the road, especially if it could be secluded, gated or whatever. That is If you can beat the foreign investors to the great land-grab going on there now.

William

 
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So, 300 bucks a month sounds great to me, but what gets me is what happens when you get sick or an accident occurs and now your looking at a smooth 30 grand medical bill? Stuff happens, particularly when you've got a family. Is it the permaculture thing to do to just die? Rub herbs on it? I mean that's my only concern, really other than that you're looking at the perfect life for 300/month.
 
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M.R.J. Smith wrote:So, 300 bucks a month sounds great to me, but what gets me is what happens when you get sick or an accident occurs and now your looking at a smooth 30 grand medical bill? Stuff happens, particularly when you've got a family. Is it the permaculture thing to do to just die? Rub herbs on it? I mean that's my only concern, really other than that you're looking at the perfect life for 300/month.



To answer that:

I think there are a lot of folks living in cities with regular jobs where, at the end of the month, they have maybe $20 to $40 per month (as compared to $300 per month). Plus the quality of food, air and water is poor. And it is possible that they don't care for their job, and it is also possible that what they do with their free time is also less than what they wish.

I am not proposing that this path be forced on all people. I am proposing that this path could be a better fit for many permies.


 
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M.R.J. Smith wrote:So, 300 bucks a month sounds great to me, but what gets me is what happens when you get sick or an accident occurs and now your looking at a smooth 30 grand medical bill? Stuff happens, particularly when you've got a family. Is it the permaculture thing to do to just die? Rub herbs on it? I mean that's my only concern, really other than that you're looking at the perfect life for 300/month.



Thats why I live in a country with a national health service that covers everyone .
We all profit from health coverage
It means that people are not afraid to try stuff like permiculture or starting a new life style for instance

David
 
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