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Long Term Data Gathering to Sell Permaculture

 
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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The crops vary depending on climatic suitability, soil, projected local demand, etc.

This example near where I live will give you an idea of specific crops and land size in one situation:

http://foodforest.com.au/theFoodForest.htm
 
Posts: 182
Location: Long Beach, CA
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Where were you living at the time? 



Southern California

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
The Dervaes family live in an ideal growing climate (Pasadena CA), I'm not sure their success can easily translate to all other parts of the planet.   



Claiming that any success translates exactly to all other places seems like such an extreme claim, that I'd find it hard not to laugh at it. I don't think anyone here is making that claim. We won't really know what kind of success we can having unless more people start not only growing biointensively in a permaculture way, but also documenting and publishing their results.
 
Benjamin Burchall
Posts: 182
Location: Long Beach, CA
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Nancy Sutton wrote:
Questions - since permaculture has been around for more than 5 or 6 years, where are the productive/profitable PC farms/forests?



That's what I wanna know! We need to step up our game. As is said: The proof is in the pudding.

Nancy Sutton wrote:
Other than Sepp, of course, who inherited considerable acreage, and profits from more than his produce, I think.



You hit some important for me. It's probably too limiting to think of only think of income from food. In fact, the program that I will be launching in Atlanta comes with producing free produce for all - all participants. The program will be heavily incentivised to make it very attractive to participate and stay involved for the long haul. (I can talk about that in another thread if people are interested.) Income will be made through services and other value added items from the gardens. The food gets raised incidentally.

Produce will be free, but if you want someone to cook or process it for you (such as grinding, canning, dehydrating, etc.) you pay for those services. The value added products are things such as:

- fibers turned into yarns, rope, paper, etc.
- plant dyes for milk based (and other natural) paints
- ornaments plants (indoor and outdoor)
- seeds
- urban agriculture/urban permaculture classes
- food processing and cooking classes
- and other things

The first two are be aimed at growing a local textile industry. The idea is to also establish a recycling program as a cooperative business owned by community member-employees (ala the Mondragon Cooperative). Member families bring us their refuse and we recycle organic waste into compost for sale and we re-purpose and recycle inorganic items into other products -- including mining spent electronics for precious metals.

We need to think broader than farming to sell produce. In this way we can make sure everyone has access to food as a part of the commons AND provide ourselves income.
 
Benjamin Burchall
Posts: 182
Location: Long Beach, CA
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I think most people who learn about permaculture aren't farmers, but instead are gardeners.  So there should be loads of examples of people with yards who have been practicing permaculture a number of years and grow virtually all their own food...



Ain't that the truth!...in my opinion. (Don't want it said that I 'stating' the truth in a confrontational way. )

(except possibly calorie crops, because of the space issue).

Why not? It may just be a matter of picking calorie crop carefully. If I want to grow root crops, but growing them in the ground would take up too much of the precious little space where I can grow other thing, I'd grow my root crops in containers on an appropriate paved surface or indoor if I can. If not, I'd skip the root crops. The key to growing calorie crops in small spaces it to grow vertically. Grow calorie crops that grows vertically (like sunflowers for seeds or cordon fruit trees) or that can be grown vertically (every vine goes on a trellis or pole). As you build up soil fertility, increase the water holding capacity of the soil, and limit moisture evaporation and runoff, you should be able to plant things closer together over time and bump up the quantity of food that can be grown in the same space.
 
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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BenjaminBurchall wrote:

Why not? It may just be a matter of picking calorie crop carefully.



I agree, but even in permie discussions people seem to fixate on grains as a staple food, even though roots and tubers take up less growing space.   

I'd like to see more people seriously trying to grow their complete diet if they're good at growing vegetables and fruits (though not necessarily a vegan diet).  It's something I hope to do eventually though I can barely grow anything these days.    It would be really great if folks could document what they're growing, methods used, in how large an area, how much of their diet they grow and how much they buy, etc.  Even here on permies.com I often feel like I'm trying to pry details from people about their gardens.    In the new year I'm hoping to have my act together enough to set up a record-keeping system to document my efforts. 

 
Benjamin Burchall
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I agree, but even in permie discussions people seem to fixate on grains as a staple food, even though roots and tubers take up less growing space.   


Ditto!    

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Even here on permies.com I often feel like I'm trying to pry details from people about their gardens.     In the new year I'm hoping to have my act together enough to set up a record-keeping system to document my efforts. 



I think I understand. In my short time here, I have felt a little frustration myself. I must have known a few hundred people into permaculture by now and so few have done anything much other than yackity-yack-yack. And sometimes over the years I've been made to feel like I'm the one who doesn't fit in because I want to see some results to go along with all the flowers and rainbows. If we can't produce the goods, maybe we need to stop "running off at the lips" (to quote my mother) with all this nice sounding talk and feel good parties and admit that we have failed to fulfill what we said we could do with this permaculture thing. I'm convinced though that we can do a great deal more once we just decide to do it. From my vantage point more people are starting to do that out of necessity. But whatever it takes, right?

You have the special challenge of working in some harsh climate conditions. If you end up mastering gardening there, people will seek you out for your knowledge.
 
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Bumping this thread with a tangential tidbit, demonstrating the superiority of agroforestry, if not permaculture.

30 Aug · Sun 2009
Calories Per Acre With Apples
Wheat can produce 3-4 million calories per acre and potatoes can produce 6-8 million calories per acre. But what about apples? I've harvested one Gravenstein tree and will do the next one today. I got 288 pounds of fruit off the first tree and my orchard is on a grid of 200 trees per acre. That means this tree produced the equivalent of 57,600 pounds per acre. At 236 calories per pound for raw apples (Source: www.caloriecount.about.com), this equals 13,593,600 calories per acre for an apple tree producing less than 300 pounds per tree. This is 3.4 times the calorie production for wheat and 1.7 times the value of potatoes (using 4 million calories per acre for wheat and 8 million for potatoes - the upper end of the spread).

Now let's consider commercial apple production. Back when I was a migrant worker in the 70's, most of the apple orchards I worked at were on a 200 tree per acre grid and a common yield was half a bin per tree. A bin is 25 boxes and a box is 40 pounds, so a bin = 1000 pounds of apples. Many times I picked a whole bin per tree, so averaging a half bin per tree is a robust average. At half a bin, or 500 pounds per tree and with 200 trees per acre, the calorie value of commercial apple production jumps to 100,000 pounds per acre, or 23.6 million calories per acre. This is nearly 3 times the calorie yield of the most optimistic calorie value for potatoes and almost 6 times the most optimistic calorie value for wheat! Obviously, apples are a good deal for farmers (like me) who want to get the maximum calories per acre, while still maintaining diversity of crops. And this does not even address the health aspects of eating apples.



http://www.localharvest.org/blog/15945/entry/calories_per_acre_with_apples



 
Posts: 556
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Thanks for posting that apple info.It tells us the gross production but not the net.We would need to know the amount of calories(both human,mechanical,and fuels)spent to achieve these results.We would also need to deduct any monoculture ecological costs.I think ,if we want to quantify our success,we should focus on caloric efficiency rather than gross product yields.
 
Posts: 17
Location: Louisiana
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wow, not trying to bump this thread but just saying the responses were so well thought out and detailed. This forum is so different from the tl:dr (too long:didnt read) forums that you see around these days.

I was originally more talking about providing accurate numbers for prospective folks to justify/plan to do PC and not really profitable PC as a business necessarily.


I got very busy in the last year and have just re-logged in here.


I wonder if some of the posters have made progress in their data collection
 
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