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Permaculture sources?

 
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Here's a list of products someone is looking for which meet permaculture standards, or preferably, a high grade on the Wheaton Eco Scale. Please list out your sources for these products, and where they are located. Thanks!

1. Any kind of food grain or grain product other than possibly corn and popcorn -- ready-made bread, tortillas, granola, pasta, crackers, breakfast cereal, etc.
2. Any kind of dry bean/pea/lentil at all.
3. Any kind of dairy, cow's or goat: milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream, cheese, etc.
4. Pork (lard, bacon, ham, etc.)
5. Any poultry or eggs.
6. Any other kind of meat besides beef.
7. Any kind of nut except possibly pecans maybe once in three years on average.
8. Beer, wine, or any other kind of alcohol.
9. Any kind of oil or oil seed (or animal fat other than beef fat and only by buying at least a quarter share of a whole beef and not very reliably even then.)
10. Any kind of fish.
11. Honey or any other kind of sweetener besides sorghum syrup and that not very reliably (only about every second or third year.)

from this thread: https://permies.com/t/320/16557/permaculture/permaculture#436006
 
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This is a good list and a big challenge. How can we find permaculture friendly ways of sourcing these foods?

The person who originally brought up the challenge of sourcing these crops in another thread, mentioned that this was a very important part of how they get their food:

... to me the essential value in local isn't about how far something traveled to get to me but rather the connection between the producer and the consumers that shapes how the farmer farms.



I love this definition. I'm going to run with it.

(warning, this is going to get long, so I'm going to break it up into multiple posts)


So my challenge, how do I source the foodstuff from the list using that definition? My limitations is that I don't know what life is like in other parts of the world/continent/country, so I can only speak to my own local area. However, maybe someone can find something useful in my solutions.

1. Any kind of food grain or grain product other than possibly corn and popcorn -- ready-made bread, tortillas, granola, pasta, crackers, breakfast cereal, etc.



Oh, I love it. Start me off with a tough one.

I've spent a good deal of my life wondering about this one too. I'm a grain girl. I'm always gonna be a grain girl. I eat grain. Mostly wheat, but oats as well. And then there is beer... I like grain. Living without grain is not an option... but how do we get grain without buying into the whole industrial food complex thingy?

The first hint of solution was when I discovered Island Grains. I was completely blown away by the thought that I could grow my own grain. I was younger then and much more excitable than I am now. Why didn't I see it before? The place where I live was established as a 'bread basket' if you will, for growing grain for the troops during the crimean war. Sure, the local climate has transformed a lot since then, but maybe I could try growing grain.

My next step in this process took me to the local library where I found two books: Small Scale Grain Raising and Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer. Later on I also discovered Uprisings : a hands-on guide to the community grain revolution by Sarah Simpson, which has a lot about communities getting together to grow their own grain.

Then I discovered some seed companies specialize in grains for home growing. Companies like Saltspring seeds and Backer Creak seeds. It may seem like a small packet of seeds, but grow it, and it becomes a surprising amount of grain. Save half for next year, eat half... and after a few years you'll have enough for field. I was completely shocked by how easy these crops are to grow. Plant the seeds (often in the fall), maybe weed a bit once, then harvest. My goal is to eventually have a quarter acre in grain, which on a bad year will be more grain than our household could ever dream of eating. The rest will be for trade or livestock feed. But really, I could probably grow enough grain for my family in my garden taking advantage of fallow spots and overwintering the crops.

While I was discovering all this, a local farm started growing grains and lentils for sale. They sell whole wheat kernels, whole grain flour, and lentils. They also grow barley for a couple of the local micro breweries... which is where I get beer when I don't feel like malting my own grain and brewing my own. The owner/brewmaster has gotten to know me quite well.

Edit to add: I forgot to mention the two local bakeries in town that buy the wheat from that local farm. One bakery mills it themselves, the other has it sent out to a mill. They bake the bread with the local wheat and it is AMAZING! A few years ago, it wouldn't have worked, but now people are starting to demand local food so we have local bakery with local grain.

2. Any kind of dry bean/pea/lentil at all.



This isn't as much of a challenge for me as the first food. I already grow pulses to help improve the soil, so I have a sizeable source for soup peas, dry beans, chickpeas and far to many favas. (getting the food is one thing, learning how to cook with them, a much larger challenge. There's a good thread going on here about cooking with dry beans and peas.)

Again, the two seed companies I linked to above have a wonderful selection of pulses to grow.

But say, for some reason I didn't want to grow nitrogen fixers on my farm anymore... or perhaps I had a bad harvest. How could I source these pulses and still follow the local definition I quoted at the beginning?

The local farm that grows the grain I mentioned above, also grows lentils. I'm not a big fan of the lentil, but it's local. Five minute drive from my farm. The farmer who grows them sells them. I can also buy them in the local grocery stores that focus on local crops. Lentis aren't chickpeas, but they are a good source of protein to fall back on.

One of the biggest challenges for me was to find 1) pulses that grow well here and 2) a source of good seed. The second happened by chance when I was getting out a book on cooking pulses and discovered that our book library now lent seeds. A seed library - you borrow the seeds in the spring, grow them, save seeds, return some of the seeds you saved. Membership free and it comes with free growing and seed saving classes. Just up my street. One of the varieties of warm weather beans I borrowed was Hutterite soup bean. It cooks up to this delicious mush that, when cooked with bacon (from the pig who lives up island from me... oh wait, pork is next but one. Good!) and maple syrup (is that on the list? Oh yes, number 11) it tastes like heaven.

The first challenge, finding pulses that grow well here, was part adapting the plants to our location and part thinking outside the box when I realized that food also grows in the winter.

Now I grow most of my pulses over winter while it's raining. Fava beans do especially well here. Summer beans are always hit and miss due to the summer drought.


While we are at it, I would like to add a 12th thing to the list: Salt. Very difficult to source. I'm curious if people who don't live by the sea have found solutions for this.
 
r ranson
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3. Any kind of dairy, cow's or goat: milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream, cheese, etc.



I have goats (but no milk yet) and sheep (which I could milk if I really wanted). I've been trying to decide if it's worth milking my goat or not. Eventually I will breed her and get milk, but at the moment I don't have time to deal with all that milk she will make. I don't drink much milk, or cook with it. The only thing I would do is make cheese. I have a Fil Mjolk culture that I was thinking of trying to adapt from cows milk to goat and use it to make hard cheese. The theory is good... but if it would work in practice...? Also, I don't have any rennet as I haven't the heart to kill a lamb/kid at such a young age. So I would probably buy my rennet because I'm too soft to kill babies. If I get a stillborn lamb, I wonder if I can use it's tummy to make my rennet... this needs research. In the meantime I buy my cheese from a guy who imports it from the middle east. His family knows the guys who make it... so it's sort of connected. It's just very yummy cheese at a reasonable price.

Butter I love, but can buy some from a farm up island (which admittedly I don't have direct contact with, but it's a small farm and they have a very good reputation for kind care of their cows). Getting butter from goats milk is a challenge and I don't have a working cream separator.

Yoghurt I make with my fil Mjolk.

Ice cream I don't really eat. There is however a little italian bakery in town where the owner delights in making gelato from locally grown fruit. He buys my imperfect peaches every year, at a bargain price I might add, but his gelato is such a work of art that I don't begrudge giving him a discount.

If I do buy milk I usually buy it from my nextdoor neighbour (the nice one) or my goat guru down the road.

That's about it for my dairy consumption. Not awesome yet, but it will improve dramatically once my goat starts lactating.

4. Pork (lard, bacon, ham, etc.)



UsedAnywhere
That's where I found the farmer with the fancy heritage pigs.

The nice thing about this local source of pork is that the price is on par or less than I would spend in the grocery store. I ordered a half a hog, as it comes, tail, snout and everything inbetween. They took out the organs, but whatever. Get a discount if it's not cut up.

Have you any idea how heavy half a hog is? I didn't. Two of us, staggering this half a hog into the kitchen. That's one heck of a lot of meat.

Because I have issues with the amount of waste that happens in commercial butchery (a hundred pound lamb can come back as low as forty pound of meat cut and wrapped), I've been learning how to butcher my meat myself. It saves a lot of money and it's very satisfying to honour the animal by using every last scrap of it. In the Charcuterie was a huge help with this. It's also full of useful recipes for making cured meat, dried sausage, and bacon...mmmm.

Bacon I make myself. Easy, just takes salt, sugar (or something sweet) and wood from pruning the apple trees.

Lard I got tones of from my half a piggy. It's super easy to render your own. I use the slow cooker because I'm lazy.

Ham, I could make it if I want. Usually I just baconize some big muscles and cook it like ham. That book I linked to just now has some good recipes for making ham. It's really not much effort, the problem is finding a good place to age it.


5. Any poultry or eggs.



Front yard.

Sorry, that's a short one.

6. Any other kind of meat besides beef.



We raise goats and sheep. So again, front yard.

We don't eat a lot of meat in our home, especially red meat, so one adult sheep will last our family two or three years. What usually happens is the sheep has some sort of defect that will cause them discomfort later in life, so that's the one we put in our freezer. The rest of the sheep we sell to a fella who has trouble finding lamb that meets his strict religious requirements. His interpretation of Halal is that the animal not only has to have a gentle end, but also a gentle life. We meet his standards and I make certain that the animal has a gentle and calm end.


7. Any kind of nut except possibly pecans maybe once in three years on average.



I use to work for a guy who had this amazing nut farm. Hazel nuts and walnuts were his thing. So delicious. Use to get a big 5 gallon pile of nuts every Christmas.

Sadly things are different now.

We are growing chestnuts (should be a harvest any year now) and almonds. These are the nuts we love most.

There are a few nut trees planted on public land. A few streets lined with sweet chestnuts, or an almond tree in a park somewhere. I usually sneak in and harvest fallen nuts on a morning after a windstorm. Have to get up early though because there are usually hoards of (I don't know where they are from, but I'm guessing China or East Asia) who decent and gather all the fallen nuts at sunrise. Wherever they are from, they know a good nut harvest when they see one.


And that's me done for today. I'm going to go pour another pint of local beer and relax. Sourcing local alcohol is very easy where I live. It's going to be a long post.
 
Tyler Ludens
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That is quite a detailed response, Ranson! What I was originally looking for was something more like a list of sources to purchase those items. Because distance isn't an issue for the person looking for these items, if we can list sources which will ship their products, that would be best, but listing any sources with their location will be helpful for people in those areas.

For instance:

4. Pork (lard, bacon, ham, etc.) http://sugarmtnfarm.com/products/ Vermont


But if people want to respond to this thread a different way, that is fine too!
 
r ranson
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Fair enough.

I think I'll keep on with my list anyway.

My first thought is that since permies.com is an international community, many readers (like me, for example) may have trouble ordering these foods as they can't be shipped overseas without some rather difficult paperwork and expence.

Another thing in my mind is that not everyone reading - because I'm sure there are people on the internet who are interested in this sort of thing, and read this sort of thread without posting themselves - has the same definition of local. Some of them may be seeking a more close to home version of local. I want to give a reply that can offer inspiration to the widest range of people.

Most of all, if I was coming to this topic, new to the conversation, I would want to know how (and a little bit of why) people came to their solution. Most of the time when I find a solution to a problem, be it environmental or otherwise, I think great, but it couldn't work here. But when I discover the path that person took to get to their solution, I can follow it until I find a simular but different solution that would work here.

I seem to be saying this a lot these days, but I'm going to say it again. We all live in different places, different environments, different people around us, and different resources to draw on. Although the goals are the same, how we each get there will be very different. I feel that exploring how we found out solutions, can help others discover their own.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree!

 
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R Ranson wrote:My next step in this process took me to the local library where I found two books: Small Scale Grain Raising and Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer. Later on I also discovered Uprisings : a hands-on guide to the community grain revolution by Sarah Simpson, which has a lot about communities getting together to grow their own grain.



Ranson, what do you think of these books? I've read Logsdon's book, but I haven't seen the others yet. Do you think they offer much more, particularly details on small-scale harvesting and post-harvest processing? I wouldn't really be looking for recipes in a book like this, but detailed advice on options for most efficiently threshing small grains on a small scale or how regular oats (with hulls) would have been traditionally/historically processed to be usable for human food... those kind of processing type details are what I would find especially valuable. I liked Logsdon's book a lot, but it left me with a lot of those kinds of questions.

R Ranson wrote:when I don't feel like malting my own grain and brewing my own.



I'd love to hear more about malting your own. I've gotten as far as growing and harvesting and threshing the barley, but then I was unsure about where and how to let it start to germinate without it molding or running into other problems, and then I wasn't sure how to kiln it. I have a friend with a cob oven that I thought might be ideal for kilning at the very end of a baking/firing, but he's not super close, and getting everything to match up in terms of schedules is tricky. On the other hand, I couldn't really figure a good way to do the kilning on my own.
 
r ranson
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I found that Small Scale Grain Raising and Homegrown Whole Grains really complimented each other. Each on their own is a bit too introductory, but together they work really well. In many ways I wish the books had more, especially before I had the courage to try growing my own grain. However, once I grew my first grain patch, I understood why these bits were missing. All the information we need is in the grain. I learned so much more by watching my grains grow than I did reading these books. Then, I realized the purpose of these books was to inspire us to try growing grain.

Uprisings on the other hand, isn't much of a how to book. I think there was a bit in there, but not it's main focus. This book is full of examples of different communities that have grown their own grain, and some of the challenges they faced.


Processing oats and barley into human suitable food when they have such annoying hulls... how did they do it in the past? Good question, but I don't think you'll like the answer much. Basically, they didn't... or at least not food like we are use to. This kind of grain was mostly malted for beer, or fed to livestock. Some peasants ate it of course, but this was beneath the kind of person who knew how to write and could afford parchment and ink. Basically, no contemporary records. But it was done... so we have to interpret history to figure out how it might have happened.

I know this is in my brain somewhere and it involves rubbing or smashing the hulls off... maybe cracking the grain just prior to using it, then washing the grain till the hulls come off...but I don't think that's right. I took a llama to the head yesterday so it's basically like cleaning up a huge earthquake in my mind palace. If I come across the info in the rubble, I'll post it here. Until then, we need a new thread where we can explore ways of harvesting and processing grains. I would love to hear everyone's ideas and experiences on this.


Malting my own grain (which is excellent for all those varieties that have tough to remove hulls) to make beer is a really neat thing to do. I'm still working on perfecting this. It use to be a common household occurrence to malt our own grain and brew our beer. I don't have a good set up in our house for this, yet, so I'm still experimenting. Here's a link to my very first grain to beer experience. I was working from the recipe ideas in Wild Ferementation. I know in my blog I say it was horrible, but it really grew on us. It was a light, mildly alcoholic, refreshing drink... maybe a bit vinegary.



Eventually I hope to have a proper malting set up, where I can malt enough grain for 6 months worth of beer in one go. I'm heavily inspired by the medieval methods, but am having difficulty finding good sources about it. It was such a common thing, that no one really thought to write it down. The book Cooking & Dining in Medieval England by Peter Brears has some of the best information about it I've found so far. He even has diagrams of different malting setups in castles and manor houses. Once I have a place of my own, I hope to use these to make a smaller version out of cob. ...sigh...one day. Until then, I keep experimenting with small batches of grains and wild yeasts.
 
r ranson
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8. Beer, wine, or any other kind of alcohol.



As you can see above, I dabble with making my own beer. Usually I buy from a local microbrewery because their beer tastes good. Also, they buy a good chunk of their malt from the local farmer who sells me my wheat and lentils.

Most of my alcohol actually came as a way to store the harvest. It started with bumper crops of apples and this article in Mother Earth News. Juiced them, didn't bother with yeast or pasteurization. Just pure juice from apple. Bang an airlock on it. After a year, bottle it. It was good, so now we do it every year.

This basically works with fruits and berries. Sometimes I make mead.

Wild Fermentation is a good starting place for making your own home brew.
 
r ranson
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9. Any kind of oil or oil seed (or animal fat other than beef fat and only by buying at least a quarter share of a whole beef and not very reliably even then.)



Flax and sunflower are easy to grow here, I could get a press and make oil from them, or just add them to my diet and absorb the oil that way.

The local butcher has free fat (beef, lamb and pork) from local animals for human consumption or soap making.  Many farmers who raise animals for meat have excess fat.  The last time I bought a side of pork, the guy gave me half again as much free fat.  He says that most people assume the fat will be trimmed off when the meat is cut up, so the processing facility just tosses it away (even though the customer pays by hanging weight, so they pay for the fat that gets tossed).  He has to know in advance if a customer wants the fat.


10. Any kind of fish.



This is the most difficult for me.  I could get a fishing licence from the government, and I've thought about it.  My problem is I don't like to do the ending of the life and I don't have time to fish with everything else going on.

A few of my city friends have boats and trade salmon for veggies I grow.  

I hope one day to investigate growing carp as I think fish would fit well in a permaculture setting.  But that's a long way off.


11. Honey or any other kind of sweetener besides sorghum syrup and that not very reliably (only about every second or third year.)



Honey and some maple syrup is local to me.  Most honey here is from organic farms, but of course, we have to be careful.  I think there is a lot of room for improvement with how bees are raised, but I've been too lazy/busy to start keeping them myself.    Some beans are very sweet, like adzuki, and only need a teaspoon of maple syrup per 2 or 4 cups of beans, to bring out the sweet taste.  There are other trees we can tap like birch, which make a nice syrup.  
 
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Hi. I live in the Netherlands, so sharing my sources with people in the USA or Australia isn't useful. Probably compared to your regions Permaculture here is still very 'young'.
There are a few Dutch websites and Facebook groups / pages on 'Permacultuur'. There interested people ask how and where to get what they need. Plants, shrubs, seeds, etc. are swapped, shared or sold through that way.

Only very few farmers who sell products are using Permaculture principles. The ones who do are producing for a small local market (or CSA-like group of clients).

Today a friend and I went together (in her husband's car) to do some 'organic shopping'. First we went to a nursery where organic fruit trees and shrubs are sold. We bought some fruit shrubs for our gardens. Then we went to the only farmers market in this region (Frederiksoord). Farmers market here in the Netherlands are not real farmers markets. The people selling there do not have a farm, they only sell, they buy from farms and from wholesale and importers.

There are a few farm-stores (at real farms) in our region. We went to visit one of them, in Frederiksoord too. We try to organise the people who want to buy products from these organic farm stores, so that we can go in one car, and people who don't have a car (me) don't have to ride their bicycle that far.

As far as I know there are no Permaculture growers or farms in this region. There are only some private or community food-forests and gardens, all in an early stage.
 
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Does anyone here use Einkorn?
 
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Hi Rosemary. I've started using Einkorn in my breads the past few months and I love it. I buy it in bulk from Azure Standard and grind it myself. I make fermented breads (French method) and have used up to 100% einkorn and the bread is a little heavier than straight white wheat, but it still has a lot of air bubbles and a good texture.

I plan to try growing some here once we set up our garden area.
 
rosemary schmidt
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oh nice! I don't know the process of fermented bread but I recently learned about Einkorn and found that it was an ancient grain. Amazing that we still have it on this planet with all the GMO stuff going on. I just purchased a grinder attachment for my old kitchenaid and some Einkorn, I'm going to try sourdough. Lets hope it does well. Once I get the hang of it I sure would like to try your fermented bread recipe and any tips you have.
Thanks for your reply!
 
Robin Katz
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Rosemary,

I am using the bread making method from the cookbook Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. This book was a game changer for making breads. I do a combination of my own starter (which is described in the book) and commercial yeast then the fermentation is at least a day, which adds sourness, other flavors, and I've heard is helpful in increasing the nutrition of the bread. This method of making bread makes the best toast I've ever eaten.

I've adapted the recipes to make my own rye w/caraway (50% rye, 50% white flour, all organic and from Azure) and it's amazing! Brine up some homemade corned beef, ferment some sauerkraut, and you've got a sandwich that's second to none. It's probably obvious that I love making food from scratch.
 
rosemary schmidt
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Im new at it even after all these years but things are going on in my body that cant be ignored anymore and I would rather take care of them without medications. Its a long harder way to go but positively the better way to change eating habits so sourdough bread and Kombucha (if I like it) are first on my list. Eventually I will do as you do and expand on types of bread but so far I have only been able to supply pucks to my local hockey team! I love the idea of the corned beef and actually want to do something with my pigs here but no clue where to go yet for that besides just plain cuts of meat.
 
Robin Katz
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Rosemary, I know this is drifting away from the original post topic, but I'd suggest getting two books. "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz (not a relative) and "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" by Ken Forkish. Wild Fermentation has so much good information and I always have home-fermented veggies in the fridge. Right now I have purple cabbage sauerkraut, cucumber pickles with dill and garlic, kimchi, pickled beets, and I just made a load of rainbow carrot pickles. Loads of probiotics without the huge cost, and as mentioned earlier, a way to preserve the harvest from the garden. We drink the pickled veg juice right along with eating the veggies because it's all good for you. The bread book changed my ability to make bread from barely edible bread that could be used in a street fight to about as perfect as can be imagined - the first time out.

Your approach to improving diet instead of taking medications is the smartest thing you could do. My husband and I are not in perfect health, but we're not on any medications and we're not exactly young any more.
 
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