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John Brock

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since Jul 17, 2014
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Recent posts by John Brock

Hi everyone,

So on May 23rd I am moving out to Kelowna, BC to live, work and attend Okanagan College (for software development, database management and the like).

I won't know anyone out there any would love to make some new friends, work with people, etc.

Please send me a message / respond if you are out in Kelowna !

Take care!

6 years ago

Mountain Krauss wrote:Hey Jake, just wanted to wish you luck. A lot of us come from abusive backgrounds, so you're not alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.

Be thrifty. Even if you're only making $13/hour, you can save a few hundred a month. Most people making that little won't save any money, but they don't have a dream to pursue. You do.

Be patient. Even under perfect circumstances, it will take years to acquire the money and knowledge you'll need. You have time. Luckily, life lasts decades, not years.

Be resourceful. There are lots of skills that aren't farming, but will useful one day when you have a farm. People have already mentioned some: construction, heavy equipment, welding, electrician, arborist, etc. learning one or more of these will make things easier for you when you're a farmer. They also tend to pay well, so they'll help you save for your farm faster.

Be open. Try as many opportunities as you can. Most won't be the right fit for you, but you won't know until you try. You may find that after working for a farmer for a while, he (or someone he knows) has land you can lease, which you let you start farming much sooner. You can save up for a lease much faster than a purchase. And if you're successful on your lease, you'll soon have enough money to buy your own land.

Finally, be nice. When you realize a situation isn't right for you, be nice to the people you're leaving. They may be mean or arrogant or ignorant, but they may have their own difficult backgrounds that make them that way. They may be trying just as hard as you, even if it doesn't show. Leave situations that aren't right for you, but be nice on the way out.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Thanks man, for the sympathy, empathy and kind words. Sure feels lonely, even more so when I surround myself with folks who I can't totally connect with (kids in high school, etc).

I only have $3900 saved up ... though I did invest in silver and gold this past year which I have a good amount of.

I really really appreciate your message. You raised some very important points and things to remember and acknowledge. I won't get anywhere or find myself in relationships I want without compassion, love and kindness.

Helps a lot and gives me a reminder as I continue to finish this "lord of the flies" environment "education" while being surrounded by thousands of not so great and toxic people.

7 years ago

Simon Johnson wrote:My two cents would be to have a look at Paul's book list and read some of those over the winter. I would say start with "Mortgage Free". An excellent book. I would also recommend heading over to and having a look at what Jacob has to say over there. He also has a good book list to pick from.

Following some of those strategies will make it much easier for you to accumulate the necessary funds needed to "do whatever you want" instead of being "a wage slave", if you will. With a pretty low income you can still save a good deal of money if you go about it in a seriously extreme manner. Before you know it you will have enough to get some land and build a place to live.

Main thing is, don't stop learning and don't stop doing. Continuously adding to your repertoire of useful skills by reading about and working at them will be of great benefit down the road. Not only will you be able to do things for yourself and not have to pay someone else to do it, but you can also get paid for doing these same things for others.

Good luck on your journey!

Thank you very much ! Your advice is noted and I will look into those places. For sure, learning is the most i can do at this point.

I am on my last year of high school, not working as much but counted up my money and have about $3900 total . Not a whole lot, but a good amount I think. Not an amount that will get me on some property to farm, thats for sure.

Thank you and good luck to you as well with your endeavours !
7 years ago

Nick Kitchener wrote:Now fall is almost upon us, I would spend some time studying a few people you will find very important.

These three podcasts are a good start:

Curtis Stone: Started his farming operation with 7K and made 22K in his first year. The model he uses (SPIN) provides a means to make approx $100K per acre per year. (Curtis lives in Kelowna BTW)

Greg Judy went totally broke doing traditional farming and started again with $20. He now operates a cattle operation encompassing over 1,500 acres running over 1,000 head of cattle. His basic model was to lease land and raise other people's cattle using mob grazing methods. He then slowly grew his own herd over time.

Finally, Jean-Martin Fortier lives in Quebec, where he is producing $140K on 1.5 acres, with a profit margin of 40%.

Basically, there are options for you provided you get your act together over the winter. I'd look into places where you would want to base yourself, business models you would want to base your operation on, and possible government financial assistance that is available.

Thank you. I will look into all of these people. As everyday goes by I try to make it a commitment to do positive things such as learning, running, working out, etc. I am taking an accounting course in high school and other subjects I felt would offer the most value. I don't know where I want to base myself or anything, my plan is to intern after high school ... ideally at Geoff Lawton's farm or somthing.
7 years ago

Archie Quinn wrote:You already have the life you need, or you would not be alive, everything else is desire, remember that. The only happy people are those who are happy with what they have right now. This does not mean they do not want more, or something different, but they unlike most understand that all people will want more, but most are unhappy because they do not have it. Stupidity is to think that upon reaching a goal you will never want anything again, you will, be it a partner, a better crop, a better solar system, to build a hydro from your waste water as it falls, discovering you should have built on a hillside so you have fall for hydro no matter how tiny (you can put hydro machines on taps)

I live without power and water from connections, sometimes it is hard, no sun or fuel for the generator, hasn't rained so i have to cart water, my girlfriend would rather live on the grid. whatever you think will make you happy or "give you the life you want" is simply a matter of acceptance. Accept what you have now as "your great life" you will make better regardless of all these things you want to "add to your great life" and you will always have a great life.

As for the practical applications of off grid self sufficiency, be worthwhile, get a trade, carpenter or electricians are best, if the world ended and you are only a grower, who will fix your house, build your power equipment to pump water and so on? learning a trade gives you common sense building skills, a welder is another good one or steel worker. think of something you would use to be useful other than farming, anyone can farm enough to survive, it may not be the ultimate in horticulture, but you can learn this afterwards. your trade will help to set you up, you can fall back on it and so on for extra money. buy hillside land for water collection and hydro use, yes even a half acre block can produce hydro, hills get good wind for turbines, all very helpful when it is cloudy for days.

don't concentrate on having it all at once and right now, but buy the land as soon as you can, it is going up really fast everywhere, and at least you can camp on it if you have no job, old dumpy caravan, 4 100 amp hour batteries and 500watts of solar to recharge them, they will run your computer your lights and your bar fridge in the van (turn off bar fridge at 4pm daily and on at 9 am keep ice bricks in freezer everything will stay cold) there is your escape place, and you accommodation while you build when you have enough money to move to your block. buy diesel only vehicles and generators, you can make biodiesel but you cant make petrol. good luck

Hi there, I appreciate your comment and feedback and I will take your advice though; I fundamentally disagree with your statements (especially as universals). Agreed, most people want more, and will always want more. To some degree I agree I have everything I need otherwise I wouldn't be alive, but then again, that can be debated for sure. Many people grow up without food, without substantial shelter, clothes, etc. and your universal basically states that these people only desire to want enough food, to feel and have love, etc. My friend, this is why people resort to drugs, suicide, etc. --- because it is far more than a desire --- the brain and body does not function properly without enough food, without love as a child and much more. I hope this is beginning to make sense. It sounds to me like you are claiming

Its also important to note that most people who claim to be happy and know how to achieve happiness, generally aren't (religious people, most people I have ever met, etc). Happiness comes from actually doing somthing, achieving somthing and creating and pursuing somthing. To sit here and think "Oh. I can just choose to be happy with my life; without friends, working fulltime to feed and cloth myself since about 12 years old, having my life pretty much destroyed by the state." That would be ridiculous.

Furthermore, wouldn't it be nice to think that all those millions of people who died from communism, the american govt, etc. people who were forced to serve in the military and lost an arm and a leg; well, you see, they only desire more... They don't need that arm or leg, otherwise they wouldn't be alive. Are you beginning to see that this logic has massive holes and basically opens up spaces for incredibly evil people to do harm and get away with it by saying "well, happiness comes from within and you can chose to be happy no matter what". What about the rape victim, or the victim who was kidnapped? I guess they could have chosen to simply be happy during such horrors.

I get this is not what you meant or were thinking about, but philosophically, by creating this universal, you are implying this. "You only desire not to have been raped." "It is only a desire to not have served the military and not losted my hearing, an arm & a leg".

Also you say "happiness" comes from acceptance; but the world cannot possibly progress if we are to accept, or be happy. To be happy and accept things the way they are is to allow corruption to thrive, not educate ourselves, not support and share permaculture, etc.

What you are saying is accept and pretend things are great. This would undermine all human progressiveness, this takes away all incentives in the world, because things are so so great, and this would mean we have no standards, in the way we live, the "friends" we have, the people we surround ourselves with, etc.

I appreciate the advice, and I am pursuing learning about electrical work. Also yes, a hillside would be awesome, I have looked into Sepp Holzer and he seems to have done beyond great things on the hillside.

Thank you sir I very much appreciate you kind words, approach and sharing of information. My goal is to definetely by land asap.

I just want to point out, my intent was / is not to attack you for that first part, but to point out that acceptance and pretending you are happy when you aren't is not actually a positive things.

Thanks again.

7 years ago

That is very interesting, I really appreciate the resources and information.

Yeah I see it is surely more "permaculture" than most conventional organic and such farms, though, they even have pictures up tilling the soil because weeds got to high. It simply bugged me... I am really looking for an oppurtunity to work where I can learn all about forest farming and permaculture. Of course, I dont know a whole lot about permaculture, but when I see stuff like that it turns me off.

I totally agree with you. For setting up a food forest, animal tractors are 100% ideal.

My problem with what they are doing though, is that have multiple (rabbits, sheep, chickens, ducks, etc) so they are basically using their livestock in order to continue their monocrop garden / farm. That is what it seems like to me. In any case, I don't like the idea that they claim to be free ranging their animals when they are simply in animal tractors all day. That to me is not free range.

Agreed. I wasn't totally clear; it just seems their farm is established enough that they could be using these techniques. Though, in my opinion, I have no real proof for this, mulching is WAY more laborious and time-consuming than chop & drop. I've worked on farms where we are mulching all day and maybe get 2 or 3 rows done only... I could totally be wrong though.

In any case, I 100% agree with everything you said and do believe animal tractors have their time and place... But i don't think they should be subjected to that everyday.

7 years ago

R Scott wrote:That is John Jeovens and biointensive method. It isn't actually diamond, it is equidistant or cellular. You do get more plants in an area that if you plant rows or grids. It works, there are a lot of things in the full-on biointensive that are LABOR intensive so most people don't do all of it. Square foot, SPIN, etc. all use some similar concepts but not all as they try to optimize for time or something else.

Biointensive shares a common permaculture goal in zero outside input. I think it is a critical part in self sufficiency for me, but I have taken shortcuts because of time limits and land abundance compared to the target audience of most of these "suburban" methods.

Some don't like tractors at all. I think tractors are a great tool to focus animals--just like you have to make some people sit down at a desk to get their work done, sometimes you have to focus the attention of the animal in a small area to get that area DONE. There is a balance that needs to be maintained. Those duck tractors looked small to me at first blush, but as a brood nest they are more than adequate if moved more than daily. Our broody hens LIKE to be tucked back in a private space like that. So I can't pass judgement based on a couple pictures with no backstory. The ducks don't look sad...

Makes sense! I appreciate your knowledge and response.

I totally agree with the idea that tractors are a great tool to focus animals; though, I don't think we can claim whether an animal is happy or not as we subject it to such behaviour. Just as an animal in a zoo might "look happy", perhaps it has never experienced true freedom and we cannot objectively determine whether or not an animal is happy. My personal belief is that we should attempt to work with nature and the freedom and uncertainty of it.... Though I do agree, at times, perhaps only a few times, maximum is would be alright to use an animal tractor to clear the land for a future food forest.. I simply don't believe we can make statements though of the happiness level of these animals. To me its seems like a way to argue the morality of such a system... which i don't think can be determined.

7 years ago

Kris schulenburg wrote:They used to talk about that in "Organic Gardening" 35+ years ago (it may have been based on "Square Foot Gardening"). The rational was if you planted the plants in that pattern in a bed, you could get more plants in a given space compared to rows. The other benefit was it would shade out some weeds. It does work but my beds are still weedy if neglected or not mulched. you can always diversify your plants to make a polyculture. You gotta eat something while the food forest is growing.

Makes sense ! Thanks for the response. I figured it was to get the most use out of your land, and you are entirely right, a polyculture would also be very realistic in this.
7 years ago

Danielle Venegas wrote:

Jake Nisenboim wrote:

They claim to be permaculture based, but Im not seeing it much at all.... And not sure why, I am really really uncomfortable with the use of animal tractors.... They are completely in cages and it does not feel like that is "working with nature", that is controlling nature.

In any case, it seems to be a way to get more edge / plant more in the area ? What do you think ?

Still, I am sick of seeing mulch around plants, I want to be somewhere where there is living mulch and when people complain about weeds, its chop and drop, or chop and eat...

Am I too "picky" ?


If you are talking chickens it's probably much safter for them to be in the cage. Also, chickens have a way of eating what we don't want them to eat. I know people who rely entirely upon chicken tilling and if you think the chickens are sad about it you'd be mistaken.

With all do respect, that is a subjective assertion..... How could you possibly be certain that these chickens are or are not sad...

I have also worked an a good number of farms and the farms where the chickens roams freely were entirely fine, they did not eat the herbs, brassicas, simply mulberries that dropped when rippened.

Again, that is subjective.... what do "we" "not want them to eat"? I say this with all respect, but many different groups of people, such as indiginous people and others, believe we should leave an abundance of food for wildlife and other animals. Also, every situation and farm is different, if there is a lack of food, I might not want chickens to eat all of my kale, but if they do, they are not doing anything wrong.

Respectively, you have not made an argument which supports chicken tilling....

I believe it is morally "wrong" to keep animals cooped up in a confined area such as a "chicken tractor". I haven't claimed to make an argument against it, but your assertions should not be mistaken for an argument either.

Again, please don't take this as me being passive aggressive in any way, but you cannot claim that is chicken is or is not happy; especially as you proceed to take away part of its freedom to roam peacefully and do as nature intended.
7 years ago