Dustin Hollis

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since Apr 21, 2010
I'm a network engineer. I attended Ben Falk's PDC in Vermont July 2016. Attended a Restoration Agriculture Workshop with Mark Shepard in 2016.
Cedar City, UTAH
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Recent posts by Dustin Hollis

elle sagenev wrote:
Like you mentioned with the trees, if I bought 100k trees there is no way I could sell off half of them. There are only a few more than 50k people in our capitol city after all. Never mind that trees really don't grow that well here anyway.
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How about an ongoing secondary concern? You don't have to do it all in one year. buy 2000 trees, sell a thousand, do it again the next year.  It's got to make you more money than 100 dollars an acre. I remember Mark talking about how if there was a year he couldn't afford to pay people to harvest some perennial crop, at the very least he was creating a great food source for his pigs. On top of that, you are improving the value of your land. If all you do is take 20 acres every few years of your 300 acre farm, plant it out and run animals through it, at the end you have created a little piece of edible paradise that you could easily sell, or harvest over time in a multitude of ways and make way more than $100 an acre.
Transform a piece of your farm at a time. You don't have to eat your elephant in all one bite.  Too many people think these are ideas are all or nothing. It does not have to be that way! I just think it's reasonable to take a small part of your farm and transform it over time, especially if you don't feel comfortable with doing new things. This minimizes the risk. Besides, how many trees and other edible perennial bearing plants can you plant a year anyway?  I do know that some states are funding programs for alleycropping and border areas to absorb runoff and provide habitat for pollinators. It would be nice if that could expend to encoruage a alleycrop border area in all farmed lots over a certain size.  In the end, acres and acres of monocrop is a problem, an ecological vacuum that creates a lot of problems, not the least of which is agricultural runoff that ends up poisoning the ocean, rivers, lakes and streams.

I know, it requires some work and continual self-education. Many people are not willing to do that.


1 year ago
Thanks! I wasn't sure if that would do it or not.
I ended up editing those posts to "DELETED DUPLICATE"
For some reason, I had a lot of timeouts when trying to post a replay. Then, when it finally posted, it posted 4 duplicates! I can't delete my errant posts! Help!
https://permies.com/t/114584/aren-farms-Mark-Shepard-exploding#936208
After having visited with Mark for a couple days, pestering him with lots of questions, then reading his book, I would say the central idea about Mark's methods is diversity. He does not do just one thing. He does a lot of things that feed into eachother. How do you afford to plant thousands of trees? Buy two thousand wholesale, open a nursery, sell half and plant the other half. You have made a profit on the trees selling at retail, and you made your money back. You know have a thousand free trees. This is just one example.

I can understand why not everyone wants to do things this way, but realistically, farming has gotten to the point where its a race to the bottom. Farmers have been suckered by the big ag suppliers who are the real profit takers in the system. (what's the old saying about selling picks and shovels to gold miners?) You are better off producing value-added unusual and profitable goods at retail or at least for a co-op than acres of wholesale commodity products that can be wiped out with bad weather, global competition, and so on. The end reult of this is that when you are done, the land you have been harvesting from is vastly better off than when you left it. Over time, trees grow that can be harvested, water collects and is dispersed, your land looks like a lush high-end park, it produces animals and fruits and nuts and mushrooms that can be continuously harvested forever. You can add in annuals if you want.

Compare that to monocrop farm land. With no crop growing and no water flowing, it's desert. the soil is dead, the land is dead, and it will blow away with the dry winds. There is no ongoing value in it.
1 year ago
Even better, in your area there are rammed earth builders. Seriously beautiful buildings!
2 years ago
The simplest way could be to do a modified timberframe for the walls and roof, then infill with earthbag. Modified timberframe just uses standard lumber built up to make posts and beams. It's pretty simple: your posts are made of two 2x8's with a 2x6 in the middle. Beams are 2x6's tucked in between. I built a house this way. Here's some examples: http://www.firstdaycottage.com/photos.html   Just space your posts every 3'. Cover your roof with plywood or tongue and groove, then moisture barrior, then insulation sheets, then strapping, then metal roof. You can make big thick walls and even add insulation. If you are near a volcanic area you can use scoria as you filling material for your bags, alternatively dirt and perlite or vermiculite.
2 years ago