What is that?
When you hear that, what do you think?
Is it just a farm with swales? Is it a farm that rotational grazes? Or is it more than that?
Personally, I think it’s more than that. I think it’s a farm that uses the permaculture design toolkit to optimize what’s already there, and that me exercising restraint and not actually doing much to the land by way of heavy machinery.
There are a lot of permaculture demonstration sights out there that utilize permaculture techniques, sometimes imposed, sometimes arrived at, but often they are just sites, not actually production farms or sites on the way to become production farms anytime soon.
Given that, whenever I have heard the phrase permaculture farm in the past I have always wondered what that was, and where I could find an example of one.
Grant Schultz’s Versaland, Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm, Josef Holzer’s Kramateroff, and likely a handful of others that I am not aware of or mentioning here. But overall, there just aren’t many out there. Especially many really turning out farm based product.
Today, we have another one to add to the list, and it may be at the top of that list.
It’s a prime example of what a permaculture farm is and could be.
It’s Richard Perkin’s Ridgedale Permaculture site in Sweden.
A site that has undergone remarkable changes in just a few years. Going from your average rural farm to the penultimate functioning permaculture farm that’s right out the pages of a book. And one that would also become a book.
Unlike many permaculture demonstration sites, Richard’s site functions as a farm.
I think it’s a great example because permaculture or not, first and foremost it’s a farm. A profitable stand-alone farm.
Where the permaculture comes in, is they layer on permaculture over that working small farm model. They use the design tool where needed and as needed, but all while paying attention to the bottom line knowing that the farm has to pay for itself.
The amazing thing about what Richard is doing, is he isn’t doing it in the tropics or sub-tropics.
He’s doing it in Sweden at the 59th parallel with 6 months of winter and 6 months of everything else.
That’s the equivalent of the Northern part of the prairie provinces in Canada 700 miles above the US border.
Not the easiest of locations to be doing this in, but one where he’s making it work.
And in true permaculture fashion the problem is the solution and the 6 months of winter allow Richard to rigorously plan out everything that he’s doing on the farm. One of the things that have really allowed him to fast track development of his farm.
In this episode we go in depth on how he’s done so much so fast, covering a lot of topics from rotational grazing to holistic management to no dig market garden beds.
If you are looking how to blend permaculture, and farming in a way that works, this is it.
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