Regenerative Skills

Oliver Goshey

Helping you learn the skills and solutions to create an abundant and connected future read less

Diary of a water restoration design and install
Yesterday
Diary of a water restoration design and install
Welcome to the first epsiode of season 7! So much has happened in the month between the last episode where I introduced my partner Alba and our new home and farm in Spain. There have been a lot of projects both inside the house, out on the land, and within our own businesses. One of the new developments that came up is that I was invited to assist on a watershed restoration design and install project with a company that I've admired and looked up to my whole career, Restoration Agriculture Development (RAD). RAD is the design and project installation company founded by Mark Shepard, the legendary farmer and author who has helped to define the ambitions through his work and writings such as "Restoration Agriculture" and "Water for Any Farm." Though Mark wasnt involved with this job directly, I got to work with their team lead, and accomplished farmer in his own right, Jake Takiff from Cedar Springs farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado. In this first episode, I'll be trying out a new format in which I'll bring you along for the duration of this project and give detailed updates about how work is moving forward, what we're learning in the process, and the main takeaways. If you enjoy this format, please let me know, since I have a lot of potential jobs lined up, farm visits, workshops and my own projects at home I would love to share with you. As always, the best way to get in touch and have your voice heard is to connect via the Regenerative Skills Discord server. You can sign up for free below. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: http://www.restorationag.com/ https://ranchonanacatl.com/ https://www.instagram.com/ranchonanacatl/ https://rainwaterrunoff.com/cedar-springs-farm-in-hotchkiss-colorado-practising-regenerative-agriculture-at-high-altitude/ https://www.instagram.com/cedarspringsfarm/
Zach Weiss and Lorenzo Costa break down the design and process for restoring the water cycle of Tuscany
Dec 16 2022
Zach Weiss and Lorenzo Costa break down the design and process for restoring the water cycle of Tuscany
It’s not often I get to do interviews in person, and it’s not often that I get a chance to go to Italy to visit amazing farms and take a course on regional scale landscape hydrological restoration either. In fact this was my first visit to Italy at all. All of these fortunate circumstances came together at the end of November, a couple weeks ago, thanks to the incredible efforts and coordination by my friend Ed Cutler, the director of the Tuscany Environment Foundation. Early on Ed invited me to come and assist on a four day course that he was planning with Zach Weiss from Elemental Ecosystems and Lorenzo Costa from La Scoscesa farm, and since I’ve been in Zach’s Water Stories course since the beginning I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go out and get my hands dirty with a few of my heroes while working on one of my biggest topics of passion.So today’s interview is taking place up on Lorenzo’s farm a day after the course wrapped up with incredible views of the mountain valleys and vineyards around as the three of us discuss some of the most important learnings of the week.  In that session we covered a lot of ground. Much like in the course itself we zoom in and out throughout the discussion to explore the challenges and opportunities for water restoration work at a large scale and in smaller and more specific examples. Lorenzo gave us great information and context on the history of land use in the Tuscan area as well as his own farm. Zach explained a lot of bigger picture concepts about working with water and the solutions for degraded landscapes and mismanaged infrastructure. We also refer regularly to the farm that hosted the course of the previous days, Tenuta di Paganico, which I highly recommend that you check out. I’ll put the link to their website and social media in the show notes. Despite the challenges that they have with soil erosion and old water retention features that are no longer functioning, they are doing amazing work with forest management and grazing animals in silvopasture systems among others. I also highly recommend stopping by their farm store and restaurant if you ever find yourself near the town of Paganico.  I know this isn’t a super detailed introduction to the interview, but everything is very well spelled out from personal introductions through the progress of the learnings from the course so I’m not worried that you’ll fall behind. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.instagram.com/lorenzo.costa1/ https://www.instagram.com/lascoscesa/ https://www.elementalecosystems.com/ https://www.waterstories.com/ https://www.youtube.com/@Water_Stories https://www.tenutadipaganico.it/en/ https://www.instagram.com/tenuta_di_paganico/
Scott Zona on the gardener’s guide to biology
Dec 9 2022
Scott Zona on the gardener’s guide to biology
Today’s session, in contrast to the more challenging subject of the last two weeks, will take me back into my comfort zone, namely, nerding out about plants and how bizarre and amazing they are.  I don’t claim to be a plant expert, far from it. I’m more like a fanboy of a stadium band that has been around forever pumping out the hits and that I only found out about recently and act like I discovered them. I hope those of you who’ve been growing and studying plants your whole lives will forgive me.  A perfect example of a person who’s been a lifelong aficionado of the plant kingdom is Scott Zona. Scott holds a B.S. in horticulture and an M.S. in botany from the University of Florida. His Ph.D. in botany is from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now the California Botanic Garden) and Claremont Graduate University, California. He has explored plants in Florida, California, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Pacific islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, and Madagascar. His interests are in the diversity and natural history of tropical plants, especially palms, salvias, and bryophytes, and has published over 175 articles on these topics in various magazines, book chapters, and scholarly journals. He is the co-author of two books, Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms (2nd ed.) and The Palm Collection at the Jardín Botánico de Culiacán. His third book, A Gardener’s Guide to Botany, will be out in December 2022. Scott is also a member of American Bryological and Lichenological Society, Cactus & Succulent Society of America, International Association of Bryologists, International Palm Society, North American Rock Garden Society, and the Royal Horticultural Society and he is a Research Collaborator with the Herbarium of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  All of this has made him way over qualified to write his new book, A Gardener’s Guide to Botany: The biology behind the plants you love, how they grow, and what they need.  In this interview, Scott and I really just spend the whole time talking about why plants are the coolest and why everyone should love them too. This brings us through a world of plant physiology and biological processes, nutrition hydration and soil health principles, and the incredible adaptability and senses that have evolved in the vegetative world to overcome all manner of stresses and challenges in different environments.  Despite the fact that Scott reminds me a few times that his book is not about how to grow plants or garden, I can’t help but prod him for advice and insights about exactly these topics since that’s my own most vivid connection with plants. All the same there’s something for every plant lover in this episode. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://bookshop.org/p/books/a-gardener-s-guide-to-botany-the-biology-behind-the-plants-you-love-how-they-grow-and-what-they-need-scott-zona/18396717?ean=9780760374450
Jake Leguee gives a perspective from modern technological farming: Part 2
Dec 2 2022
Jake Leguee gives a perspective from modern technological farming: Part 2
Today we’ll be wrapping up the second in a two part interview that I’ve been looking forward to doing for a long time. If you missed the first part of the interview then I really recommend that you go back and listen to it before this second half to get the proper context.  As a quick recap, I’ve been speaking with conventional and industrial farmers for some time, not only to better understand the industry and the management practices they use, but also to understand the people who manage these farms, the decisions and challenges they face, and both the differences and commonalities they have with the regenerative farmers I speak to more regularly.  In an effort to raise awareness of these issues and to introduce some perspective into the conversation that is going on now around the world about how we should produce food and manage the natural world that we’ve come to dominate, I reached out to a voice that I’ve been following for a number of months and that I believe represents very honestly the realities of modern industrial farming operations in North America. Jake Leguee is managing over 15,000 acres near Weyburn in southern Saskatchewan in Canada. He grows durum, wheat, canola, peas, lentils, and flax and farms with his family, including his wife and three young sons, and several other family members. Together they are a 3rd-generation farm that strives to continually improve - to leave things better than they found them. Jake is also involved in various places in the agriculture industry as well. As a farmer and an agronomist, agriculture, and the science and business therein, is his fascination and passion. In the first half of the interview we covered Jake's family’s history into farming and how has overseen some major transformations in how the land and business are managed since taking over the farm business. We also unpacked some of the points of friction that farmers like Jake have experienced when dealing with legislators and regulators in Canada, as well as how this is often representative of many other countries around the world. We wrapped up on a note about the importance of including farmers directly in discussion at the government level whenever decisions are being made that would affect their work and the farming sector in general.  In this second part we’ll be exploring further some of the misunderstandings that Jake has observed about how the general public understands modern farming, the pressures that farm owners like him are under, and even how these misunderstandings can be overcome. We also talk about some of the more controversial management practices that modern farmers engage in and why Jake defends the use of certain crop protection chemicals, GMO crops, and the use of synthetic fertilizers among other issues. Just as a quick reminder, my aim in giving voice to these positions is not to advocate for or to defend them, but rather to share the perspective and reality of the farmers that those of us in the regenerative fields often villainize or try to distance ourselves from. I believe that it’s essential to understand their positions and look for common ground rather than trying to convince others of our way of seeing things. I believe Jake does an admirable job of bringing thoughtfulness and compassionate advocacy to his way of life and farming and I hope that this will open up a larger discussion of how we can better include and welcome conventional farmers into the regenerative transformation of the farm and food industries that many of us are hoping to advance.  Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://thelifeofafarmer.com/
Jake Leguee gives a perspective from modern technological farming: Part 1
Nov 25 2022
Jake Leguee gives a perspective from modern technological farming: Part 1
Today I’ll begin the first in a two part interview that I’ve been looking forward to doing for a long time, but let me give you some background context before we get started. It’s no secret that I’m a major proponent of regenerative agriculture and many of the different methodologies, practices, and concepts that this wide label contains. I believe strongly that our generation has an opportunity and an obligation to reconcile our food production system with the natural world that we depend on and to use our knowledge, wisdom, and access to resources to regenerate the health of the Earth’s biomes as a primary function through which we produce value for our own species in the form of food, fiber, fuel, and medicine.With that said, I’ve long been observing an ugly manifestation of this advocacy creep into the online and media discourse around regenerative agriculture. As we hold up examples of success stories and best practices, many of these discussions are also propped up on derogatory mentions of conventional or industrial farmers and farming practices. Some of these even expand into contests of who is more regenerative or who is doing better for the climate. I am certain that insults, negative assumptions, and general dismissal of the people and practices in this sector does nothing to bring their voices to the table, and often serves to further separate our ideals in the regenerative ag movement from the people who we should be working hardest to welcome.  For this reason I’ve been speaking with conventional and industrial farmers for some time, not only to better understand the industry and the management practices they use, but also to understand the people who manage these farms, the decisions and challenges they face, and both the differences and commonalities they have with the regenerative farmers I speak to more regularly.  In an effort to raise awareness of these issues and to introduce some perspective into the conversation that is going on now around the world about how we should produce food and manage the natural world that we’ve come to dominate, I reached out to a voice that I’ve been following for a number of months and that I believe represents very honestly the realities of modern industrial farming operations in North America. Jake Leguee is managing over 15,000 acres near Weyburn in southern Saskatchewan in Canada. He grows durum, wheat, canola, peas, lentils, and flax and farms with his family, including his wife and three young sons, and several other family members. Together they are a 3rd-generation farm that strives to continually improve - to leave things better than they found them. Jake is also involved in various places in the agriculture industry as well. As a farmer and an agronomist, agriculture, and the science and business therein, is his fascination and passion. My intention with this interview needs a little explanation. I’ve been reading Jake’s blog on thelifeofafarmer.com since the beginning of the year. There are few other places on the web where I’ve found confident and first hand defenses of many of the pariahs of regenerative and organic agriculture such as the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, GMOs and the massive increase in the average size of farms, yet Jake manages to do so in an articulate and compassionate way.I need to also mention that I do not agree with or defend the positions that Jake promotes in this talk, but that’s not at all the point. If you’ve been listening to this show for any length of time, you’re already well aware of my beliefs and opinions. The guests that I’ve interviewed over the last 6 years have done a much better job than I could at explaining them as well. My hope here is rather to reconnect those of us who are so susceptible to getting lost in an echo chamber of agreement with the humanity and core motivations that we share with the very people we often think we oppose. The biggest takeaway from this conversation for me was just h...
Laura Lengnick on the principles of building climate resilient farms. Part 1
Oct 29 2022
Laura Lengnick on the principles of building climate resilient farms. Part 1
It’s been a wild couple of weeks for me and as a result I’m struggling a bit to catch up. After the 5 day regenerative Design course at the Green Rebel farm in Miravet, Spain, then the three day Climate Farming conference at Schloss Kirchberg in Germany, and I’m now on a short break visiting the small farm of a good friend of mine in Dessau between events before a week long team retreat with the Climate Farmers team in Brandenburg. When I get back I’ve got tree planting events lined up in the Pyrenees and then I’ll be facilitating a course in Tuscany on restoring hydrological function to the landscape with Zach Weiss and Lorenzo Costa. Maybe by the end of November things will calm down in time for my partner and I to move into our new property which we were finally able to sign the papers on after a year of paper and admin work! Fewf!All of that is to say though I’ve got plenty of great interviews lined up for you, I might be a little irregular in releasing the episodes over the next month.But enough about me. This week I’m thrilled to present the first in a two part series exploring the topic of building true resilience in agriculture. Resilience is often thought of as the ability to bounce back from a disturbance or a challenge, but in these two episodes we’re going to dig deeper and not only broaden the theory of true resilience, but also to look into case studies of growers and land stewards who are building lasting resilience on their farms. To help me to understand all of this better and to give practical advice that all of us, even those of us that don’t work directly with the land can use in our lives, I had a wonderful conversation with Laura Lengnick.Laura is an award-winning soil scientist with 30 years of experience working as a researcher, policymaker, educator, activist and farmer to put regenerative values into action in U.S. food and farming. Her research in soil health and regenerative farming systems was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary's Honor Award in 2002 and she was a lead author on the 2013 USDA report, Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation. Since 2015, Laura has led research and planning projects exploring agricultural climate solutions, developed carbon management plans for organizations, and designed and delivered climate risk management workshops for farmers. Laura is also the author of The 2nd edition of her award-winning book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate in which she explores climate change, resilience and the future of food through the adaptation stories of 45 sustainable, organic, climate-smart and regenerative farmers and ranchers across the U.S. In 2021, Laura joined the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming as the Director of Agriculture. You can learn more about Laura and her work at www.cultivatingresilience.com In the first part of this series, we’ll explore how changes in climatic patterns and rise in temperatures are affecting farmers around the world and how they can understand the risks they’ll likely encounter in the coming decades. We also talk about the unique sensitivities that each landscape and farm has, and how you can use this understanding to build your own resilient capacity. Thanks to my partnership with New Society Publishers who published Laura's book, as well as many other invaluable volumes centering on topics of regenerative living, listeners of this show who are also signed up on our Discord community, can now win either a physical or digital copy of Resilient Agriculture over the next two weeks. It’s super simple to be eligible to win. All you have to do is sign up for free to the Discord server either on the homepage on our website at regenerativeskills.com or through the link on our bio on instagram. Once you’re in, just send me a direct message letting me know that you’d like to win a copy of the book and I’ll enter you in the drawing which I’ll do a w...
Blake Cothron on growing berries and other small fruit for profit. Part 2
Oct 7 2022
Blake Cothron on growing berries and other small fruit for profit. Part 2
Today I’m back with part 2 of my interview with Blake Cothron, the author of the new book “The Berry Grower: small scale organic fruit production in the 21st century.” Just in case you missed the first part of this episode, Blake Cothron is an organic farmer, educator, professional horticulturist and small business owner in Stanford, Kentucky, USA. He has been a grower for over 25 years and has been operating an organic plant nursery business for almost 10 years. His specialties are small fruit production, orchard care, nursery production, and temperate fruit growing. There’s a lot more to his backstory, but he explained everything in part 1 of this interview so be sure to go back and listen to it if you haven’t already. Building on the topics we covered in the beginning, Blake starts by explaining all you need to know about sourcing plants and propagation material and navigating the complicated world of plant nurseries and online plant vendors. It turns out there’s a whole lot more to it than most people are aware of. We also break down the practical assessments for planning a profitable berry business and how to design and plan your cultivated space to ensure you don’t have difficulties and inconveniences that cause you to lose money. As a bonus to this series on small fruit and berry growing, I’m also giving away two copies of Blake’s new book, thanks to the generous people at New Society Publishers, to members of our Regenerative Skills Discord server. If you’re not already a member you can join for free on the homepage of the website at regenerativeskills.com or through the link in our linktree on the Instagram Bio. Once you’re in, just send me a DM and let me know you’d like to be entered to win a copy of the book. I’ll be announcing the winners one week after the second part of this series comes out Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: The Berry Grower https://peacefulheritage.com/
Blake Cothron on growing berries and other small fruit for profit
Sep 30 2022
Blake Cothron on growing berries and other small fruit for profit
I’m super excited to share with you all what is about to be a deep dive into one of the most promising and often overlooked small farm enterprises, small fruit and berry growing.  In order to get the scoop on berry growing, I went straight to the source to speak with Blake Cothron, the author of the new book “The Berry Grower: small scale organic fruit production in the 21st century.” Blake Cothron is an organic farmer, educator, professional horticulturist and small business owner in Stanford, Kentucky, USA. He has been a grower for over 25 years and has been operating an organic plant nursery business for almost 10 years. His specialties are small fruit production, orchard care, nursery production, and temperate fruit growing. There’s a lot more to his backstory, but he lays it all out in the first few minutes of the episode so I’ll leave it for him to tell you. We went really deep into this topic in our interview and covered more than 2 hours of material. For this reason I’ve broken the discussion into two parts to make it more manageable to get through.  In this two part series, we covered almost the full range of the main topics in his book. In this first session we started by exploring why small fruit and berries are such an attractive enterprise and what sorts of farms they might be best suited for. We also look into the challenges and difficulties of growing bush and vine fruit that many people are yet unaware of.  From there we dissect some essential learning and evaluation you should do of your land and climate in order to choose the cultivars that are best suited for your site and business as well as how to source your planting material considering all of the pitfalls of ordering seeds and plants from nurseries and online. We even start talking about maintenance considerations of different cultivars and care and fertility methods that Blake has found success with in his ample experience.All of this is going to set you up really well for the second part of the series when we break down the practical assessments for planning a profitable berry business and how to design and plan your cultivated space to ensure you don’t have difficulties and inconveniences that cause you to lose money. As a bonus to this series on small fruit and berry growing, I’m also giving away two copies of Blake’s new book, thanks to the generous people at New Society Publishers, to members of our Regenerative Skills Discord server. If you’re not already a member you can join for free on the homepage of the website at regenerativeskills.com or through the link in our linktree on the Instagram Bio. Once you’re in, just send me a DM and let me know you’d like to be entered to win a copy of the book. I’ll be announcing the winners one week after the second part of this series comes out Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://newsociety.com/books/b/the-berry-grower https://peacefulheritage.com/
Regeneration is for everyone! Stories from the Regenerative Skills community
Sep 23 2022
Regeneration is for everyone! Stories from the Regenerative Skills community
Today I’m excited to share a special episode which comes from a presentation I gave about two weeks ago with Gaia Education, an leading organization in providing education in sustainable development.Through Ecosystem Restoration Camps, the NGO that I used to work with, I have co-facilitated the design portion of their Ecosystem Restoration Design course for the last few years. Now, for the first time they’ve made the course available for open rolling registration, which means you no longer have to wait for the bi-annual signup times and take the course within a 6 month window. In order to promote this they organized and online summit and I was invited to present on a topic that I’ve been passionate about for years and that is the core motivation behind this podcast, which is to spread the message that Regeneration is for everyone. So in this talk, which you can also find online in its unedited video form, which you can watch on the show notes for this episode on the website, I introduce some of the key concepts that differentiates the concept of regeneration from other paradigms of thought. To illustrate some of the myriad examples of regeneration in action I highlight 6 stories of amazing individuals that I’ve had the pleasure to interview on this show in the past, and that have inspired me in my work. At the end I wrap it up by outlining some of the design concepts and processes that I teach in the course to guide students through the creation of their own projects through the group activity. Though there is an important visual component of this presentation I know you’ll get all the essential information from the audio and I also highly encourage you to listen to the interviews from the past with each of the people that I highlight in the talk. And a quick reminder if you’re inspired by the concepts in this talk and the massive potential of designing through this process, I’ll be teaching a five day intensive in-person course on regenerative design between the 11th and the 16th of October at the beautiful Green Rebel farm in Miravet, Spain. We still have one or two spots available and you can find out all the details on the website or through our bio on instagram. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsSl3cZPyjM https://regenerativeskills.com/abundantedge-from-poverty-to-permaculture-and-beyond-with-luwayo-biswick-director-of-the-permaculture-paradise-institute-071/ https://regenerativeskills.com/dani-baker-on-why-its-never-too-late-to-start-your-home-scale-forest-garden/ https://regenerativeskills.com/invest-curate-mend-a-manifesto-for-our-clothing/ https://regenerativeskills.com/abundantedge-sean-sherman/ https://regenerativeskills.com/abundantedge-meredith-leigh/ https://regenerativeskills.com/abundantedge-fighting-food-apartheid-and-empowering-people-of-color-to-get-back-to-the-land-with-leah-penniman-author-of-farming-while-black-091/ https://www.programmes.gaiaeducation.uk/ecosystems-restoration
Elvira Di’Brigit on why we farm. Stories from growers of the Capay Valley
Sep 16 2022
Elvira Di’Brigit on why we farm. Stories from growers of the Capay Valley
A lot of my work at the moment is centered around building community and connecting people across Europe who are on a journey into regenerative agriculture. As I learn more and more about the farmers that I’m working with and their challenges and desires for the future I’m struck by the stories that unfold. Stories of legacy, perseverance, experimentation, recovery from adversity, hope, and so much more. As I work to gather and record these stories and to connect these people so we can better collaborate and support one another, I’ve been drawn to reflect on some of the past episodes in this podcast that featured the unique stories of growers and land stewards.One of my favorite episodes that centered around telling the stories of farmers was with Elvira Di'Brigit, the author of the book “Why We Farm” which is an investigation into the whole truth about life as a modern day farmer. Viewed through the lens of the environment within the Capay Valley of northern California, each chapter features a different model of farming. In each profile, farmers share the stories behind their work and their lives on the farm; the business side of production, the personal challenges they face, and words of advice for the would-be-farmer. The book asks hard questions and gives a reverent yet realistic picture of a thriving local food system.In this interview from back in season 1 of this show, Elvira talks about how she first came to the Capay Valley and her motivations behind wanting to live a farming lifestyle. We talk about how the farmers profiled in her book tell a larger story of modern farming in the United States, and even the trends and challenges facing the agricultural industry around the world. Elvira also gives a unique perspective into the growing community outreach that is strengthening the bonds in the valley and fostering a larger network of resilience that should be inspiring for anyone living in a rural community. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: Elvira on facebook http://whywefarmcapay.com/
Lynn Cassels on their journey to starting a successful farm with no prior experience
Sep 9 2022
Lynn Cassels on their journey to starting a successful farm with no prior experience
It’s no secret that the farmer population in Europe and many other places has been diminishing and growing older for a long time now. There are however still lots of younger folks who are interested in becoming farmers, but are struggling to get their foot in the door. Barriers to entry such as high land prices, high startup and infrastructure costs, lack of loan options, bureaucratic difficulties in inheritance, and a steep learning curve if you don’t already have experience farming are holding a lot of us back. Despite these challenges there are some incredible stories of new farmers who are finding success and fulfillment on the land. They’re often the ones pioneering new business models and best practices in ecological management.  That’s why I reached out to Lynn Cassells, who along with her partner Sandra Baer own and operate Lynbreck Croft, an award winning farm in northwest Scotland. Lynbreck Croft is a 150 acre mixed land holding of everything from fields and woodlands, to hill ground and bog located in the Cairngorms National Park with the land ranging from 320m to 450m above sea level.  Like many new farmers, Lynbreck has a unique origin story. Lynn and Sandra first met while working as rangers for the National Trust in the UK and soon realized that they shared a dream of living closer to the land. They bought Lynbreck Croft back in March 2016 – which they describe as 150 acres of pure Scottishness – with no experience in farming but a huge passion for nature and the outdoors. They now raise heritage breeds of cattle and pigs, grow produce and have become a model farm in their region for ecological production practices. Lynn and Sandra also wrote an inspiring book all about their journey of moving onto the land and how they've developed their idea of the farmers they want to be and their involvement in their new community which you can find through Chelsea Green books.  In this discussion I speak with Lynn about the initial challenges they faced in finding land and learning to make a living from it. We talk about the steep learning curve and the resources they turned to to make it manageable. Lynn also tells me about the unique challenges they have in the notoriously harsh climate of northwestern Scotland and how they’ve made choices on the farm to mitigate these difficulties.  This discussion is full of insightful advice and learnings from a unique journey from two farming newcomers who’ve demonstrated that you can build a farm business from scratch in modern times. Be sure to listen to the end when Lynn gives valuable advice for other people who dream of starting their farm without any previous experience.  Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.lynbreckcroft.co.uk/  https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/our-wild-farming-life/ https://www.instagram.com/lynbreck_croft/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRJrQZN4-Boka2m88TKB-1w https://www.facebook.com/lynbreckcroft/
Mateusz Ciasnocha on understanding the coming changes to the European common agriculture policy (CAP)
Sep 2 2022
Mateusz Ciasnocha on understanding the coming changes to the European common agriculture policy (CAP)
Ever since moving to Europe three years ago, I’ve been working to understand both the differences and similarities between the cultural, societal, and governmental background that I’m more familiar with from the USA and Mesoamerica compared to Spain and the larger European Union. Especially since my work is centered around agriculture and how we can set up the infrastructure to assist growers on this continent who want to shift to regenerative management, I need to first gain an understanding of what has incentivised and built the system we currently have. One of the largest influences that governs and regulates how people all around the different parts of Europe farm and manage land is the Common Agriculture Policy, known as the CAP. In order to get a better understanding of the complex history and nuanced current reality of the CAP, I reached out to my friend and colleague in Climate Farmers, Mateusz Ciasnocha, our Policy & Industry Advocacy Lead in the company. In this episode, Mateusz explains a bit about the history of the CAP and how it’s been used to accomplish its stated goal of creating food security as well as its effect on the development of the agricultural sector in Europe in the past decades. He also helps me to understand how the different countries within the European Union work within the CAP as well as its differences in implementation in each member country.  From there we talk about how the CAP will be changing in this next 7 year cycle and how current events are creating controversy and challenges to the new rollout. Be sure to stick around until the end when Mateusz gives his own opinion on how the CAP can be leveraged in the future to facilitate a regenerative transformation of agriculture in this region as well. As a new resident in this continent, all of this information has been new to me and I’m also realizing the global implications of the European Common Agriculture Policy, so even if you don’t live in Europe, this is a good subject to build an understanding of because it may affect you more directly than you think. Also, please try and forgive my bumbling misunderstandings along the way in this interview. Terminology always trips me up. Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.climatefarmers.org/
Learnings and reflections from starting our own regenerative projects with Oliver, Nick, and Jacob
Aug 26 2022
Learnings and reflections from starting our own regenerative projects with Oliver, Nick, and Jacob
This week I wanted to get back to one of my favorite formats from the early days of this show in which I just take the time to speak with some of my close friends and collaborators about what we’re working on. Today I grabbed my good friends Nick Steiner and Jacob Evans.  Nick is one of my closest colleagues in my work with Climate Farmers. He leads the Academy at the company and has spearheaded the coach matching service where we put farmers in touch with other farmers and experts who can help them in their transition to regenerative agriculture. He also recently invested in a property in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands and has been renovating an off-grid homestead for the last several months.  Jacob is another close friend of mine and earlier this year we taught an introductory course on syntropic agroforestry at the Green Rebel farm in Miravet, Spain. Jacob has been teaching syntropic agroforestry for arid climates and managing the farm at Suryalila Yoga retreat center for the last few years. He is also in the early stages of a big transition as he moves his young family back to Argentina where his wife is from, and will be starting a small farm there later this year. He also has a lot of experience setting up and running food production systems in the challenging climate of southern Spain.  The reason why I called on these guys is because most of the clients that come to me and the students that join in my courses are working towards a big transition onto the land. Some are in the early stages of considering buying land and starting a farm. Others are actively looking for property, and some have already bought a place and are beginning the development process. As a result I get tons of questions about how to choose a property, what important things they should be looking for, what to prepare for and be aware of, how to avoid mistakes, etc.  I myself am in the process of working to move onto a property in the mountains of central Catalunya in Spain and am drawing from my own learning journey from the past when I began my first homestead with my colleagues in Guatemala almost 5 years ago. I know now that there are so many things I would do differently with more knowledge and hindsight.  Because of all this shared experience me and the other two guys have in common with making and preparing for this type of lifestyle transition I wanted to have an in depth chat about the most important learnings we gained from these experiences. We also talk a lot about what we’ll be drawing from in our new endeavors and the advice or guidance we would give our former selves based on what we’ve learned from so many mistakes and blunders.  It’s really interesting to me to understand the patterns and commonalities that come out even from the different circumstances and motivations that we’ve had and that I’ve heard from all my students and clients over the years.  If you like exploring this topic and want to hear more about it after this episode, I’ve posted the details of the upcoming instagram live session that I’ll be doing with Nick this weekend on Saturday evening. We’ll be answering listener questions about learnings and important considerations when looking for land in the country and the reality of making that kind of a lifestyle transition so be sure to check it out. We’d love to see you there.  With that out of the way, let’s get started with the first of what I hope will be a lot more regenerative roundtable sessions.  Join the discord discussion channel to win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.instagram.com/regenerative_skills/ https://www.instagram.com/permanick_permaculture/ https://www.instagram.com/wizard_permaculture/ climatefarmers.org Jacob's land in Portugal for sale https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IDypfVMrP4s
Patrick Worms on the history and future of agroforestry
Aug 19 2022
Patrick Worms on the history and future of agroforestry
I’ve been taking it easy since my sister and her little girls are over visiting from Kuwait for the month and my Granny on the Isle of Man was also able to stop by for a week. So for that reason I’m going to rebroadcast one of my favorite episodes on agroforestry from two seasons ago with Patrick Worms. I hope all of you out there are also finding time to unwind and enjoy this summer despite all the challenges and extremes we’re experiencing.  With regenerative agriculture and agroforestry increasingly becoming popular topics in environmental and even political circles. I wanted to do a one-on-one session with one of my favorite speakers in this sphere, Patrick Worms.  Many of you frequent listeners will remember him from the panel discussion on agroforestry two weeks ago that I hosted with Climate Farmers. I got to know Patrick’s work and perspective more intimately as part of the online course on ecosystem restoration design that we both teach on. Patrick is the Senior Science Policy Advisor at World Agroforestry, President of the European Agroforestry Federation, and trustee of the International Union of Agroforestry, he’s also a valued member of the advisory council with the Ecosystem Restoration Camps. In the courses and conversations I’ve seen with him, I’ve always been struck by the stories and compassionate understanding of the people that Patrick has met in his work and travels. In order to make some of these stories and insights available to you listeners, I let go of the usual focus just on actionable information to let this chat take its own course. Though we still cover a lot of practical advice in this talk, what I often take away from listening to Patrick is a renewed reverence for the individual people who are working to manage their lands and produce food around the world. It’s easy to think of agriculture and the food industry as these monoliths without faces, but the lives of the people who make up these systems, from those to tend the land all the way through the logistics, distribution, transportation, all the way to our kitchens are important to remember ad pay attention too as well.  To get us started off with some background though, Patrick shed some light on the history of agroforestry and it’s deep traditions in Europe specifically. Join the discord discussion channel to win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.worldagroforestry.org/ https://www.cgiar.org/ https://euraf.isa.utl.pt/welcome https://www.iufro.org/ https://www.evergreening.org/ https://ejpsoil.eu/
Paul Nicholson opens the fascinating world of plants, botany, and horticulture
Aug 12 2022
Paul Nicholson opens the fascinating world of plants, botany, and horticulture
Though we’re quite a few episodes into this series on tree planting and agroforestry already, I had a unique opportunity to go back to the roots and explore some of the fundamentals of the plant kingdom and how we can actively work to preserve the wonder and diversity of vegetative life.  The truth is that the challenges of climate change and ecosystem mismanagement aren’t only having an effect on humans and animals. Despite the fact that plants make up the vast majority of living biomass on earth, they’re just as vulnerable in their own unique ways to warming climates, missing elements in their food webs, natural disasters and other challenges.  In order to get a better understanding of both the beauty of life in the plant kingdom and the difficulties of caring for such broad and diverse lifeforms, I spoke with Paul Nicholson, horticulturalist with the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney Australia.  Paul has nearly 30 years working as a horticulturist curating diverse collections such as: palms, camellias, begonias, succulents and Australian rainforest plants. He also instigated and helped develop the Cadi Jam Ora – First Encounters garden and Spring Walk and Palm Grove restoration programs. Paul is especially motivated to help people understand that plants are central to their lives, that plants are interesting, exciting, engaging and the more time you spend with plants the happier you are likely to be. His role as a tour guide and volunteer program manager has also given him an incredible ability to communicate his passion for his work and the collections at the gardens. Since we’re already so far into this series exploring trees and various configurations of reforestation, this episode is a good chance to reconnect with the full range of the wild and wonderful world of plants, botany and horticulture in order to see it as a more complete picture. Join the discord discussion channel to win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/ https://www.instagram.com/rbgsydney/  https://www.facebook.com/RBGSydney/
Mark Krawczyk on coppice agroforestry and woodland management: Part 2
Aug 5 2022
Mark Krawczyk on coppice agroforestry and woodland management: Part 2
Welcome back to another episode in this ongoing series on tree planting and agroforestry. Today we’re going to pick up where we left off last week in our conversation with Mark Krawczyk about the practice of coppicing woody perennial plants and woodland management as a whole.  For a quick recap, Mark Krawczyk is the author of the new book Coppice Agroforestry: Tending trees for product, profit, & woodland ecology. Mark is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower incorporating the practices of permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry. He owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC, providing farmers, homeowners, and homesteaders with education, design, and consulting services. He and his wife also manage Valley Clayplain Forest Farm, 52 acres of field and forest in New Haven, Vermont. Despite the focus on coppice agroforestry systems that this conversation continues to revolve around, Mark and I also go into a wide array of other topics including the long history of forestry management in indigenous cultures around the world, understanding invasive species, woodland products and small craft economies, fire mitigation strategies, and a whole lot more.  This is the second of the two part episode, and if you missed the fist portion, I highly recommend you go back and have a listen because it’s really worthwhile and it’ll help put more of what we’re talking about today into context. Another bonus that comes along with this episode is that thanks to New Society, the publishers of this book, I’ll be offering a free volume of Coppice Agroforestry to listeners of this show. And yes, even though I first announced this last week, there’s still a chance to win. Be sure to stay tuned until the end of the episode where I’ll let you know how you can win your own copy.  Join the discord discussion channel to win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.keylinevermont.com/ http://www.coppiceagroforestry.com/  https://www.valleyclayplain.com/ Book recommendations Sproutlands Tending the wild
Mark Krawczyk on coppice agroforestry and woodland management: Part 1
Jul 29 2022
Mark Krawczyk on coppice agroforestry and woodland management: Part 1
Welcome back to another episode in this ongoing series on tree planting and agroforestry. So far we’ve taken a broad look at many types of reforestation and how to integrate trees and woody species into farming systems, but there’s another side of the coin in this conversation. Today we’re going to start another two part session focusing on the management of woody perennials, specifically the practice of coppicing.  In order to get a better understanding of this ancient woodland management system I reached out to Mark Krawczyk, the author of the new book Coppice Agroforestry: Tending trees for product, profit, & woodland ecology. Mark is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower incorporating the practices of permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry. He owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC, providing farmers, homeowners, and homesteaders with education, design, and consulting services. He and his wife also manage Valley Clayplain Forest Farm, 52 acres of field and forest in New Haven, Vermont. Despite the focus on coppice agroforestry systems that this conversation will revolve around, Mark and I also go into a wide array of other topics including the long history of forestry management in indigenous cultures around the world, understanding invasive species, woodland products and small craft economies, fire mitigation strategies, and a whole lot more.  Since the conversation spanned an hour and a half, I split it into two parts so it’s not too much of a marathon to get through in one go.  Join the discord discussion channel to win a copy of Coppice Agroforestry and learn new skills with the whole community Links: https://www.keylinevermont.com/ http://www.coppiceagroforestry.com/  https://www.valleyclayplain.com/ Book recommendations Sproutlands Tending the wild