Josephus on Tillage: Cain ‘Forcing’ the Ground

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on December 24th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

One of the most serious agricultural problems in the world today is TILLAGE … ‘ploughing’ the ground, and forest clearing which accompanies it. Tillage destroys topsoil, and – eventually – entire civilizations, and as well-known Permaculturist Mark Shepard has shown us, is completely unnecessary for feeding people. In fact, recent studies like this one have shown that food produced from this type of agriculture is generally harmful to the body. How interesting then to discover that the famous Jewish historian Josephus wrote quite unfavorably about the ORIGIN OF TILLAGE. Enjoy!

1. ADAM and Eve had two sons: the elder of them was named Cain; which name, when it is interpreted, signifies a possession: the younger was Abel, which signifies sorrow. They had also daughters. Now the two brethren were pleased with different courses of life: for Abel, the younger, was a lover of righteousness; and believing that God was present at all his actions, he excelled in virtue; and his employment was that of a shepherd. But Cain was not only very wicked in other respects, but was wholly intent upon getting; and he first contrived to plough the ground. He slew his brother on the occasion following : – They had resolved to sacrifice to God. Now Cain brought the fruits of the earth, and of his husbandry; but Abel brought milk, and the first-fruits of his flocks: but God was more delighted with the latter oblation, when he was honored with what grew naturally of its own accord, than he was with what was the invention of a covetous man, and gotten by forcing the ground; whence it was that Cain was very angry that Abel was preferred by God before him; and he slew his brother, and hid his dead body, thinking to escape discovery. LINK HERE

Great Quotes From Masanobu Fukuoka, Author of “One Straw Revolution”

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on December 24th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

“I do not particularly like the word ‘work.’ Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

“In my opinion, if 100% of the people were farming it would be ideal. If each person were given one quarter-acre, that is 1 1/4 acres to a family of five, that would be more than enough land to support the family for the whole year. If natural farming were practiced, a farmer would also have plenty of time for leisure and social activities within the village community. I think this is the most direct path toward making this country a happy, pleasant land.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

“Food and medicine are not two different things: the are the front and back of one body.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

“Modern research divides nature into tiny pieces and conducts tests that conform neither with natural law nor with practical experience. The results are arranged for the convenience of research, not according to the needs of the farmer.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka

New York City: Model for The New Concentration Camp?

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on December 18th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

Wooowww. Just wow. Remember George Orwell? Watch this video clip (I got from Mark Shepard) with Orwell in mind … here’s the best quote …

“I think that New York [City] is the new model for the New Concentration Camp where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves where the inmates ARE the guards and they have this pride in this thing they’ve built. They’ve built their own prison and so they exist in a state of schizophrenia where they are both guards and prisoners and as a result, they no longer have – having been lobotomized – the capacity to leave the prison they’ve made or to even see it as a prison.”

Link to video clip from “My Dinner With Andre”

Oil: A Tool for World Control

Posted in Politics on December 18th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

OIL, I am convinced, is a Tool for World Control. Consider … The USA consumes 7 billion barrels per year by itself. (20 million per day) but has only 36 billion barrels in proven reserves … that is, only about 5 years supply. By comparison, Saudi Arabia has 8X this much and OPEC together has about 32X this much. Total world oil consumption is about 34 billion barrels per year (93 million barrels per day or about 4.5X USA consumption) and total world supply is about 1.2 trillion barrels or about 35 years, of which OPEC controls about 80% of this. Hmm … so it appears that any discussion about “the USA should compete with OPEC blah blah blah” is a nonsensical sideshow. Forget that. What’s going on is … the World Government (which operates behind the scenes) is moving to control OPEC. And you. Period. Any questions? (Source of data: Wikipedia, List of countries by proven reserves, List of countries by oil consumption)

Favorite Quotes from Bill Mollison, Father of Permaculture, and Others

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on March 25th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

“To empower the powerless and ‘create a million villages’ to replace nation states is the only safe future for the preservation of the biosphere.” –Bill Mollison, PDM, Preface

“To accumulate wealth, power or land beyond one’s needs in a limited world is to be truly immoral, be it as an individual, an institution, or a nation-state.” –Bill Mollison, PDM, p. 1

“We know how to solve every food, clean energy and sensible shelter problem in every climate … the tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them.” –Bill Mollison, Father of the Modern Permaculture Movement, PDM, p. 506

“I do not, in my lifetime, or that of my children’s children, foresee a world where there are no eroded soils, stripped forests, famine or poverty, but I do see a way in which we can spend our lives towards earth repair. If and when the whole world is secure, we have won a right to explore space, and the oceans. Until we have demonstrated that we can establish a productive and secure earth society, we do not belong anywhere else, nor (I suspect) would we be welcome elsewhere.” –Bill Mollison, PDM, p. 508

“The very concept of land ownership is ludicrous …” –Bill Mollison, PDM, p. 545

“Trees are responsible for 3/4 of all rains” –Bill Mollison, Father of the Permaculture Movement (Video #5)

“Few people muck around in earth, and when on international flights, I often find I have the only decently dirty fingernails.” –Bill Mollison, PDM

“Not only is the tree the great engine of production, but its present triumphant agricultural rivals, the grains, are really weaklings.”
–J. Russell Smith, one time professor at the Wharton School of Economics in “Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture” a permaculture classic, which until now I had only heard about from Permaculture leaders. Now I get to read it. It’s online and free!

“Unfortunately, our Graeco-Roman western linear reductionist systematized fragmented disconnected parts-oriented individualized culture does not make these critters happy. And it considers anyone who reaches for such a goal to be a lunatic.” –Joel Salatin

Converting My Land to Permaculture Design

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on March 9th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

HawkinsLand_TopoSatI’ve decided to apply Permaculture Design Principles to my little 10 acre patch of land which used to be farmed for corn and soybeans. I planted it in tall fescue in about 2003 before I had any knowledge of permaculture and it has terraces and a couple of drains which were placed by the row crop farmer long before I owned it. I currently have a small temporary dwelling back in the woods and I would like to have some rotationally grazed animals this year if possible. Of course, water catchment is my first priority, then planning for beltways of trees would be next. I have been following the work of Darren Doherty and I’m a bit familiar with Geoff Lawton’s work as well. Today I was alerted to a man who has a hybrid model for land development – a mix of the features of both Darren and Geoff’s work. His name is Cam Wilson and his blog article is HERE. My land is pictured above. The yellow outline is my little 10 acre patch and I have superimposed contour lines on the property. However, the contour lines may be old, possibly done prior to the terracing by the row crop farmer pervious to me.

America: Land of the (sort of) Free

Posted in Christianity/America, Politics on March 7th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

Shocking as it may sound, I have come to believe that “America, the Land of the Free … ” is at best a HALF TRUTH. We are “sort of” free. “Relatively” free, compared to say, Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. But compared to the Native Americans of the 18th Century Haudenosaunee Confederacy, we are not nearly so free. My skepticism comes from studying “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to famously say. Charles Mann has written a fascinating book entitled “1491″ which covers some of this, lost my original copy, then bought it again last week. I was alerted to the book by a former intern for Joel Salatin. While I don’t prefer Joel’s method of raising chickens for meat, I think his method for producing eggs is brilliant … and his writing is brilliant. Joel is a prolific reader and a fantastic writer. So I am interested in any book Joel writes and in some books recommended by people close to him. Let me give you a taste of what I am talking about from Mann’s book. More to come on this topic another day.

Benjamin Franklin wrote …

“When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return. And that this is not natural [only to Indians], but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived awhile among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet within a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of Life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.”

(Letter to Peter Collinson May 9, 1753) LINK HERE

Saliva pH Testing to Validate Claims of Weston A. Price, DDS

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on February 2nd, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

BeforeTest_020215People who follow my blog and Facebook account know that I am a huge fan of Weston A. Price and know that I believe that he discovered principles of nutrition which – among other things – would render our entire modern dental industry unnecessary by keeping our teeth healthy and strong without toothpaste, toothbrushes, sealants, annual cleanings and plaque removal, etc. One of the claims which Price makes is

If it [nutrition] has been sufficiently improved, [acid producing] bacterial growth will not only be inhibited, but the leathery decayed dentine will become mineralized from the saliva by a process similar to petrification. LINK

One of the scientists I interact with on a science forum has proposed a test of Price’s claim by checking my saliva pH at various times after rinsing with some sugary food (or raw milk). She has stated

Your pH will drop, I’m pretty damn certain, because I simply don’t believe Price was correct when he claimed his diet would CHECK THE GROWTH AND ACTIVITY OF ACID-SECRETING BACTERIA.

There may be some people around who are lucky enough to have mouth flora that don’t include them, but I don’t think you are, because you already have cavities. And everyone else’s pH drops after a sugar rinse. Note, the pH drops after the sugar has been in your mouth – it doesn’t have to get to your stomach, and your blood in order to cause the pH drop. First of all the effect is really fast, second, it happens even if you don’t swallow the sugar.

In other words, sugar in the mouth affects the pH of your mouth, because it feeds acid-secreting bacteria, and that acid then eats away at your teeth causing caries.

But let’s see if Price’s diet has mesmerised your acid-secreting bacteria into not growing and not eating sugar and pissing acid afterwards. LINK

Another scientist did his own test (non-Price diet as far as I can tell) … his posts on this topic begin here … LINK … Post #341.

Well, my initial results are in and photo documentation is below … The scientist quoted above said this in response to my experiment

Well, that’s very interesting.

Looks as though your diet (or something else in your diet) may have indeed CHECKED THE GROWTH AND ACTIVITY OF ACID-SECRETING BACTERIA in your mouth.


It still, of course, doesn’t make Price (or you) correct that sugar in the mouth doesn’t cause tooth-eroding acid (we know that it does, and damitall just demonstrated that it does). But it does suggest that your diet may suppress the acid-producing bacteria.

Or that you aren’t doing the test properly (it happens). LINK

Read more »

Latest and Greatest Links on Viruses, Viral Diseases

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on January 30th, 2015 by dhawkinsmo

The more I study microbes – bacteria and viruses – the more I am convinced that Germ Theory is at best a half truth – that is, the theory that specific microbes are responsible for specific diseases. A more accurate view seems to be … specific microbes cause various diseases IF they are subjected to conditions which cause them to mutate and become virulent. Following are some links exploring this idea WRT viruses.

Jack Challem Review Article on

Melinda Beck (2007) Selenium and Vitamin E Status: Impact on Viral Pathogenicity

Article by Melinda Beck on virus mutation in Cuba following severe national malnutrition after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Mention of enterovirus

Is Selenium Deficiency Behind Ebola, AIDS and Other Deadly Infections?

Taylor: Selenium and Viral Diseases – Facts & Hypotheses (1997)

Hou et al 1997 Inhibitory effect of selenite an other antioxidants etc

Harthill Review Article on Selenium Deficiency
Review_ Micronutrient Selenium Deficiency Influences Evolution of Some Viral Infectious Diseases – Springer

Oldfield’s Selenium Atlas

The author has been unable to locate selenium status maps for the entire continent of Africa, although one would expect to find a wide range of selenium supply levels. Much excellent mineral experimentation has been done in South Africa, and an early paper (Tustin, 1959) attests to occurrence of selenium-responsive white muscle disease there. Interestingly, a recent paper (Van Niekirk et al., 1996) cautions against dosing sheep with selenium in reproduction during the time implantation is underway. Studies at the University of Pretoria have identified areas of Selenium deficiency in the Natal Midlands, based both on whole blood selenium levels and on glutathione peroxidase activity (Van Ryssen and Bradford, 1992). Van Ryssen (2001) of the University of Pretoria has summarized the available information on South African selenium status in map form (Figure 36). Marginal to acute Se deficiencies have been reported in the Midlands region and the mountainous area of KwaZulu-Natal province and the southern part of Western Cape province. Fairly large areas in the west-central part of the country appear to be selenium-sufficient. The situation is complicated by local choices of forage plants and many cases of definite Se-deficiency are associated with diets that are principally lucerne (alfalfa). Considerable analytical data, including selenium values, have been assembled for various African countries. For example, a study of trace element levels has been carried out with several population groups in Burundi (Bensmariya et al., 1993). Investigators noted that intake of selenium by a rural population was very low – about on the scale of the Keshan disease area in China, and they attributed this in part, at least, to a very low consumption of fish by the study group. They have charted the contributions of various local food groups to total selenium intake (Figure 38). From studies of goiter and thyroid deficiency, it was learned that that condition is aggravated by a deficiency of selenium, and a belt of severe Se deficiency was identified in Central Africa (Vanderpas et al., 1990). Mpofu et al. (1999) have identified selenium deficiency symptoms in cattle in the smallholder grazing areas of Sanyati and Chinamhora, in Zimbabwe, and have provided a map, locating these areas (Figure 37). Plasma selenium in the dry season was 0.017, 0.025 and 0.017 µg/ ml for calves, steers and cows.

So it appears that Harthill bases the yellow areas in W. Central Africa (her Fig. 1) perhaps on Vanderpas, et. al. Here’s the link to that abstract … so this would need to be checked before we can deem Harthill’s map reliable.

Major increase in human monkeypox incidence 30 years after smallpox vaccination campaigns cease in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Monkeypox and smallpox genome comparison

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped our History – LINK

Ebola virus is mutating …

Enterovirus, not ebola is the disease worth worrying about.

Measles and Measles Vaccines: 14 Things To Consider (2014)

Large Mumps Outbreak in Highly Vaccinated Populations, New England Journal of Medicine

Effect of Stress on the Immune System

Possible effect of immunizations on the thymus

Flu Vaccine Lowers Immunity (Journal of Virology 2011)

Influenza Vaccines: Time for a Rethink (JAMA Internal Medicine 2013)

Universal immunity to influenza must outwit immune evasion (2014)

Recent paper on a possible connection of Ebola to selenium deficiency urging proactive stance

Wild herbivores and selenium

Effect of Vaccines on the Canine Immune System, Phillips et al (1989)

Taylor paper on selenium with 106 cites

Lancet paper on the importance of selenium to human health (2600 citations)

Soil-type influences human selenium status and underlies widespread selenium deficiency risks in Malawi, Hurst et al (2013)

Mice and the thymus – Robert Rowen MD

Walene James on Immunizations and Thymus Damage


Congress for Saving America via Permaculture, Part 1

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture, Politics on June 11th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

OK, here goes. I’ve been studying bits and pieces of a Plan to Save America via Permaculture for a long time and I think the time has come to invite ‘delegates’ to participate in the plan. [pictured at left, Native American 'congress'] First, I will cover why I believe that America needs saving. Secondly, I will talk about the technical solutions we have available to do the ‘saving.’ And thirdly, I will talk about ideas for actually pulling this off on a large scale, which I do believe is possible if we put our heads together. I’m calling this a ‘congress’ because I want lots of input from people – a congress of sorts – and I want people to understand how dire this is and – just as the colonists in the 1770s felt the urgent need to ‘do something’ about the English king and so formed a congress – so I feel that we need to ‘do something’ about the direction our nation is headed and I’m not seeing success via other methods.

Lots of people realize that America is in trouble but I don’t think very many people realize how the problems in America are fundamentally tied to our agricultural practices. For about 48 years, I didn’t either. Then I started reading Joel Salatin’s books in earnest and in one of his books he told about how North Africa – now called the Sahara Desert – was once lush and green and how it became a desert through bad agricultural practices. Wow! That thought stuck with me for the next several years and suffice to say that he’s right and this phenomenon is now happening all over the world. Go to my blog at and type ‘Sahara’ into the search box and you’ll get Desertification_Circlessome interesting reading on this topic. In reading the works of other Permaculture leaders, it dawned on me that the fundamental necessity for building a strong nation is not an army or an air force or a navy or even strong families. It’s soil. Yes, that’s right … soil. Without soil, you cannot grow food, thus cannot have any families at all, strong or otherwise. And of course, without families, you have no cities, no counties, no states, no nation. A friend of mine, Dan Grubbs, has a blog entitled “It’s the Soil Stupid” and I think he’s right. It is. It really is. That’s the foundation for any nation. If you don’t believe me, go to the Sahara Desert and tell me what nation is there. I don’t find one. You’ve got some on the edges, but none in the middle. It’s a desert! You cannot have a nation in the desert and if you’ve read my articles at my blog, you will know that America is headed straight for “Deserthood.” So that, in humble opinion, is why America needs saving. And yes, I know, “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” and other verses like that, but also keep in mind 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people … etc etc … you know the verse …” How does it end? It ends by saying God will heal our LAND. Not heal our bodies, not heal our families, not heal our government. Heal our land. Isn’t that interesting? Friends, I believe with every fiber of my being what Joel Salatin says “Heal the land and many other things will be healed.” Link here. How do we heal the land? Repent, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Repent of what? Well lots of things, and preachers are good at covering a lot of it and blessings on them for covering those things. But one thing they typically don’t cover is Genesis 1:28 – the bit about subduing the earth. Are we subduing the earth? I don’t think so. Rather, I think by and large we are exploiting it. I actually think the Native Americans that we Europeans displaced did a much better job of “subduing the earth.” Yet they were the “savages” and we were the “civilized ones?” Go figure. A related set of verses are the ones that talk about “tilling the ground” which I believe is a mistranslation and should be rendered “serve the ground.” Link here for my article on that topic. So, to sum up, I believe that America needs saving because we are literally destroying our ability to feed our great, great grandchildren with our flawed agricultural practices. And lest anyone think I am veering off into earth worship or some such thing, let me assure you, I’m not. The Scripture says in James 2:14-17 …

“14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

My perspective is that far too many people in our world today are “lacking in daily food” and more and more will be in the coming years, so I would like to “put works with my faith” and try to do something about it. Something a little more long lasting than handing out peanut butter sandwiches to homeless people. Not knocking that. I’ve done it. But it’s not a permanent solution. So that’s Point 1 – America needs saving. And “it’s the soil, stupid.” Thanks, Dan Grubbs, for a wonderful slogan.

OK, so our soil is dying. How to fix that? This has taken me a long time to figure out but I think I’m close. Love to have your feedback. If we say that our soil is dying, this implies that soil can be alive. What? Yes, that’s right. Healthy soil is a complex web of life and when we till it and leave it uncovered most of the year so it erodes and saturate it with harsh non-renewable chemicals and fertilizers, we destroy the life within it thus ensuring that it will become a desert in the future. This is a big study in itself, but suffice to say that the Native Americans mostly had living soil because they worked WITH Nature, not against it like we Europeans do. Now, 500 years later, thanks to our “make war, not love” philosophy with respect to soil and soil organisms (and higher organisms as well for that matter), we have mostly dead and dying soil. Our soil has basically become a substrate for chemical fertilizers with very little biological life in it. We boast about being able to produce 200 bushels of corn per acre, MarkShepard_Transformationbut the sad secret that even these corn farmers don’t realize is that this will come to an end at some point. Besides that, our corn/soybean/wheat based agriculture is literally killing our national health. Recent scientific paper on that here. This can be fixed, and people like Mark Shepard, author of the recent book “Restoration Agriculture” and recent speaker at the Permaculture Voices Conference has over the last 16 years, demonstrated with his own 106 acre farm in Viola, Wisconsin one solution for the dying land problem. Mark took a 106 acre crop farm with dying soil and has transformed it into what I would call a “Perennial Permaculture Paradise” complete with trees, bushes, vines and rotationally grazed animals. Mark’s big point is that he can produce 5 million food calories per acre just like a corn or soybean farmer, BUT … with NO INPUTS and NO ANNUAL REPLANTING! That seems like a big deal to me. Search my blog for “Shepard” for further reading. (Only one “p” in his name) Please take a few minutes to let this sink in. A corn farmer is producing 200 bushels of corn per acre X ~60 lbs per bushel X ~400 HeenanDohertyPlancalories per lb = 4.8 million calories. Mark, on the other hand is producing a little more – 5 million or so – from a beautifully organized pattern of approximately the following plants per acre: 86 chestnut trees, 34 apple trees, 120 grape vines, 208 hazelnut bushes, 416 raspberry canes, and 520 red currants. These are all planted in rows on 23 foot spacing to provide alleys with perennial grasses for grazing Mark’s “flerd” – a mixed flock/herd of cattle, sheep, hogs, turkeys, and chickens. Mark planned his farm according to P.A. Yeoman’s principles of “keyline” planning for maximum water retention, maximum plant growth and sensible road building placement. For an excellent quick primer on this system, go to and watch the short video on the home page by Darren Doherty. Darren has commercialized P.A Yeoman’s farm planning system (link here) and now consults with farms all over the world. He has also been selected as Joel Salatin’s international agent – no small achievement. Darren Doherty is a guy to watch, I believe. My review article on Darren’s work is here.

Now, before we get too excited and go off half cocked, we need to ask an important question. Is Mark Shepard’s farm plan optimum? Well in many ways, yes, I believe so. Compared to corn and soybean farming, there is no comparison, in my opinion. Mark’s plan heals land and produces food calories sustainably with no inputs except tree / bush / animal maintenance labor and harvesting labor. And it theoretically can feed 5 people per acre (1 million calories per year is the approximate requirement for an average adult). Which is all great … BUT … what kind of calories do we really want from a Permaculture system? Well, that’s a hugely important question. And for me, the answer is pretty much milk, meat and eggs as a foundation, with garden produce being of secondary importance. I call this a Weston Price type diet – similar to Paleo, but some important differences. Link here for discussion on that. Dr. Stephan Guyenet has some great material on this too HERE.  Dr. Weston Price’s complete volume is here. With this in mind, my plan would be similar to Mark’s, but my goal would be to produce the 5 million calories per acre primarily from meat, milk and eggs instead of nuts, fruit, meat, milk, and eggs. My own personal diet includes about 700,000 calories per year from milk, 70,000 from eggs, 120,000 calories from meat and perhaps 100,000 from butter and carbohydrates like sugar in my coffee, cookies and chocolate bars. To achieve this would require a large percentage of dairy animals in the rotationally grazed herd and if we want to achieve the 3 dimensional forage growth that Mark Shepard achieves, the choice for dairy animals would be goats, not cows because goats eat leaves and small branches. Cows – as far as I know – mostly eat grass which only grows one dimensionally, not 3 dimensionally like trees and bushes. Keeping all this in mind, I have done some preliminary calculations on calorie Mark_Shepard_Planproduction. There are many unknowns at this point, but what I do know is that grass forage (in a Mark Shepard type setup) can be as high as 6 tons per acre. I know this from Joel Salatin’s reports of 400 “cow day” pasture on his farm. 1 “cow day” = about 30 lbs of grass, so 400 cow days per acre means about 12,000 lbs or 6 tons of harvestable grass per acre. Add tree and bush cuttings and I’m doing more guesswork as to yields from that. (we’re talking about cutting tree /bush limbs every day manually to feed goats – got this from Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, link here about some of her work) But let’s make an educated guess and say we could get another 6 tons per acre from 3 dimensional forage production / coppicing / etc, if we do everything right. So our maximum theoretical forage yield – considering grass and tree / bush prunings might be 12 tons per acre. If a goat requires 1 ton of forage per year, then that represents a theoretical carrying capacity of 12 goats per year. If we allocate this all to dairy goats, then we’re talking about 150 gallons per year X 12 = 1800 gallons of milk per year X 2500 calories = 4.5 million calories per year from milk. I do believe we could add a flock of chickens into this herd of goats without getting a drop off in dairy goat production because the chickens are eating things like bugs in addition to grass, plus they are manuring the grass increasing productivity. How many chickens in the flock? I don’t know. Maybe 10 chickens per goat? I’m totally guessing here. From this 12 goat / 120 chicken “baseline” flerd, we can modify anything we want to for variety – substitute a hog for 2-3 goats, giving us more meat and less dairy, and/or 1 sheep for 1 goat or what have you, and we also need to account for Murphy’s Law and for time to get all the forage producing plants productive. Mark Shepard’s theoretical maximum is 5 million food calories per acre. I would come nowhere close NPD_Arabs_Camel_Milkto that starting out – if I do everything right and start with a wooded piece of land, I might be able to produce 2 million calories per year – maybe if I’m lucky. But I’m going to be conservative and say I can only produce 1 million at least for the first few years. That is, I think I could feed 1 person per acre sustainably with no input from this type of setup. As for labor, I think it would be minimal. I believe on a 10 acre parcel of land with 10 people involved, based on my firsthand experience with rotational grazing, labor would be no more than 2 man hours per day, which would include moving the electric fence, water and portable shelters for the flerd daily, milking the dairy animals, gathering eggs, cutting tree branches for the goats, etc.

So to summarize and recap this section … my short term goal would be to produce 1 million meat / milk / egg calories per acre, sustainably with no inputs starting out with wooded acres. I currently own a 10 acre piece that has about 3 wooded acres and I would not even attempt this unless I get at least 2 other people to join me to help with daily chores.  4 people total (me plus 3 others) would be better because then no one person has to sign up for more than 2 days per week of chores. I think I could support 4 people on my 10 acres with this plan even though 7 of my acres is grass so I may roll with that.

I won’t spend much space on this now because I really want feedback from knowledgeable people I am connected with before I go planning for the future too much. Suffice to say for now that from my “bridgehead” of wooded ground, I would begin planting a “food forest” in adjacent non-wooded ground, consistent with the type of food calories desired (in my case “Weston Price” type food calories) So for example, on my 10 acre piece, I would hire Heenan-Doherty to create a plan for the entire 10 acres, then begin implementing it. As this becomes productive, my 10 acre property would be able to support more people and, in time, hopefully be able to support 10-20 people (1-2 people per acre) sustainably with no outside inputs. If this goes well, all involved would gain confidence and hopefully begin letting leases on cropland and begin “Heenan-Doherty-izing” them as well. This will be a hurdle for two reasons – (a) cropland is expensive to lease compared to woodland or even pastureland, (b) cropland takes some significant inputs to ‘revive’ it to the point of enough productivity to support a grazing herd (c) it takes several years to get a food forest going so as to get 3 dimensional photosynthesis happening. I have had extensive discussions with Greg Judy about how to get the grass going using sheep but more planning is needed and there needs to be a viable financial model for all involved.

The long term is basically to create a successful system, then “rinse and repeat.” To take an analogy from biology, a living cell is a very small, duplicatable unit which is automatically duplicated millions of times during the growth cycle of a new organism. What I want to create is a very successful “cell” which can be duplicated in an economically favorable way far and wide, the end game being to build a much stronger America by duplicating successful “cells.”

Well, as John Lennon said, IMAGINE. If we can be successful at creating, say, a 100 acre piece of land which supports 100 people sustainably with respect to most of their food, water, shelter and energy needs what further needs do they have? Some, to be sure. We’re not going to “go Amish” and do away with iPhones and MacBooks and Volvos. All we’re doing is trying to produce as much of people’s needs as we can LOCALLY. And when I say locally, I really mean LOCALLY. I mean right there inside the subdivision. For an example of how this is currently being done in small way, please refer to the report “Building Communities With Farms” written by Dr. Michael Sands a few years ago. It’s a great report and I guarantee it will stimulate your brain cells with respect to this type of thing. The take away message I get from Mike Sands is … it’s a great idea to integrate food production with living spaces. So now I have given you a tour inside my brain as to how this thing can grow into PrairieCrossingTP“Sustainable Subdivisions.” A very important issue here is “Home Owner Association” rules for these sustainable subdivisions.  I’ve proposed sharing of daily chores, but obviously in a subdivision of any size, there will be people who have no interest in daily chores and would rather pay for the service.  I say fine.  I’m not proposing that we do away with our money system – I just want to make food production healthy, local and cheap and I want to produce as much cheap energy and cheap building materials as possible LOCALLY.  Without doing any rigorous calculations yet, it seems to me with a properly set up system, we should be able to offer subdivision residents some pretty cheap healthy food (and building materials and energy).  If the Amish can sell me milk for $2/gallon and $1.50/lb ground pork, why can’t we do the same in my proposed subdivisions?  But Dave, why would you sell so cheap?  My response is “why not?” if I can and still make it worth my time.  I will actually enjoy the production labor so long as I have help so I don’t feel like a slave.  Why would I charge my fellow man exorbitantly for something I enjoy doing anyway?  That’s the Amish philosophy and I like it.

Now let’s go further on this scary tour of my brain …

What if you filled an entire county with this type of “Sustainable Subdivision”? And what if your county government imposed high tariffs on all food products, building material products and energy products produced OUTSIDE the county? Do you think that would be a stimulus to local (in county) production? I think it would. It’s a old scheme that was used successfully in the early USA and I don’t see why it would not work now as well. Now keep going. If most of the things people need were produced right inside their own home county, what need would they have for welfare payments from the state? Or from the federal government? I believe that as this thing grew, there would be less and less need for the state and federal governments and thus those governments would become less and less relevant, ergo less and less powerful. Mega corporations also would become less and less powerful because there would be far less demand for their products from these new “self sufficient counties.” County government officials would eventually be more powerful than state or federal officials due to this new self sufficiency but this power could be tightly controlled and reined in due to the close proximity of the people to the county government.  I’ll stop here for now, but there is much more I am envisioning including revolutionizing health care and education automatically as part of this plan.

At the risk of sounding like a collectivist, let me make the observation that from the perspective of stewarding land and ensuring it’s health for future generations, the idea of private land ownership, compared to the Native American concept of land ownership, has been a disastrous idea. In the hands of the Native Americans, there was “plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, no taxes, etc” and – I might add – land which was actually building topsoil and much more diverse, vibrant ecosystems ChiefTwoEaglesinstead of the current situation where it is degrading and species are going extinct like there’s no tomorrow. So I’m scratching my head asking “what did private land ownership really gain us?” I’m thinking nothing good. So … what’s the alternative? Certainly not government ownership. That’s been a dismal failure where it’s been tried. I don’t have the answer but I think it’s an important question. What I would like the answer to be is “the land should be owned by those who will steward it best.” How to achieve this? Local subdivision ownership of the land? Rich guy owns the land, subdivision residents lease from him under some arrangement? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have owned land and not owned land (been a tenant) and the differences do not seem as great to me as they once did. A great example of a guy who, rather than owning a great deal of land, instead controls a great deal of land via good stewardship is Greg Judy. Greg advocates NOT owning land for the purpose of doing rotational grazing. What if we took that same approach when thinking about creating sustainable subdivisions? Another important question is “what is the essence of ownership”? Is it not control? Is it not the right to do the things we want to do on that land? I think that’s it pretty much. I can tell you for sure that my attitude has become “as long as the landowner – whoever that might be – lets me live on the land and have animals and plant trees and and a garden and play soccer and hunt and fish with my kids in exchange for some fair price, then I’m happy. Why do I need to OWN it?”

It appears to me that many workers in our society are now operating under a mild (or not so mild) form of slavery. It’s obviously not as bad for most people as the slavery situation in America in the early 1800′s but it ain’t great for all too many people. Talk to someone who works for Dollar General or Walmart and you’ll see what I mean. Most hourly wage workers these days work long hours for very little money but they have the same expenses for food and everything else that we all do and to me that’s a mild form of slavery. Sorry, but just calling it like I see it and under my plan, I believe this sort of thing would diminish, mainly because the power of ALL currently powerful entities who are currently inflicting this mild form of slavery would have their power and influence curtailed. Wouldn’t that be great?

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my rough plan for “Saving America With Permaculture.” I welcome your comments.