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Farming Forward

Filtering by Category: Permaculture

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture

Grant Schultz

silvopastureunm We've recently tackled a tall challenge.  Reshape 143 acres of degraded cropland into 143 acres of abundant multispecies agroforest.

Yes, it can be done, and it will.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  This will take years, but the first step is already underfoot.  Others have come before us.

J. Russell Smith first published Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture in 1929.  It has been edited and reprinted several times since, a favorite of the agrarian underground.  Wendell Berry and other celebrated authors have praised the Tree Crops message for over 80 years.  It's heartwarming to know that the idea of perennial agriculture is finally becoming mainstream with recent works like Restoration Agriculture and The Resilient Farm and Homestead.  The concepts in Tree Crops will change how Earth looks from space.

Here's a link to a free PDF version so you can read it yourself:

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture


Ernst Götsch

Grant Schultz


Click on the above images to play the videos.

A Swiss farmer named Ernst Götsch (Goetsch) has developed an agroforestry system based on natural succession of species and soil recovery.   Götsch, who moved to Brazil in the 80’s, has successfully proliferated his techniques throughout South America and Europe.

Using a productive agriculture design free of artificial fertilizer, he has revived 480 hectares (1,200 acres) of degraded soil in south Bahia (Brazil). The farm has developed its own microclimate, water flows again in 14 springs, and wildlife has repopulated the area. What began as an experiment in mimicking nature has become a model sustainable farming system in an area otherwise awash in slash-and-burn agriculture.  The forest-farming techniques have been adapted to a variety of climates and  conditions for the last 30 years.

A film documentary of Götsch's work is currently in production: http://www.agendagotsch.com/

Paleo Permaculture

Grant Schultz


I eat meat. I eat vegetables. I eat fruits and nuts. That's pretty much it. "You're a farmer, so you obviously eat grains too, right?"


Cows eat grass, not diesel fuel and corn.

The thing is that truly healthy human diets can effectively *only* be produced in permaculture systems.

This realization could take you down a wormhole, much as I was forced to venture, but the consciousness on the other side is fantastic.

Here's a video interview of Robb Wolf, a leading advocate explaining a small part of the puzzle.

Robb Wolf interview @ #AHS11 by Tara Grant from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

Restoration Agriculture

Grant Schultz

restorationagbook We recently had the pleasure of visiting one of the premier examples of broadacre permaculture in the US, 106-acre New Forest Farm in Viola, Wisconsin.  Mark Shepard and family have sculpted New Forest Farm from a cookie-cutter row-crop operation into a diverse and productive farm of meat, fruit, nuts, and honey (much more than milk and honey).

Mark has also recently released his book Restoration Agriculture: Farm-scale Permaculture for Farmers

Here's a recent talk Mark gave at ACRES USA Conference in Louisville, Kentucky this December.

Thanks Mark and Jen for being wonderful hosts and putting a positive woosh on the Earth!