Articles, Blog

Permaculture Transforms Industrial Agriculture Farm into Biodiverse Eco Farm

August 20, 2019

Alright! This is John Kohler with!
Today we have another exciting episode for you. I’m coming at you here from South Florida.
And let me tell you guys, this is a chilly day here in South Florida, it’s like in
the low 60s. Here in the winter, I guess all you guys are still in snow and stuff, but
60 degrees you’ll probably say John that’s not cold. Well, it’s cold for down here. In any case, what I thought I’d share with
you guys today is a farm that I’m at. No, it’s not the one behind me. And this is
what you might think of as a farm when you think oh yeah a farm grows the vegetables
that show up in my grocery store. And actually most of the vegetables that are grown in grocery
stores and sold there are grown pretty much like this, as you guys are seeing behind me.
It’s basically just a field that’s plowed with a tractor and then they lay down seed,
and in this case they’re growing some beans, probably some string beans. And the plants
are planted out every 3 inches next to each other all the way down. And as you guys could
it’s like just a patch of green and probably just shot up within the last week or two at
the most. And in this area here it doesn’t really matter what the soil is like because
as long as the soil will hold the roots, that’s all the farmer needs doing a conventional
agriculture style system. Because what they rely on are these little fertilizer pellets.
I’m seeing them on the ground there. They’re multi color actually. And this is the chemically
made fertilizer from a factory, you know, made out of natural gas products or other
petroleum based products. And it’s put into a water soluble format. So then when they
add it to the ground, the water, and they have a big watering machine on the other side
of me, waters them in. They basically melt and then the water soluble nutrients go down
to the root zone, they feed the nutrients to the root zone, and then the plants grow.
And this is what is known as, you know, modern agriculture. Now unfortunately, this is not
how nature works. So I’m not going to show you guys like the fields here because it’s
pretty boring huh. It’s just a field of just green beans. Next what I want to do is actually maybe spin
the camera around and show you guys like another way they’re growing food right behind me,
which is a little bit different. Alright, so now we’re going to go on a nice
spin with me. Alright we’re spinning around, yes, spinning around. Alright, so here’s
this big watering rig. This field looks like it got planted out a little bit after the
field that you guys just saw. And we’re going to spin all the way round over to this
side. Alright on this side over here what we’re looking at is a fruit tree orchard.
So if you’re thinking about how do those fruits get in the grocery store that’s appearing
in your store near you, it’s pretty much grown in an orchard like situation like the
one behind me. About every 20 feet or 30 feet, depending on the kind of fruit tree, you got
one tree, then you got the next tree and then you got the next tree and then you got the
next tree all the way down. And they’re like all symmetrical like, kind of like many
cities have city blocks that are all symmetrical. And they’re just all the way down like a
grid system. And then the in between the trees they could get the, you know, the machinery
in between there nice and easily. And it’s pretty much nicely manicured, neat, tidy and
orderly. Much like the field behind me. You don’t see grass and you don’t see weeds
and all you see is just the green beans. And they may be using herbicides so that, you
know, weeds don’t come up. And the same thing with the orchard. You know, they may
be using things like herbicides and, you know, chemical sprays and also chemical fertilizers
to, you know, provide nutrition and keep the weeds down because the weeds compete with
the trees, which is the main investment, so that they could grow the fruit. And in this
case it is probably like the lychee fruit or maybe longan fruit. But nonetheless, this
is how traditional agriculture is done, you know. They just basically feed water soluble
nutrients and then use all kinds of herbicides and pesticides and fungicides and things that
are just not good for the soil environment or for our health. I mean, most pesticides,
I mean, just on the drive here I saw people fully suited up in like the white tyvek and
the respirators and all this stuff because they’re spraying toxic things that have
warning signs on them. And yeah, of course if you’re spraying them in large doses you
don’t want to be breathing that stuff, but even in smaller doses they can bio accumulate
inside a person. So for that reason and many others actually
I don’t necessarily recommend eating conventional produce unless that’s the only thing and
the best thing you got, right. I always want to encourage you guys to do good, better,
best. And as much as the farming system right now is maybe not set up in the most sustainable
manner, you know, it’s what we got. And I would much rather have you guys eat conventionally
grown produce than packaged snickers, twinkies, ding dongs, ho hos, coca cola, anything in
a package, right. Produce is always better. But I’m here today to show you guys a better
way than just, you know, farming vegetables in rows, plowing and tilling the land, and
which ruins the soil structure, ruins the microbes in the soil and then you got to,
you know, get on a program that gets you dependent on the chemicals, right. It’s like called
chemical dependency, for those of you guys that have some kind of or have friends that
are alcoholics or into drugs and they always need a fix of cocaine. Well, these plants
and the plants in successive fields either in the fields of bean in front of me or the
orchard behind me, they’re dependent on chemicals because there is, they, the micro
biome in the soil does not support you know, feeding them organic nutrients because all
the micro biome in the organic matter is wiped out. And this is maybe one of the reasons
why people get dependent on their, you know, substance abuses and what not because their
body is not used to living life and being vibrant and happy without it. So next we’re going to show you guys the
solution today. And that is actually a awesome permaculture food forest system that actually
started out just like the one you guys see behind me. But that was like 20 years ago
now. They took a system that was failing, not working so well, and they converted that
into a living, breathing, organic, natural, recycled, sustainable, regenerative agriculture
system. So let’s go ahead and head to the farm. Actually this is right over here. Right
next door. You guys could see, it’s just mass abundance. I mean it’s not neat and
tidy like these fields here. Nature is, man, is abundant and there’s just all kinds of
stuff growing in this farm next door. So let me go ahead and introduce you to the farm
where I’m at today. So the permaculture farm I’m at today is
called Guara Ki Eco Farm. And this is a regenerative permaculture farm dedicated to earth care,
people care, and creating abundance, you know, unlike the other farm that I just showed you
just across the street and next door literally, you know. This is actually regenerating the
earth instead of degenerating the earth, right. So I want you guys doing things in your life
that are, you know, going to regenerate you instead of degenerate you. And it’s sad
to me that, you know, a lot of things people just kind of look at the bottomline and the
financials and if it makes financial sense, you’re going to make a profit, you’ll
do whatever it takes to make a profit and you won’t care about these things, right.
Earth care, people care and creating abundance. And it’s very important to think towards
the future and future generations aside from just your generation now to make a buck farming
the way that it’s been done so that you could be profitable. I mean, take some other
factors into consideration, you know, like paying your workers well, like, you know,
regenerating and making the earth a better place for future generations instead of raping
and pillaging the resources of the earth today. So in any case, let’s go ahead and hare
with you guys this, I think it’s a 3 acre, permaculture farm and show you guys how they
are growing things differently and how I would probably grow things here in South Florida. So this is the kind of farm that I like to
walk into. I mean, it literally looks like a public park you’d go to that just has
a forest. And it’s just full of all kinds of stuff, you know. I mean, this originally
what it was was an orchard of things like mamey and lychee trees predominantly, maybe
some sugar apple trees as well, but predominantly those couple trees. And those were planted
out, you know, every, with the proper spacing, every 30 feet or whatever they are. And then
what they did 20 years ago now was start to basically, you know, take out some of those
trees, plant out the borders, make areas for vegetable gardens, you know, plant crops below
the fruits trees so they could have, be more productive, you know. Start up a little plant
nursery to grow and propagate some of the different, you know, fruit trees and other
vegetables that are growing here. And, you know, building structures and places to live
and compost toilets and solar powered showers and man there is so much stuff going on here,
it’s just really cool. I mean, this is I think the future of farming. Now the problem is, you know, for something
like this to happen, you know, it’s not focussed on the production and making a buck,
right. This is a non profit organization that runs this farm. So their goal is not to necessarily
sell and be super productive, which they, you know, could dial 9:23 it in further. But,
you know, frankly they get wwoofers and if you’re interested in wwoofing, you could
come down to the farm and Wwoof and volunteer and check out this amazing place and work
here and learn. But their main purpose is to educate people about how to do it differently,
and to teach people solutions instead of creating more problems. Like in my opinion they’re
doing, you know, across the street. I mean, I just heard a thing on the drive here how,
you know, local farm using, you know, water soluble fertilizers are running off into lake
Okeechobee and now they’re having to deal with algae blooms that are not normal because
of all the excess fertilizer waste water run off. Traditional fertilizers, you know, run
off and then they cause problems because they go somewhere else. Only a small percentage
of the water soluble fertilizers put on soil will stay in there and actually feed the plants.
The rest is not needed. But in a system like this when they’re using a 100% organic matter
and non water soluble fertilizers, it all stays all in the site, breaks down and feeds
the intended trees and vegetables and crops on the land instead of running away and, you
know, causing environmental impacts and negative environmental impacts in other places. So
anyways, let’s go ahead and show you guys some of the specific areas and some of the
crops that are growing and some of the unique structures they have here on the farm. Alright, so walking in the farm you’ll be
immediately greeted with this building. And this building has a composting toilet on one
side and on the other side a 100% off the grid solar powered water catchment shower.
So you could see on the roof they got gutters and the gutters, one on each side, run to
these big 55 gallon drums. And these drums collect the water and then as needed the pump,
which is I can’t operate it, pumps the water into those tubes in the wall which go to the
shower. And the hot water actually comes up from above. And up at the top they have like
a solar collector in there and that basically heats up the cold water, makes it hot, so
that even a family of 5 could take short showers in the shower and still have hot water without
the use of any electricity or natural gas. Let’s see here, oh let’s go ahead and
continue and show you guys some other cool things here at the farm including the mainstay,
some of the fruit trees. Alright, so let’s walk down this little
pathway here and show you guys what we got down here. So this tree here is one of the
existing trees that was here 20 years ago. And this is called the mamey sapote tree.
And you guys could see it was flowering and the little fruits are starting to develop
there along the trunk of the tree. And if you look up very carefully, here is one of
the fruits right there. These guys are going to get a lot larger. This is a mamey sapote
fruit. When these are soft, there’s a whole bunch of them where you guys could spot in
the background, when these guys are soft they’re ready to eat and you could open them up and
they literally taste like pumpkin pie. They’re completely amazing and they blow away apples,
oranges, bananas, pears, any common fruit that we normally get. You got to try some
mamey sapotes if you never had it before. And then these are some litchi trees here
that you guys see, quite big, they’re not actually currently fruiting at this time. Down below you guys will see that, you know,
it’s just not all wiped out or roundup readied or you know glyphosate sprayed, there’s
basically just, you know, weeds growing. And in an ideal situation they’d have enough
mulch to just mulch over all the weeds and continue to add mulch to keep the weeds and
suppress the weeds and also feed the earth the nutrients from the mulch. I mean, that
is really the fertilizer for trees in my opinion is other trees. So when the leaves drop off
these trees here, they land on the ground, they break down into mulch, they turn into
soil and they give the nutrients back to the soil, you know. And that’s how this whole
system works, by recycling nutrients the whole time. And then they got some really beautiful, nice
and tall mamey sapote trees as well as the litchi trees. Oh and there’s some big mameys
down there, citrus and they got all kinds of stuff coming up. Next let’s go ahead and show you guys their
propagation area, which was their greenhouse area. They just took it down, they’re actually
going to grow some moringa trees and then bend them into hoops over the nursrey area.
They have all kinds of different plants starting, to use in different projects, all growing
little babies. And let’s see, oh I want to take you guys over to this side. Now, you
know, there’s a lot of space here and they have very little man power at this time. So
there’s so many projects. And I mean, even in my home garden I’m never done with projects
and working in the garden. So I’m going to go ahead and show you guys an area that
they haven’t yet worked on because they don’t have the manpower, and what’s growing
and what we can learn from this. Alright, so here is one of the garden areas
over to the right here. It’s supposed to be a circular garden but it’s basically
just all overgrown. But yet they still have some things like this guy right here. This
is known as a seminole pumpkin. So this is the pumpkin I recommend you guys grow if you’re
here in South Florida or even in Florida, this is the kind of pumpkin that the Seminole
Indians grew way back when and it’s native to this area. It will grow really well. In
addition they have a chicken tractor. And I think the chickens are scared of me because
they’re all running away even though they’re in their cage protected. And they basically
just move this tractor that’s on wheels to, you know, to let them eat the bugs and
eat up the grass and what not. Actually they’re just in this area here which they’ve cleared.
So this is their weed control. I’ve also seen, you know, other farms use things like
goats and other things to, you know, clear the land and also create and bring more fertility
to the land as well. Alright, headed over to this side of the farm
at the fence line. This was basically a garden area and it’s pretty much overgrown right
now. But if you look closely like this plant right here is the yacón, one of my favorite
edible tubers you could eat raw. It’s also known as earth apple, very high in inulin
or FOS which feeds your beneficial bacteria in your guts. In addition they have edible
hibiscus here that looks like it’s doing well when it’s not even being tended to.
So I mean, these are the kind of crops that I want you guys to grow here in South Florida
if you have your own place, because even in this side of the farm that’s unattended,
that hasn’t been weeded, these guys were planted over a year ago and they’re still
just growing on their own making food, setting flowers, setting seeds. And it’s just abundant.
I mean, so this is, in my opinion, the heart of permaculture, right. Planting perennial
plants that will grow whether you are there or not. Moving right along other areas of the garden,
they got different kinds of beans. And I want to show you guys this right here. These are
some wing beans they grew, you know, once again they are from last year and they’re
still growing despite, you know, not being tended to. So yeah, it’s these kind of more
resilient crops are very important to grow in South Florida and you guys are actually
matching the crop with your climate instead of trying to grow crops that wouldn’t normally
grow in your climate. This is very important and very critical. That’s one of the things
that I really love about the farm here. They’re really trying to grow things that would do
well here. I mean they’re not trying to grow things like lettuce. Alright, so here’s just a nice open area
of the farm. You know, some of the areas they actually haven’t fully developed yet. They’ve
just left the trees. And this section has the lychee trees that they haven’t really
done anything with. The understory except let 17:53 the trees drop all their leaves
and guess what? These leaves act as mulch. They conserve the moisture in the soil and
actually they build fertility. Most farms want to rake up the leaves and get rid of
them and even most home gardeners they want to rake up the leaves and get rid of them.
But, you know, leaves are one of the most important resources you guys have at your
home or on your farm. You should definitely compost them in place or minimally throw them
in your compost pile. So yet another way they’re using the established
fruit trees here are to use the shade that it’s creating below them for baby plants.
So they have, you know, nursery plants, things like dragon fruit and nopales cactus and ferns
and other things underneath the trees that they can, you know, grow in peace and not
get too much sun and be protected. And when they’re ready they’ll get moved out. Oh
and then I want to go ahead and show you guys this setup right here. So what we’re looking at here is one of
those big like produce crates that actually will go to a produce store sometime and you’ll
see like all the produce watermelons or whatever, being shipped in these guys. And they’ve
got one of these guys, looks like it’s probably damaged, that’s why maybe the store or supermarket,
whatever was getting rid of it. And they just filled it with dirt and then they’re growing,
actually they got some papaya plants in there, growing some papaya fruit. Now I’ve often
thought that these would be perfect to grow a little raised bed in, because it’s actually
at the right height and you’d just have to maybe put a liner in because all the dirt
would come out the little holes in the edge. So I’d probably use something like coconut
coir, a fibre or some hemp fibre or even just some jute fibre to line that. And then fill
it with dirt and then good compost. And the grow that into some awesome vegetables or
like they’re doing here, some fruit trees. And then if you move you could easily pick
this up with the forklift and take it with you. Alright, here’s another area of the farm.
It’s nice and shaded under the canopy of all these mature fruit trees. And what were
looking at now is just a big pile of branches, brush. The goal for this stuff is they’re
probably going some kind of hugelkultur and make use of all the wood here. Alright, so what they got over here, some
nice worm bins. This guy looks nice and long. They’re using about half of it right now
that is currently covered. Another section is actually uncovered so that’s cool. Number
one, they built it up on some blocks to get it off the ground, and then what they’re
using is the concrete backing board or wonder board, and some 1 by 2 framing on the inside.
And this basically makes their worm bins. This one is not being used right now. It just
has the leaves. But on the other side they have a nice cover over it for protection from
birds, because birds will eat your worms, and other creatures. And also it’s going
to keep a nice environment for the worms which they feed the, you know, food scraps and compost.
In addition, you know, other ways you could have worm bins or even just in like an old
garbage can or maybe they will even use this old sink, you know, to put worms and put some
wood over it as a cover. There’s many things you can do to keep worms. And I do encourage
you guys to do that. Alright, next we’re going to go ahead and
visit their vegetable garden. This is the section I’m most excited about sharing with
you guys today. So behind me we’re looking at their vegetable
garden and this is where the current wwoofers have been actually putting in the most amount
of time for the last several months to get this up and running. And actually it looks
quite good. They kind of just basically some raised beds that are just mounted up soil.
It’s raised beds without the sides. And they’re growing a lot of different vegetables
as well as fruits. So I thought I’d take you around and show you guys some of the vegetables
and herbs that they’re growing here. And actually, more importantly, explain why they’re
growing those specific plants. So now I’m sitting in the garden here, and
as you guys could see they got basically raised beds. They’re probably about, I don’t
know, 2 or 3 feet wide and, I don’t know, 16 feet long. And they have some beautiful
looking red russian kale greens as well as some cabbage over on this side. And on this
side they actually got a lot more red russian kale. So in the cool season here in South
Florida, these are what is growing well. Now these are annual crops. And I definitely always
encourage you guys, specially to have annual crops but also grow the perennial crops. These
are the crops that do well here in South Florida at this time. Another one of my favorites,
probably, oh they got them over there, are actually the Georgia collard greens. In addition
on the end of the rows here looks like they got some yacón that is also growing. And
yeah, I want to encourage you guys to grow crops that make sense that you don’t have
to fight nature with. I mean, this is all organic here. They don’t spray anything
or anything, and these plants look amazing using the compost they’re growing them in. Next I want to go ahead and take you guys
over a couple rows to some of the favorite herbs that they’re growing here that actually
grows really easily. So over in this area of the garden they have
things like the cilantro growing all the way down that row. Up this little trellis fencing
thing they got, they got some tomato plants that are going to grow up as well as some
malabar spinach. And then over on this side they got bull’s blood beets. Those are like
the dark, super dark beets. I want to encourage you guys to grow and eat some beets that are
actually quite good for us. In any case, they got a lot more stuff growing, so maybe I’ll
just go ahead and hand can the camera and take you through a walk. It is just really
nice here. One of the things I want to point out is on the ground they’re basically using
just banana stalks as the mulch to create pathways to reduce the mud and also actually
it looks kind of nice and it also will break down and feed the soil below it instead of
just leaving it all barren or even worse spraying it with something like glyphosate or roundup,
which actually you know locks up the trace minerals in the soil so the plants can’t
get them. And it’s harmful to the things you’re spraying them on as well the overspraying
the drip could be also very bad in my opinion. So I want to show you guys the rest of the
garden here. I mean, I got to say this looks just really nice using the, you know, dried
up bananas for the pathways and the mulch, just looks really clean. These are all planted
at a really good spacing and filled in really nicely and yeah all kinds of cool stuff. They
got kale here, they got more beets and cilantro over there. Coming over to this side, they
got probably one of the best peppers I’ve tasted in a while. I don’t exactly know
the variety but I’ll put a link in the description below what variety it is. But they really
taste kind of like fruity and delicious, a little bit hot but not that much hot, and
just so good. And look, as you guys could see if you look closely, this plant is super
abundant in this system. Yeah, doing really well. Of course, the kale and the beets. I
want to encourage you guys to eat and kale as well as the other leafy greens. My goal
every day is to eat two pounds of leafy greens each day. And if you’re saying John man
that’s a lot of leafy greens to eat, well I like to usually just like maybe juice one
pound of greens and that turns into one cup of juice. So the juicer really allows you
to maximize, you know, the amount of greens you’re able to eat. And then over here we got the flat leaf parsley
as well as we got some tomatoes. They’ll be hooking up against the wire trellis there.
And look at this, this is just mass abundance of just parsley growing. And, you know, as
much as they’re growing like a row of parsley, it’s not just a whole field of parsley as
you guys could see. They got fig trees here, next to the, underneath the figs as an understory,
they got things like beets and on the other side they got peppers and more of the fig
trees and then they got the taller mamey sapote trees. And then over there they got, you know,
star apple or sugar apple trees, and then over on the far side, on the far side over
there the whole way down they got all kinds of bananas growing. There’s more of the
edible hibiscus all the way over there with the little flowers going to seed. And oh I
want to cover this plant here, which actually is something that I learned about just today
that I never really knew before. So yeah, this one’s definitely a really cool plant.
Oh let me go down there. It’s just really beautiful. It’s curling it’s flowers and
setting seeds stage. So the new thing I got to learn and experience
today are these guys. And this is known as Ethiopian kale. So I think I probably have
a seed pack somewhere. But to me this doesn’t look like it’s related to a brassica but
much like longevity spinach or malabar spinach or New Zealand spinach. It’s not related
to our standard spinach that we know and love. But this guy looks really cool. So I guess
this is a staple green in Ethiopia. And these are the little baby greens here. Now because
this is going to flower, it’s a little bit stronger than it normally would be. You know,
to me, it kind of tastes more like, I don’t know, like pigweed or something like that.
But the cool thing is because these are currently going to flower, and they have some nice beautiful
flowers, I’m going to try to find one that’s nice and dried up here for you guys. And this
is what it is. And if you see, I’ll take my hand or try to just brush it out. Oh, I
could hear them. If you listen carefully you could actually hear them drop and hit the
ground. But I don’t know if you guys could see that in my hand now, I got all these little
black tiny seeds that I could now take home and plant some Ethiopian kale in my garden.
Now the cool thing is because it is going to flower and seed now, that means to me that
it actually went through the hot season here. So this is definitely a new hot season vegetable
I want to try my hand at growing in the hot deserts of Southern Nevada. So as you guys are noticing, they’re just
not growing one crop or two crops. They have a whole symbiosis of all kinds of crops, leafy
greens, perennials, annuals, fruit trees, small fruit trees, big fruit trees, fruits
trees that aren’t even really trees as well as they have bees that are going to help the
pollination. So you know, this is not just simply a mono culture growing one kind of
vegetable or one kind of fruit like some of the surrounding farms. It has a diversity
of different crops. And this is very important in new, in my opinion, in modern agriculture,
to really get back to bringing diversity in. Because if you look in nature in forests there’s
usually just not one kind of tree growing or one kind of vegetable growing, there’s
all different kinds, because all these different plants work in conjunction and grow in conjunction
with each other in harmony like all the people on earth should be getting along. But plants,
let me tell you they don’t fight back. In any case, let me go ahead and show you
guys now the perennial gardens that are actually just set amongst some of the fruit trees here.
And these are some of my favorite vegetables that you guys will definitely want to grow
here in South Florida that are just going to produce year round without you guys even
doing anything. And that’s my kind of garden, the lazy man’s garden. So in this area of the garden they have one
of my favorite perennial leafy green vegetables that are perfect for growing in the sub tropics
or tropics. And this is actually known as the okinawan spinach. This is a nice little
raised bed, I don’t know, 3 feet wide by about, I don’t know, 10 feet long. And they
have this planting here as well as another nice row of okinawan spinach planted all the
way down. Now these guys are really cool because it doesn’t frost here. These guys will grow
year round. And I mean this is the kind of vegetables that people need to grow. Now one
of the sad things is I think is that most people, you know, may get educated about growing,
you know, okinawan spinach from my videos but then they have no recipes to put them
in. So the way I would use these guys is just like any other leafy green for my garden,
whether that is kale, collard greens, you know, arugula, endive, escarole, dandelion
greens. I would simply juice them or blend them or add them to salads. Now some of you
guys might not want to eat an okinawan spinach salad made out of, you know, all okinawan
spinach leaves. But what you could do is you could take some more milder greens, I don’t
know, if you’re growing lettuce you could take some lettuce, 75% of your bowl is lettuce
greens and then 25% okinawan spinach, and blend them together or mix them together in
your bowl and eat that kind of salad. So you’re getting, you know, a lot of lettuce that you’re
used to and familiar with and then also a lot of the newer greens that you may not be
familiar with because the flavor might be a little bit stronger than what you’re used
to. And slowly but surely, you know, get away from eating the lettuce and increase the percentages
of the okinawan spinach until you’re just eating straight okinawan spinach salads, you
know. I think one of the big challenges with the
perennial vegetables is that if you grow it, people don’t generally harvest it because,
you know, they weren’t from 5 years old eating okinawan spinach, it’s a whole new
food that you guys now have to incorporate into your cuisine. And this is very important
because, you know, with the current agriculture system you could get basically any food any
time of the year at your local grocery store. So we’re used to eating certain foods. And
we need to expand our repertoire of foods and start using those foods in the recipes
that you create for you and your family so that we could all be healthier and also live
more sustainably instead of eating all this out of season produce like is being done today. So the next perennial vegetable I want to
share with you guys today is this guy right behind me here. And it’s actually really
taking over nicely. I mean, they’re just growing it amongst the fruit trees here. Whether
they’re the lychee or avocado tree or also this papaya that’s growing right up. You
guys are just seeing the trunk and it goes all the way up. There’s little baby papayas
up there. And this is just acting literally as a ground cover. This guy is actually called
the gynura procumbens or longevity spinach. And this is another really good perennial
vegetable to grow. I grow this year round in Las Vegas. In the summer time I plant it
out in the garden, in the winter time I dig it up and bring it into my unheated greenhouse.
So this is something all you guys could do with these perennial plants that don’t live
in a sub tropical zone ten climate like I’m in here. Where I mean this just will basically
take off and grow year round. So why fight having to grow things like lettuce when you
could have things like the okinawan spinach on this side and the longevity spinach over
on this side. And let me tell you, longevity spinach in my opinion is a lot more nutritious
than standard lettuce. One of the things they’re trying to do here
with the permaculture farm is not just grow, you know, a few crops like I’ve said. They’re
trying to grow all different kinds of edible food crops, and experiment and learn and grow
with them. So one of the ones that they’re growing in the background there is the sugarcane.
Sugarcane is actually absolutely my favorite grass to grow and to eat. I like to juice
the sugar cane that I grow myself and yeah I mean the grass family can grow and uptake
up to 90 different trace minerals from the soil so then you get them in you. And people
think oh John sugarcane juice that’s so much sugar. Well, orange juice has more sugar
than the sugarcane juice, but the sugarcane juice is mostly water plus there is a lot
of phytochemicals and phytonutrients that are beneficial for us that they’ve done
a lot of research on. So yeah, drink some sugarcane juice, because I guarantee it’s
way better than drinking a pop or a soda from the store. So another fruit they’re growing here is
a fruit that is commonly available at a supermarket near you. Unfortunately, they are just not
as good as they could be because the commercial pineapples are usually just one variety, maybe
a smooth cayenne variety, or there’s another couple of varieties maybe like the ones from
Hawaii, the gold variety. But here they’re probably growing the white sugar pine variety.
And these are nice and small little babies. So I’m glad they have a nice little pineapple
patch. And the pineapple patch is planted right below the papaya trees. So, you know,
the pineapples could do with a little less sun. Papayas don’t make a lot of shade,
and looks like they’re doing beautifully. The last part of this episode I’d like to
do is actually share with you guys the bunker here, and it’s actually quite kind of fun
because it’s something that I’ve never really seen before. It’s like a subterranean,
well not really subterranean, but it’s insulated with soil, shipping containers that are being
made into, you know, the places where the wwoofers stay as well as they will soon be
offering them up on airbnb. So you could actually come to this very farm that I toured you guys
around today and stay if you’re on vacation here in South Florida, and learn how, you
know, a real permaculture farm works. So the next area I want to show you guys is
a kind of neat area of the farm that I’ve never really kind of seen in another permaculture
farm. It’s actually they’re using just big shipping containers. I think they have
probably like 8 of them. And these are inter connected and welded and maybe like in the
shape of an 8. They got 2 going down the side and then they got aisle ways going in, and
they’re all like welded together and sealed. And actually if you look to the side, I’m
covering it up here, but if you look to the side there they basically just, you know,
mounted up the soil all the way to the edges, so it actually will stay cooler in the summer
and warmer in the winter doing this. And also on the top, I don’t know if you guys could
see that, but they got a water catchment on the top that they’re catching the water.
And then furthermore, they’re growing up the banks on the sides with all kinds of edible
crops. I saw some pumpkins up there, some little pumpkins. And on the top they basically,
to keep the heat off, they basically use sandbags full of something like the pearlite or vermiculite.
But unfortunately they use like plastic style sandbags and they broke down over time, so
now they’re all leaking. So if you’re going to do this, you might want to use the
pearlite that has something else filled, they are light, things also grow in them, so they’re
not weighing down the top too much. Although these shipping containers are meant to be
stacked. And I’ve seen even stacked houses of shipping containers before. But yeah, so
yeah, it’s just kind of like built in to the earth. So I want to go ahead and take
you through the doors and show you guys just one of the guest rooms that are not yet completed
for what they’re going to be offering on airbnb really soon. And I’ll put a link
down below this video, if you guys want to stay on a permaculture farm in a shipping
container on your vacation in South Florida. Alright, so let’s head inside the bunker.
They got this screen door and then they got another door, and we’re headed inside. Alright,
here’s what it looks like inside the containers. Of course, they have air conditioning because
it could probably get pretty hot in here. They got couches to hang out on and a little
kitchen. But this is one of the bedrooms over here. And let’s see if we can get a light
on for you guys. And freshly painted in here and it’s basically just going to be set
up with a bed and a couch. And this is where you could stay. It has a nice carpet on the
ground. These are I think 20 feet long and about 8 or so feet wide. So yeah, a nice little
bed and place to stay on a permaculture farm while you are on vacation. Alright so the last part of this episode today
I thought I’d share this with you guys. Basically what they got is they got all these
cinder blocks, you know, made into a rectangle. And they basically got some plastic sheeting
put over the top to make a little trough so they could use this for something like aquaponics,
they could use it to collect rainwater. They could also use it for something like I’ve
done like this before is to use my product called Eco Wood to basically make a bath of
Eco Wood solution and then dunk in your wood that will preserve it without the use of chemicals.
So check below for my video on Eco Wood. But yeah I thought this was really cool. Because
I mean I’ve always thought about this but I’ve never seen anybody actually have this
system set up. I mean, obviously if you want it to last a longer time you wouldn’t use
the plastic sheeting, you’d use something like you know a pond liner that would last
significantly longer, you know. It’s getting a little bit dark and I’ve
showed you guys most of the farm. There’s other areas that I just didn’t get to today
because it’s kind of getting late and I got to get running. So if you guys want to
learn more about the farm that I’ve visited today, be sure to check that link right down
below to go to their non profit website to learn about the farm. They do have wwoofing
opportunities available for people that are wanting to learn and work here on the farm.
Also, be sure to check out the airbnb link I will put below when that is up and online.
If it’s not appearing down below this video then they’re not yet ready, you know, to
have visitors yet. But hopefully they will be doing that soon, that’s one of their
top goals at this time. They also do teach classes, permaculture classes and have courses
here at the farm. Once again, check down below for the link to the website for that information
as well. So if you guys enjoyed this episode, hey please
give me a thumbs up to let me know. I’ll be sure to come back to this amazing permaculture
food forest farm in the future when I’m visiting South Florida. Also be sure to check
my past episodes. I have over 1100 episodes now to teach you guys all aspects and share
with you guys what is possible by using regenerative agriculture and growing your own food at your
house, even if you’re not putting in a whole permaculture setup like they did here. And
also be sure to click that Subscribe button right down below. I’m still going to be
here in Florida for the next couple days and I’m going to be making a whole bunch of
more videos at different farms and places I’m visiting and you never know where I’m
going to show up or what you guys will learn. So click that Subscribe button and you’ll
be notified of my new and upcoming episodes I have coming out about every 3 to 4 days.
So once again, my name is John Kohler with . We’ll see you next
time, and until then remember- keep on growing.


  • Reply Jake Rick March 8, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Great message and video as always. That being said, the thing on your nose.

  • Reply Jake Rick March 8, 2016 at 7:21 am

    John, did you earn that tear?

  • Reply permaWarrior March 8, 2016 at 7:22 am

    #notillrevolution #notill #livingsoil #soilfoodweb #probioticfarmersalliance #sustainability #organic #trueorganic #notillarmy #soil #food #microorganisms #permaculture #growyourown #saveTheSoil #SoilBuilding #SoilLife #food #life #soilrevolution #notillarmy #livingOrganics #organic #garden #renewable #regenerative #biodynamic #revolution #spread #awareness #true #all #natural please get in contact with a notill cannabis collective and show them support

  • Reply Fringe Garden Channel March 8, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Great video.

  • Reply The Blue Farmer March 8, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Whats the name of those peppers?

  • Reply Pople BackyardFarm March 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    great video…did I see a wild animal in the background?

  • Reply Anubis Ma-At March 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    etiopian kale, I think it's some kind of amaranth

  • Reply Something Different March 8, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Great video. So we r being fed veg containing petroleum and possibly other chemicals…. great 🙁 … Typical industrial farming jst tills and destroys the life in the soil. Look at that land, it looks pretty dead, so have to constantly add fertilizers. Kids would luv to play with those Ethiopian kale flowers.

  • Reply James Butterson March 8, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    John your awesome the galloping gardener growers love from Florida.

  • Reply G Vas March 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Awesome video John. Thanks for sharing with all of us. This place looks like a great place to learn and vacation on. Please visit them again next time you are in Florida so we may see their progress. God bless you.

  • Reply akbanhegyi March 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    can you please prove that the synthetic fertilizers are petroleum based ? because from my research they are not petroleum based. There's a video on YouTube that explains how thru aren't "are chemical fertilizers petroleum based "

  • Reply Cindy-Lou Who March 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Great Video John. I am encouraged to learn more. Maybe I can find a local farm and volunteer (even if not organic) I'll still learn for my organic garden. Can't wait for my spinach to start growing. John come to Beaumont Ca. We are a "small town" with lots of Apple farms and more….Cherry Valley, Oak Glen Beaumont is 25 miles west of Palm Springs. Come check out our little Valley.

  • Reply Cindy-Lou Who March 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Great Video John. I am encouraged to learn more. Maybe I can find a local farm and volunteer (even if not organic) I'll still learn for my organic garden. Can't wait for my spinach to start growing. John come to Beaumont Ca. We are a "small town" with lots of Apple farms and more….Cherry Valley, Oak Glen Beaumont is 25 miles west of Palm Springs. Come check out our little Valley.

  • Reply Rich A March 8, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I live in S/W Fl. and for me this was the absolute best and most helpful video . I have been trying for about five years to grow things that just are not suitable to Florida and also growing some of the items like Okinawian spinach in pots not realizing that they would do well in the ground. This video will really help someone just starting out by cutting out a lot of wasteful attempts to grow things that just won't work here. Many Thanks

  • Reply ƒ(x) March 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Great video!
    Where's the eco-wood link?
    Oh well i guess I'll need to do search.

  • Reply john vidal March 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Great video John,
    I use to live in Orando Florida, and really missed it there. THank you for showing me how the land is doing there…

  • Reply Албена March 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm


  • Reply Stephen Baker March 8, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    hey John, I am a big fan of your videos. I was curious I am trying to garden on a very small budget and I heard somewhere that leaf mold will release as much minerals as rock dust. Any thoughts?

  • Reply Cannas Garden March 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    was that a big dog at 21:56???

  • Reply Tyler Jordan March 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I'm surprised they don't have more help given how so many people are homeless these days. Presumably woofers can camp on site & get free food.

  • Reply Tyler Jordan March 8, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    The Ethiopian kale looks a lot like amaranth — even the little black seeds.

  • Reply Alex Beads March 9, 2016 at 12:42 am

    While I appreciate your videos and your commentary in them, why don't you incorporate the farmers themselves and their dialogue in these video along with what you have to say? I would really love to 'meet the farmers' and get their insights on certain things. Keep up the great videos!

  • Reply John Beckman March 9, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I can't see why you felt that this farm was worth 41 minutes of any ones time. It is so mismanaged and under productive that it is offensive. Even thou I totally disagree with the farming methods of the factory farm you showed first, at least people are showing up each day and working a plan that feeds many people. This farm? And how long have they been at it and how many acres are they wasting? I bet that you produce more food that people consume in your suburban back yard than these guys do! With less labor and land too! This farm is a joke.

  • Reply Solehin Sabtu March 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    15:19 "They know how something about farming that we don't; put em' to use!"
    35:00 Woah I'm bothered by that spider!
    37:00 Damn this farm just keeps giving! BNB getaway too? Wow

    TIL weed hunters

  • Reply Daniel Dennison March 10, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Thank you very much John; your videos are not only informative, but they're also very fun to watch!! You are very passionate about growing and I can feel that through your videos, as well as a couple of videos where you've gotten teary-eyed about things that are close to your heart. I too am also very passionate about growing. I am an amateur Gardener; I've been doing it for about four or five years now, and my question is about regenerating soil; should I use wood chips or should I use the leaf and stick mulch from my yard? I am very much interested and also implementing no-till gardening so that is a determining factor in your answer and thank you again sir.. truly, Daniel in Colorado

  • Reply Angry Ozz March 10, 2016 at 8:52 am

    awesome vid mate i love you work are such a great inspiration to me and im sure many others

  • Reply Sheri Martin March 10, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    How funny – you are right down the street from where we live….

  • Reply Green thumbs to my elbows March 11, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Another great video !

    Thanks John

  • Reply George Newell March 11, 2016 at 4:53 am

    video's are too long

  • Reply Sandrichka March 11, 2016 at 4:55 am

    ding dongs and ho ho's – what channel am i watching?

  • Reply Maz X March 11, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I did get the solar timers you recommended to me. Going to be plumbing them in this weekend. Just too much rain in southern Texas this week to really do much outside.

  • Reply Rafs Kitchen Garden March 12, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I like the idea with worms bins

  • Reply Arlindo Moraes March 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for shearing John

  • Reply Lance Forest March 13, 2016 at 6:39 am


  • Reply The Molynator March 13, 2016 at 10:46 am

    John , always entertaining, only you can make a barren field interesting.

  • Reply Elizabeth Moen March 17, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Such a brilliant tour. just learnt heaps, thank you so much. I am a raw plant eater.

  • Reply nathan carter March 24, 2016 at 4:15 am

    the fertilizer is not petroleum based however it does use natural gas. however it is still NOT good, it is just a misunderstanding that it is "petroleum-based" I.E. is made of petroleum or oil as a component of the fertilizer. some can leave salt in the ground which is also very bad if you plan on not using the fertilizer later on.

  • Reply mtnmanrab March 25, 2016 at 12:02 am

    The fertilizer is not made from petroleum based products. Do a little research on where fertilizers come from . They are mined and petroleum is used in the machinery that manufactures them but they are not made from petroleum.

  • Reply Stan Bookman March 26, 2016 at 9:15 pm


  • Reply Andrew Campbell March 30, 2016 at 5:58 am

    John, I have just tilled rice hulls, rock dust, kelp, and worm castings into my garden, I have a few bags of lobster compost on the way, and am about to brew some tea to water it with before the growing season starts. My question is: Should I till my garden again when I get the lobster compost, or can I just throw a layer of lobster compost on top and then water the compost tea over the compost?

  • Reply David Boland May 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Near the end of the video John mentions Echo wood treatment, to preserve and protect lumber. Anyone have any more information on this?

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