A UNIQUE TRAINING
Besides Richard’s broad and intensive experience working as a professional designer and educator in this field for 20 years, he’s demonstrated and documented how to make a good living from a small diverse farm.
Whilst there are many trainings of this nature out there around the world, there are very few professional educators with such rounded experience who actually make a living from production.
Richard is focused on the transmission of field-based knowledge and insight, not the sharing of ideas and concepts.
He’s dedicated to supporting others into farming and producing for themselves in a way that restores soils and habitats, community and local economy.
His experience shows that it’s clearly the ‘back-end’, the decision-making and planning, the economics and monitoring that makes it all work.
KEY THEMES IN OUR APPROACH
Managing Holistically Defining your Context is the very basis of Managing Holistically. It’s the very foundation in all our design work, as well as how we manage our farm and lives. Farm Scale Permaculture offers principles and attitudes for designing success, but we always integrate Managing Holistically to deal with the complexity of making decisions regarding human relationships, ecology and economy.
Keyline Design The Scale of Permanence offers us an organisational framework for the design of larger landscapes, which we’ve used for many years in our work. Our whole training program follows the same order of prioritisation with which we approach landscapes, to leave you with a coherent and intelligent approach to whole systems design. Topics include climate and biome considerations, landform and mapping, reading the landscape, understanding water in the landscape, water systems and management, trees and woody crops, access, infrastructure, integrated animal systems, soils and closed loop fertility management.
Trees and Woody Crops Agroforestry is a vital component in the future of broadacre land regeneration. By understanding the functions of woody systems in different parts of our landscapes we can clarify the agroforestry assemblies suited to our land base. Virtually every farm on the planet could benefit from more woody crops, and so we look at design considerations, planting and management strategies and all the additional yields woody ag offers.
Low-Cost Infrastructure Development With an ageing farmer/ landowner population, most farmers cannot afford to get out of farming as their capital is locked up in assets. Consequently young people wanting access to land have a hard time getting in the game. Due to the educational aspect of our work, we specialise in low-cost, scalable and modular enterprises that could run on rented land and small properties alike. We delve into the mobile and modular infrastructure, fencing and appropriate technologies etc. that help make small farms work.
Integrated Animal Systems Pasture based production is so vital to farms of the future, as there are no shorter chains of production than converting sunlight to flesh via grasses. Yet so little emphasis and understanding has been placed on grass physiology and ecology. Diving deep into this fascinating subject, we will also gain insight into Holistic Planned Grazing and monitoring your grassland using different survey techniques. We will also look at Pastured Egg Mobiles, Broilers and Turkeys; fantastic profitable small farm enterprises that play a very important role in rekindling tired pastures and that can easily be scaled up and down accordingly. Ridgedale operated one of Europe’s lowest cost approved slaughter facilities, and has helped many other farms establish on-farm slaughter, processing and nutrient cycling facilities.
A No-Dig Approach to Market Gardening No-Dig represents the very best soil-building approach to growing annual vegetables, and combined with BioIntensive spacings and good crop planning this makes for a fantastic small-scale economically profitable enterprise. Ridgedale used innovative approaches to composting, growing microbiology as well as harvesting, storing and planning. We’ll get into the back end of the planning and design considerations that reduce the workload of this intensive enterprise. You’ll also learn all about microgreens and intensive tunnel cultivation of tomato and cucumbers.
Closed-Loop Fertility Soils are the basis of everything we are looking to create. For us, the basic premise of regenerative agriculture is that it must be soil building. There are many ways to capture carbon back into increasingly productive agricultures, which we cover as a theme in all the topics. We’ll also explore approaches to closing fertility loops on the farm as far as possible, including topics like making your own composts, bio-fertilisers, compost teas, biochar, growing microbiology etc.
Regenerative Enterprise Ultimately it is effective decision making, diligent planning and monitoring that make it all work. In Farm Scale Permaculture we aim to observe and understand natural patterns to be able to design more effective and resilient systems. Economic considerations are no different. We can design enterprises that benefit all involved, and marketing local food systems presents opportunities and leverage points that give us an upper edge. Selling what you produce is half the work and so we explore CSA’s, buying clubs, farm currencies and other innovative ways to reduce the work and risk whilst building community.