Friday 30 June 2017

First Watch Of Gracie's Backyard

I don't get involved with many kick starter campaigns unless it really grabs my interest. So far I've invested in two of them. 
The first was a for a video on the Market Gardener Jean Martin-fortier. I had become obsessed with his book (and still am to be honest), his methods have altered how I garden and how I see my future here on this little farm. 
His video didn't disappoint, I could see the methods he'd been talking about in his book put into practice and although there are many videos out there, this was presented in a really useful way, with chapters detailing how to tackle certain issues (planting, weeds, etc). 

The second video I've backed is called Gracie's Backyard and it's a documentary from Ridgedale Permaculture, which is run by Richard Perkins. I got the download yesterday and watched it straight away.  
He's been doing a great run of videos on YouTube detailing how he runs his farm day to day and all of it's integrated systems. I find his videos fascinating, not least because his farm does make a profit.

This video was certainly less of a how-to and more a general overview of the farm and looks at some of the main issues I have with the farm. The main one for me is people working for free to learn the skills, this isn't something I 100% agree with and I'd be interested to know if the farm was still viable if he had to pay everyone a living wage. He says in the video that he's not happy to pay people that he doesn't think are skilled at what they do, but as someone who was paid whilst doing an apprenticeship I'm not sure this is a fair way to look at it. Also if this new farm model is to work in other locations around the world then everyone working there needs to earn a fair wage, there are already plenty of places running course to supplement what they do. 

The farm is amazing though.
I do love how they have many different activities going on within the farm; the "no dig" market garden, pastured eggs, pastured meat birds, sheep, cows and pigs as well as fruit bushes and orchard trees. Splitting revenue streams like this makes a farm income much more secure, but again all the activities are quite labour heavy and might not be quite so profitable if everyone was paid in full. The variety of work does makes it really interesting for everyone who works there as their day is varied giving a much more enriched working environment as well as a better way of learning. 

I also love how by selling multiple products from the farm the locals are becoming interested in what is going on there, in an area where agriculture is a dying art and most food is imported people can now see that there is a future in farming.

I really enjoyed this video and it gave a good look at the human aspect of what they're doing there and it has certainly given me ideas of things I could do differently here as well and how I could alter a few things I already have set up.

If you don't fancy paying to watch the video he has plenty of them on YouTube already and as he is putting what he knows into practice rather than just preaching it, I think the man is set to become a lot better know than he is already. 


  1. I dont agree with this working for free, if we are to encourage people into this lifestyle then we have to pay them so they can support themselves, its ironic that he expects people to work for him for free but you have to pay to watch a video about his farm, as good as it is I think I will give it a miss I dont like people making money from people an reaping all the benefits.

  2. Dawn, I just made a long post of Kevins fb post addressing some of his questions. Just want to be clear that I make no financial gain whatsoever from the film. If you look at the campaign you see the funds pay for Olivier and his colleagues work and physical goods. I believe it’s true to say that in his other films there has been some kind of financial arrangements with the other party, but I wanted to openly share another side of the farm to people and do not need to be paid for that.

  3. BTW; I think your comment about 'reaping all the benefits' is really so far off the mark that it only illustrates that you know very little about what is going on in this incredible place. We share a lot freely on Youtube so others can follow whats happening at the farm, including sharing data, finances, etc, so people can see more for themselves...

  4. Excellent post Kev and has stimulated some great discussion and information to be shared on the Permaculture UK Plus group. Looking forward to your follow up post with Richard's responses

  5. Yes, videos are wonderful. They really put the pieces together. I appreciate the recommendations!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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