ECO-nomics of Permaculture - Creating Sustainable Livlihoods

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, 22 November, 2019 - 17:00
Huxhams Cross Farm TQ9 6AA

To bring about sustainable change in our food systems we need more small scale farms producing local healthy food, and we know that Permaculture Design methods can create these farms. However the limiting factor for many of these farms is generating enough money to support right livelihoods. With grant funding being almost non existent for these starter farms the best way, and the most sustainable way for these farms to thrive is for them to generate enough money for those working on them to support themselves and develop the farm or food business.

This two day course looks and designing and implementing small farms for commercial success, using The Apricot Centre’s ‘Huxhams Cross Farm’ as an example with the potential for replicating it on your own land. It covers agricultural systems, business planning, budgeting, project management, marketing, accessing funding, business basics (payroll, accountancy), and personal and team level resilience. Practical exercises throughout to explore how to apply to your own business.

Day 1 starts with a farm tour that explains how the agricultural systems
have been set-up using permaculture to make them commercially viable. Seasonal veg, soft and top fruit areas, chickens and arable all combine in efficient rotation and flexible systems to generate an income of £2,000 / week. We then talk about designing for commercial viability. How to survey, analyse and design your land, yourself and crucially your markets to improve your chances of success. The development phase, akin to the implementation of a permaculture project is often the most challenging part, when expenses are high and income is low, we discuss how to get through this phase, and sequencing development work that is realistic and prioritises getting your produce to market alongside taking a long view of future farm productivity. The first day will conclude with looking at a method and tools for a personal polyincome design - a permaculture approach to managing your time, income and expenditure that honours your skills and sets realistic goals.

On day two, we look further into the detail of the concepts introduced the day before, looking at examples, spreadsheets, IT systems for payroll, accountancy, sales and distribution and good old fashioned carbon copy receipts and pieces of paper! We cover the following subject areas:

business planning and budgeting, using complex formula driven spreadsheets (free templates available).
project management, tools and techniques for managing people and tasks
marketing and networking, gaining and keeping customers, multiple sales channels and social media presence
accessing funding, tips and advice on seeking and gaining funding

And then finally a session on resilience - keeping going and not burning out, at a personal and team level.