I have not written for about a month, but I have a good reason… I was on the road for three weeks. And to top it off, I returned home just one day before the movers arrived. As I type this, my house is filled with boxes. After four years of living overseas, we are moving back to the U.S., but that is an article for another day… in fact, many of the things I am going to mention will be full articles in the near future, but I will give a brief rundown of the last month:
I left the Azores early on a Sunday morning almost a month ago, and I arrived in south-central Tennessee late that same evening. I spent a few days securing a job; I will be working in a small town ER for the next year as I transition back to the U.S. and prepare for the next phase of our life (obviously dealing with Permaculture!). I had a great time staying at The Farm in Summertown, TN. I also had a chance to visit Cliff and Jennifer at Spiral Ridge Permaculture, and to meet Dr. Alan Enzo with the Permaculture Education Center while in central Tennessee.
I then spent an amazing four days in Southern California at the Permaculture Voices Conference. While at the conference, I had a chance to briefly meet Geoff Lawton, Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Allan Savory (creator of Holistic Management), and Willie Smits. I had longer conversations with Toby Hemenway, Mark Shepard, Xavier Hawk, and I got into some pretty deep conversations with Paul Wheaton (the founder of Permies.com). I was also fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with Byron Joel, Greg Judy, and Jack Spirko (who is also my partner with AgriTrue!). To top it off, I was able to meet quite a few other people I would now call friends, and I hope they will be mentioned in my articles in the next few months. This was an amazing experience, and I will be writing a number of articles on/about this event.
(Note: the photo at the top, going from left to right, is Byron Joel, Jack Spirko, Greg Judy, and me at the Permaculture Voices Conference)
On the day I flew out of California, I was fortunate to be able to tour Tipuana Farms in San Marcos, California. This is the first Permaculture Research Institute Master Plan Site in the United States!
Over the following week, I drove all over central and eastern Tennessee, which is where we hope to be buying land in the next year. I was able to narrow down my search areas for our future land, so this was a productive week.
I then drove through Virginia, and I was able to spend half a day touring Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm. This was a goal of mine for about fifteen years, so even though the weather was not great, it was fantastic to walk the farm. I also spent a few hours with Harvey Ussery who is the author of, in my opinion, the best homestead chicken book written to date (The Small-Scale Poultry Flock). We toured his homestead and ate a delicious, homemade chicken curry made by his wife, Ellen.
I was also able to take a tour of the P.A. Bowans Farm in Maryland. This farm was started by Sally Fallon Morell (who I very briefly met), the author of Nourishing Traditions (which is a great book) and the president of the Westin A. Price Foundation. I met Mike and Barb Haigwood at the Permaculture Voices Conference. They have been the farm managers at the P.A. Bowans Farm for the last three years. They were leaving on good terms within a few days after my visit to start consulting.
Finally, after my driving tour, I spent a few days in Washington D.C. taking a course to be re-certified in Advanced Trauma Life Support.
It was a whirlwind trip with lots of plane flights, rental car miles, and unfamiliar beds. It was fantastic to visit these amazing places and meet these amazing people. I feel like it will take a few months to fully digest and process these experiences, and I plan to share as much of what I learned, discovered, and gleaned as I can in the next few months.
But I am glad to be back with my family as we prepare for this next phase of our life together.