This page contains information and links to excellent resources for learning about fruit and nut tree crops and permaculture in general.
Run by Sean Dembrosky, Edible Acres produces videos primarily focused on edible forest gardening and chicken composting systems. Sean is a master gardener who deeply understands how to put together perennial food producing systems. He utilizes a very low tech and low budget approach that’s accessible to anyone.
Most permaculture books and lectures stress that design must occur before planting. This can leave the grower feeling like they can’t start a garden without years of planning. Sean’s experience has showed him that nature often has its own design. Because of this, he plants his gardens in a much more dynamic way and essentially designs as he goes based on the feedback he gets from the system. One example of this is how he plants different tree species very densely to see which ones might thrive in a certain location. In time, one tree may grow to dominate, but the other trees will still provide a multitude of yields before being outcompeted.
It’s impossible to overstate how much someone can learn from Sean. Check out his nursery as well at edibleacres.org
Akiva Silver is the grower behind this incredible nursery. With a similar background to Sean at Edible Acres, Akiva started off just going out and planting. Years later he operates a thriving nursery business. Much of the knowledge we’ve gained has come directly from him and his generous spreading of knowledge of the nursery trade. He has a YouTube channel called Twisted Tree Farm . On his website are numerous articles that take a detailed look at many aspects of tree growing. Akiva also wrote a book titled “Trees of Power” that profiles ten tree families and takes a thorough look at the different species, uses, propagation, planting strategies, and more.
Founder of the Soil Food Web, Dr. Elaine is one of the world’s leading soil microbiologists. More than just a scientist, however; she is a teacher who aims to make the realm of soil science and microbiology accessible to growers. The fundamental teachings of her school pertain to having soil with a balanced array of the proper soil microorganisms. Many organic gardeners understand that the soil life is an important component of the soil, determining most of its qualities, but Dr. Elaine breaks down just how this works at the microscopic level.
In the Soil Food Web school, you learn how the relationships between these microorganisms are responsible for cycling nutrients and making them available to plants. You also learn how to make compost containing these beneficial microorganisms and how to create the conditions to have these microbes thrive in your soil. At Quiverwood Nursery, we use the Soil Food Web approach to soil analysis, compost making, and all things soil health. The course is on the expensive side, but there’s no one else out there providing information on soil biology at this level of detail. This YouTube video of a lecture Dr. Elaine gave overviews the Soil Food Web approach.
A pioneer farmer who focuses on staple food crops produced by perennials. Mark’s approach to farming is one that relies on silvopasture techniques (Check out Steve Gabriel’s book “Silvopasture” ). This style of production is essentially a mimic of a savannah ecosystem and is capable of generating calories per acre that rival conventional agriculture. This system’s yields are obtained without any tillage, fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. To get an idea of what a farm like this looks like, imagine species like chestnuts, hazelnuts, and various other fruits amongst pastures of grazing animals. It’s Mark’s opinion that permaculture has focused too heavily on the homestead scale, and his work takes permaculture to the farm scale and produces calories to feed cities. It’s our dream to one day start a farm similar to Mark’s. Check out this lecture he gave on YouTube.
Located in central Vermont, Ben has one of the most comprehensive homesteads in the country. With so much to learn in so many fields, being a modern homesteader can be a daunting life mission if you weren’t raised in the lifestyle. Somehow, Ben manages to excel in all fields of food production and the many other skills needed to truly provide for yourself. His YouTube channel provides a wealth of information. Searching his name on YouTube also brings up many other lectures he’s given.
Another incredible farmer, Richard Perkins teaches people how to run a profitable small farm. On his farm, he makes a profit selling produce, chicken, and eggs, while improving his land base and establishing perennial systems. His YouTube channel is mostly focused on periodic updates of all the happenings at his farm, and it also profiles other farmers throughout Europe. He’s a master permaculturalist and is incredibly well-spoken, so listening to him talk about anything farm-related is sure to teach you something valuable.
Run by Diego Footer, the amount of material contained here is overwhelming. He has hundreds of podcasts on his website and covers all things related to permaculture. Particularly interesting to the tree grower would be the podcasts with Phil Rutter, who runs Badgersett Research Farm. This farm is leading the way on breeding programs for chestnuts and hazelnuts, so that they are commercially viable and can compete with corn and soy. Follow this link to the Permaculture Voices podcast page and search for Phil Rutter. Also search for Akiva Silver, mentioned above, because he was featured on two podcasts as well, talking about his nursery.
This YouTube channel posts videos of workshops they have given at their farm. They are very well made and cover anything and everything remotely related to food production and homesteading.
Steven Edholm created the SkillCult YouTube channel and posts many videos useful for someone growing trees. He covers topics like grafting, pruning, axe use, leathercraft, and more. Steven’s videos are long form and provide incredibly detailed information in a well-organized structure. His website is skillcult.com and it also contains a wealth of information.