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Stefan Sobkowiak on running a profitable regenerative fruit orchard

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Welcome back to another interview from the skill exchange calls that I’ve been running with Climate Farmers for our regenerative farming network in Europe. 

In this session I had the good fortune of introducing Stefan Sobkowiak to our group. Many of you who’ve been listening to this show for a while will remember the last interview I did with Stefan in the last season during the series on agroforestry. Stefan is one of my favorite sources for practical and honest techniques for managing the whole ecology of an orchard from propagating new tree species through maintenance, pest management, harvesting and even processing and marketing your products. His film, the Permaculture Orchard has help people around the world to transition towards diversified, resilient, and more profitable models of running their tree crop businesses. His YouTube channel goes even more in depth as he’s always creating videos about the innovations and even struggles that are going on at his orchard Miracle Farm in Canada.  

In this session we cover a lot of ground in a short time.
We talk about How to manage pests and diseases by improving soil health and biodiversity in the orchard. How to care for the health of your trees for better yields and profit. Integrating other crops and animals into the system for ecological and economic resilience. And how to adapt common methods to your unique climate and context. 

There’s a whole Q&A session that happens after the half hour interview on these skill exchange calls which are exclusive to the Climate Farming network here in Europe. So if you’re interested in attending these calls in person to have your own questions answered by the experts and tap into the growing community of farmers, consultants, and educators around Europe, you can register right now at ClimateFarmers.org

Come and learn Syntropic agriculture and profitable agroforestry with me in Spain!

This is the first announcement that I’m making for an exciting course that I’ve put together with my friend and Syntropic agriculture specialist Jacob Evans. I interviewed Jacob last season about his experience applying syntropic principles and design to the challenging ecology of Andalucia in southern Spain, and how even with the harsh heat and bone dry conditions that they face there he was able to establish an eden of productive perennial crops and support species on degraded former farmland. 

Since that interview Jacob and I have been looking for ways to collaborate and so I invited him to come and teach with me at the farm of our good friends and Climate Farmers, Carlo and Coralie. The two of them have been developing their new orchard a few hours south of me in Barcelona and are super excited to experiment with Syntropic agriculture for all the incredible benefits of mixed biodiversity and ecosystem services that it has the potential to develop. Together we’ll be hosting a group of learners for 5 days in which we’ll not only go through the principles and theory of how these systems work, we’ll be putting it into practice directly on the land as we install syntropic orchard rows on their site. I’ll also be going into the practical side of ensuring that this innovative way of planting matures into a profitable venture that can accelerate the development of your farm. We’ll cover soil testing and plant health, seed saving and plant propagation, alley cropping and animal integration, and a lot more. There will be team building activities, incredible food from the surrounding community, and much more in this 5 day intensive learning experience. So whether you’re excited to develop a large farm with agroforestry, or just see the opportunity to plant delicious fruit trees in your back yard or neighborhood, you’ll leave this course feeling confident to go out and start planting no matter what climate or bioregion you live in. 

You can find all the details of the workshop at thegreenrebel.org or find them on instagram at thegreenrebel. I’ve also got all the direct links in the show notes for this episode at regenerativeskills.com, due to COVID restrictions we have to keep the group pretty small so don’t wait, reserve your place today and come and join me in Spain this October!

Check out the interview I did with Jacob about Syntropic agriculture

Links:

Miracle Farms website

Buy the film “The Permaculture Orchard”

Membership marketing explained

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