What happens when a market gardener sets out with the intent for profit built around permaculture design? What happens when you put yourself out into the world to educate your clients and wind up giving a huge service to market gardeners? In this interview with Steven Cornett of Nature is Always Right in Lemon Grove, CA we learn how lifestyle design, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit allows for a profitable farm with permaculture benefits as a natural and healthy byproduct.

For more info, visit Steven's Website at: 



United States


00:00:00you are listening to bootstrap former radio alright so there is taking a look at your farm here and all of your compost that doctor about your arm third allies you're but you're not really adding much much much at all and you still have some room to grow back
00:00:26here I would say maybe half full really you can double the production yeah well unfortunately I can't build any more because the landlords won't let me I'm tried many times they're happy with what it is right now so yeah so now I'm looking for more land actually right
00:00:42now okay so what do you what's your next couple steps there yeah kind of touch on like the composting and health take my fertility to a larger area as well and a so yeah right now I'm just using like Google earth extra composting on Craigslist you know trying
00:00:59to get people interested in what I'm doing you know I've posted by you to Instagram so people can see what it will look like and %HESITATION I've been blown away by the amount of people that are interested I mean just in my little local area on next door
00:01:13I think I got like fifteen people that said Hey look please please use my yard us also and which I was not expecting and it did just tells me like two thousand eighteen that you people are really ready for for this stuff to start happening now and it's
00:01:28a good deal on there and think about it is to have a dress backyard like that yeah and someone else take care of it free food dream come true yeah I think it's a good deal and you know that that's actually not a you know there's always a
00:01:41risk when it's someone else's property in there troll they've yeah but there is an opportunity that right yeah absolutely and you know the most important thing probably is finding the right people the right mentality the really tricky you know and then of course sign a legal notarized lease
00:01:57because that's gonna protect you as well as the other and %HESITATION yes that's like so far on this property is just been going wonderfully yeah %HESITATION they are family friends though so that is held bottom you know disk is always were in consultation and telling each other what
00:02:13we want what we always feel it's perfect I'll tell you you did you bootstrapped this thing way better than I could even dollar you spend very little on the infrastructure here most of the stuff that you have you could pick up and take away all of your composting
00:02:29things out hell even the chicken guys you could probably Jack out here it's all but with screws everything to be mobile and yet as I you know this is renting right side I plan on moving it some day and so it's sort of like that's out of necessity
00:02:46you are you have had yes frugal and I don't have a lot of money right out what I think is perfect because a lot of starting farmers don't have any of that there are resources are money either so it's perfect for showing how to get started and that's
00:02:59that's why I started my you too and that we need to strive former yes although real about as I was doing the same thing you are really my farm like looking at every dollar like looking at do I really need this one right like me I don't need
00:03:14because if I would've had a bunch of money to spend on systems and stuff but probably yeah and I would have just ordered in swimming and been locked into whatever I signed myself up for exactly and I love the flexibility that you've given yourself here knowing that your
00:03:28other rent a rental and now you can just yell out now yeah yeah definitely do that can move all this stuff I have to %HESITATION yeah like right now I'm looking for a might try to triple the size of the farm and you know have like ten you
00:03:45know full court quarter acre ten thousand square feet actual production yeah this is only if you just count my grow best it's one twelfth of an acre yeah but what's really exciting to me is that I'm you know if I scale up my numbers my cell numbers are
00:04:03as good as Curtis or as good as these other guys so it tells me they're not numbers are real like some people call bullshit on them the stuff sometimes it's not there they're telling the truth these numbers are real you can make %HESITATION fifty sixty a hundred K.
00:04:18whatever on a quarter acre I believe that to be true takes the right market and all these little addition yeah yeah just takes years of practice and this is why you know those guys are great videos are great and why we're even doing this because just having this
00:04:31information out there and showing other people saves everybody time in this whole local food movement even faster lights Asian gathering like this yeah like you know one of the reasons I wanted to you to choose because of Curtis because without without seeing his video and reading his book
00:04:52you know he totally involved my business mindset about farming to where as you know for him I don't know but I figured it out it would take years to figure out everything that he he just gave me on a silver platter site I just love the idea of
00:05:07like we all get to you because of our people putting stuff on you too many internet we get like leap frog way ahead and skip all these steps where we would have made mistakes and maybe quit farming one of the coolest like giggly thing since watching to farmers
00:05:22nerd out on stuff like they get so excited yeah there are people like you that just love Kurdistan and any is great I just never I don't do that style so I just never got went deep with it but it is just super cool help excited your community
00:05:39gets him locks he to some locks the code you know like %HESITATION home and basically the first market gardener and John Martino proved upon the greatest improved upon that is like spend farming like it's just really cool to see what it also takes a mean people probably figured
00:05:56that out before yeah yeah in the same way like you know the grass Tyson he know science and can communicate in a way that makes the consumer will have to so many more people and this is what those guys a nail does your daily by putting themselves out
00:06:09on you too taking the time to do the videos just helping everybody out and communicate in a way that just right isn't everybody so all right so you know we were talking a little bit earlier about some of our political philosophy and why you get into this and
00:06:25sort of how you got here and yeah I think the approach is that you're using even when it comes down your fertilizer program informs a lot of your life philosophy so to talk about why you got into farming wipe the scale why you're doing what you're doing sort
00:06:40how that's informing your longer term goals yeah so yeah I have the reason I got into farming originally was %HESITATION really injured Smith like my former friend I started farming that he he kind of really took the lead he had that he was the more courageous person %HESITATION
00:06:58and he got offered an opportunity %HESITATION from his uncle he had some extra land and you know me and him and didn't really into nutrition and he'd started his own guard and so he was like you know man I love this I want to you know what we
00:07:13grow food for people and and group medicine for people amazing about you and so he he took the first leaf and %HESITATION started building some garden boxes on his uncle's land and I was like shared like do this is so cool man I want to do this with
00:07:26you all right let's do it and so then we started to build the farm together and eventually help them develop like about an acre of the property and he's developed a full two acres now and %HESITATION so from that that's where I got my initial experience and understanding
00:07:44and love will love of plants and nature and and this is like pre understanding permaculture we were just you know we want to do anything organically we used compost we use we did run castings and all this stuff and %HESITATION and then eventually I left and I left
00:08:01the farm because I went to go teach English in Korea which isn't and dream of mine I always want to live in Asia and experience that and and do that %HESITATION but during that time that's when I discovered permaculture and as I was reading a lot over there
00:08:13I was still like learning about farming to light I knew when I came back that's what I want to do it so I read the one straw revolution by mon subgroups of coca and he's one of the it is many natural farmers throughout history but he is a
00:08:28more recent one in Japan to some guy who grew rights without water like he didn't so you know and rice fields a soak the whole field he doesn't do that Tristan and he talked about growing wild lettuce and growing %HESITATION poly cultures and all these things I've never
00:08:41heard of and using nature and natural systems to run your farm and then after that I did a permaculture design course in Tennessee I came back from Korea I mean my wife came back and we did a design course there got more to permaculture wanted like land design
00:08:56and I just thought that's what I really love yes like you know creating systems you know laying out the most efficient way to do something and then I'll continue optimizing it yeah love that stuff everyone in internal runs in the permaculture first yeah right and it's really good
00:09:14that way because it gets you thinking that systems knocks the systems approach is so big deal that's what I studied in college too which is ironic information systems so I kinda have that mind sets a little bit to begin with and %HESITATION and then from there you know
00:09:31the other reason that I that I farm besides loving it living talking about in teaching and are all the stuff the other big reason is because I believe small farming is a way that we can change our society for the better %HESITATION obviously right now is like a
00:09:47crazy modulus time in America and %HESITATION one way I could see this coming together is around food around farming around our local community and small farms alike is the best way to do that small farming organic farming permaculture is like the best way to wake people up to
00:10:07what's going on what's going with health the pharmaceutical industry the subsidization of GMOs and all the influence the government house all the corruption all the evil things that are going on because of the government I think it will wake a lot of people to work to that right
00:10:23%HESITATION I think that people becoming more self reliant responsible all these traits that Americans used to have that we've kind of lost I love to reintroduce those ideas by the people in it farming has every life lesson you'll ever need to learn yeah I don't even think you
00:10:42need to get political or say no no localized solution just seems to make a lot of sense yeah yeah every area so different and you know you can't have people living in the city making decisions on behalf of people who live in the wilderness yeah their own issues
00:10:57that they don't understand they don't stand there and %HESITATION that that problem just seems to permeate the no matter what department or what sector of your when you have big centralized systems and you know there's always efficiencies they're juniper somethings it's probably important military and what not %HESITATION
00:11:15but when it comes to food great yeah maybe they'll be careful yeah because technology is great twenty eighteen and there's a lot of cool tactics even helping small farmers right and you don't need to go down a conspiracy Ravel understand that you know there can be a crisis
00:11:33or short term blip where food security is all all this on an issue yeah so we talk about love having local localized systems I mean it's most important for food right yeah yeah I think it's a great thing to touch on the food security saying yeah yeah transportation
00:11:51goes down electricity goes down refrigeration goes down you know we got a day or two a grocery store thing that's gone and then it's made him so yeah if we could have thousands of farms space throughout the city others do a lot to provide %HESITATION through security and
00:12:08then you know one thing that people don't think about a lot is like the nutrient loss once a fruit or vegetables picked immediately it's losing the chance a week later when you get that **** you eat that spinach is lost you know a certain percentage of those nutrients
00:12:23so eating the %HESITATION closest harvest is a big deal and that's another problem looking through the dresses it addresses %HESITATION food safety as well as less chance of rock or disease outbreaks when it's consumed quickly also we have better safety practices and large scale farms all the E.
00:12:42coli salmonella outbreaks happen on large large scale farms not small forms yeah yeah there's just so many so many reasons to encourage this and promote small far right we're always looking for a win wins when we can I think what can I see is this opportunity that not
00:13:01only can we have a more secure food system with local farms being everywhere and so forth let's say there's a drought California the whole country's not impacted at the same time distribution channels are easier the internet's created the ability to reach customers instant the five dollars paid out
00:13:20on Facebook so the opportunities in business in farming but also serving like different areas within forming at the same time like basically mission down that's where we see tons of potential so yeah you can grow tomatoes yourself and you can turn that into a value added product yeah
00:13:40and time so really controlling the whole supply chain and serving your customers in a very unique way in when we have local versions of that and have your your Sandiego version and then you had here %HESITATION Los Angeles version these like these little brands get built around something
00:13:58specific unique and local I think that's where we see or want to see the future of farming and huge loads of potential that has a really cool vision like that a lot like each city's kind of its own niche sort of thing and and the groups of farmers
00:14:14would even have their own needs kind of techniques you know there's a lot of things that we can do in San Diego that will never work in other places so right that's really fun I like that when we to increase the success of small farming is to team
00:14:29up with other farmers this is something I've done to sell the restaurants %HESITATION and other avenues of you can you can work together to sell farmers markets you can work together to sell CSAT together %HESITATION and especially as we are getting smaller and starting out it's harder to
00:14:46supply a restaurant is they want ten pounds a week consistently if you miss a week that's not you know you might lose that counts so if you can increase your consistency and all that while by bringing another farmer that such a good thing right specially the beginning when
00:15:00you're still learning and the less stress will more but for each other out yeah and that's you know it it's fun because you know no one else can understand this life at all other than another farmer so it's great you can kind of bounce ideas off each other
00:15:14and you can get vice and all that so yeah it's been very good for me likes getting to know other local farmers in this area yeah I'm working on this restaurant concept in what we're looking to do is have farmers that are really good at this this this
00:15:28and this and build restaurant around that because when you let everyone again going back to specialization shin down you specialize in something get known for that your honor that the word grand gets really weird and it's new to farmers but you know profound microforms in Texas yeah yeah
00:15:48this war right he's doing it really well because now he's gonna that profound name recognized all over town he'd expand its product lines in the south of the trustees bill yes produce and started growing that's all brand is is a reputation your letters always right it is a
00:16:04version of that too yeah he's crazy yourself so that trust behind that name you know it's gonna allow you to branch out things that you probably won't see yeah right I mean that's the benefit of putting yourself out there telling your story because what you're telling a story
00:16:21showing everyone giving everyone inside access and that there was your core customers that to the one that's we can connect you and yeah yeah I love it like I love one one benefit of of doing videos I never consider too much before it's a great selling point to
00:16:40my customers so when they buy from me at the market I say Hey if you'd like to see my farm %HESITATION I've got tons of pictures and videos of my website is my business card you'll check it out and then you know how my customers do go see
00:16:52the video another even more dedicated to me they understand why I'm doing it they can they can see where the food is great how cool is that you don't get that opportunity effort and even if people like me never sell your videos your local customers can see your
00:17:07YouTube videos and CD right which talking about be that leader in the community saying there's a guy taking a leadership role yes and I'm to meet also indicates having any type of certification because I'm showing exactly how I do everything I do telling everything else I mean yeah
00:17:25I like that and that's that's why organic certification I mean some people do need that certain markets but there's another way to do that for small people I don't think it's necessary whatsoever many which are going acres to acres more you're signed a grocery stores yeah I could
00:17:38I could see them it makes others tell your story yeah that's and that's why you can't tell your story so unless you have gigantic name recognition like Curtis stone or maybe profound look like those guys might not need certification because of it but I yeah it's all about
00:17:55the contents of the tell me about your your composting programs so so for my composting and then you know right now I'm able to write this week ninety percent of all mine nutrients are coming off the farm here and use a little bit Azomite a little bit of
00:18:16it's a two two two fertilizer at two six three for light organic fertilizer that's all use %HESITATION and so then the question is how do I level this up to a a larger scale thing when it's gonna take a lot more labor to turn compost piles to do
00:18:33things like that like twenty chickens is different from say yeah right so human being inside the city I can't have a hundred chickens so that takes away that option I can't have towels or other things that produced nearly but something that does exist here and I have free
00:18:49access to is horse manure I have a couple customers that have early dozens of jars like tons literally worship worship that I got the offer to deliver to my location for free new so that is one of the ways I plan on taking a waste stream and using
00:19:10that another wave that I hope to be able to do it is to %HESITATION maybe modify my truck in some way like a like a snowplow on top of the truck basically and like bush to be able to just push the plow forward something like that something very
00:19:27low tax %HESITATION another option so then the the other option though which I think people should really consider and what her son recommends just by the Congress it only cost thirty thirty five dollars a yard were extremely amazing compost and it takes a lot of time working effort
00:19:45for me to create a cubic yards %HESITATION cost benefit wise on a larger scale again it does make sense to me to just buy it in a large scale and I and it's because the time savings from a business perspective all those reasons would be what makes us
00:20:00just because you can doesn't mean you should yeah right yeah and you're gonna make those decisions for yourself you know for me I wanted to show try to try to prove can you can you grow food on our property and have all the fertility and everything can be
00:20:16self contained but basically a closed loop is it possible yes that's those kind of my main classes last year I think it is possible kind of freaked out yeah yeah I have no doubt my mind I'm almost I'm there right now and I could push it to that
00:20:30level feed my chickens for free I believe I like how you said you you started at permaculture and so and look I look from the culture too but I don't always see those people turn that into a thriving business or maybe it just takes too long I don't
00:20:47know about it yeah and so you you sort of and this is why I love you you've taken the best from permaculture slide it to actually have leverage you have applied to growing a business in a shorter time frame than most permaculture purists would probably agree because I
00:21:05believe in private property yeah most well many people in the commercials for world are thinking more socialistic lead not business minded they think that profit is a bad thing but what they need to realize is that making a profit sharing ethical business is a really good thing like
00:21:21it when I think about ethical business is I love on doctor Bronner's soap which is a north Kenton San Diego's north county are complete fair trade organic only oils so they've been that way for decades the CEO I think he really what his take home pay was he
00:21:37talked himself at two hundred grand a year or something salary enough companies are giving their people stock options are doing this all along like this is like the company I I'm trying to build like a conscious capitalism yeah yeah exactly it and look at and I agree with
00:21:54that that's why we love the term culture people because their hearts in the right place yes Sir I yeah absolutely are trying to navigate the world we actually live in Seattle and we want to see you have their own area just reruns make it happen by just saying
00:22:07and and and just saying it like where our troops on the ground was about time practical business approach let people that they're paying you with their dollars you're providing value so yeah I like don't like to bash capitalism but like it's like it just means private property in
00:22:32private ownership of labor that's all it means it doesn't mean greed it doesn't selfishness it doesn't meet these are human attributes we've attached to capitalism but that's not capitalism America is not a capitalist country the weave a fiat currency that's insulated seven percent a year the holes banking
00:22:48system is centralized control the interest rates a majority of the students to subsidize the farm Simplicius upset like this isn't this is much more closer to a socialistic economy than it is capitalism in my opinion our property taxes we don't own our property yeah so to say that
00:23:05it's capitalism that it's a private property society isn't really me accurately but there's just a lot of rules that have been kind of set up to favor the people who get to make the rules and yeah you know but that's okay because where we still have a framework
00:23:18we can work with and and succeed and thrive in and I always try to think of it like profit is a reflection of the value you're creating jobs you know because if you're having a profit and these people are coming you in spending your money and you mentioned
00:23:34this earlier people get to vote with their dollars you know every dollar spent isn't levels and more it's not former shouldn't feel bad about making even lots of money because that money is now going into a where it that's going to create a better future see instead of
00:23:52that same money going into Dunkin donuts are going out to us a farmer has the perspectives right they're not going to go out and buy a Mercedes Benz or go buy a dictation home and the multi there whatever some driving it thing because they most farmers in their
00:24:10not into making money right that's why they form their interests the love of their life and I'm not so sure they're trying to work and we love that you know because it's coming from an Austin placing a really important that the same time the only way we can
00:24:25actually make an impact in the world through farming is by having a successful business so unless we can get right with that and sort of own that word entrepreneur I think we're gonna be limiting ourselves yeah but what I want to do is get let's change the feeling
00:24:42behind entrepreneur and couples much change it to a positive thing like got Gary Vaynerchuk some business guy I really like it he talks about let's promote into feet we need like empathy and awareness awareness of ourselves and others and how they're feeling and giving in to see back
00:24:59and forth but something we don't do very well or know how to do very well yet and it's something that I've been trying to learn more about it so so difficult and that's I mean telling your story I mean it say empathy but really you're making a connection
00:25:14that's what you're trying to get people to understand why it like you matter and why what you're doing is important and the better we can do that I mean it's just like that's why people tell stories or the campfire stories or things that connect at a human level
00:25:29emotional level and that's something that corporations are always going to have a hard time doing comparatively speaking human human interaction is always any better than it coming from the face just the name of the logo without a doubt right yeah yeah that's right once again going back to
00:25:46local so much better to your face to face with the person you know I'm not you know for me to screw somebody over is like the be crazy to do that but I've got a corporation doing it they're just hiding behind the mask of the company to screw
00:26:00people over all day long big centralized powerful thing so when we go back to being more local than all of us have more control over the power structures that are kind of controlling things were direct and that's one of the big arguments for it and I think a
00:26:15good I was just thinking like a good parallel %HESITATION to transitioning our systems from what you know what we have now to something different that we want the more your theology in society or you know these things that people want you know we can't shake can we stop
00:26:32all conventional agriculture right now switched to organic you we can't we can't it has to be a transition and I think that's the same thing for business and we're seeing that now in our generation when I talk to people like us they're trying to start businesses %HESITATION we're
00:26:49interested or just stick relationships not you know competition is good but we see about more value and say Hey as student services hub we help each other and we elevate each other rather trying to fight each other for the money that's there let's treat more money for both
00:27:04of us in that mindset is probably one of the number one factor separates the people you see in a couple years now once you get out and %HESITATION because you know we read books and biographies and casting we know who's done it we listen to their stories because
00:27:20they're doing what we're trying to do that learned resented there's from certain kinds of information or ways of thinking or philosophies and we're just trying to get that across Germany has to tell us how we actually got to change that we will see in the world by yes
00:27:34we can do it ourselves with our own businesses but if we can help someone else small minds lancer ships yellows then amplify their doing yeah I mean that's community that's that's really amplifying what religion do absolutely and that's what I feel like Curtis stone did for me without
00:27:49him instructing me with the same thing like then I was like well maybe I should take you to jail now because of him yeah he created me I am now giving out information I'm gonna treat other people then they're gonna you know that's what's going to happen and
00:28:04I like that the current system down the tree yeah what's really going on out gotta love it but we all our own influences like I know the culture you know step closer was real all week and now everyone knows him and yet you look at these leaders who
00:28:19were the first ones to put themselves out there on the internet I mean for me like an aquaponics I'm always going to have a certain group of people that put themselves out there and taught me all about aquaponics an alum yes and those people will go down as
00:28:36is legend to some people really shaped like those people changed my life forever and yeah I guess we're just trying to give back in our own way and it's not about ego it's not about not doing this for money it's it's about like just knowing this that it's
00:28:54helped us and help us and I I truly believe this is the way we change our society and culture that's like this type of working together a politician will never change thing for you I promise you they will never make your life better promises yeah then too you
00:29:12don't wait wait you can do it yourself you can change your life yourself you you and your friends your family your community can all race each other out we can do it together we we are the community we don't need these other complaining that the really careful having
00:29:26a victim mentality even if you feel like you're just fine and that victim mentality it is really the fleeting depressing and will keep you in that position no one when you are side to take ownership for everything in your life everything that happens to you even like forget
00:29:43the whether it's wrong or right or the game whether you're just for use decided take ownership for everything yeah it's actually relieving yeah everything really like who you surround yourself with the information you listen to all that stuff us totally agree end it and you know it adversity
00:30:01or or negative things or disadvantages that you have in your life ultimately they can become strengths and it can give you more strength than somebody who grew up affluent and didn't have a struggle in the world like those people to me in my mind like those people are
00:30:19scared of the people who grew up with everything they're never going to be happy with life is they're never going to be so much harder for them to figure out the things that people who have struggled struggled figured out about life and that it is worth it to
00:30:32work hard it is worth it to to try to achieve something because when you do it cheap it's the best feeling moral seems like some of those people that do make it out of that they make the effort to should push themselves and just to go in the
00:30:44places world we all start from and you like signing up for the military or something like that probably a good you know cut check because we're just a product of our experience is not reality and we can't help if we've been coddled we don't know what the other
00:30:58side is that we don't know that we don't know that you came to get rewarded wrote so that's yeah pain like pain failure these these things are good actually you don't grow without those things happening to you right you you can't make your muscles stronger and bigger without
00:31:18damaging them when you work out your damaging the muscle that repairs itself we have emotional pain happen to us if we allow that to faster and stay within us it will cause us continuing causes pain and damaging keep hurting us if we can heal the emotional pain within
00:31:34us then for the rest of our life it's gone we have a net benefit that we're gonna live better for the rest of our life and it's something that you can share with other person help them heal yeah yeah emotional pain is something that we never talk about
00:31:49in our society but that's on the world that's on the work that's what we're all actually struggling with it burns we care was not so that's what's causing all the all the anger and hatred all the stuff you see on line it's people were hurt inside I was
00:32:04cut so close well I think we've covered a lot of yeah we went with a bow tie on this one tell people where they can find you so sure yeah so if you guys are interested in learning more about small scale beyond organic natural farming and check out
00:32:24my website teachers always right dot com my you tube channel which is nature is always right I'm also on Instagram that's right post like daily updates about what's going on farm whatever harvesting and I love to interact with you guys there I answer all my comments on YouTube
00:32:42and yes I'm questions about stuff that's a good place to ask and %HESITATION yeah I'll see you guys in a future video you've been listening to be straight for radio thanks ran rack use again we'll see you next time rather rather give you did you guys rent rather
00:33:04this one of really feel about it really has yes all right everybody if you want to see the video of this interview and said the behind the scenes video tour Stephens farm where we get to see chicken coops tomatoes greens shade cloth vermin composting is compost heap just
00:33:39kind of thing is going on there's a link on the bootstrap farmer page on Facebook a key to that you to video thinks like our our ten minutes long budgets this interview plus the walk through the farm kind of gives you some visual perspective of what's going on
00:33:56so that it

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