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Regenerative Forest Gardens by Ernst Gotsch


Ernst Gotsch spent years planting a giant 500 hectare (1,200 acre food forest) in Brazil to perfect his techniques. In this video, you can see the results of farmer’s who have trained with Gotsch and are now applying his methods. The results speak for themselves: truly outstanding, world class. In 18 months you can turn unproductive invasive grassland into a lush food forest. The rows of vegetables in between the tree rows pays for the cost and labor of planting the fruit and timber trees, which means the system pays for itself almost immediately.

This agroforestry farming system isn’t your normal “good idea”. This is rocking academia and industrial agriculture. How can you justify constant spraying and fertilizing, polluting the environment and depleting the soil with modern agriculture when clearly Gotsch’s food forest method is superior? Think about it: ***Forest gardens improve the soil and environment every year, while industrial agriculture depletes and eventually kills the environment. It’s time to change the world. Please share these videos with others.

What’s shown in this video is exactly what I’ve been trying to learn the last few years. See last week’s blog post where I describe my dream ‘retirement plan’ of making a giant food forest like this. Special thanks to Stephen who sent me this link.


“Life in Syntropy” is the new short film from Agenda Gotsch made specially to be presented at COP21 – Paris. This film put together some of the most remarkable experiences in Syntropic Agriculture, with brand new images and interviews. This video includes dramatic aerial footage of his climax forest.

Visit our channel on vimeo: Agenda Gotsch
YouTube
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Ernst is my hero now. He seems like the ultimate teacher for what I want to learn. My biggest surprise is he uses eucalyptus, which is very invasive. He’s learned to control eucalyptus to harvest tons of biomass, create shade and increase soil moisture. Eucalyptus serve as nurse trees for the other trees and plants.

Comment: How long before we see massive country-wide food forest projects? The presenters said this system will work in 80% of Brazil. They could reforest the Amazon in a few decades. Voters should demand change on a massive scale. There’s no excuse not to. Gotsch spent decades to prove the process works on a huge scale. Investors in big agra corporations might want to sell their shares and invest in regenerative forest gardens. This is the future.

Comment: This process will work almost anywhere. Just imagine turning barren areas of the southwestern US to lush regenerative farmlands that eventually become self sustaining. It could happen in a few decades with the right leadership. Who’s going to push this forward? If you don’t think this will work in degraded areas of the southwest, think again. Watch this video. One large farm has already been completed using similar techniques. The desert Texas ranch is now a lush haven of lakes, springs, trees and wildlife. Nature will regenerate itself if we take the right steps.
http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/50-years-ago-this-was-a-wasteland-he-changed-everything/

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Field Kitchen Kit

Earlier in the week I was cooking a few courses of wild game with Jeff Senger for Knifewear’s annual manager’s meeting in Calgary, and I hauled along my field cookery kit – I was in a hurry and know this kit will bail me out when it’s time to feed people. It needed some repacking and restocking so I figured I’d empty it out and share a photo of what I take into the field. A breakdown:

  • THE BOX – Mine’s an open topped posh wine case [far left]. Everything fits in it. Pros: it’s the right size, and looks nice for film. Cons: it’s a bit under built (surprisingly), and there’s no top so when packing a vehicle it has to go on top of things.
  • ENAMELWARE – We’re normally a crew of 3 in From The Wild, so we carry plate/bowls, cups, and a small pot. Pros: they don’t break, look nice, and you can warm them up next to a fire to keep food hot when it’s freezing out. Cons: you have to wash them in the field. The pot top-right ended up in the kit because the solo-stove pot is only one pot, and sometimes you need to make 2 elements to a plate.
  • BLADES – the santoku on the left is my first-ever japanese knife back from when my brother lived there almost 20 years ago. If there’s one knife I have in the kitchen kit, that’s the one. I use the white knife guard on its left. The black Kurosaki knife is my default big game skinning knife – it’s often in my side bag, not the kitchen box, but it’s always in the field. The small Moritaka blade far right is my favourite prep knife at home – doesn’t always make it into the field, but often does. The hatchet. At one time I thought it useless in the bush, far too undersized. Until the day we used it to break down grouse. It’s great for all bird butchery. It’s handy when you need a cleaver for fish. It now lives in the field kitchen box.
  • FLAVOUR – I carry nalgenes of Vancouver Island sea salt, Malabar black pepper, canola oil, and a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar for when something desperately needs a touch of acidity (not often found in the field). I always carry a spice blend – I have one for big game, one for waterfowl, one for white meats, some others in development. I love ‘Epices de Cru’ but in this case its my own blend in their handy tin (non-breakable). In the baggies: dried shaggy parasol caps [for when you need umami], dried garden thyme/sage/savory, and organic wheat berries from @goldforestgrain. I normally also carry lentils and wild rice – all 3 of which would be pre-seasoned into just-add-water high energy staples to go aside the ubiquitous proteins. For allium, freeze dried shallots in the jar [silk road], and some garden garlic.
  • EATING – I’m a big fan of my light weight cutlery on a carabiner, but often we’re using chopsticks. Fashioning chopsticks in the bush is fun, but when you just want to eat or are on a frozen lake, or in the grasslands, grabbing from a $1 bag of wood chopsticks and throwing them in the fire after the meal is super satisfying. They’re mixed in with some bamboo skewers, for when you need to get small bits – say mallard hearts or fish cheeks – onto the grill.
  • CLEAN UP – nalgene of dish soap, a scrub pad as things cooked over the uneven heat of wood fire can be unkind to pans and pots. A major omission from this photo that I hurriedly resolved after taking it: paper towel. Paper towel is essential. I often carry the tough blue variety, both in my kitchen kit, in my vehicle, and pretty much stash it everywhere. Also infinitely handy are wet wipes of any variety. My only criteria is that they come in a small pack [red plastic far left]. There’s also a black dish towel, that honestly, doesn’t get used a lot [paper towel], but it’s there in a pinch, and serves the useful function of preventing the solo stove and pot clanging around in the kit – annoying, and we drive a lot to locations and back.
  • SOLID FUEL STOVE – although we don’t use it all the time, the Solo Stove can be the only option much of the time. Backcountry when you want to leave no trace. When you’ve run out of propane. When you don’t want to start a campfire to boil water. When you’re on the ice. The solo stove takes wood/grass/any combustible, so you always can start a fire and cook. It’s well built [aside from the grill inside wanting to pop wires often, thankfully easily sorted out]. I normally carry a small bag inside it with birch bark and a lighter. Another omission I need to sort out. There’s also a 1L container of charcoal – this is a luxury item that stays in the kit. Sometimes wood isn’t handy, or is wet. Sometimes charcoal needs to flavour a dish. Sometimes you just want the Solo Stove to burn a long time at low heat without refuelling. Another omission is that I now have the charcoal container nested into a few other empty 1L plastic containers, with lids. Sometimes you make too much food in the field, and need somewhere to put them. Sometimes you’re butchering a fish or bird and need a container to hold pieces. Super handy.
  • PARACORD – far more handy than you’d guess. Don’t have a rotisserie? No problem, ‘a la ficelle’ it. Need a tripod to smoke or hang meat from – no problem: paracord. Butchering an animal that needs parts hunt in a tree? Need to wrap a handle on that black skinning knife? A lash on the prospector tent broke or missing? Endless.

This kit has evolved, will continue to evolve, and items are added/removed depending on the trip. But as of this week, this is where it’s at. Any must-haves you carry? Any questions about any of the kit?

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Season 3 Release of From The Wild

from-the-wild-s3-vod-posterWhat an intense journey. Getting to season 3 means 38 episodes, about 130 days in the field. I’ve already greyed in the beard since the early episodes, and the project is doing exactly what I’d hoped – it’s documenting and diarizing a crazy amount of life experience memories that would be impossible to cram into a single person’s head. The more we do the series, the more the series becomes our life. The poster artwork and thumbnail are of the old house in southern Alberta, one of two places I grew up hunting. Season 3 included a personal journey for Senger and I towards family heritage, appreciating our elders, and connecting with personal history. You can tell we’re getting middle aged.

It was also a season of ridiculous bounty. When we started the series we weren’t sure whether we’d be able to make anything dead or into food every episode. In S3 we were drowning in abundance, every time. Fish, birds, ungulates, bears, you name it. It was crazy.

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed with gratitude when wrapping a season. We’ve had so much support and love from so many people that participate, share, and watch the show. If you’ve had any part in any of it, THANK YOU.

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Late Season Waterfowl

BLOG POST - 2015 - DUCK FATI’ve been waterfowl hunting the wrong season my whole life. Was always eager come early September to chase the birds that found the first cereal crops knocked down. Error. I did that this year, as always. I spent some special time butchering geese with my buddy Blair, tossing the odd super-lean carcass 20′ away or so to give the swarm of wasps something to chew on so that they didn’t chew on us. One of my kids literally entered the back yard, and asked why it smelled like slough. The carcass waste bags festered in the September heat.

The solution, LATE SEASON BIRDS. News flash, animals finished on grain for weeks are tasty. News flash, fat is tasty. No more slough smell. Oh, and no more wasps while breaking the birds down – the cold weather sorted them out. Waste bags could store well until garbage day. All is well in the world of late season waterfowl. It’d known this for some time, but this season I hunted frequently enough to observe the dramatic change, come to some conclusions, and make some personal commitments to myself.

Of all of those things, the most astounding piece, the big game changer is the fat. Having just hung out with and filmed Hank Shaw plucking ducks, geese, and grouse, plucking was on the agenda. Partly because of the skin, but even more so to keep the fat in place. It’s the perfect medium to moisten the very lean meat during cooking. And it’s delicious.

BLOG POST - 2015 - DUCK FAT COLOURSomething odd, it being my first really heavy season of waterfowl plucking, was the difference in colour between two birds of the same species. An addition to the ever growing evidence of animal variability. Photo on the left is two mallard breasts, one yellow as if it’d been feeding on corn, another white like pig lard. Both shot on the same hunt, in the same field. Animal variability of wild meat at its finest. Worth noting that I chose to dry pluck all season, including our Christmas Turkey, opting out of exploring another method, and without any regrets. I did a lot of birds, the vast majority with the hybrid approach of plucking the breast and legs then carving them out. It’s not hard to harvest a possession limit of geese (currently 24 per hunter) and ducks (also, 24 per hunter), and there’s no way I can freeze that many birds whole even if I wanted to.

Below: a good day for greenheads. I’ve eaten duck for a lot of years, but will admit that Hank Shaw prepared some duck and goose in bush camp this year that changed how I see both. Nothing fancy, but two critical waterfowl cookery elements on point:  1] proper doneness execution,  and 2] proper quality wild poultry fat. More on this in the coming episodes of From The Wild – you get to hear it right from Hank himself.

BLOG POST - 2015 - GREENHEADS

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FIRST TIME HUNTER?

FTW S1E5 - grouseI’m going to be working on a crew of Neil Grahn‘s on a documentary series about the first time hunter experience. The show’s in development phase which means we’re scheduling pilot work, working out content and logistic details, etc – one of which is lining up the right ‘talent’ for the project.

Neil’s looking for first time hunters willing to be on TV. The show concept is to follow the first time hunter for a couple days in their daily life learning about who they are, why they want to hunt, what they’re going to hunt, etc. There’d be a 3-4 person crew on the hunt itself, then a day or so back at home learning about how it went.

It’s a doc series, so no acting skills required. Just have to be willing to have us document your experience. If you’re interested, email me kevin at kevinkossowan.com.

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Winter Project Time

I feel like I have a little explaining to do, as I’ve been getting involved with projects that may seem a little out of the blue, but aren’t. Since the snow fell, the cold came, and the outdoor food world froze into ice, I have had time to park myself at an imac and get stuck into building out some of the businesses that were conceptualized through this last growing season.

Story Chaser has finally been born. The video production opportunities are increasingly piling up and it was well past the time to put together a team to handle the workload – it’s already more than I can take on. One of the cool pieces of the puzzle is we’re going to focus on producing hunting, fishing, and agriculture video production – a niche that will be really fun to fill. I had no idea there was as much work as there is in the video production world, and can’t believe the scope of the projects we’re already working on. I feel like I should be sending Daniel Klein a royalty for getting me started down this path.

Shovel & Fork was born from the workshops I put on over the past season – which I put on because folks had been asking me to for years. I learned a few things doing them. First, and most importantly, is that I’ve long known that I really don’t enjoy being a teacher. Learned that being a music teacher through university. Not for me. Secondly, I learned that a lot of folks really enjoy learning in that hands-on way. So rather than tap out, which was my intent, I’ve teamed up with chef and culinary instructor Chad Moss who will rock the instruction bit. We’ve also built the gig to incorporate folks with other skill sets and knowledge to teach workshops in their area of expertise – not only in #yeg but elsewhere too. It’s become a really, really fun project, and is already changing the landscape of the food scene here. Love it.

And there’s more on the way, including a rebuild of this very site which will focus a fair bit more on KevinTV than it does now. Lactuca will continue to consume a fair bit of my brain, as we figure out expansion and employee logistics for the coming growing season. In the end, it turns out that I’m really, really enjoying tackling entrepreneurial projects that create vast opportunities to do projects with social good pieces attached. So much fun. I’m really, really grateful to those of you who support what I do and make it possible. I will long be in your debt.