Aaron Perry


  • Home
  • |
  • All Episodes
  • |
  • Episode 124 – Nick DiDomenico, Co-Founder, Drylands Agroecology Research
Y On Earth - Podcast Cover
Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 124 - Nick DiDomenico, Co-Founder, Drylands Agroecology Research

Nick DiDomenico is Co-Founder of Drylands Agroecology Research (DAR), which educates, designs, installs, and maintains regenerative land stewardship projects throughout the Boulder County region in Colorado. Utilizing terraforming, agroforestry, silvo-pasture, holistic grazing, and other strategies, Nick and his team are working to restore hundreds of acres. By shaping the land to collect, store, and distribute water throughout the landscape, and planting thousands of rootstock and sapling trees and shrubs using the “S.T.U.N.” (Shear Total and Utter Neglect) method, they are establishing hearty, drought-tolerant food forests in this semi-arid region and are helping to reverse desertification that is threatening thousands of acres in the region due to mismanagement. At Elk Run Farm, DAR’s demonstration and education center, the team grows Blue Corn, Amaranth, Hopi Black Beans, Chihuahua Blue Beans, and dozens of vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants in the forest garden nucleus of the property. Sheep, pigs, chickens, and ducks provide a variety of ecological functions to the system, along with endless hours of entertainment for visiting children, students, and volunteers. Part of a global network of regeneration projects, Elk Run is the first Ecosystem Restoration Camp to be established in Colorado. Describing a deep spiritual connection to the land, water, and restoration work, Nick talks about the importance of reciprocity, community connection, collaboration with indigenous leaders, and weaving “technologies of prayer” into this lifestyle of service and stewardship.


This episode with Nick is a special “HIS” episode, which pairs with the “HERS” episode with DAR Co-Founder Marissa Pulaski (Episode #123). Through DAR, the couple offer Permaculture Design Certification workshops, regenerative agriculture and drylands silvo-pasture design workshops, retreats for pre- and post-partum healing and restoration, and delightfully grounding dance parties.


Hailing from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Nick is a regenerative designer, farmer, and builder. Inspired by indigenous culture and ancient farming practices, he works passionately to design the future of living systems. In 2015, Nick began farming on a barren and desertified 14-acre parcel of land in rural north Boulder County, now called Elk Run Farm, also the pilot research project for Drylands Agroecology Research (DAR). Today, Nick is working to develop climate change solutions through regenerative farming, working with private and public landowners across Boulder County.




(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth community podcast. I’m your host, Aaron William Perry. And today

we’re visiting with a good buddy of mine, Nick DiDominico, the founder of Elk Run Farm

and the co-founder of drylands aggro ecology research. Hey Nick, how you doing man?

Hey, doing pretty good. Hello everybody. Good to be on with you. Yeah, likewise man. I’m

psyched to have this chat with you today and we’ve got so much to chat about with

respect to the work you’re doing in the regenerative agriculture and regenerative

culture movements and yeah just really looking forward to being able to share

your story with our audience. Thank you. I appreciate it, Ian. Right on.

Hailing from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Nick is a regenerative designer

farmer and builder inspired by indigenous culture and ancient farming practices

he works passionately to design the future of living systems. In 2015, Nick began

farming on a barren and dissertified 14 acre parcel of land in rural North

Boulder County, which is where we are currently now called Elk Run Farm. Also

this is the pilot research project for drylands aggro ecology research or

Dar. Today, Nick is working to develop climate change solutions through

regenerative farming, working with private and public landowners across Boulder

County and so Nick, we have a deep connection obviously with Y on Earth having

headquarters here at Elk Run Farm and us living in community together these last

couple years, which has just been an extraordinary experience and it’s to me

remarkable to witness all that is unfolding here on this property under your

leadership and what’s what’s really amazing is that we’re sitting in a in a

beautiful lush abundant garden but that this was truly a really barren and beat

down land not too many years ago and I was wondering to kick things off could

you could you describe for us you know what this place was like when when you

first got here yeah sure thing so this was a rental property for many years it

appeared as though there had been cattle management many years before that there

was an old infrastructure like a cattle chute behind it was all kind of falling

over and most likely pretty overgrazed by cattle for years before and as far as

we know nobody had ever tried to grow crops here there’s not ditch rights here

so the water situation is pretty minimal so it wasn’t really looked at as an

agricultural property my family acquired the land originally just to restore

some of the buildings and fix it up and I decided to start farming here and it

was been it’s been like a beautiful experimentation of how to use regenerative

agriculture practices and especially design intensive like thoughtful holistic

design to build systems that would restore the land and that was really my

inspiration to come here to do that and there the bottom five acres was

completely desertified there was no topsoil no vegetation there was a large

colony of prairie dogs just kind of a controversial issue in Boulder County

where we are but really the prairie dogs and that damage ecosystem was just like

a representation of what’s possible in Boulder County what’s happening on a lot

of different parcels of land to something not very uncommon around here and we

started using different practices I brought NRCS out in 2015 that’s a natural

natural resource conservation services a department of the USDA started

after the dust fall in the 1930s to help farmers and ranchers conserve

resources on land in America and you know originally I asked them hey I showed

them around showed them the different conditions of the site asked them what

kinds of conservation practices should I use I’m a beginning farmer really

excited to grow here really excited to run livestock and they basically said

now we don’t have a lot for you we don’t have a lot of practices that can

actually repair this land we think it’s better if you go farm somewhere else so

that was a little disheartening at the time but it really stoked this

inspiration to develop these different practices that we’re using now I suppose

successfully you know it’s been been some years now seven years since I moved

here and a lot of beauty has occurred a lot of community has now joined us here

in what we’re doing and we’re able to feed a lot of people off this land that

was considered marginalized was considered you know useless for agriculture by

by common understanding until we began working it so that’s just a little bit

of the background that’s then yeah yeah it’s really in look I not only is this

desertification happening in this specific area Boulder County next to the

Rocky Mountains in Colorado but this is happening all around the world in many

different situations and localities and so you know from my

perspective much of what you’re doing here is not only applicable right here in

Boulder County and in the semi-air and Rocky Mountain West but really in

places all around the the world and I know you’re increasingly connecting with

folks in other regions of the planet and I’m so excited to know that there’s

more and more collaboration getting underway there but before we kind of talk

about this global context tell me wake what are what are you growing here I

mean I know I get to see this so often and yeah but by the way the soil itself is

this amazing almost pulsing rich dark chocolate cake fluffy soil now and it

wasn’t like that a few years ago right so yeah maybe describe for us what’s

what’s being grown here and you know plants and animals yeah definitely so we’re

sitting here in the forest garden which we always saw as like the nucleus of the

property I thought of it in this kind of way like if we could bring fertility and

an ecosystem into the nucleus that would spread throughout the property and so

that’s really where we began working really with this forest ecology model in

mind so dug this forest garden dug the contour swales that now collect the

gray water and the rain water from the house and begun planting perennial crops

so different fruiting and berry crops that create this natural ecosystem and

then planting it with other beneficial plants flowers and other plants that

bring bugs that work against the other pests and things like that but

basically we’re growing fruit crops as the overstory in this forest garden and

then while the canopy is developing we’re growing vegetable crops sort of in

the alleys between the contour swales and that’s helping to build soil using

these no-till gardening practices that we’re using so all the vegetables that we

grow in this property are in this forest garden here and then we are also

growing staple grain crops so mostly bioregional crops I originally got those

seeds from Rich Packararo of Mossas seed foundation one of the elder seed

farmers and seed libraries in this area and got from him some of the most

drought tolerant grains that we could that he knew of and especially the

Southwest traditional foods really so blue corn amaranth and dry beans we

tested a couple different varieties and then settled on Hopi black beans and

then we’ve been breeding his Chihuahua blue so those are all in breeding trials

and grown in drylands fields just a little bit south of here and then there’s

rows of contour swales in between those fields also that create these moist

micro climates and hedgeros to block wind and then at the same time we are

raising sheep on pasture in regenerative systems and then the pigs really were

a major force here for a long time and now our our pig herds are on other

properties which is pretty cool we use the pigs to build a lot of soil and to

prepare the ecosystems for later planting which is really neat just utilizing

this concept that directing livestock to certain areas with certain goals in

mind of hours to transition the ecosystems into more fertile places for

growing so pigs were used for a lot of that and then we have chickens for eggs and

mobile coops and then we have ducks that hang out in the ponds and then

deer and elk come through the property which is pretty neat as well and then at

the same time we’ve been able to establish over a thousand fruit and useful

trees in the dry land systems as a way to create ecosystemic resilience to

create food and habitat for livestock it’s been really beautiful to see that

I think one of our claims to fame I suppose is the thousand trees that have been

established without supplemental irrigation and so at the same time we’re

breeding those drought tolerant silvo pasture and agroforestry crops for use on

other projects as we continue to grow and expand which is pretty neat too and I

think it’s important just to mention that this site has really been an

experimentation site for a long time and now a demonstration of these dry

lands restoration techniques using agro ecology as an overarching concept and

especially nestled in holistic design methodologies yeah it’s so great like

not only is the forest garden here a nucleus for this farm really elk run as a

demonstration has become a nucleus in a broader ecosystem here with a number of

other farms and properties and even some public lands where you’re now doing

this regenerative work over a lot of additional acreage right and so that

there’s this great ecosystem community ecosystem of other farmers and other

stakeholders who you you’ve really helped anchor and catalyze what is really a

movement occurring here in this part of the county now and I’m wondering you

know if you might share with us a little bit about what what’s that like for you

as you’re going to other sites and working with other landscapes and

dreaming and visioning and designing what what’s possible on these other

properties yeah it’s been really cool so it’s been three or four years now since

some landowners began kind of knocking on our door intrigued at least and

sometimes impressed by what we’ve been able to create with such little water I

mean just for context to all the water for this property comes from a 40-foot

deep well often runs dry as Aaron knows to sometimes we go to turn on sink

water shower water nothing nothing comes out irrigated a little too much

tonight before you know so there’s been a lot of boundaries challenges like

restrictions on this property and so it’s been really amazing getting to

design bigger systems on bigger properties sometimes with irrigation you know

at times people come to us and want to develop regenerative patterning right so

build systems where regenerative farming can plug into quickly and easily that

really models natural ecosystems and so that’s been super fun and then just

starting to get into this world of okay the city and the county or different

landowners have these parcels land they’re incredibly dry and credibly

barren can’t be leased for agriculture can’t be used in any agricultural models

that are commonplace in this area right now so just being able to pioneer these

new systems and like starting with design and then implementation of systems

that continuously upgrade the land even if there aren’t people tending and

managing the land but then of course in like very strongly stoked by management

especially livestock so really falling in the footsteps of Alan Sabre’s

models and using holistic management and regenerative rotational grazing

patterns to restore land and that’s been really exciting too and just really

again with this concept that the trees and the shrubs anchor the ecosystem so

building perennial systems that can support pollinators and support wildlife

like birds and just create these thriving thriving agricultural ecosystems

that continuously produce more and more food every year so that’s been really

cool and our dream is to see all of Boulder County utilizing regeneratively

grown meat that’s sinking carbon every year that’s continuously building

ecosystems and demonstrating how using these practices we can actually reverse

desertification over large acreage just by using these design methodologies

with the plantings the contour swales to collect store and distribute water and

I think that’s something important to talk about too that really sets us apart

from most to is just using holistic water management strategies especially

terraforming to collect and store moisture which creates soil conditions viable

for planting trees where otherwise that wouldn’t be possible and then a lot of

the patterning that we use is in these contour systems and then running the

livestock through contour alleys and building soil fertility using the livestock

and then cropping thereafter where it’s appropriate and it’s been really cool

we have some bigger partners locally all of our pigs right now are at

Medicarbon organic farm which is just across the street so it’s pretty fun if you

go to the top of our hill you can look over and see beyond our gates beyond our

contour swales and trees in the distance another 10 or so acres of contour

swales at Medicarbon and our pigs are over there preparing a dry pasture field

that a hardy our partner wants to turn into vegetable production so just these

really low input systems that will eventually grow a lot of veg which is

really neat too and then using the livestock integration interseasonally to

clear and fertilize the fields which is really neat so that’s limiting

tractor use limiting carbon carbon output and then over at yellow barn farm

another big partner of ours we just got big grant funding to design the

back 60 acres of that property so the next really large drylands silvo

pasture demonstration there you have this idea that silvo pastors the concept of

planting trees within pastures or in more wet areas turning woodlands into

silvo pastures by thinning trees but in this area for us it’s really like

planting trees within pasture to create food and habitat for livestock and really

anchor the ecosystems like I’ve been saying so it’s been really cool just being

watching the patterns grow outside of our gate and seeing how it’s thriving in a

lot of different conditions locally which has been really neat yeah it’s so

tremendous and in look I don’t I don’t know if the cameras or the mics are

picking up any of the we’ve got some kids it sounds a little upset in the

background and one of the other things happening with the organization and

with the property is a full farm school for the little ones who from the

community here get this really special experience of basically being outside all

of the time that they’re here experiencing the animals and the landscape the

plants learning about different plant edible plants and herbs and and yeah

it’s it’s wild of course it’s not exactly funny but sometimes you know we

get to hear the kiddos getting a little upset or whatever going on and

miss Jess and the rest of the team do such a good job of helping helping the

youngsters learn some of these emotional management skills and sort of

embodied awareness skills and as a parent I really marvel at and and

admire and respect the work that those teachers are doing with those kiddos

and I know that it’s just another way in which you guys have created a hub for

the community here so you know not only are these kiddos getting to

experience this land and ecology but of course their parents as they’re

coming and going each day also gets to have an experience that’s perhaps a

little different from their you know otherwise day-to-day reality and so

yeah it’s it’s really amazing to me Nick the way you guys have layered in so

many functions right to kind of borrow a permaculture idea of stacked

functions you’ve layered in so many functions to this to this property and to

this area this region and look like when when you’re doing these installs on

other properties like we did a season or two ago at yellow barn farm several of us

got together and planted I don’t know how many hundreds of trees and it was a

great fun time there’s a food truck and I think some music and you know it’s a

real is a really like wonderful weekend experience for all of us who were there

and we managed to help basically install a significant part of this alley

cropping out agro forestry silver pasture system that you’ve designed there

and I wanted to ask you’re thrown out some terms and I heard you you know

describing the agro forestry silver pasture piece I I want to ask you to

describe the terraforming as well and also a term we haven’t yet mentioned

called stun I think it’s a really interesting way to cultivate certain certain

plants in these systems that’s so maybe you could tell us a bit more about what

is terraforming mean and then what’s the stun method yeah totally which

reminds me I mean that term came from Mark Shepherd so I think just just for

context to explain like where we got the inspiration to use these models and

where like the tell up terraforming and water management systems came from and

Mark Shepherd is a farmer up in Wisconsin and he was a region one of Bill

Molison’s original students in the 80s and he Bill Molison being the founder of

the permaculture movement right with the original literature and all of that

exactly yeah so you know Bill Molison for my understanding collected a lot of

understandings and learnings from different indigenous tribes all over the

world and was really fascinated by traditional farming practices and started

this movement where called permaculture and I’m sure there’s many many more

resources on that people could explore but Mark Shepherd was one of his

original students and was really excited to expand the permaculture

philosophy and build systems that were agriculturally focused and at scale that

were profitable at scale and so Mark Shepherd wrote a book called Restoration

Agriculture and I’ve had the opportunity to learn and receive teaching from him

and just utilizing this Restoration Ag model which the first the beginning of

using that model is really shaping the land to collect store and distribute all

the moisture that falls on the property and in wetter climates at times that

means diverting water so there’s not flooding or topsoil erosion and things

like that but the terraforming concepts that we use really come from Mark

Shepherd and the permaculture kind of framework in that as sheep as water is

flowing down the hill it can either be an erosive force or a force for good in

that we need that moisture to grow the plants and the crops that we want to

to raise and cultivate and so again using this idea of key line design

these are concepts that Bill Molison and Mark Shepherd really inspired by

so collecting and storing water high in the landscape and then slowly dispersing

it outwards across the slope so with the concept that water is usually moving

in wet valleys and so if we’re able to collect and store water high we can

distribute that water onto the dry ridges on the property

and just create way more opportunity for cultivation basically

and that really lays the groundwork so those are all really intensively designed

systems and then dug either by hand or with machinery

so these small basins that we call contour swales like a ditch on the contour of

the land that slows and spreads the moisture and then creates a

location that we can plant perennial crops like trees and shrubs

and then Mark Shepherd came up with this concept called stun right

sheer total utter neglect so this concept that we’re not really bathing

anything that we’re planting or growing here

we’re just witnessing watching observing what’s thriving what’s doing well

and in a way this is created a really wonderful opportunity for us when we

began planting that these thousand or so trees on contour

we had no idea if they would grow or succeed or not

and so we planted them very dense like about a foot apart assuming we would

lose at least half the trees and amazingly in year one we had lost less

less than 15% of them which we’re really shocked and stunned us

as well as the other folks in the area especially other farmers that

really discourage me from practicing these techniques thinking that would be

a big expenditure of resources and not be fruitful

and what’s amazing is that the trees have grown really well

and set in motion a breeding program so as the years go on we’ll be able to

select and then breeding cultivate what does well here

in these really intense harsh dry conditions and then those crops will be

what we use later to plant on other projects and so creating this huge

opportunity to develop agroforestry crops for

drying and drought prone areas which has been really neat too

I don’t think agroforestry is a it’s not really utilized much in

drier areas where trees don’t grow as easily and so we’re

using these terraforming techniques to create opportunity to grow many more

trees that again really anchor the ecosystem create more micro

climates and all the other ecosystemic functional benefits that

allow us to grow crops and livestock more easily in

difficult conditions yeah that’s really so interesting

you know it’s reminding me I learned something

when I was interviewing Tom Chi at one ventures and he’s a remarkable

technologist and investor who is finding these

technology opportunities to help restore coral reefs to help

on a massive scale replant parts of the

tropical rainforests around the world and one of those plays is a

a drone seed planting technology and I was asking him well

what are the success the germination the survival rates of the seeds you’re

putting in the ground and I forget exactly what the numbers were

they’re actually also pretty high but he said and by the way

what are we comparing to as a baseline he said because in nature

you know trees and plants are dropping

huge quantities of seeds in general yeah and and only a small percentage of

those is typically going to mature into a a big

tree like this and what is this like the crab apple we’re

adapted with apple and you know and so okay interesting if we’re looking to

nature as the example that that’s quite quite

quite different probably than when we’re thinking about conventional

agriculture yeah and we’re sort of pushing for that last

percent of yield all the time and I’m just I’m struck because what

happens in this stun method in these drylands environments right is those

trees and shrubs that do get established and do get going after a couple

few years are so hardy yeah they’re they’re essentially ready to

tolerate kind of anything that gets thrown at them

or so it seems yeah and so this is also I think a really important

strategy for resilience building in these regions of the world and

virtually all the world right now is at risk where we’re anticipating

greater extremes and weather patterns and in

climatic shifts and so on and I guess I want to ask

in that related to that what are you seeing in the way of

policy conversations and even some of the funders you’re working with

as these strategies and solutions being specifically

apropos for climate stabilization and dealing with things like water

in time and carbon sequestration and so on like is that a big part of your

guys conversation yeah definitely I mean from our research

we’re understanding that about 40 percent of the earth’s surface has been

degraded by human influence and so most of those areas are what Alan

Sabre would call brittle ecosystems places that if

if degraded to a certain point kind of start to roll towards

desertification and so there’s many places on earth that are facing the same

crises that we are and just with the industrialized

food models that are so prevalent on earth right now

it’s like food can be brought long distances to places that have already

been desertified but really understanding that by having local food everywhere

people are especially in desertifying places we can really build huge

resilience in our communities and also understanding that

the health of the land really is the health of a community and when you really

boil it down and in a way like our values as a culture on earth maybe have

strayed away from that and valuing other things but really

all natural resource comes from the health of the land and so

in these practices we are growing food resiliently in really difficult

conditions that were otherwise not seen as applicable for growing food and at

the same time building resource in our communities

building skills by bringing other people onto the sites and projects to learn

about it there’s just huge opportunity to

implement these practices all over the world for

major benefit to society and humankind as we know it

yeah absolutely now i’m also reminded of our mutual friend and colleague

john lou who helped establish the global

ecosystem restoration camp movement right and yeah i remember learning from him

that the Sinai peninsula you know that whole region

had a very different gulf stream flow of air and moisture off of the Indian

ocean and it was probably because of these human impacts of

desertification that that all shifted so that it became even more extreme uh

in its uh drought and uh desert uh situation

but the good news is there are efforts underway in places like Sinai and

elsewhere nearby like in Egypt there’s an ecosystem restoration camp there

that’s doing extraordinary work of uh literally

reinforcing and greening the desert and so you know one of the things i’m

really struck by uh thinking about some of these

marginal and in risk areas like we have here

and then places that have already been so extremely

desertified that it’s a matter of really bringing them back really restoring

regenerating and healing those in a big major way

and i’m curious i know that so much of your

your work and your focus is right here in this area and thank goodness right

yeah um and may the world have a whole lot of nic d to minicos and

lots of other places but uh also how do you see yourself

in time in the coming months and years and maybe decades um

you know helping to expand and proliferate your work

and knowledge and expertise into other regions of the world that might benefit

from that yeah that’s a great question i mean for us

we’ve caught some interest and have some potential projects in Ecuador

potential project in Baja California and yeah there’s many places on earth

have been degraded and mostly by industrial culture so

we’re just excited to see how that grows and right now we’re just

stabilizing in our local communities and in our local county here in Boulder

County i mean there’s just so much to do right around us right now that

seems like that’s what’s captivating most of our focus but in the years to come

we’re really excited to start taking projects other places and

involving local place-based cultures in the in the um work that we’re doing

and just really bring in nurture and support communities

to live in healthy thriving ecosystems where their food is growing

close by and especially lifting up and utilizing uh bioregional food crops

from the different areas that we want to work in so

we’ll see where it all goes but we’re excited and so more on that soon i’d say

right on that’s great yeah Nick well and look you’ve you’ve uh also

really connected deeply to a lot of the indigenous people and

indigenous cultures of this region yeah and i’m so excited uh to

to hear from you uh what what that process and that part of your

adventure over the last few years has looked like yeah and how has that

informed what you’re up to i know you had some really tremendous

experiences in the Amazon and Peru yeah obviously not local

yeah but but you’ve also cultivated some very deep and beautiful

relationships with indigenous elders and wisdom keepers and others

here right in this region can you share a bit with us about that

yeah definitely and for me i think my path towards land stewardship really

began when i was in South America and i left what i was doing in the

United States left a competitive skiing career that i was deeply involved in

and sort of had an existential crisis and left and went to South

America just to immerse in indigenous culture and learn about different

medicine traditions and study and practice and interestingly enough what i

found there were off-grid communities and some of them beginning to

implement permaculture design practices and i was just a kid at the time but it

really left an impression on me and so after some years living and working

around there i came back up into the United States and

really inspired by a traditional indigenous ceremony of north

america and especially plains native culture so

southwest plains and then up you know these different tribes shayan or apoho

apaches different ones that usurome these areas in the in the recent past that

we’re living in now and just seeing that they’re their ceremonial culture

and they’re they’re understanding of elemental forces and how

how life is these are just inherent patterns that that all of nature is

following with and so just learning about their techniques of prayer and like

really technologies of prayer i would call it that have inspired how i approach

all living things how i approach the land how i approach people and just

these really fundamental and foundational

understandings that help me navigate in this world today um

and just this inspiration to want to be close to the land it’s such a

goes beyond values it’s like a way of being it’s a way of living it’s a way of

thinking that’s just in respect and reciprocity with all of nature um

and so then of course paying homage to these different tribes and

communities as well and supporting them how we can

we have a really cool food sovereignty project just beginning on the shashoni

reservation up in win river and that’s been really exciting to just support

them beginning to grow their native foods again and to use livestock and like a

more um innovative way um you know not as much traditional for them but

using livestock to develop land that they can then garden and just

be able to take care of themselves again be able to rely on their own food

sovereignty to support their tribal communities and everything that they do

which has been really beautiful to see but it’s just been such a deep part of

how we move how we live in life and so i’m really thankful for those

relationships and getting to practice those traditions

and ceremonial ways and it’s been really fun to be able to bring that

to the land and to our communities that we work in as well so

absolutely wonderful yeah yeah what what an amazing and rich experience and

opportunity and you’re helping suffuse some of that wisdom and knowledge into

other parts of the community and culture here with those deep connections that

you have with many of the indigenous communities yeah

yeah it’s beautiful Nick thank you let me uh let me

remind our audience this is the YonEarth community podcast i’m your host

Aaron William Perry today we’re visiting with Nick D. Dominico

the founder of Elk Run Farm and the co-founder of drylands azure ecology

research you can find a lot more information about

dar at dar dot eco that’s d-a-r dot ecio

on social media you’ll find nick and rissa and the rest of the team

putting out a lot of great posts at at drylands agro ecology

and i want to also take a quick moment to thank a few of our partners we’ve got

purium the organic superfoods company yeah we’re enjoying some purium right

now as a matter of fact some can’t beat this and cocoa hydrated it’s amazing

and delicious we’ve got a special partnership with purium so that anyone in our

network or our audience can get a $50 discount on an initial purchase or

25% off whichever is a greater amount when you go to why on earth dot org slash

purium and you’re going to find a whole variety of

dried organic superfoods basically coming from

really well-managed and regenerative farms in a variety of different

locations waylay waters of course is one of our

social enterprises regeneratively and biodynamically grown hemp infused aroma

therapy soaking salts which yeah i know a lot of us around here enjoying

appreciate i had one just the other day i was feeling so

hard and tired and just needed to recuperate a little bit

yeah waylay waters dot com of course got a throw in a quick mention to

my new book Veridi toss this epic visionary eco-thriller

in part because Nick’s actually in the story

and the characters Brigitte Sophia and her

not really friend at first this guy Leo and yeah this is probably a love story

you know what’s going to happen but they end up coming to elk run farm

and this is part of her experience of awakening and opening up to what’s really

possible what’s really going on right now in the world that many of us in our

city lives are industrial lives our hyper technology oriented lives might not

even realize you know what’s really happening in the world right now and so

big part of the story Veridi toss is revealing that sort of thing to you as a

reader so Veridi toss book dot com if you’d like to learn more about that

and of course our other podcast episodes we mentioned Tom she and John

Lou we’ve got a lot of other wonderful episodes for you so be sure to check

that out winers dot org slash community-podcast will get you there

and Nick are there any other like web or URL resources on your end that we

should mention um i think the main instagram handle uses elk run dot farm

some of the disposing for this farm and that’s really a beautiful way to get

to see what’s happening on our pilot research project and

demonstration site and keep photos of the kids and the ducklings and all kinds

of fun stuff like that to inspire your gardening and home

studying efforts yeah the and the ducklings are ultra cute

this is uh so much fun Nick and you know i we we could be talking for hours and

hours and and we often do and i’m really excited too that our

organizations are actually launching some collaborations to help bring even

more uh resources out to folks uh that that hopefully can help

in this globally merging regenerative movement

yeah and uh really grateful we have that that opportunity

to collaborate i i want to ask you because you mentioned and uh we both grew up

in Colorado i think you’re a true native uh are you a true native

i grew up in Boulder yeah yeah yeah and uh the skiing thing so

so you were deep in in competitive skiing and then uh

turned away from that and into some other things um

what’s your relationship like with these mountains and and as we’re recording

it’s yeah beautiful kind of late summer early autumn and

you know we’re we’re getting ready anticipating there might be some snow on

its way in the coming weeks hey hold on but uh yeah what you know what’s that

like that seasonality around here is obviously pretty significant right

yeah definitely i mean for me the mountains you know i’ve grown up along

these these foothills here my whole life and tried my best to

make away away from the mountains but always found myself back here

and for me just being able to go up into the hills and pick medicines and be in

nature and just feel the feel the the essence and the

inspiration of what comes from the natural habitats has been so inspiring to

me and just as home setters too it’s just so important to be in rhythm with

the seasons too you know right about now we’re starting to collect our

firewood and stack it you know we’re starting to process our foods make our

salsas and our jams and our chutneys for the years to come for the next

year to come you know and putting away all of our food and preparing for the winter

and in a way there’s uh you know melancholy bittersweet feeling around that

you know as the season begins to close but then also the the excitement around

like a good long resting time in the winter which has been really nice for me

too so for us it’s just such an integral part of watching the seasons and just

being staying connected to that and how our food culture really

and moves around the seasons so it’s been really cool yeah yeah absolutely

man yeah it’s been fun for me to witness some of the sick locality the

seasonality around here and yeah in the winter months it can get pretty

pretty quiet and and really tranquil I mean it’s almost like a meditation

retreat yeah right and in the summer months I probably wouldn’t describe it

that way it was all kinds of folks coming and going in events and yeah I mean

one of the other things we didn’t talk about yet is the way in which elk run farm

has become a cultural hub for a variety of uh festivals like equinox and salsas

celebrations and dance parties and all sorts of workshops that you guys are

putting on and I really encourage folks if if you haven’t yet to

plug in and come and check out some of the workshop offerings that Nick and his

team have there’s an amazing array of knowledge sharing and

experiential learning available and yeah and these dance parties are a lot of fun

right yeah sure enough yeah I mean there’s this really no way to talk about

all the cultural stuff without mentioning Marissa to my amazing partner

life partner and co-founder of dryland’s agro ecology research and

I think it’s worth mentioning you know the way I see it the what really

initiated the founding of dar was her skills and my skills kind of combining you know

being a really strong influence in the community a dancer performer event producer she decided

she wanted to throw a party to help bring funds and resource and attention to what we were doing

which at the time was planting trees on this property that now people can come back and see the

plants that they planted and it’s really incredible to see that success that’s coming from that

but just really seeing how community has fueled this entire project the entire work of

of dar and like Marissa would say just really embodying this feeling of joy and and living

in positivity and really sharing that with the greater community so it’s been amazing to have

volunteer days once a week where everybody comes and has an amazing lunch afterwards good farm

fresh food and just feeling that excitement you know we have off-site interns that come twice

a week we have on-site interns that are training and learning how to do practice for generative farming

here and community has just been the momentum the entire time and so for us like having parties

you know here and again it wants a quarter at most really big big wild parties and good time to

let loose and to really just let go of the season behind us and to celebrate all the beauty that we

get to live and you know the beautiful privilege that it is to live on land and to be able to share

that with our communities so in that same way the different ones that support us and fun about

our projects and also just come to lend a hand and the different volunteer things that you’re talking

about like the tree planting so if anybody’s around Boulder County next spring we’re going to do

another large tree planting at yellow barn and then a couple more plantings at private projects too

so really involving the community to get behind this regenerative movement and see that that

proliferation of these regenerative practices using communities so it’s been a really fun time for

that it’s so wonderful Nick yeah and I love it and you know I’m not much for going to these really

big concerts or whatever anymore I just I’m a little I guess I’ve grown a little sensitive over the

years but the the kinds of gatherings and celebrations and parties that occur here are just perfect

I mean they’re just so perfectly scaled perfectly curated and yeah Marissa obviously brings such

a energy of joy and beauty and creativity and cultural connection to the to the project and the

property and I’m excited because we decided we would do a his and hers set of podcast episodes

right so we’re not exactly sure which one’s going to drop first but we are recording first with

you Nick and so theoretically I guess it might go in that sequence and yeah it’s going to be a lot

of fun for our audience I think to be able to hear from each of you your perspectives and offerings

and highlights you know of what what you’re holding what you’re stewarding what you’re creating

and what you’re excited about yeah yeah so just Nick what a joy to have this opportunity to

visit with you today and and before we sign off with our podcast episode and go into our behind

the scenes segment which if you’d like to access you got to become an ambassador we’ll do a little

behind the scenes piece and get into a few other threads but before we sign off with our podcast

episode I just want to invite you if there’s anything else you’d like to say or share with our

audience or generally you know about the work you’re doing yeah sure thanks a lot Aaron I mean I

think it’s just important to share through drylands anger we call you research Dar we really see

this this land regeneration piece is the foundation right in the hopes of and the inspiration that

Marissa and I have and all of our community members now in building this regenerative culture seeing

that we are mostly living integrated landscapes and so if we want to live in a thriving resilient

way we really need to work on regenerating the landscapes that were a part of first and so then

from there recognizing that by researching that by doing active data collection and really documenting

effectively how these processes are developing the land we can then share that with other community

members other farmers ranchers and also share it to the greater community and then from that really

recognizing that without see we we have to see that many cultures and marginalized communities have

been placed on degraded ecosystems and this is just one part of our culture that’s kind of

challenging to face at times but recognizing that if we’re not reintegrating these communities

and supporting these communities and building regenerative systems then where we’re really not

making an influence on culture in a positive way and so from there educating people about that

educating people about the work on the land the work in communities and sharing different

permaculture classes that we have here different events and workshops mindfulness events that we

have on this property as well as yellow barns so those four pillars are really the main the main

pillars of Dar, Dryland’s Agrary College research and the work that we’re doing in our communities

and definitely excited to hear what Marissa has to say about all this stuff too the cultural advocacy

part portions and the education portions are more what she’s focused on and involved in and just

through our teamwork and partnership we’ve been able to just share a lot of this with the greater

community and so just excited to continue that work and to plant thousands more trees this spring

in the years to come and see these regenerative patterns really grow and and affect an influence

culture in a really positive way where we live and outward into the world so just really happy to be

with you here thanks for honoring me in this way and getting to spend a little time in our magical

forest garden and talk a little bit so just feeling thankful now absolutely Nick yep thank you man

it’s been wonderful chatting with you today say a thing bro the YonEarth community stewardship

and sustainability podcast series is hosted by Aaron William Perry author thought leader and executive

consultant the podcast and video recordings are made possible by the generous support of people

like you to sign up as a daily weekly or monthly supporter please visit YonEarth.org back

flash support support packages start at just one dollar per month the podcast series is also

sponsored by several corporate and organization sponsors you can get discounts on their products

and services using the code YonEarth all one word with a Y these sponsors are listed on

the YonEarth.org back slash support page if you found this particular podcast episode is

specially insightful informative or inspiring please pass it on and share it with a friend who

you think will also enjoy it thank you for tuning in thank you for your support and thank you

for being a part of the YonEarth community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to the
Y on Earth Community Podcast:

Listen On Stitcher