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GaryD

Dr Paul Olivier

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Hi,

 

Dr Paul Olivier is a resource management expert…...and one of a relatively small number of people who has the capacity to deal with the world's emerging problems in a coherent way.

 

This document is a good introduction to the sort of work that Dr Olivier does…..highly recommended reading.  When you're finished with that, there's plenty more on his website.

 

Gary

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A few years ago I was installing and maintaining a lot of C-band satellite dishes, mainly for European footy fanatics. I stumbled across a South Korean channel that had a lot of good stuff on it (and multi language subtitles and voice overs which helps!) They had a  one hour documentary on Paul's work in Vietnam. I vividly remember watching it and thinking wow, that's impressive! The woman scooped up the odd nugget of manure then sprayed the bedding material down with the probiotic mix in a little hand pump weed sprayer, the pigs were snoozing in a pile of sugar cane mulch in their little bedroom area, very nice looking pigs too!

 

At the time I understood that it was an integrated system with the waste from each area being used somewhere else. What I didn't quite catch was the thought and fine tuning that had gone into it. The updraft gasifier is a real little gem, it has taken me a few years to appreciate just how functional and adaptable it is.

 

Driving home last night in the smoke from several stubble fires that had been lit to clear some trash and burn some grass seeds made me think a little more about how much energy we are just throwing away.

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HI Yahoo,

 

The document to which I linked, in my first post, describes the full chain of relationships that Paul Olivier exploits in his natural farming approach.  

 

It's farm-scale Microponics in its integration of poultry, pigs and cattle using BSF larvae, red worms and gasification to deal with various waste streams.

 

No fertilisers, no herbicides, no pesticides, no anti-biotics or growth promotants…….just plain old resource management.

 

If I were 20 years younger (and appropriately cashed up), it's how I'd be farming.

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Gary,

 

Thanks a million for sharing the link to Dr. Paul Oliver! It has taken me days to read just the first link you provided. Really great to see such a diverse view of resource management. From pigs in the hills of Vietnam to rice hull houses in Louisiana.

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Makes me think about my operation boarding horses and raising 5 acres of almonds. Seems like i should not have to import any nutrients other than hay to feed the almond trees. Manure and bedding through worms casting spread in the orchard to provide for the almonds.

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Your situation is one that really lends itself to Paul Olivier's work.  

 

Horses are OK (except that people get all weird when you suggest eating them), but I'd use some of your pens and yards to run small cattle.....probably Dexters.....and a heritage breed of pig......and do the whole nine yards of natural farming.

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Hi Yahoo,

 

Can your see anything in that document that would be useful on your place……or do you think it's only suited to a sub-tropical - tropical climate?

 

Gary

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It is ticking a lot of boxes for me Gary. I can see from my little trail plots where things are healthy as soon as it gets even slightly damp everything just takes off. bugs, worms, mycorrhiza the lot. A heavy dew is enough. where it is not healthy it has to be wet for about 6 weeks before things start to happen. the lactic acid spray solution might speed things up.

 

plus I found a dried up dead cat in one of my sheds this morning and it had thousands of BSF larva casings around it so I know the blighters are here! I have been worried about having enough good quality feed to run some chickens, the insects and fermented grain should get me through the leaner times.

I will expand on it a bit later I need some sleep, I've got a few long days coming up.

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Yahoo,

 

I've read…..and I'm sure I've seen you say it, too…..that the worst thing for any soil is to be left uncovered.

 

I've lived in arid areas (including a brief stint out in the arid fringes of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and I noticed that land that had been cultivated (often for many years) and left alone reverted to brushy scrub….with a lot of weeds and spindly trees…..in a relatively short time.   Would those things serve as pioneer plants for a future more sophisticated redevelopment?

 

Would that same weedy, scrubby regrowth happen on your land….or has it been cultivated for too long to revert?

 

I guess what I'm asking is whether leaving selected patches of your place alone, to see if it will heal itself, an option?  You may even be able to kickstart it with some seed balls or the like.

 

Gary

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There are two Permaculture approaches that would seem to suit your situation.  One is to use chickens to dig and fertilise the ground in advance of planting it out with legumes and other plants.  

 

The other is a more conventional approach to the establishment of a food forest……mass plantings of leguminous winter and summer ground covers (cow pea) shrubs (pigeon pea and leucena) and trees .  They are pioneer species which short, medium and longer lifespans that are planted along with other trees for fruit, fuel and craft wood.  Over time, the legumes die off or are subject to "chop and drop" to serve as mulch for other species.

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Hi,

 

During the past couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure of two lengthy conversations with Dr Paul Olivier.  

 

He's a humble, deeply passionate man.  He lives in Dalat in Vietnam.

 

His current work….which is all non-profit…..revolves around converting waste strearms to benefit Vietnam's poor people.

 

His food production systems generate income (which provides the incentive for the people to do the work) while eliminating substantial pollution problems.

 

His natural farming method integrates cows, pigs and chickens.  Food wastes (gathered from local restaurants) is fermented and fed to the pigs in pens (on a bedding of rice hulls) which allow for manure collection.  The manure from the pigs, cows and chickens is fed to BSF larvae which, in turn, produce a perfect food for composting worms.  The larvae eventually become food for the pigs and chickens.   Mesophilic composting of the cow and pig bedding enables it to be used for more pig food (since they eat it anyway).

 

The system is evolving as Paul manages to drag more integrations into the mix.  He's designed a gasifier which turns rice hulls into biochar….and on and on it goes.

 

Talking to him, excites me while also making my head spin.   What he's doing is Microponics on a bigger scale…..or. more appropriately, Microponics is what he's doing - but on a smaller scale.

 

If you haven't already done so, read this document.  It's a work-in-progress…..so he adds to it almost on  a daily basis.  He's just integrated aquaponics into the method……and human waste, too.

 

Rarely, in a lifetime, do you come across someone who can be truly described as brilliant (although he'd deny it) - and Dr Paul Olivier falls into that category.

 

This is what integration is really all about.

 

Gary

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During the past couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure of two lengthy conversations with Dr Paul Olivier. 

 

Gee, that is a pretty impressive namedrop Gary :bow: in my opinion a conversation with Dr Paul Olivier beats talking to the queen,the pope and president of the US at the same time. I hope something constructive comes out of it.

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Hi Yahoo,

 

Paul Olivier is a pretty impressive person and I really value the time that he's spent with me. 

 

One outcome of the fledgling relationship is that I've contracted a serious case of natural farming.....the symptoms of which include restlessness, excitement and a desire to go farming again.  The short term treatment (I suspect that there is no cure) is to overlay my Microponics concept with Paul's natural farming techniques.

 

In the medium term, I may have to go to Vietnam and consult the Doctor himself.   If the symptoms continue, the only answer may be to lease some land and buy some pigs and cows.

 

At the moment, my head is full of Permaculture, Microponics, Paul's natural farming work and my ongoing collaboration with Dr. Mark McMurtry (another very impressive person)......and it's just buzzing.  

 

Fortunately, it's producing some tangible outcomes around my adopted Macleay Island home.  Each week, we do something new (the chickens for the new chicken tractor are coming home on the barge on Saturday).......but I'm impatient and I want to do more.

 

Gary

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In the medium term, I may have to go to Vietnam and consult the Doctor himself.   If the symptoms continue, the only answer may be to lease some land and buy some pigs and cows.

 

I can see merit in an asian holiday sabbatical study tour, but I really do wonder about the whole point of trying to manage large livestock after you have put so much effort into downshifting your lifestyle. There has got to be a practical alternative, you know , like grandchildren- all care and no responsibility what do they say, spoil em rotten get them high on sugar... then hand them back to mum and dad and flop into your favorite comfy armchair.

 

Farming can be very anti-social if you let it, it can get to a point that you are too busy to actually live a life. I think your time would be better spent without the full time commitment, offer some moral and technical support to somebody or a group that is starting down this path in exchange for some processed waste material and the opportunity to document the process.

 

I think Dr Paul Oliviers work has the potential to "go mainstream" in the western world just on animal health and husbandry factors alone, it needs some grassroots adopters to be posting regular titbits to the internet to get the ball rolling. As JCNielsen says Dr Olivier's main PDF document is brilliant but hard going, it is like a 2000 page novel that is jam packed with information.

 

Do you think that Dr Olivier would allow his information to be copied and adapted to a more browser and tablet friendly format rather than PDF's and PowerPoint slides? His evolving documents need to be always there and available but I would like to see something like a mini sermons structure. 

Example... A quote from one of his documents, a small relevant story or practical example, some pics or a short video fleshed out with a little extra explanation and a couple of links. This kind of thing can be built up over 4-5 years by a group of people with a little editing and moderation.

 

I really like Alternative to bio-digestion BUT it has taken around 8-9 years for me to get my head in the right place so that I can fully understand and appreciate what he is saying. When something is mainstream people dont need to understand anything, just unquestioningly copy what everyone else is doing, if you are an early adopter (and on your own with no peers to bounce idea around with) you need to know and fully understand the basic principals so you dont fall back into old habits at the first hurdle. This is the roadblock point that integrated agriculture and gardening has been at for a number of years in the west.

 

How do you feel about that? Is that something we could look at in the next year or so? I am not talking about launching a website just a deliberate trail of supporting posts/blogs that address some of the key points of his work that are clearly linked back to what they are doing in Vietnam and other places.

Edited by yahoo2 (see edit history)

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I can see merit in an asian holiday sabbatical study tour, but I really do wonder about the whole point of trying to manage large livestock after you have put so much effort into downshifting your lifestyle. There has got to be a practical alternative, you know , like grandchildren- all care and no responsibility what do they say, spoil em rotten get them high on sugar... then hand them back to mum and dad and flop into your favorite comfy armchair.

 

I can see your point.....and i don't disagree with it, in principle.   Sorry if I created the wrong impression but large livestock (for me) means Dexter cows and a heritage small-holders' pig breed.....with just enough of each to demonstrate the concepts that underpin natural farming......and I'd do all of that on the island.    Creating a natural farming demonstration centre would be a small step up from what I'm already building here in my backyard.

 

Farming can be very anti-social if you let it, it can get to a point that you are too busy to actually live a life. I think your time would be better spent without the full time commitment, offer some moral and technical support to somebody or a group that is starting down this path in exchange for some processed waste material and the opportunity to document the process.

 

Having it set up as a demonstration centre means that I'd be surrounded by people and, by limiting its size, I hope to ensure that it never becomes too great a burden.  I'm an advocate for the  apprenticeship concept of mastery, so paid internships are something that I plan to incorporate into my business model.

 

I think Dr Paul Oliviers work has the potential to "go mainstream" in the western world just on animal health and husbandry factors alone, it needs some grassroots adopters to be posting regular titbits to the internet to get the ball rolling. As JCNielsen says Dr Olivier's main PDF document is brilliant but hard going, it is like a 2000 page novel that is jam packed with information.

 

I share your view about the potential of Paul's work.  Mind you, it will meet with some real resistance if it does go mainstream.  There are too many people making too much money from tampering with our food chain to give it all up without a fight.

 

I also agree with Jen's concerns about the document.....it can be hard going.  I've read it from start to finish several times and, with each new reading, i pick up fresh insights.  I find that I have to read it standing up because I become restless/excited when I read this sort of stuff......and I have to move about.  As a trainer, I certainly agree with the idea that it could be presented more effectively.

 

Having said that, one of the things that I love about it is that I can go back every few days and see his latest stuff.   It's like waiting outside of the bakery at 3am to get the bread just as it comes out of the oven.......or waylaying the milko on his rounds in the wee hours (back in the days when our milk came from the cow rather than out of a machine).

 

Do you think that Dr Olivier would allow his information to be copied and adapted to a more browser and tablet friendly format rather than PDF's and PowerPoint slides? His evolving documents need to be always there and available but I would like to see something like a mini sermons structure. 

Example... A quote from one of his documents, a small relevant story or practical example, some pics or a short video fleshed out with a little extra explanation and a couple of links. This kind of thing can be built up over 4-5 years by a group of people with a little editing and moderation.

 

​Paul Olivier makes his work available to anyone who wants it.  I'd be surprised if he objected to its translation into different forms in the way you suggest.....but I'll ask him.

 

I really like Alternative to bio-digestion BUT it has taken around 8-9 years for me to get my head in the right place so that I can fully understand and appreciate what he is saying. When something is mainstream people dont need to understand anything, just unquestioningly copy what everyone else is doing, if you are an early adopter (and on your own with no peers to bounce idea around with) you need to know and fully understand the basic principals so you dont fall back into old habits at the first hurdle. This is the roadblock point that integrated agriculture and gardening has been at for a number of years in the west.

 

My collaboration with Mark has produced lessons for me that have nothing to to do with iAVs in a practical sense.  One of the key learnings arising from our association has been how easily I reach for a complex solution when much simpler ones are under my nose.  

 

iAVs has turned everything I know about aquaponics on its ear.   That's not to say that what I've been doing is wrong, but that an easier, more cost effective and more productive way to integrate the production of fish and plants is to be found in iAVs.  

 

The more I work with Mark, the more I understand the nuances of iAVs......and the more profound the effect that it has on me.  

 

In the past, I'd have taken a cursory glance at iAVs before turning my mind to "improving" it.  The longer I work with the concept, the more I appreciate the technical elegance of the system.  For me, the design transcends "fit for purpose" - it's intrinsically brilliant in its conception.

 

I'm getting a similar sensation around Paul's stuff.  The various pieces of the puzzle fit so neatly.  Initially, it seemed like a scaled-up version of Microponics but I quickly saw things that I had not considered.   While Microponics embraces waste stream utilisation, it did not connect the dots to anything like the same extent.  Other things like fermentation of food, human waste integration and gasification were all things that I'd been interested in....but I'd never seen them all combined into the one all-embracing model.

 

I trained as a wastewater treatment  operator back in the 1970's at Bolivar Sewage Treatment works so bio-digesters are something that I've had first-hand experience of.....and I've been interested in them ever since - particularly at a small-scale like those used in Vietnam.  But after reading Paul's work, I could see how they are not the solution that I thought them to be.

 

How do you feel about that? Is that something we could look at in the next year or so? I am not talking about launching a website just a deliberate trail of supporting posts/blogs that address some of the key points of his work that are clearly linked back to what they are doing in Vietnam and other places.

 

I feel good about it......and I thank you for your considerate observations.  I've actually been thinking, in recent days, about integrating natural farming into my own Microponics model (and overlaying it with Permaculture) - so a website is not too much of a stretch.   The model that I'd propose would be the same that I've done with Mark and the IAVs site.......which also attaches to APN for the discussion that is best conducted on a forum.

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I have had a lot of success with livestock and also some real failures, particularly when I was very ill for a number of years, I dont ever want to go through that again. The mistake I made was trying to hang on to valuable breeding stock when in hindsight I shouldn't have.

 

I have had the same blind spot with gasifiers that you have had with bio-digestion, I have tinkered with the thermal efficiency of the gas cycle and turned any biochar to ash by taking the reaction to far, what I gain in combustion I lose in activated carbon and potential growth of more fuel. I know how hard it is to process some fiberous feedstock into pellets and the wear on the pelleter to get some materials to burn in a complex gasifier is horrific. So I resort to burning chipped wood which defeats the point of the whole idea. It has been good to take a fresh look at the underlying principals and not get hung up on perfecting one little bit for no practical reason. We will have the same issues with making deep bedding, some materials may need milling or chopping if we cant find an easy rice hull substitute, sometimes that can be a little tricky to get right.

 

The thing is Gary, I reckon I am a pretty good judge of what will be a long term trend and I think this could be one of those things that will make it, with a few gentle nudges in the right direction. I dont really want to look back on my life and think that I had the chance to do something that makes a real difference and I threw it away.

I spent years asking elderly people about fermented grain as chicken and pig mash and all I got was blank looks, they knew what it was but had no idea what the point of it was or how it worked. It made me understand how this sort of knowledge gets lost, there may only be 1 in every 1000 who actually fully understands the process and I missed my chance to talk with them because they died before I was ready to ask the right questions.

 

I will have a think about it while I am on the tractor for the next few weeks, I am sure I could have something to contribute.

Keep us in the loop

 

cheers Yahoo

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I have had a lot of success with livestock and also some real failures, particularly when I was very ill for a number of years, I dont ever want to go through that again. The mistake I made was trying to hang on to valuable breeding stock when in hindsight I shouldn't have.

 

I'd be the last person to lecture you on the need to let go of things……including ideas.  I try to offset that personality issue by embracing new ideas……displacing the old ones with new ones.  That way, I don't have to let go of it.  I just rationalise that I'll try the old ones later.

 

I have had the same blind spot with gasifiers that you have had with bio-digestion, I have tinkered with the thermal efficiency of the gas cycle and turned any biochar to ash by taking the reaction to far, what I gain in combustion I lose in activated carbon and potential growth of more fuel. I know how hard it is to process some fiberous feedstock into pellets and the wear on the pelleter to get some materials to burn in a complex gasifier is horrific. So I resort to burning chipped wood which defeats the point of the whole idea. It has been good to take a fresh look at the underlying principals and not get hung up on perfecting one little bit for no practical reason. We will have the same issues with making deep bedding, some materials may need milling or chopping if we cant find an easy rice hull substitute, sometimes that can be a little tricky to get right.

 

The good thing about having an innate sense of curiosity (coupled with a  wilingness to take risks) is that I (and I suspect you) are open to different ways of doing things.

 

The thing is Gary, I reckon I am a pretty good judge of what will be a long term trend and I think this could be one of those things that will make it, with a few gentle nudges in the right direction. I dont really want to look back on my life and think that I had the chance to do something that makes a real difference and I threw it away.

I spent years asking elderly people about fermented grain as chicken and pig mash and all I got was blank looks, they knew what it was but had no idea what the point of it was or how it worked. It made me understand how this sort of knowledge gets lost, there may only be 1 in every 1000 who actually fully understands the process and I missed my chance to talk with them because they died before I was ready to ask the right questions.

 

When I look at all of the worlds biggest problems……climate change, depletion of the aquifers, erosion, desertification, etc…..I see nothing but disaster in our current ways of producing food.    Agriculture is going to have to undergo wholesale change in the next couple of decades and, when I look at what's on the horizon, I can't see anything to trump ideas like iAVs, Permaculture and natural farming of the type espoused by Paul Olivier.  I'm sure that science will play a role but it has yet to be seen if it's a worthwhile one or if they'll continue to act as mealy-mouthed apologists for their existing Big-Pharma and AgriBiz masters.

 

I will have a think about it while I am on the tractor for the next few weeks, I am sure I could have something to contribute.

Keep us in the loop

 

I've sent you a  PM.

 

cheers Yahoo

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I had another brief chat with Paul Olivier today….during which he acknowledged that his 2015 document ws "tough going."  He also agreed to my translating his 2015 document (which is largely directed at scientists) into a form better suited to laypersons.   I'd like to countenance a similar approach to that used in my collaboration with Dr Mark McMurtry.

 

In my view, Mark's work compliments Paul's….and vice versa.

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Next month, my brother and I travel to Dalat in Vietnam to meet Dr Paul Olivier and to set up some business connections to do with natural farming. 

 

Then, we go to my brother's home in Semarang in East Java (Indonesia) where (among other things) he operates a small cattle-farming project..  Then we fly to Bali to check out some other natural farming things - before returning to Australia.  I'll be gone about 12 days in total.

 

This trip is in connection with three emerging ambitions:

  • To build Paul Olivier’s integrated waste stream model based on pigs, cows and chickens…..and humans.
  • To build several iAVs systems to provide food and data - and a research base.
  • To develop a small-scale farming model that can be extrapolated into an Australian farming context with a view to arresting the decline of rural towns.

There is a possibility that I may collaborate in this venture with my brother – at his existing farming operation in East Java.

 

Gary

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Gary,

 

Do you have recommendations on reading material for doing these kind of things in an urban or semi-urban environment with limited space?  It's essentially what I'm doing, but I feel like I'm not really closing the input-output loop as best as I can...

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Very cool, Gary! Give my regards to Dr. Olivier, I've been a fan for years. He's a really nice and helpful person, and I'm sure it will be awesome to see these systems first hand.

 

Enjoy your trip, and takes note, photos, videos, anything you can!!!  I can't wait to see the results!

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

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