Agriculture Plan 2013 Email

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Email 2


This was the follow up email for the presented work plan from Gabi. This email lists questions that need to be addressed in the agriculture plan. It is a good place for someone taking up this work to begin from, building on existing material in the Agriculture_Plan_2013



Thank you for the agriculture plan. It shows a lot of work was put in, and the spreadsheets show many necessary details, and plot plans show a good overview of the whole site. It is a great start. I am seeing the nutrition values, crop list, timeline, budget, tasks. You are missing execution details and infrastructure. Some points you need to address:

1. What is the plan for water, irrigation and water lines? What is a specific plan for year-round water provision? Water lines, outlets, freezeproof water sources, layout. Pond piping. Irrigation plan. An operation which attempts to produce reliable yields requires irrigation here. Critical. I suggest a dedicated map for water plan.

2. Cow housing? Fencing plan? Barn building? Tool shed? I see no budget for buildings or irrigation. The old workshop is not to be a barn. What is your specific fencing plan?

3. What is your erosion plan?

4. What is your water retention plan? Pond is mentioned, but berming? Keyline plowing? Other methods?

5. Are you planning on doing an actual 'master plan'? Your work is based on diet to food sources to footprints, but no specific correlation to elevation details for siting or expressed rationale for placement of features. You may want to add a narrative to your choices. What are your criteria for the most suitable site for anything? You essentially have a footprint back-linked to diet. What is the correlation of the plants to area where they will be planted for the numerous crops in the seed list?

6. For each crop, you need to state your specific cultural practices - when, how you plant, take care of pest issues, weeding, preparation, harvest. For example, how will you prepare the 4 acres of crop area? What is your specific procedure/equipment used? What is your orchard maintenance plan? For example, some of the rodent guards need replacement/adjustment.

7. Wha is your yield plan? What are you aiming to produce this year? Perhaps start with that - and then create your work plan around that to assure success at a minimum level. The bottom line is not what you do, it's what you will be able to produce. I suggest that you assure the minimum base crop, and base any other activity planning in a position secondary to your main crop plan.

8. Your 30 plots and overall outline (such as fiber production) do not match your 2013 timeline spreadsheet - please make them consistent. There are items like pit greenhouse and housing in the plot plans and not in timeline. In short, your overall outline needs to match the timeline. I would like to see specific time estimates for all your activities - I can't tell whether your plans make sense because I do not know how/what equipment you are planning to use achieve your tasks. Please base these on known ergonomic figures.

9. Best time for propagation of raspberries is early spring from root cuttings, so you can plant out by early summer. What is your rationale for the propagation practice of the other items?

10. The narrative of framework for diet is missing here. Is the diet to be a complete diet? If so, vegetarian, vegan, or other? Please correlate diet to crops produced, so start with yield plan.

11. It appears that your operating costs are missing - fuel, equipment costs, feed, supplies (such as square bales for mulching cost $1 each, or $3 if they are not our own), etc.

12. Filling in a 1 million gallon pond from the water utility would cost $13k, so I don't think we want to be filling our pond from the utility.

13. Please include the pond plan in detail - do we get a drain or do we pump via suction? Rationale for each choice? Irrigation strategy for pond?

I suggest that you start a specific section on equipment and infrastructures - a critical item, as you are calling for tractors, plows, haying equipment, combine, which are not in your budget. Infrastructure items are also not in your budget. You need to include these in your budget, so do not assume that these will be provided.

In summary, you need to produce implementation guidelines....which is essentially the "book" for how this will be implemented. That is the thing that I and others can critique in detail. Otherwise, the outline is wonderful!

Please tell me how much time you would need to do the above items, and let me know on the response from the others.

Thanks, Marcin

Email 1


This email lays out what the agriculture plan should contain as well as some outdated information such as when plan material should be presented.


Dear Gabi,

Thanks for a good meeting yesterday. The first thing for your contract will be a detailed work plan. Here is a followup from our discusssion on the Agriculture Plan for 2013. The plan should cover activities from Feb. 15, 2013 to December 31. 2013.

Your plan should address:

  1. Site Master Plan
  2. Fertility plan
  3. Water plan
  4. Erosion control plan
  5. Agriculture plan
  6. Baseline data on carrying capacity/yields/fertility

The process for your work plan should be in general:

  1. Dec. 21 - Jan 21. Draw up a plan with specific timeline; define specific goals and milestones on yields; specify resources needed, and attach a complete budget for the whole year. - This should be based on learnings from this past year and on references + expert feedback for the future plan. Start with the Site Master Plan. For the crop part - please be very specific on your varieties, as some work better than others, and this knowledge needs to be gathered from local sources. I would like to see the variety, seed/stock source, and cultural practices specified for each crop or livestock. For the budget, please itemize each category of costs (stock/seeds, tools, supplies, equipment, running costs, labor, consultants, contractors if any), don't just state blanket costs. If you are uncertain about the cost, state the best estimate, and add a buffer as needed.
  2. Gather an Agriculture Review Team as part of the Plan. Please pick 4 or more experts who you would like to review your plan. Let me know by Jan. 7 so I can approve your choices. These should be SMEs with 15+ years of hands-on experience in agriculture. I would like to see at least 2 of these people with experience in the continental climate.
  3. Jan. 21. Submit the proposal for review to the Review Team over this week.
  4. Jan. 28 - Feb. 15 - Upon receiving feedback, spend up to 2 weeks making additions/corrections and resubmit to Review Team for approval of changes.
  5. Feb. 15 - Feb 21 - Plan Assessment, Budget Allocation - Once the Review Team approves all changes and you are satisfied with your plan, I will take the feedback from the Agriculture Review Team and assess the plan for approval and budget allocation. This decision is not up to me alone. I will be submitting all your materials during this week to the OSE advisory team. I make the approval, but the advisory team makes the suggestion. I typically follow their advice, unless there are fundamental or ethical issues that I disagree with.
  6. Feb 21-28 - Upon my approval, we will then write up your contract. Once again, I will have the OSE advisory team review the contract - based on your Agriculture Plan and including further details like compensation and logistics.

We would then move on to the execution phase - now with a sound plan and backing of experts. We need to find a consultant/mentor who will meet with you for an hour on a weekly basis to help guide you on the work. Basically, this person would be there to remove blocks, and my project manager/operations manager would step in on a monthly basis to assess progress and make any mid-course corrections. Please include this consultant in your plan.

Please put the work up at Agriculture Plan 2013 on the wiki, or if you use Google Docs, please embed the doc on that wiki page. As I mentioned in our meeting - please make the plan self-contained - ie, printable in hard copy without need to access the internet. This could be as simple as a wiki page that can be printed - where we assume that no hyperlinks are accessible. I would like to have this format so I could submit readily to any other relevant stakeholders/reviewers. Please include your references in an Endnote section. Please use an Appendix for relevant published data, spreadsheets, etc. Think of this as a comprehensive document and executable blueprint - such that if you were to disappear someone else can take it on an d actually do the work. This means that the site, tools, equipment, resources, and other materials are documented in your plan so that a person can self-orient with minimal outside assistance. This is highly relevant for any vacations or other times that you need to be off-site. This is also relevant for getting help/other apprentices - as you would be able to provide specific instructions to anyone helping you. Your document should be tight and detailed. I expect that about 30 pages should cover all the details needed.

To sum up, this is a major effort and it requires your full attention. I want you to focus on this completely. As I mentioned to Aidan - please consider Infrastructure as a done deal for 2012. We had an ample window of opportunity to finish things up, and now it is winter and snow and time to plan for 2013. I do not want any further work on the HabLab, cleanup, or other infrastructure to be done until next year when we have a project manager (ie, not me) and where we will have a large work day + a professional contractor come in to tidy up and approve our infrastructure. The only requirements on the site and infrastructure are fetching wood (already cut in the forest) to keep the fire going and keeping the generator running. I also know that you have farm chores daily. How long do these take you every day? Am I missing any other chores/tasks/conditions that may prevent you from focusing fully on the proposal? I want to make sure that you have all that you need in order to be able to focus fully on the proposal, so if there is anything that I am not aware of - please let me know.

Please email me if you have any questions on the above or if you need me to clarify any of the requirements, of if you think that you need more time to write up the plan. We need to do this properly, and we need to allow for the time that it will take. We should check in via Skype a week from now to see how you're getting started, and perhaps 2 weeks after that after you're well into the plan. Can we Skype Friday the 28th at 5 PM CST to check in on your progress/cover any questions?

Thanks, Marcin