Intrinsic is designed to be the most valuable book you will ever read. It explains how you can increase the intrinsic value of your yard, garden, farm or field by at least 80% what it offers you now.
The previews are live! You can read them, and see a video where Luke explains the opening chapter of Intrinsic: The Syntax of Chaos here.
Intrinsic Overview/ Table of Contents
The Syntax of Chaos (Preview now live here)
Quote from chapter: “Chaos doesn't have to be destructive, does it? Chaos is just something that happens on a large scale we can't control. Cut these events down to size, and they're just things that happen we don't have to make happen. They are nature's intrinsic force.”
A Point in Time
“While the specifics of your system’s timing must be learned from the system, there are several broad topics of timing this chapter will cover. For now, it’s important to know you can benefit from mapping events in time, both forward and backwards, to synchronize events. This is how you build a better system in the present.”
The Intrinsic Origins of Plants
“Plants in a similar way condense from the air. Like ice in a glass, solid air, which you'll soon find makes up almost all fertilizers, is like a lure that pulls air into the soil. Once this lure is in the soil, air drips from the soil as plants.”
Nitrogen: The Quality of Life
“Almost no ecology on Earth has a large enough intrinsic nitrogen cycle to grow garden vegetables. The genetics that demand these unnatural conditions are the fruit of extrinsic, synthesized ecologies. We made them.”
Space is a Problem for Extrinsic (The Rules of Spacing)
“The rules of spacing dictate the effects one plant—or mountain range—will have on the surrounding area. These effects work their way from air to earth creating macro effects of weather down to what species of plants, bacteria, or the like can or cannot grow. Certain gears in our wheelhouse just don't mesh with each other depending on the biome they come from. To learn these rules means you can influence the local environment, even on a small scale from plant to plant, to form a unique biome.”
“Exclusion is a very valuable resource. Imagine $56 billion dollars worth of herbicides insecticides, fungicides and the like, and you start to feel the size of this resource called exclusion.“
Coding your Results with Genetics
“Highly pliable genetics are the best example of chaos level 3. They can move from place to place in the system but still yield all the abundance you designed. When this occurs, the plants have essentially taken your design and started to recreate it themselves. The entirety of your design has been absorbed into and altered the intrinsic character of natural chaos.”
Intrinsic Program Trials
“An important part of Intrinsic is bridging the gap between knowledge of nature and farming systems, to making these systems function. This is where the levels of chaos, and chaos ratio are most important: They are not for nature, they are for you. They define where you work, and where nature works. They break down the design process into stair steps small enough and concise enough you can ascend and descend without tripping.”
Top Ten Facts about Intrinsic
- "Growing" resources is considered the lowest form of Intrinsic agriculture. The purpose of Intrinsic is is make a desired plant, animal, or any resource that could "grow" grow itself. Intrinsic is a roadmap for making resources intrinsic.
- In almost any agriculture system, the applied tactics of Intrinsic are estimated to improve productivity by up to 80%.
- Intrinsic does not focus on soil. It uses soil to pull in and alter air. This is one of Intrinsic's key tools in improving efficiency, and making the most difficult to obtain resources intrinsic.
Supporting Fact 1: In 2018 the world fertilizer consumption pushed 200 billion tons. Over half of this fertilizer was pulled from the air. Source.
Supporting 2: One of the fastest growing forms of agriculture worldwide is credited to refinements in harvesting C02 directly from the air. Source.
- In 2012 over 56 billion dollars was spent at the grower level on killing and excluding undesirable pests from crops. Intrinsic makes this massive resource an intrinsic benefit. Source.
- Intrinsic has 7 protocols that function like a computer program. The intent is for the user to reprogram a sytem's intrinsic nature using this "code." The final chapter of Intrinsic is applied examples showing how the tactics from the 7 protocols are used.
- Intrinsic has two main user focuses: Market growers interested in making a profit by harvesting from an ecology-regenerating farm, and homeowners looking to get as many resources as easily as they can from an attractive yard or small farm.
- "Intrinsic value" is a subjective term. Intrinsic walks you through the process of choosing what resources have the highest intrinsic value for you. This increases the intrinsic value of your system simply by choice of what grows.
- The actual text of Intrinsic, is a little over 50 pages. We anticipate the final print to have almost that many pages of visual, information-rich infographics and images.
- Intrinsic is the third book published by Mortal Tree Design. The two books that preceded Intrinsic each expanded on single chapters of what the author intended to include in Intrinsic.
- Intrinsic uses a design tool called Chaos Ratio to break down the process of making a given resource intrinsic.
Bonus Fact! The author of Intrinsic, Luke A. M. Simon, is co-operator of a certified organic family farm in northeast Ohio. His personal areas of the farm enterprise are progressively intrinsic and wildcrafted medicinal herbs for a homeopathic company, and his food forest, Mortal Tree.
Interview with Mortal Tree Design
Luke Simon is owner of Mortal Tree Design, a permaculture consultant, market grower, and designer of functional farming systems in a class of his own. Just a few of the products he derives from his own systems includes rare medicinal herbs for a homeopathic company, wildcrafted and cultivated flowers including over 200 varieties of dahlias he supplies to 7 local florists. He produces these in conjunction with his family's farm which produces grass-fed beef, goat, a raw milk herdshare, vegetable and flower CSA. All these products are Certified Organic under USDA standards. The family farm enjoyed its 10 year anniversary last year in November.
So Luke, help us understand how all this relates to Mortal Tree Design, your business, and your new book Intrinsic.
It's a tight relationship really. I was homeschooled. So for my senior year of science, I was able to write up my own class with my mother that used Bill Mollison's Permaculture 1 as the central text.
We had already been farming for years. In fact, I have always grown plants long before we got our farm. We farmed our third of an acre yard and many of the adjoining lots in our suburban neighborhood intensively. We even managed large livestock like cows and pigs. Permaculture made perfect sense.
Some of the projects in my year of studying permaculture looked at various microbiomes in my local area -like the woods at the top of a hill versus a shady valley. I would list the species in these microbiomes, pulling apart the conditions that made these biomes what they are. I was also building a food forest on our farm, I started a blog, Mortal Tree, where I published some of my findings. Very soon, I had requests to design and consult on large scale systems.
One client that really got me into professional design, was a 20 acre food forest/ farm system in my area. The manager of this installation had hired 2 major permaculture design firms to handle layout and design of the planting. When I came to the scene, earthworks had already been dug, and some of the plants were already in place. I was supposed to study the design that had been laid out, and install the rest over the next three years.
How old were you at this time?
As I went through the installation, I started by just following what the big designers had laid out for me to install. I ran into problems though, and wanted to change the designs. I hesitated. I kept thinking the big designers must have known things I didn't. When the main designer came back a year after his initial design, I had question ready to figure out these reasons. I was really surprised to find he really didn't have many reasons for his choices. He was just following general trends.
After this, I didn't hold back on designing an approach for system design that had reasons behind it like the biomes I had studied. These biomes had many subtle reasons, and small elements that made one climate different from another.
The problem I had with the designs I was installing was how much they depended on my work to keep back weeds and alter conditions for the plants. It depended heavily on extrinsic input. I designed a method that altered the fine details at the roots of a site's climate, and nature. With this approach, my designs would become intrinsic.
And that's where your new book Intrinsic came from?
It was the beginning of developing my own method. I've applied and refined the method with several clients since.
I really never intended to publish actually. But people asked for explanations for the apparent magic that surrounded my work. It might sound strange, but I still needed to figure out exactly what the mechanisms were in my methods. I could get results, but explaining a method in a way people can understand and apply takes practice at writing out.
You have already published two books on your method. How did the other two books fit into this picture?
Well, the first, PASSIVE Gardening, is an acronym for Permanent Agriculture Systems -or intrinsic resources -Sustaining Intensive Vegetable Ecology -or our standard vegetable gardens and field culture. I wrote this book to explain my core design tool I call Chaos Ratio. Chaos Ratio is my method for measuring the extent to which a system is extrinsic-dependent or Intrinsic. Chaos Ratio is also my tool for converting extrinsic systems to Intrinsic.
Chaos ratio, can you give us more background on this term?
It's a framework for quantifying the natural tendencies of a system. For instance, if a system tends to be damp and cold, but you are interested in growing tropical plants, you build a greenhouse, burn lots of fuel, hours of labor, and other extrinsic resources that are not natural components of the system. You overcome the damp, cold, natural components of your system. In design, it's helpful to set a ratio of labor compared to what the system supplies for you -the components that are intrinsic. If a system grew your resource for you to the point your only labor was an easy harvest, the resource itself is intrinsic.
Intrinsic conditions I call chaos. Now I know in our culture chaos often carries a negative connotation, like it's a bad thing. But when I say chaos in chaos ratio, I'm referring to the Greek root. The Greek root of the word refers to gaping void, or potential that existed before creation. I use chaos to define anything that happens without the system owner's intervention.
So chaos refers to a systems's efficiency?
Yes. Chaos can be good or bad, depending on whether it upholds our designs for us, or if we have to actively work against chaos to keep our designs like a tropical greenhouse afloat in damp, cold conditions.
The subtitle of your book Intrinsic is "An agriculture of altered chaos." Can you put that in context for us?
Intrinsic shows how to form a roadmap, or language as I call it. It breaks down the steps you have to take to alter the intrinsic attributes of nature using nature's rules. Nature of course doesn't always grow our resources by default. Intrinsic shows how you can change that default to grow your desired resource.
That intrinsic uses nature's rules to alter nature is important, because today in modern farming we work to get our resources, say corn, and have negative alterations of poisoned waterways and poisoned food. Intrinsic is about designed alterations that put nature on our side.
How does this kind of design compare to other works already written on Permaculture, such as Bill Mollison's Permaculture 1.
Intrinsic is almost exclusively the "How do I get from point A to point B." There are seven protocols that break down the process of design, and provide just enough information for stepping stones from point A to point B. The final chapter is applied examples.
Are there any other design tools in Intrinsic aside from Chaos Ratio?
Some of the finest design tools in Intrinsic are simply redirecting the focus of design. For instance, almost all books on ecological farming focus on soil. Or they focus on water. They focus on bacteria. They focus on results. In these areas, the designer is already at a significant loss of leverage, and is forced to use brute force to make real change.
The main level of Intrinsic design focuses on altering the air. At this level it is easy to alter climate, and everything that follows -soil, bacteria, animals, and plants. Most importantly, changes at this level are usually permanent, and become intrinsic.
Well, I think I need to actually read the book to understand how that works.
I think our listeners would like some harder numbers. Overall, how would you say Intrinsic performs in the field?
Even compared to many permaculture systems I have seen, applying Intrinsic to a system can increase productivity by 80%. That can be in increased fertility, reduced hours of labor necessary to grow a given resource, or the like. In many cases it's not unlikely that if Intrinsic is fully applied, that the intrinsic value of the system could double.
The final chapters look at increasing intrinsic value for self sufficiency, and market production. So intrinsic value could translate to you easily providing for yourself and your family, or highly marketable product.
Alright. Well thank you for sharing all these details about Intrinsic and best of luck with your Kickstarter!
The first chapter of Intrinsic -in Digital format and a separate preview in print format -is available here. You'll also find the first chapter of PASSIVE Gardening, and Mastering the Growing Edge in their new digital format.
Risks and challenges
Intrinsic has been 3 years in the making. At this point our greatest challenge is getting the book into print, and digital format, and into your hands.
There are a lot of details in this process -like getting quotes on shipping and printing, and setting the right prices to fit this budget. This math is settled. Purchasing digital copies and providing donations to this project are great ways to give us "padding" in our budget in case something doesn't go as expected. For the funding goal we have set, we have backup funds that should take care of any surprises. As the orders exceed this goal, we can get bulk dicounts on printing that will ensure we don't run out of funds and can ship to you without a hitch.
If we have learned anything from publishing PASSIVE Gardening and Mastering the Growing Edge, it's that printers, and pretty much every aspect of success in publishing, including adequate funding, are drawn like magnets to popularity.
This means you have an enormous role in making Intrinsic a success. By backing this project, and sharing this project with anyone you think has an interest in backing it, you can give us the most powerful tool for publishing success.
We have invested a little under $4000 in advertising this project with our friends from Permaculture Magazine, Acres USA, and many more. Whether this project turns out to be small, or large, we have no doubts we can make it happen. Our best assurance of success is with you. Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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