Permaculture – Cap’n Dave Sets an Example for Your Survival Garden

With spring upon us, gardening comes to the forefront. If you want more than just ordinary gardening, consider permaculture. Cap’n Dave sets an example for your survival garden. I’ll fill you in on that shortly.

Cap’n Dave is this week’s DestinySurvival Radio guest. He’s been on before, but it’s been about two and a half years since then. We’ve kept in touch, and now seemed like a good time to catch up with him and get his perspective on prepping once again. These days he’s evangelistic about permaculture.


Who the Heck is Cap’n Dave Anyway?

It’s always fun to find out about the background of my show guests. Often there are some real surprises. We weren’t all born preppers, after all. Here’s a bio blurb Dave shared with me.


Cap’n Dave was born and raised (in, on, and under) the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where his Dad taught him fishing, hunting, gardening… and the myriad skills of a self-reliant outdoorsman. He grew up loving all aspects of the outdoors, from geology to biology; from shooting sports to surfing, from backpacking to SCUBA diving (just to name a few.) In the early 80’s he became a SCUBA instructor and also a US Coast Guard certified Boat Captain.

Moving to North Florida in the late ’80’,s Cap’n Dave began a 25-yr career in professional aviation, which included instructing; flying freight for the world’s largest Fed Ex Feeder airline; then corporate and executive flying; and finally flying the Governors of Florida on State Aircraft. Included in those years were stints with McDonnell Douglas and Boeing as an Instructional Designer and Educational Technologist…and a life-long love of exploring wilderness caves underwater.

Cap’n Dave has earned Certified Permaculture Designer credentials from University of Florida Ag Extension; and is currently taking a refresher from Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute. He currently practices these skills at his 6–acre Permaculture paradise near Tallahassee, Florida.


As you can tell, Cap’n Dave has quite a background, and I think when you’ve heard our conversation, you’ll agree that he’s both interesting and encouraging. If you’re not yet growing any of your own food, my guess is you’ll be eager to do so after hearing this week’s DestinySurvival Radio.


Why Cap’n Dave’s Transition to Permaculture?

It was Marjory Wildcraft’s Grow Your Own Groceries DVD that got Dave started on the permaculture path a few short years ago. He had been practicing conventional gardening, which included having a food forest on his land; but saw there’s a better way of doing things.

Permaculture includes growing produce and raising small animals, such as poultry and rabbits, in a synergistic relationship with nature. It’s all about working with nature, rather than fighting against it.

You don’t need several acres on which to grow your food. Permaculture will work in small spaces, too, even if you’re limited to growing fresh herbs in a window.


What Are Some Permaculture Benefits?

Dave’s totally sold on permaculture and enthusiastically recommends it for you and me. For starters, it doesn’t require chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The result is healthful, good tasting food. That saves money, too.

It’s a slow and gentle, scientific system which Dave says solves more problems than any other system he’s seen. Plus, Dave says it’s a lot of fun. He loves watching what he calls chickden TV. And he can have all the blueberries he wants when they’re in season.

He says there’s a community benefit, too. Permaculturists get together and exchange seeds, plants and ideas. He encourages you and me to do research and connect with those online who practice permaculture.

While Dave can’t show all of my readers in person what he’s done, if he sends me photos of his gardening efforts this spring, I’ll update this post with them.


What Makes Permaculture Work?

There are 12 key principles behind permaculture. Dave shared a little about some of them.


  • Catch and store energy. Solar energy and rain water are examples.
  • The problem is the solution. Dave gave an example of one rather extreme way to create chicken food.
  • Observe and watch what nature is doing.


What’s Next for Cap’n Dave?

Dave told me he hasn’t seen anything concerning what’s going on in the world today to indicate he should slow down his prepping efforts. Perhaps you can say the same. At the very least, you and I must have the preparedness basics covered.

Over the past few years Dave has become involved with Marjory Wildcraft’s organization. For some time now he’s been wanting to put together a course on easy to understand weather basics, and he’s in the process of developing lessons. If all goes well, the course will be available through Marjory’s site in a few months.


How Can You Find Out More?

The first thing to do is to hear my conversation with Cap’n Dave by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 19, 2015. (Right click to download.) See the Additional Resources below.

Be sure to check out the here and here. View photos of what some of his friends have called Cap’n Dave’s state park here.

Any thoughts about what you’ve read above or heard in my conversation with Dave? Leave a comment below. Does your survival gardening include any permaculture practices?


Additional Resources

Cap’n Dave recommends…


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.