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The Montado Farms Story (San Diego, California)

Our Montado Farms Kickstarter was launced on March 3rd!

Did you know that over 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities? Or that by 2030, our agricultural production needs to increase by 40% to feed our growing population? Can our cities, governments and civilization survive our current agricultural practices? How do we feed populations in the cities with a dwindling water resource?

We can tell you one thing for sure: it’s not going to be the giant corn, soy, and wheat monocultures that dominate our food system today. Kevin Muno, a permaculture farming expert, and his highly experienced team are setting out on a journey to create a new kind of farm, a farm that mimics nature and produces a perennial source of bulk calories. Montado Farms is a proposed agroforestry/staple food crop farm that uses the California Oak Savanna as it’s ecological model.

The problem we are looking to solve is a big one. Our global population of 7 billion people gets 80% of their staple food calories (bulk calories that maintain metabolic function) from four main annual crops: corn, soy, wheat, and rice. The majority of these staple food crops are grown in a monoculture system of thousands of acres of a single crop. The problem with monoculture design is that it leaves food crops highly vulnerable to pests because all natural defenders have been eliminated from the growing environment. It also requires massive inputs of synthetic fertilizers and additional water to keep the unnatural system in production. These farmers are saying that we need more GMOs, more pesticides, more ecosystem destruction, and more fertilizers to meet our upcoming caloric demand. This is just wrong and unsustainable!

By working with nature rather than against it, Montado Farms will provide the ecological alternative to our current destructive corn, soy, and wheat farming system. We will plant trees, shrubs, canes, vines, and rotationally graze animals through our farm to create a savanna like ecosystem that requires very few external inputs. We plan to use a Keyline Design water management system to naturally harvest rainfall and facilitate the distribution of water from wetter areas of the farm to drier areas of the farm via ditches and earthworks in the soil. This system is being used across the globe to drought proof farms by eliminating rainwater runoff and efficiently storing water in the landscape.

The benefits of designing for water and mimicking nature have proven to be substantial. When compared with broad acre monoculture farms, we can produce twice the amount of human food calories per acre, use 75% less water, and reduce our input costs by 50%.

We plan to turn the current conventional food system on its head. We want to reconnect our Southern Californian cities with the farms that sustain them. We can’t do this without the support of our friends, family, and local community. We need your help!

Our financial projections indicate that we will need $30,000 to get us off the ground and running. Your donation will allow us to purchase the livestock and electric fencing materials (for rotational grazing) necessary to get us started on a piece of land right away. We are currently looking into a leasing opportunity in Santa Ysabel, California, and are exploring some possible lots for purchase in the same area.

We know that the road is long and the journey will be tough but we are committed to making Montado Farms a reality. Every dollar you donate will help us prove that we can work with nature (instead of against it) to create a regenerative and sustainable agricultural model. Please share this page with your family and friends and donate to our Kickstarter campaign! The time for change is now!

And more recent press on Kevin and Montado Farms written from the University of San Diego here.


  1. Dude, without watching the video (no bandwidth here), but reading this post and the one on the university site, (I cannot find you anywhere else on this PRI site, on the projects, or forums) I am not sure how I can donate money to you. What are your credentials/experience, and contribution to the Permaculture world? While the university article explains some of what you want to do, we all are/would like to do something similar, but we work hard to earn the money first rather than take handouts from anyone else (well, perhaps I speak for myself only there, but I have worked and saved very hard for 11 years to get my property and be able to start developing it). It may be a better idea to ‘loan’ the same money from people you know and pay it back when you can. I am (as I suspect many permies are) very weary of “business this” and “company that” – it would be better to see a Trust being set up along the lines of the Permaculture Research Institutes.
    Best of luck anyhow – it is good to see fellow young people getting into farming and Permaculture in general.

    1. Hello D Graves,

      I think it should be the other way around: ask for ‘handouts’ first, then loans, and then save up. This way the project can be funded as soon as possible.

    2. I tend to agree with D Graves. It would be a different story if you were a 501(c)(3) charity, but it looks like you’re a for-profit organization asking for donations. Not to split hairs here, but if you’re asking for a donation, would that donation be tax deductible? Probably not.

      While I think that Kickstarter has it’s merits, I tend to think of it more for product-driven ventures where the pledge reward closes the loop on the funding for start up costs; whereas your pledge rewards are independent of the ‘product’. That’s the awkwardness: it’s not a charitable donation, and the Kickstarter campaign is really just to get started with initial expenses, but those expenses do not result in anything in the pledge rewards.

      I agree wholeheartedly with your objectives, but as D Graves mentions, perhaps a business loan or ‘friends and family’ loan might be the better way to go, if for anything to keep you accountable to your goals and objectives.

  2. the fact that you have received 75% of your financial goal within a week of starting your fund-raising speaks to the fact that there are many people in the world with enough resources available to share towards worthy projects that align with what they would like to see more of in the world… even if they might not have enough time or skills or land access to be doing it themselves… there remains a powerful way like this that they can still have a positive impact in helping to transform our earth… this is a win-win and is a good example of the kinds of collaborations and explorations together of how we can get regenerative and sustainable agricultural and permacultural systems up and running more quickly than perhaps has been usually accomplished in the past… applaud your eco-preneurial efforts (a great example that others can also leverage–goodness knows we need many thousands more of such projects around the world!) and wish you all success in remaining phases of your project, Kevin!

    1. I think even if it were just a donation request, then I would still disagree with you. I think the fact that they need help with their permaculture-orientated farm justifies the benefit of PRI’s inclusion of this article, which is to help with the success of their farm by raising attention to the farm’s problem. A problem that people who have money to spend (among other characteristics such as empathy) can fix. By the way, this article is not just a donation request. It explains Montado Farms’ story–something I would found worthwhile to have read even if it constituted its own article.

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