A Permaculture Approach to Entrepreneurship – Rick Sapio









Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

  • Whether you’re a 100% self-employed homesteader, or generating income with a small business on the side, learn the secrets to sustaining your business long-term.
  • The secret to freeing time and releasing stress: how adding layers of structure simplifies everything—and empowers EVERYONE involved to make faster, better decisions.
  • Attracting more success: how to refine and repeat what’s already working for you.

About The Speaker:

Rick is a lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business, a bicycle repair shop, after the death of his father, when he was just 13 years old. Since then he has founded more than 20 companies. Rick is the seventh of nine children raised by a mother with serious, life-long depression issues. He learned early that it’s best to think positively about the cards one’s been dealt in life, no matter how difficult those cards seem.

His life’s purpose, which is to inspire entrepreneurship, led Rick to start A Billion Entrepreneurs (“ABE”). ABE is a global movement and theatrical film that motivates people to seek the freedom associated with living a purposeful life. His dream is to motivate people to learn and grow as passionate entrepreneurs, regardless of their age, their starting point, or their current position.

Rick resides in Dallas with his wife, Melissa, and their four children.


QUESTION: Do you currently earn any income with food growing or homesteading endeavors? Share, if you like, how you’re doing it.


  1. Steven

    Do you REALLY think that HUMANS can destroy the Earth? God is the ONLY one that can destroy the Earth.

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi Steve, yes I do believe that humans are destroying the Earth. Uh, have you looked at the massive desertification project we call growing corn in the mid west? Or in Brazil? Just to name two places. How many rivers actually make it to the sea these days? Have you put any thought to the massive garbage islands out in the Gulf of Mexico and the dead zones that surround almost every continent on this planet? Humans are a highly destructive species. And the biggest damage is caused by conventional agriculture.

      1. Susan Thrower

        Marjory, Could you give me more information about the corn problem in the midwest? What website could I view to be informed?

    2. MommaM

      We can destroy parts of it. Very important parts.

      1. Cab

        The Bible says that when Jesus comes back (soon) he will ‘punish those who destroy the earth.’ Look what just one nuclear reactor meltdown did to the Pacific Ocean! And it’s not through yet. And look what the oil drillers did to the Gulf of Mexico. And what’s with the chemtrails that are causing forest fires and trees covered in mold? And what are the nations going to do with their spent fuel rods from their nuclear reactors? So far nobody has a single idea for what to do with them, how to dispose of them, or any inclination to even try to.

    3. Kent

      Steven- The Earth itself is unlikely to be destroyed. What gets destroyed is the ability of the Earth to support humans in a decent environment, not some horrible degraded echo of our pleasant environment. So we have to take responsibility for our actions and not do what we feel like at the moment and depend on a supernatural force to protect us from the consequences.

    4. Sandra P. Gann

      God gave man the responsibility to care for the earth. God gave man that responsibility before man chose to disregard God’s one prohibition. God put man in a garden. Man has failed to protect and care and keep the earth as God created it thru not only neglect but also thru destructive practices.
      God will have to bring about a newly restored earth ( according to the Bible, the last book) because of the result of destructive practices of man thru the generations, man’s failure to protect and care for the original state of the earth as God created it.

    5. Elizabeth Nelson

      Hi Steven,
      I am a long time Christian.

      In the first book of the Bible, Genesis 2:15 says God put man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. We are no longer in the Garden of Eden after the fall, but we are still to care for the earth. It is just more difficult for us now.

      In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, it describes the awful things that will happen on earth and how it will be destroyed. The first few times I read Revelations, most of it didn’t make sense. As I got older, I see how man is capable of causing these calamities. God doesn’t make bad things happen, he gives us free will and lets Humanity make mistakes and/or sin. I can see how that can bring about the destruction of the earth.

      Let me repeat, God allows the destruction of the earth, it was not in His perfect plan. God allows bad things to happen to us, he doesn’t cause it, people do.

      I thank God for the people in these presentations that want to take care of God’s good earth. Thank you Margory for making this happen. They give me hope for the healing of our planet.

    6. Maria

      That’s not all did you know a huge portion of the Amazon rain Forrest has been destroyed to feed and raise cattle? If everyone in the world ate as much meat as the US does we would need 5 worlds to grow and care for all those cows chickens and pigs. It’s not sustainable to eat and raise that much meat. Also, growing that many animals is affecting the environment more than all the pollution in the world. Check out Netflix documentaries cowspiracy, hungry for change and forks over knives. Do your research.

    7. Jay

      Aaaahhhh, yeah! In the beginning God created….and saw that it was good. He placed mankind in the garden to TEND the garden, not “improve” upon it. Mankind created nuclear weapons, chemical pesticides and herbicides, mismanages ecological systems, pollutes and now trying fundamentally change that which was good and perfect through laboratory DNA changes with others things that were not intended to cross. Thereby creating something that they have no idea what kind of long range effects it will have 100 years from now (if we stand that long. IF the earth is ever destroyed by the actual hand of God it will be because mankind has destroyed it beyond repair. That will be the fault of man, Not God.

  2. Devin

    This is the last thing I expected to see on a homesteading summit, but so far it’s been the most insightful presentation I’ve watched. I’ve been spinning in circles, both personally and professionally, for the past seven years and this really helped to crystallize many things for me. I’d love to know more about the program Rick offers and would like to look into the bootcamp further before committing to the expense, but I’m not seeing any links in the show notes. Could you please include them to make it easier to learn more?

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi Devon,
      Yes, we always like to put an oddball int he Summit mix, and this qualifies for that category for sure. But we cannot have a sustainable future with our sustainable businesses…. The Business Finishing School has been instrumental in whatever success THe Grow Network has.

      Here is a link to find out more (and yes, I will be at the next bootcamp in Feb. so if you come be sure to let me know and we will have lunch together! https://bfs.infusionsoft.com/go/BFShomePage/Mar

    2. Ashleigh

      Hi Devin! Please check out http://www.BusinessFinishingSchool.com. Also, please feel free to reach out to me for more information as well.

  3. Donna Nielsen

    Thanks for that presentation. I am still unclear how this relates to a lot of us permies who are mostly trying to become more self-reliant in our food, and help to heal the earth.

    My main goal or focus is healing my own little piece of high desert, using a Market Garden to help pay the expenses and build the soil so it can actually support tree crops and other perennial guild functions, and to help feed my small community.

    So far I have been able to sell a few veggies and herbs, but not even enough to pay the water bill to grow them. I’m not planning for a long term business that just keeps increasing. I don’t understand how someone can expect unlimited growth and income using natural, living systems on a finite earth.

    1. zora ignjatovic

      well, rick is talking from the old paradigm perspective, industrial growth society, top down and hierarchical business lances. no permaculture there.we all understand that this is the end of that era. what is next is remembering, re-learning how to be responsible for the health and healing of the earth and trough that for our own. if we all do what is just happening on line we wouldn’t have time and space to create the abundance and what to share. we would all sit in front of the computer and listen “smart” people who already made it. I appreciate the sharing and thing all of this should be free and we all can utilize it wherever we can so people produce more surplus so our sustenance and the health of the planet is not endangered. if we all rush to texas to the bootcamp and travel who is at work?things need to happen locally and mindfully. I respect and value some of the modules , but this is nothing new and is not much aligned with life in front of us.

      1. Ashleigh Mooney

        Hi Zora! Thank you for your comment. The BMI event last for one weekend. One of the many things we focus on is how you can use simplicity, probability and leverage so that you can accomplish more and not have to be the only one working all of the time. In order to have anything be sustainable and self-sufficient, it’s very important to schedule time for training, strategy, etc. The attendees put into place the things they are learning while at the event. You aren’t going, learning, then coming back to figure out how to make it work, you are putting the things you learn into action while there. Please check out our website and reach out to us if you have any further questions or concerns.

      2. Kay

        We all like getting things for free but I don’t think it is fair or even realistic to expect all the people that are involved in putting together and presenting this summit to do it free forever. We are getting it free now and that is very generous considering the time(years), effort, and expense the people involved have put into it. Their JOB is to gather and share information that will help people. A carpet cleaner or a school teacher wouldn’t be expected to work for free. The people here have worked hard and that work has value or we wouldn’t want it. It isn’t unreasonable or selfish for them to sell the fruits of their labor.

    2. Lydia

      I understand what you are saying, Donna, because I am in the same situation. In David Holmgren’s book “Permaculture Princlples and Pathway’s”, he has a chart of Zones that places these concerns between zone 1- Personal and Household and zone 2- Business & Community. Zone 0 in this scheme is Permaculture Design Principles, and Zone 5 is Global. i am involved in trying to expand my Permaculture understanding into the community by networking with other gardeners. There are many educational institutions that are being formed around successful mini farms, CSA’s, etc. However, I see a huge gap between mini-farms and family gardening, which Farmers Markets do not fill. If every one of the family gardens are growing the same vegetables there is too much competition. We need to find a way to co-operate and network to evolve a local solution to the threats that hang over our heads. The Transition movement was one such idea, but that did not “take” in our community. This is the crack in the foundation wall that you, I,and many others could work toward filling into the future.
      I think Rick has offered excellent suggestions for focus that can improve our personal and global sense of direction, and commitment to providing food while regenerating the natural processes of the earth around us.

    3. Tami

      Zora, the core of Bill Mollison’s (Father of modern permaculture) is based upon infinity (as discussed in the textbook). The model is that the world is NOT finite. We have yet to discover how much a square foot can produce. Perhaps your mindset is limiting your potential to heal and at the same time to prosper?

      Sustainability is the first topic of this interview. Perhaps your comment follows the false sense that there is “fairness.” You seem to believe you are practicing “fairness” by only selling a few things from the excess. . .what is a “few?” What is fair? Fair is a politically-correct deception that locks society into slavery.

      Enjoy abundance while healing!

    4. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi Donna,

      Even with just a small market garden do you have a purpose for your business? Have you looked at your values? Implementing rhythms and cycles will greatly increase production.

      These principles apply at any scale of business.
      Oh, and for more specifics on how you can earn income check out Justin Rhoner’s presentation that is coming up this weekend title “& Ways To Garden and Get Paid”

  4. Bill

    Excellent. I recently came across an article that said for most new things to spread in America they needed to be framed as a business. The more successful food, Permaculture and sustainability businesses we see the more likely we are to endure and survive these challenging times.

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      Awesome! I’m so happy you get it! Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

    2. Marjory WIldcraft

      Thank you Bill – well said. “Business” is one of the great invisible structures that Bill Mollison spoke of. Many people have asked me, “Marjory why don’t you run TGN as a nno-profit?” but I believe it is through the struggles of creating a successful business that any real change can occur.

      1. Jean

        Marjory, I totally agree with you. Sadly many business end up running at no profit and then fizzle. If their owners had the information in this presentation would the businesses grow instead? If we have a “product”, be it idea or physical, that we believe would benefit the earth and people on it, we need have no shame in that product providing for our daily bread and shelter. I am excited that The Grow Network is providing a service good enough that it is able to support the families working in the business and I hope enough profit to sustain on-going growth to reach your long term objective.

  5. TRISH

    Zora I sgree with you. ” if we all rush to texas to the bootcamp and travel who is at work?things need to happen locally and mindfully.”

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      I agree, things do need to happen locally and mindfully. Sometimes the best ideas come together when you are surrounded by other people who totally align with your vision and goals but they just so happen to live across the country or on the other side of the world. The BMI’s bring like minded people together who are out to accomplish big things to better our world at a very high level. If this interest you, please contact me to discuss further.

      1. Pat Hippchen

        And that is why Mother Earth News, in all their God-given Wisdom, have chosen to present the News Fair in SO MANY locations! I have been able to attend because of this! Please support and encourage them to continue!

    2. Marjory WIldcraft

      I look for the best possible model that I can find, and I do my best to duplicate it. It doesn’t matter where the model is… Traveling somewhere to gain wisdom is necessary. I spent quite a long time ‘sniffing out’ this program. And then of course it has been a few years in implementing the process. That is hard won experience. It works.

  6. PA

    Interesting talk. Very knowledgeable speaker. I would like to hear about the number one obstacle to anything we in the homesteading, farming, entrepreneurial communities face; government. Government regulations, laws, heavy-handed enforcement tactics. And especially the push to make anything “challenging” the agri-industrial complex illegal.

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi PA, I agree we have definitely got a Gov’t that is way out of control I honestly don’t know if I will be successful or not, but how could I live with myself if I didn’t try. I think there will always be challenges to any venture. Yup, the Gov’t is one here. But we shouldn’t let it stop us from doing what is right.

  7. TRISH

    Would love to see a presentation on those who barter.

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi Trish! oh excellent idea. I will put that on the wish list for the next Summit. Yes, barter and trade, and how to build community.

  8. TRISH

    Shut off your te lie vision. The weapon of mass distraction.

    1. Jean

      LOL! Who has on to shut off?

      1. Marjory WIldcraft

        ugh, unfortunately my kids have one… 🙁

        1. Jean

          LOL, time for off off-grid? Sadly, convincing our families is often, no always, the most difficult.

  9. Dorothea Lowe

    This had absolutely NOTHING to do with permaculture. Just some generic babble about running a business.

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      Hi Dorothea! Thank you for your comment. We actually believe that this has a lot to do with premaculture. In order to have a sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystem, you must have a sustainable and self-sufficient business and way of getting things done. I do respect your opinion and wish you the absolute best! Thank you for the feedback. We will use this to do a better job of explaining the connection in the future.

      1. Lydia

        I Thought of a lot of Permaculture principles when listening to Rick’s talk. Examples: ” Get a Yeild” -Holmgren and “the least change for the greatest possible effect”- Mollison

      2. Tami

        Every presenter in this Summit is dedicated to increasing their business acumen to move the message of permaculture forward. Without solid business practices and mindful goals, we would be stuck in our backyards thinking we are alone; or worse yet, never knowing how to share our ideas. It takes funding to reach audiences. . . hence, business. There is nothing wrong with staying small, but I’m thankful forests don’t subscribe to the idea that raised bed gardening is the only viable method.

    2. Jean

      Dorothea, I first thought the same thing, but if we could put the PRINCIPLES into our lives from the garden up it wouldn’t take long to help Marjory reach her goal of 10% of American growing 50% of their food in their back yards!!

      1. Marjory WIldcraft

        Thanks Jean.

    3. Brunski

      If you are selling stuff… you are running a business like it or not! Think of where all you tools, seeds, clothing, the internet, phone, etc came from? Other businesses, I know of many in this industry who are barely able to sustain themselves, because they have little business acumen. Even if you have a small cottage business, the principles are the Same!

    4. Jean

      In answer to the question, no I do not currently earn an income from homesteading endeavors. But I need to be able to generate income to reach my goal of helping to preserve the Gulf Coast Native sheep breed. If I can show a profit or at the least break even growing these sheep then perhaps others would be willing to also own and propagate the breed. So I found this presentation very appropriate for the Summit in my case. The principles are the same whether I want to grow a sustainable homestead with 25 sheep or a multi-national corporation. I have seen glimpses of the same type information at the Annie’s Project, anniesproject.org, but it was even more broad brush than this and I’m so ignorant I really have no idea how to apply it to get started. Being a one woman show is challenging but for the sake of the sweet sheep and one not-so-sweet ram, I will learn!

      1. Jean

        Sorry, somehow I posted the preceding comment in the wrong place. It really should be at the bottom, independent from the above comment.

    5. Laura

      I thought it was helpful for centering your purpose and seeing your goals accomplished, helpful for anyone. I am not a business owner nor do I intend to be, but I really took a lot away from this presentation. I feel all over the place, just surviving, like I’m always spinning my wheels when it comes to how my homestead and life have been going lately and now I am confident I won’t feel that way soon from what I’ve learned.

  10. Lydia

    Very clear and useful talk. I will look into his programs.I’m often overwhelmed with too much to do, and no time, even though retired, because of having too many “goals”. Thank you Rick for being so organized and illustrating your points with examples that can be remembered. Thanks for including this in the summit, Marjory.

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      Lydia, please let me know if you have any questions. Happy to assist you in getting clear on your goals if that is what you are out for!

  11. Linda

    Thanks, Marjory, for all that you do toward your business purpose of helping heal the Earth, if you’ll allow my slight rephrasing of your words during this really excellent presentation. Pairing your experience and observations with the teaching of Rick Sapio was very powerful, transformative even. As a homesteader I’ve been struggling to develop a sustainable business that melds my goals to provide food, fiber, and stewardship of northern prairies while strengthening communities both human and natural. This presentation provides information necessary to advance from dreams/hopes to action/successes. Thank you!

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      Awesome Linda! Please update us and let us know how you use the information you learned.

    2. Linda

      Food for thought based on the comments above: Many or even most permies and homesteaders either can’t or won’t have the money to attend Rick’s bootcamp. Some of us are committed by principle or finances to stay near home, lessening our carbon footprint and reducing expenses. Letting us peep behind the curtain of this business development program is helpful, but can you think of other ways, Marjory, to help bring these planning principles into a format more tailored toward the low-budget permies (like me) in your audience? Books, web-based learning, and study groups (either place-based or inter-connected) would lend themselves to reaching, and thus enriching, people who share your (our!) goal to stop destruction of the Earth.

      1. Ashleigh Mooney

        Very powerful thought Linda! We do have an online training course that you can check out for $10. We also offer a 60 day money back guarantee. Please go to this website to learn more. http://www.businessfinishingschool.com/bfsinfo/

    3. Marjory WIldcraft

      Linda, I am glad you liked the presentation. When bringing in something that is a little ‘out of the mold’ it is a bit risky. But I feel Rick’s message is extremely valuable. I keep going back to that phrase ‘you can’t have a sustainable future without sustainable businesses”.

  12. Joysmithing

    Great presentation. A lot of insights to think about. For another commenter, I don’t plan on making my home into a business either, but these principles can be applied to become a self-sustaining farm as well. For Example: Next quarter goal is get gardens planned, fences mended, cold frames built/repaired, and seed blocks ready for early planting. 20 year goal is be self-sustaining with enough surplus to pay the land taxes and help support local food bank every month. Thank you Rick!

    1. Ashleigh Mooney

      Exactly! Although we do market towards business owners and entrepreneurs, we also have stay at home moms who take our course to learn how to better manage their household. So much of what we teach can be applied personally for building a self-sustaining future at home.

  13. Marilyn

    Pretty good as far as it went. Sort of struck me finally as an infomercial. Maybe with the promo price reduction I can talk my son into attending, though it’s a long drive from here & no money for a hotel. Interesting ideas.

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Marilyn, in a way this entire Summit is an infomercial – to inspire more home grown food!

  14. MommaM

    Thanks for helping me clear up the fog on how to design a business that will help heal the world and be satisfying without digging us into financial disaster! Where our dreams meet up with common sense our path will begin. We know many homesteaders and small organic farmers that are really stressed out and going broke and we don’t want that to happen to us. It’s so good to know who the helpful resources are by knowing how you’ve helped others. It takes a lot of trial and error just to find out who’s a good consultant. Now we know. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and life experience.

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      I spent a lot of time ‘sniffing’ Rick out. And more years implementing it. Yes I agree there is so much out there these days it is very difficult to know who to listen to. This program is solid.

  15. Kent

    The presentation is very good. It seems like it might be very helpful. It would be nice if you had stated up front that the presentation could be classified as an “infomercial”. But that is probably true of any presentation given by someone with a product to sell…. Still a very useful presentation!

  16. Bonnie Krause-Gams

    Well, well, well, I was going to pass over this talk as I am not a business, nor will that happen here, BUT, by viewing this, I can see the plan for Grownetwork and that is exciting. Marjorie’s purpose on a large scale, is exactly what I am doing in my own yard “trying to stop the destruction of the earth”.
    The covert of a long term goal, which most gardeners have, leading to a month by month follow up/alignment with the long term goal is very powerful.

    17 years ago we bought two acres consisting of a house with attached garage and the rest in grass to cut.
    We had very little money, but I knew somehow I was going to change this setting.
    I gathered enough pallets to make a large fenced in area. I stapled chicken wire to the pallets that I had buried 3inches deep, I made a gate out of a pallet, and I dug and planted that space.
    Then I began to learn and remember.
    That goal has now materlized, with the help of the birds and the bees into a copse of trees, and a yard with natural grass of weeds and clover, plus dozens of garden beds that grow most of our food.

    It is because of a plan, or a dream, or people like Marjorie that I have almost reached my 20 year goal.
    So thank you for this information. You made me realize I have been doing this without knowing it. How cool is that !

    1. Bonnie Krause-Gams

      Spell check always amazes me: my sentence should read

      The thought of a long term goal, which most gardeners have, leading to a month to month follow up/alignment with the long term goal is very powerful.

      Makes a little more sense.


    2. Marjory WIldcraft

      Wow Bonnie, so well said. Yes, I decided to play a big game. I honestly don’t know or even believe that I’ll achieve it. But whatever…. it is what I am called to do. Thank you so much for your support.

      And BTW, you know it is a genuine Marjory comment when there are typo’s everywhere!

  17. just

    this felt most like a creative infomercial for his program than actually giving any of the insights. would have felt better if he had given one complete module for the presentation.
    At least he did stick to his principle of his focus on profit.

  18. Deb

    I found this presentation made some useful points.

  19. Nancy Haberland

    Thank you for offering this as part of the summit. I admit I was unsure what to expect, but it was enjoyable to listen to and informative as well. I look forward to more. I wish there were show notes to go back over the information.

  20. Susan

    Wow! Incredibly helpful! Thanks, Rick!!!

  21. Desiree

    Thanks Marjory & Rick, awesome presentation x very useful…

  22. Pat Hippchen

    Always interesting to observe the time when the comments are written. [would think that would correlate w/ the time presentation was watched].
    Still trying to decide [but I probably will] if I’m going to watch this. [due to the extreme # of MB on the last one I watched.. we have only metered connection]. Wish there was a way to see how many MB were on each one! Thank you.

  23. Pat Hippchen

    Always interesting to observe the time when the comments are written. [would think that would correlate w/ the time presentation was watched].
    Still trying to decide [but I probably will] if I’m going to watch this. [due to the extreme # of MB on the last one I watched.. we have only metered connection]. Wish there was a way to see how many MB were on each one! Thank you…
    YES– I enjoyed this VERY much… helped to encourage me to focus on my future!

  24. George Debs

    Love this! So much clarity!
    I love how you defined “rules” as “rhythms”.
    It makes it so much more exciting to set up. Thank you!

  25. Takako

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

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