Food Production Systems DVD Review and Giveaway

Can a two hour DVD turn you into a self sufficient farmer, providing all the food for your family on your postage stamp sized yard? Of course not. (If you think this is possible, let me know. I have a unique business opportunity to discuss with you :D ) However, the Food Production Systems For a Backyard or Small Farm DVD Is a wealth of information on how one family managed to do just that (on a bit of acreage) through trial and error over a decade. A full review of the DVD after the jump.

Before I begin describing the structure and content of the DVD, I have one comment. The main thing that continues to impress me is that the makers of this DVD use 10+ years of trial and error to determine what actually worked and what didn’t, what is practical and what isn’t in *their* area. They are quick to point out the mistakes that they have made along the way and point them out and usually provide a bit of background to help the viewer understand why what they implemented did or did not work.

The host, Marjory Wildcraft is also not shy about referring the viewer to the books that they consulted when learning and direct you to them for more in depth information. This is in contrast to many other “experts” I have seen over the years who keep their information close to the vest. Marjory appears to genuinely want to provide information to help others get on the path to self sufficiency by sharing everything they can fit in to the 2 hours of video on the DVD.

DVD Section Summary

The DVD is broken down into a number of chapters that cover the 2 hours of content. I’ll include some brief information on each section.

Section 1: Overview about 4 minutes in length

  • Why we began this journey
  • Soil types and climate of the site
  • Just like it says, this a basic introduction, describing the makers, their property and philosophies.

    Section 2: Water about 10 minutes in length

  • Water sources and qualities of water
  • How much water do you need?
  • Rain water collection systems
  • Wells
  • Ponds
  • An old saying is that without water you are nothing. Water is king, especially here in the high desert of Utah. This section explains the main sources for getting water and which ones are best for food production. Marjory and her family have tried several different ways to collect and store water, some of which worked better for them than others.

    Section 3: Garden about 20 minutes in length

  • Garden location
  • Size – how much area do you need?
  • Bio-Intensive gardening overview
  • Fertility
  • Watering the garden
  • Wind
  • Sun and shade
  • Bugs and insects
  • Vegetable varieties and seed saving
  • Getting started
  • This is one of the longer sections of the DVD. While there is plenty of good general gardening information here but I would recommend that for anyone outside of their area of Texas you look into getting information focused on your specific are. Many of the techniques demonstrated can be used in most climates, but the plants and specific processes needed, fertilizers, local pests, etc. will need a local perspective. Your local Universities Extension program likely has an Agricultural department with this information publicly available. Here in Utah, the Utah State University Extension office is a great source.

    Section 4: Rabbits about 9 minutes in length

  • Housing and protection
  • Watering systems
  • Feeding
  • Breeds
  • Reproduction
  • Other resources
  • One of the primary meat sources for the family are rabbits. This is a relatively short section explaining why the family chose rabbits, how to house them, what breeds they chose and why and mistakes that you can avoid.

    Section 5: Home Butchering about 18 minutes in length

  • Tools
  • Butchering a rabbit
  • Tanning hides
  • Butchering poultry
  • Other animals
  • This section is not for the squeamish. It centers around in depth video instructions on killing and butchering a rabbit. Hide tanning is also mentioned, but is not well covered. After this there are still pictures of the process to butcher chickens with a brief mention of other animals like raccoons, deer, elk, etc. that could all be sources of meat.

    Section 6: Poultry about 8 minutes in length

  • Chicken breeds
  • Feeding
  • Watering
  • Housing and egg collecting
  • Predator protection
  • Getting started
  • This section provides a decent introduction to chickens, their predators, and some problems to look out for. Marjory outlines what breeds they use and why. Some Polyface Farms influence can be seen here as well as they rotate the chickens through different areas to help improve and maintain soil quality and to cut down on weeds and insects.

    Section 7: Dogs about 5 minutes in length

  • Why dogs?
  • Dog training
  • Feeding
  • Housing
  • Size and breeds
  • Final thoughts
  • The creators of this DVD are clearly sold on the benefits of having dogs in your life, mainly to fend off unwanted animals. They make some pretty convincing arguments. A short section is included on training, but as with most topics covered here, if you want to really get started in using working dogs, further research will be required, but this touches on some of the basics so you know what you are working towards.

    Section 8: Perennials: Orchards, Food Forests, and Edible Landscaping about 18 minutes in length

  • Locations and micro climates
  • Watering
  • Fertility
  • Using geese for fertility
  • Tree varieties
  • Planting and care of trees
  • Getting started
  • This section has some really useful information, but again your best bet is to consult with your local University’s extension program to apply what you see in the DVD to your area. The types of edible foods that you can grow in your climate can vary greatly from those presented in this DVD or in books on the subject so do your homework on what works where you live.

    Section 9: Other Essentials about 11 minutes in length

  • Calorie crops
  • Solar food dehydration
  • Home made herbicide test
  • Fire ants
  • Injuries
  • Hog panels and tee posts
  • Water levels and mapping contours
  • Rocket stove and hay box cooker
  • In The Wake; a manual for outliving civilization
  • Propagating leuceana
  • The second to last section contains information that the DVD creators think is important but doesn’t fit well in a previous section. There is plenty of good information here and is too varied to give a brief accounting of.

    Section 10: Thanks about 4 minutes in length

    As you might expect, this is the section where the creators thank those who helped in producing the DVD.

    Bonus Material

    Throughout the DVD Marjory references different books and documents for those seeking more detailed information on a particular subject. Included with the DVD is a CD-ROM loaded with many of the referenced documents in PDF format. My copy had 65 PDF documents included ranging in subject from Solar Food Dehydration to Insecticides to Hide Tanning. While I haven’t spent a tremendous amount of time reviewing the documents, they seem to have been compiled with care to supplement the information provided in the videos for those wanting more information. Often during the course of explaining what the document covers, Marjory will give a location to download the document. This is a good resource in case the information on the CD bonus disc were to become out of date.

    Closing Thoughts

    This DVD provides a quick introduction into many aspects of self sufficiency. As with any brief introduction, further research will be required. Having this documented example of an integrated home/small farm food production system has the potential to save you time and money by following proven, working examples.

    The information in the DVD is optimized for southern climates, particularly the makers specific region of Texas. Viewers from other regions should also find it educational and useful, that being said, this is of course an introduction into many varied concepts that relate to self sufficiency. I don’t think it can be said enough, integrating all these ideas and concepts into your life will take some hard work, research and trial and error. The results should be well worth it however.

    Giveaway Information

    The producers of this DVD have kindly provided us a copy of this DVD to giveaway to one of our lucky readers. To enter, post a comment about this article letting us know what you would like to learn from watching the DVD. We will select one winner at random from all the comments on Friday June 17th and send them their own copy of this preparedness DVD.

    45 Replies to “Food Production Systems DVD Review and Giveaway”

    1. Too bad I’m not eligible here :) sounds like something I’ll want to check out though.

      Also folks, don’t be afraid to give us a “like”, a +1, or a stumble. Help spread the word.

    2. I think you’re right that the concentration on southern climes might make the information slightly less useful for my 5b zone growing, but I would like to hear their arguments for dogs.  Generally speaking, I believe that my dogs have certainly kept the deer away from my back yard and despite the fact I rigged my pellet rifle with a scope to kill the rabbits in the back yard I’m wondering if my four pawed friends haven’t run them off already.

    3. I would like to know more about the integrated approaches that a small operation will take. The steps to butcher home-grown meat animals will also be very interesting.

    4. This would be a great addition to any preparers library. Although I am in 5b, I am a squarefoot gardener and already grow most vegetables we eat in the summer. I am looking to expand to preserving as I used to when the kids were young. I taught them then stopped due to a family problem.

    5. I am far from being a farmer and need all the help on the subject as possible.  I want to grow my own food and start putting it up for the winter months.  The way the economy is going I will need all the garden help I can get from a DVD like this.

    6. This sounds like a great DVD.  I really like that they are willing to give out all the info they have and not hold some back!  

    7. Wow!  That sounds like the perfect DVD to get started with!  I can’t believe everything it covers… I’d LOVE to win it to help me get my brain around some of this preparedness stuff!  Thanks for the opportunity!

    8. Sounds like a great tool!  I am a novice gardener, but would like to grow most of my own food.  We are sufferring under a severe draught here in South Florida, vegetables are going to get expensive to buy!

    9. I like the way it will help organize you in a sequential approach to turning your backyard into a sustainable food source for your family and friends.

    10. I really want to learn more about gardening and how to safely get rid of pests.  This sounds like a great DVD. 

    11. I’d love to learn more about edible landscaping.  I’d like to chuck all the “normal” landscaping and use those areas for food production instead.

    12. I”m most interested in 2 things on this DVD:  1) water – I’m across the border in Colorado, and water is a BIG deal.  Plus, collecting rainwater is ILLEGAL in CO, which is astounding, so I need other ways.  2) Hay box cooker – if there is no electricity or propane, how do I cook dinner? I need more options.

      Looks like a great set – and 10 years of experience (good or bad) is nothing to sneeze at! Thanks :-) 

    13. I am in need of lots of gardening help!  I’m trying to start with some raised garden beds, but need some encouragement and then hopefully will move on to bigger and more fruitful endeavors.

    14. I am interested in learning how to butcher a rabbit. Once the kids are off to college, we hope to buy some land and do more for ourselves, and raising rabbits is one way we hope to do this. Thank you for the review and this great offer!

    15. I would really like to review the whole DVD to be honest. There is always room for improvement in what I know, and there is a lot about what I don’t know included on there. It is getting so expensive to feed a family now-a-days. The biggest thing I would like to learn from the DVD is the calorie crops. My son is a low volume eater so having crops that are high in calorie on hand will help with getting him to gain weight. Thank you for putting a DVD together like this!

    16. While everything looks interesting, I’d like to learn more about the rabbits. So many people get chickens . . . why rabbits? 

    17. Would be so greatful to get knowledge from people who are living it everyday.  I am not new to growing the basic tomatoes and cucumbers, but this year I decided to grow a very large garden.  My goal was to grow enough fruits and vegatables to can and freeze for the whole year.  It has been a great process so far and would love to gain more tips from experienced gardens.  :)

    18. As a “wanna be self sufficient” person, much of the information would be of interest to me.  I am currently learning about chickens; I have the coop ready.  I just need enough info to be successful.
      Thanks, Keri Van Sickle

    19. I like to get the most out of my garden and landscaping and raising my own meat animals to support my family now and in time of need and I love learning new and better ways for food production

    20. As a newbie to most of this, I’m interested in avoiding the mistakes the DVD’s creators have already learned from.

    21. I have info in books, but I learn better seeing it done and examples. I have been looking at this DVD for a while. It’s on my wish list. Would be awesome to win it. Just started with chickens and have a big garden and fruit trees (this year).

    22. Living in a suburban environment and not having much space, I’m interested in making it as productive and sustainable as possible.  Have been considering adding chickens for eggs so we have a protein source given that city ordinance allows us to have two.  With the uncertainties of our economy, it is prudent to make the best of all we have to we can take care of ourselves instead of expecting someone else to come to our rescue.  Who knows that we might be able to help others as well?

    23. This comes at just the right time!  We are moving to 30 acres in the middle of Texas and plan on trying to be self-sufficient with orchards, gardens and chickens.  Never having done any of these things, this DVD would be the perfect place to start.

    24. I would like to learn more about space management, fertility, what and where to plant, and more about fruit trees.

    25. My biggest concern is water. I would like to have a better handle on safely collecting and storing it.

    26. This is my second year gardening and I am learning to fully utilize my .25 acre lot to feed my family.  Would love to have this DVD to refer to.

    27. You can feed a man and a few more for a day with your Backyard Food. They can eat for a lifetime if you teach them how to feed themselves. I believe this is Marjory Wildcraft’s main focus as well as should be all of our missions in this lifetime. You will know where your food comes from and how it’s been grown. The ups and down of raising small animals for food and what can and can’t be done not only in a survival situation but everyday life with food prices and food shortages. Thank you.

    28. I am fascinated with the idea of bringing dogs into the mix, not only as our watchdogs and their normal duties but also protecting our food plots and animals such as chickens and rabbits. I know dogs can be taught to protect other family pets but have not considered how, nor how to guard ‘their’ chickens. Some breeds such as Chesapeakes and Anatolians are known for such ‘adoptions’.

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