Why Is Monticello College A Functional Farm?

This post is one that will separate our readers into two groups.  You will either read it and say, “wow, that makes so much sense, I see why Monticello College has a farm and teaches the manual arts,” or you will read a part of it, become bored, and drift toward leaving the site.

Either way, I strongly encourage you to stay the course and read this post to the end.

folks-this-aint-normal_coverart_300pxJoe Salatin, in his book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, writes a very compelling argument (for the first group) supporting the return to common sense and being grounded.

He starts on page 36:

One of my messages in this book is to try to awaken a thirst and hunger for some basic food and farming knowledge before our appetite for cerebral and academic techno-subjects crowds out all of this historically normal knowledge.

Wouldn’t it be as valuable to go process your Thanksgiving turkey, or at least spend some time with it in the field, as it is to face-paint your five-year-old and stick colored feather shaped construction paper in her hair?

Farms and food production should be, I submit, at least as important as who pierced their navel in Hollywood this week.
60328989.1584Please tell me I’m not the only one who believes this. Please.

As a culture, we think we’re well educated, but I’m not sure that what we’ve learned necessarily helps us survive.

I’m talking about the skills and knowledge contained, for example, in the Foxfire books. The back-to-the-land books of the hippie era are still some of the best living manuals out there.

Country craft and farmsteading enjoy an interest revival every time things look bleak. To me, it seems prudent to acquaint ourselves with some of this information before a meltdown occurs.

A rudimentary, basic knowledge of things won’t crowd out celebrity information or keep us from knowing how to use a cell phone. Trust me, it won’t.

I love people, and I love learning. And it seems to me that an educated person should know a few basic things about farm ecology. Not much, just a little. I offer the next examples in the spirit of explanation.

apostle-david-paul-rodgers-compares-gay-marriage-to-rooster-and-hens“You don’t have roosters with your laying hens? How do they lay eggs?” Dear folks, chickens don’t need roosters to lay eggs.

They need roosters to hatch eggs, but not to lay them. Just like women don’t need men to lay eggs; they just need a man to hatch one.

A mere century ago, not one in a hundred would have been ignorant of this common agrarian knowledge.

The next common one: “oh, there’s the bull, ‘cause he has horns.” Dear hearts, horns do not make a bull. It ain’t what’s on top of the head that counts. It’s what’s between the legs. I don’t know if horns have anything to do with horniness, but they sure don’t have anything to do with masculinity.

imagesA farmer friend of mine told me recently about a bus load of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour.

The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apple and peaches.

Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care?

How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that’s a scary thought.

Do you know the difference between hay and straw? Straw is the stalk and leaves of a small grain plant. Stover is the leftovers of a corn plant. Hay is solar-dried forage. In order to get hay equally dried, it is windrowed to let the air blow through it and get the underneath leaves turned up to the drying sun.

downloadA windrow is a long tube of hay. A baler picks up the windrow and forms the hay into packages; round bales, little square bales, little round bales, or large square bales. Each of these has a different machine and different reason for use.

How do you herd cows? Cows have a flight zone. Since their eyes are on the sides of their head, they have far more peripheral vision than people.

They can see about 300 degrees around themselves. If we could do that, it would be equivalent to having eyes in the back of our heads.

Depending on our approach to the cow, she either wants to go past us, turn around and stand off at us, or turn tail and run away. All these responses are a result of how we approach her flight zone.

Trees grow out, not up. They only grow up right at their buds. That is why you can put a rope on a tree and it stays at the same height. Once bark forms, the height does not change.

1-130Z31HA20-LThe cambium grows the tree horizontally, in diameter, but not vertically.

Otherwise, that hammock we stretched between those two trees this year would be a foot higher next year and a foot higher a year after that. Wouldn’t that be funny?

Farmers speak in precise language. A cow is a female who has had two calves. A first-calf heifer is a female who has had only one calf. A heifer is a female who has not calved. A bred heifer is a female who is pregnant but has not yet calved. A bull calf is a young uncastrated male.

A bull is an uncastrated male old enough to bred—and that is far from full-grown, believe me. A calf is an unweaned bovine of either sex. A heifer calf is a female calf; a bull calf is a male calf. A stocker is a weaned calf prior to finishing. A finisher is a calf almost big enough to slaughter—it’s being finished.

An open cow is one that is not pregnant. A dry cow is nonlactating. A fresh cow is one that has very recently calved, and a freshening cow is one that is just about to calve. A bull can cover (bred) about thirty to fifty cows.

Folks, that just cows. And believe it or not, virtually every American knew all this lingo a scant century ago. Every species has this same level of nomenclature.

Not long ago, common knowledge included the difference between a wether  (castrated male sheep) and a ram (breeding age male sheep). A ram lamb and ewe lamb.

[Blogger’s Note: Several of these words show up in spell check as misspellings, have we strayed that far?]

images (1)A shoat (castrated male pig) and a gilt (unbred female pig). Sow and boar.

And then you have the whole grouping thing: herd, flock, gaggle (geese).

And if that’s not enough, the birthing takes on distinctives: cows calve, sheep lamb, rabbits kindle, hogs farrow, horses foal.

Can you name four vegetables that grow underground? Potatoes, carrots, beets, salsify, parsnips, turnips. How about four that grow above ground? Corn, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, green beans, lettuce, peas, melons, squash, cucumber. Tomatoes are a fruit.

download (1)Which vegetables can handle frost? Which ones have to be planted after frost? Which ones are legumes? Which ones grow tall? Which ones need trellises? Which ones are perennials? Asparagus, rhubarb.

Everywhere children and gardening mix, the enthusiasm for learning this heritage agrarian knowledge is insatiable. To interact with nature and food in this visceral functional way is foundational to developing common sense.

When people lose touch with these cornerstones of existence, their thinking gets all screwy. Staying grounded, very literally, and staying anchored in sensibleness require relationships with food production.


Along with our academic and leadership goals, Monticello College has the goal of instilling common sense into each and every student by helping them develop a solid relationship with nature and food production.

Atlas Shrugged: France Models The Future Of America

9780465092680_p0_v1_s260x420In his 2008 book, The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel writes a compelling story suggesting that if you want a good view of the United States 15 or 20 years from now, take a look at Europe.

More to the point are disturbing news reports that demonstrate spooky similarities to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, being played out in France as you read this. Watch this Video.

Recent proclamations and “business as usual” from Congress and the Executive branch are providing more than ample evidence that American political leadership is following in the footsteps of France’s “Shrug,” and rushing with all its might to catchup with, and indeed overtake Europe in the race to fulfill some anti-Randian ideal.

In spite of it all, Monticello College remains dedicated to the proposition that the Unites States is a nation watched over by Providence, and that although she seems to have stumbled, America can be great again.

We are doing all that we are physically capable of to provide leadership and accountability to that end. Part of that effort is the debt-free building of our campus in Monticello, UT. Thanks to many of you, we reached our 2013 funding goal of $2,500 per month.

Our new funding goal or Phase Two of our building campaign is to secure 350 individuals or families who support Monticello College and are willing to donate $25 per month for 6 months.

Phase two is the build-out phase where we will develop facilities for summer programs and large group events and prepare for our first cohort of on campus students.  The funding goal for phase two is to raise $300,000. Step one of this goal is to reach $50,000 so we can begin construction by June 1, 2014.

Again, we need 350 individuals or families to contribute $25 per month for the next 6 months. We, of course, will gratefully accept any donation that you can offer.

Will you help us?

Will you be part of the re-building of our country?

To donate or for more info click below:



Building Two Towers And The Abundance Mentality

Monticello College Sunrise

Monticello College Sunrise

At regular intervals during undergraduate enrollment, a Monticello College mentor takes time to talk about the future. What will you be doing after graduation? What is your mission? Do you plan to have a family? How will you fulfill that mission while providing for your family? This necessarily leads to a great discussion. All students are counseled that in order to be effective as future statesmen, they each need to build two towers; a family and an institution.

 Tower One: Families

Our very nature as human beings dictates that we gravitate toward the family environment. Our greatest happiness comes only through and within the bonds of a loving and nurturing family. Students are encouraged to plan for a family focusing on preparing first to be a loving and caring spouse, and second, to plan a family and prepare to serve as protective and nurturing parents.

Level Tower Two: Institution

All students are encouraged to contribute to society by means of developing an institution. This may be a for-profit or not-for-profit corporation. It might be some sort of social entrepreneurial organization or they may decide to make a contribution in an intrapreneurial manner. Regardless the method, all students are exposed to the abundance philosophy and encouraged to make their mark in the world, to do more than just earn a good living. In order to be successful in creating an institution, students must embrace the two elements required for true prosperity: the concepts of abundance and producers.

Forest Surrounding Monticello College

Forest Surrounding Monticello College


An abundance mentality is one that is rare in society today. Most people are concerned that there is a finite amount of whatever it is that they want and that they must spend their lives scratching out their meager portion. Abundance mentality assumes just the opposite. It declares that there is more than enough of all material, spiritual, and emotional goodness and that although one must decide and work for what they want, there is always enough and to spare.

Prosperity and abundance in a society depend on a certain type of person: the producer. Societies with few producers stagnate and decay, while nations with a large number of producers vibrantly grow—in wealth, freedom, power, influence, and the pursuit of happiness. Producers think in terms of abundance rather than scarcity, take initiative instead of waiting for someone else to provide them with opportunity, and faithfully take wise risks instead of fearfully believing that they can’t make a difference.

In contrast, non-producers provide very little leadership in society and cause more than a majority of the problems. In history, as Jefferson put it, producers are the most valuable citizens. Of course, he was speaking directly of farmers, but the principle applies to all those who add significant value to society. Non-producers consume the value that is added to society, but they create little value.

Campus Under Construction 2012

Campus Under Construction 2012

But who are the producers? Fortune 500 executives include themselves in this category and so do small business owners in their first month of operation. Successful investors call themselves producers as do unsuccessful day traders who claim that they just “haven’t had their lucky break yet.” Clearly, just calling yourself a producer doesn’t make you one. In fact, there are at least five types of producers, and each type is vital to a successful civilization. Each of the five creates incredible value, though the currency of the value is not always identical.

Without any of the five types, no society succeeds and grows. When all five are creating sufficient value, no society has ever failed. Producers are needed—all five types.

Click Here To Read The Remainder Of This Article (Go to Chapter Two: Section Four)

A Revolution of Entrepreneurship

downloadIn January, I attended a convention where one of the featured speakers was my friend, Stephen Palmer.

Steve’s bio is at the end of this post, but what I want you to know is that Steve actually believes and lives what he says.  I hope Steve and Karina won’t mind too much if I get a little personal.

imagesI have known Steve for more than ten years. I knew him when he was a newly married “too smart for his britches” freshman.  

I watched as he and his family tried their hand at business and fell flat on their faces. I have had painful conversations with Steve when he was in the depths of misery, and I have watched in amazement as he pulled himself up out of the ashes to become a New York Times best-selling author and world-class speaker.

I share this bit of transformation to communicate the idea that growth and mission are painful.

download (1)Entrepreneurship is not easy, and for every success story there is a corresponding behind-the-scenes story of pain, struggles, and tears.

But every one of these stories is a story of liberty, of financial freedom, of political autonomy, of successful mission.

Every one of the stories I could tell here, including Steve and Karina’s story, is a story of triumph against terrible odds, a story that could have ended in mediocrity and “settling,” but only due to the belief in something better, progressed into a story of endurance, perseverance, and unusual optimism.

It is with this intro that I ask you to take the next 20 minutes and watch this video:



Stephen Palmer is an idealist, truth-seeker, lover of liberty, writer, and the author of Uncommon Sense: A Common Citizen’s Guide to Rebuilding America

He has a burning belief in the power of the human spirit — our ability to transcend circumstances and achieve greatness through choice.  That belief drives him to strive for virtue and excellence in his own life, and to do all in his power to uplift and inspire others.

He lives and promotes his passion as a founding partner of The Center for Social Leadership, through his personal blog, and, of course, through Life Manifestos.

He co-authored, with Garrett Gunderson, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Businessweek, and Amazon bestseller Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity. He also co-authored, with Kris Krohn, The Conscious Creator: Six Laws for Manifesting Your Masterpiece Life, as well as Hub Mentality: Shifting from Business Transactions to Community Interactions with Carl Woolston.

A dedicated learner and promoter of personal, financial, and governmental freedom, Stephen is passionate about political philosophy, economics, history, personal finance, entrepreneurship, religion and spirituality, family, education and culture. (See his favorite books and movies.)

He graduated from a liberal arts college where he was mentored by Oliver DeMille. He’s also been privileged to be mentored by Steve D’Annunzio. He is also a graduate and faculty member of Wizard Academy, a “non-traditional business school” with an emphasis on the art and science of persuasive communication.

He and his wife Karina are raising their four kids in southern Utah. When he’s not writing or spending time with his family, you’ll find him reading, canyoneering in Zion National Park, gardening, or playing basketball.

A Liberal Arts Degree Is More Valuable Than Learning Any Trade

56 year-old Rivik Ranadivé is an Indian businessman, engineer, author, speaker and philanthropist. Ranadivé is the founder and CEO of TIBCO, a multi-billion dollar real-timing computing  company, and is credited with digitizing Wall Street in the 1980s with his first company, Teknekron Software Systems.


imagesI’ve made it a lifelong habit to do things I know nothing about.

I’m a hardware engineer who started, and still runs, a billion-dollar software company.

I have a couple of degrees in engineering from MIT and a Harvard MBA.

So, if anyone is the poster child for a left-brained education, it’s me.

However, I still believe a liberal arts degree is more of an asset than learning any trade.

I believe this to be true for a handful of reasons.

The first is that whatever can be done in India and China WILL be done in India and China.

Any job that can be outsourced eventually will be, from IT to back-office medical or financial work, for a fraction of the cost.

Also, whatever can be done by a computer will be done by a computer. The people who will succeed in more expensive labor markets like the U.S. will be those who can think creatively and generate the IDEAS that will propel economic growth. Such skills are best fostered in a traditional liberal arts environment.

If anything, I think we should make the liberal arts education more rigorous. If you teach students one trade, that skill might be obsolete in a few years. But if you teach people how to think and look at lots of information and connect dots – all skills that a classic liberal education gives you – you will thrive.

Here’s an example: 70-80% of software code is the infrastructure – bring this info from here, do this, do that – while only 20% is the actual application itself. If you build applications A and B, you will need to build a bridge for them to communicate with each other – it has to be a two-way bridge.

Then, if you build application C, you will need yet another bridge for A to communicate with C and for B to communicate with C. 90% of IT budget is used to maintain these lines of communication.

This type of left-brained thinking is like saying, every person that is born [in the US] speaks their own language, so everyone in the U.S. needs to learn 300 million languages to communicate with each other.

That is highly illogical. As a hardware engineer, I knew there was a component of the computer known as the information bus. You plug cards into it and communicate throughout the interface. I thought, knowing nothing about software, why can’t there be a software bus?

It’s the equivalent to saying, let’s all just speak English and not have to learn 300 million languages. This was my big idea – an example of out-of-the-box, right-brained thinking started my company and has helped me pay my bills.

On May 26, 2010, when the market cap of Apple beat the market cap of Microsoft, that was the day in history when the right brain finally beat the left brain. This is just the beginning of the right-brain revolution.


Why I Hate School But Love Education

images (6)On December 5, 2012, English rapper-poet Suli Breaks posted a video that took the internet by storm.  With over 500,000 hits in the first couple of days, and over 2.5 million to date, this youtube video went viral almost the second it was released.

This young college graduate, turned self-styled poet, takes a strong stance on schooling, urging the world’s youth to “understand your motives and reassess your aims.”

“Let’s look at the statistics,” Suli Breaks says, pointing to moguls worth billions of dollars as examples of those who succeeded without graduating from a institution of higher learning: the late Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Michael Jackson.

He also points to icons who are famous not for their money but for their impact such as Jesus, Muhammad, Socrates, Mother Teresa, Malcolm X, Spielburg, Shakespeare, Jesse Owens, and Beethoven.

He is not saying that education is a waste; on the contrary, he is simply saying that there is a huge gulf between education and schooling.

“Redefine how you view education; understand its true meaning,” Suli Breaks says. “Education is not just about regurgitating facts from a book on someone else’s opinion on a subject to pass an exam. Look at it. Picasso was educated in creating art. Shakespeare was educated in the art of all that was written. Colonel Harland Sanders was educated in the art of creating Kentucky fried chicken.”

Sometimes if takes a young black poet to help us see what is right in front of us.


Why I Hate School But Love Education Video