Back in the city after getting kicked off of 3 Farms in 6 Weeks, I was now living out of an RV in the backyard of a house in National City, San Diego, California.
The next two months would be spent hanging out with the chickens, dogs, neighbors, and observing what life was like in the poorer part of suburban America.
Observation #1: Shelter
The RV in the backyard I was living in, was part of a single-family house, built in 1886.
The house was beautiful, made from Red Wood & Oak, but falling into disrepair.
Now with 12 people living inside of it, everyone was generous & super nice. Artists, service workers,retirees; it was a mixed bunch.
However, all was not well.
The cost of living was insane.
Nearly everyone was living paycheck to paycheck, and one room cost close to $1000/month.
On top of this, the most expensive possession in each of the rooms were the TV’s.
One evening, I had one of the strangest experiences … watching one of the pre-installed channels on a Samsung tv, we were being targeted with QR code ads, stuck in a tiny room.
It felt as if we were crammed into a small apartment in South Korea … when we were all sitting in the urban sprawl of San Diego …
What can one say?
The march of globalization touches everything.
Observation #2: Food
Some mornings, I would help my friend Chuck organize his things for the eventual move to Ecuador.
One of those mornings, while picking up coffee in Starbucks, I noticed something funny.
Vegan diets have been all the rage … Keto is now the new fad in California … forcing Starbucks to include menus “power by protein” and “Vegetarian Goodness”
Consumerism is still alive and well … Wal-Mart packed with obese people and literally every processed product containing vegetable oils.
Food companies, healthcare, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and corporate capture of government institutions … corruption is rife.
A perfect example … in 7 Eleven (a convenience store) one day, I noticed EBT (food stamps) could be used to buy absolute garbage food.
Thankfully, less than a block away was a latino store, full of beef & a barbecue, where I could make sure there was no use of vegetable oils.
Honestly, during this 6 month trip, I’m not sure what I would have done without it …
On top of this, even before the Ukraine war broke out in February, the price gouging I had observed in Los Angeles during October 2021 was ongoing.
Observation #3: Work & San Diego Backyard Chickens
Most days were spent sitting in the RV, trying to fix Steak Club’s courier issues, with breaks to help Chuck reorganize for the move to Ecuador.
The company woes of Steak Club in Poland were not over.
Over the next 2 months, there were 23 failed deliveries, and nothing I could do.
In all honesty, the only relief I experienced was in observing nature…the small things in life.
Within 3 weeks of arriving, the chickens had destroyed the grass.
What’s the number one rule when regenerative grazing?
Constantly move animals, and don’t come back until the grass has recovered.
However, chickens were slowly being sold off.
Finding eager buyers on San Diego Backyard Chickens, rare chickens were being sold up to $500.
Observing the changing social order of roosters & hens was truly fascinating, as the flock was slowly sold off.
It’s the small things.
The chickens and dogs were as close to nature I could get.
Mamba and the small community were a great relief, while Steak Club continued to fall further into debt.
Escape from California
After 2 months, now nearing the end of March, there was no word still from the farm in Santa Barbara, and something had to be done about Steak Club.
Still broke, I was lucky enough to have a friend lend me the money to book a ticket back to Warsaw, Poland.
At the same time, I booked a rental car to drive from San Diego to Los Angeles.
The plan was to get the car, go back to the 1st farm to pick up my driver’s license, then continue to LAX.
Arriving at the car rental agency … I was unable to get the car, the temporary license had expired…I had mixed the day and month.
Next was to the train station … trains were not working that day.
Third try … Flexbus … where finally, I managed to make it to Union Station in Los Angeles.
Then finally, after 12 hours of non-stop travel stress, I was on the plane back to Poland.
And settled into a dutch cottage in the West of Poland … to slowly recover and begin rebuilding Steak Club.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Now, nearly a year later … I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the 6 months during the winter of 2021-2022.
But … during the process much was accomplished:
– Made lifelong friends
– Created an e-mail list of close to 300 people to visit the future educational farm
– Learned first-hand about the problems California and people living the United States are facing.
So let’s end this story on a positive note.
While transiting through Union Station, I was taking a break and ran into two gentlemen getting off a bus.
We chatted, me telling stories of $500 chickens in San Diego, and plans to create an educational regenerative farm. John Gutowski took my email, and promised to get in contact.
Then this past January, I found the email waiting in the inbox. His daughter happens to be an influencer, My Life as Eva, with over 11.2 million subscribers on youtube.
Honestly, I’m not sure when I will be going back to California. At the time of writing this post, I’ve spent 1.5 years rebuilding the company from scratch.
All the issues with suppliers & couriers have been fixed.
Hopefully the groundwork is in place to go back and establish an Educational Regenerative Farm in California.
Chuck & Nat, whom I met at the 3rd farm, have now moved to Ecuador … and there is an open invitation to visit anytime.
As for me … I moved to Calabria, Italy December 2022, ironically nicknamed “Calabrifornia” for it’s wide variety of micro-climates and where you can live on 1500 EUR (with rent) a month in luxury.
Finally, this month, I’ve hired a virtual assistant to take over the day-to-day at Steak Club, and pivoting to working in Regenerative Agriculture full-time.
Getting to this point would not have been possible without challenges.
It’s only through struggle, that we are forced to learn, adapt and grow.
The journey over the past 5 years has been transformative.
Switching from city to country life while changing my life mission to creating a sustainable agricultural system … Steak Club has changed as well.
The original purpose of Steak Club was a lifestyle business, providing a nice monthly income & barbecues to create international communities.
Now, after learning holistic health, how to raise cow’s sustainably and finally getting the company out of debt….this year I will be looking for investors … with the ultimate goal of having heritage cow breeds in every country.
Believe it, when they say entrepreneurship is hard. But, if you have the grit & determination to stick with it, there is nothing more rewarding in life.
Let’s finish with a quote from Winston Churchill:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiam.”