Name: Sean and Monica Mitzel
Place of Residence: Cocolalla, Idaho, Zone 6b, on 40 acres
Background and Personal History: Sean and Monica have been married for 24 years. They have seven children who they home school and enjoy raising very much. They moved to Cocolalla, Idaho, from Okinawa, Japan, upon retirement in 2014, wanting to make a radical life change from military life in order to get back to the land. They now live on 40 acres and are homesteading using permaculture techniques and strategies for the property, which will eventually become a demonstration and education site.
Sean is a 24-year Veteran Marine Officer who had the opportunity to hold a myriad of jobs that lent themselves well to planning but not homesteading. He is also a graduate of American Military University with a Master’s Degree in Management, and a graduate from Marine Corps Command and Staff College with a Master’s Degree in Military Studies.
More importantly, he’s a graduate of Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Course, where he studied topics such as methods of design, pattern understanding, climatic factors, water, aquaculture, soils, earthworks and various strategies to make property more resilient and productive.
Monica is a homeschooling mom and serial entrepreneur — starting and running several small businesses. She is passionate about cooking, local food, teaching others, natural health/personal care, homeschooling, and is quickly becoming an expert in food preservation.
Current Projects: Sean and Monica run The Prepared Homestead site which focuses on equipping others to obtain self-sufficiency in uncertain times through podcasting, workshops, speaking, and other services. They also run Sovereign Sonrise Permafarm where they engage in farmstead enterprises like selling pork, eggs, and processing animals for customers. Sean and Monica have the goal of growing food and raising animals in order to provide 80 percent of their family’s caloric needs from their land by August 2016.
They taught many workshops in 2015, ranging from canning to small animal processing to home and family protection, and their goal is to host many more in 2016. The family is raising dairy goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and ducks, along with planting over 200 productive trees and support species, wildcrafting, propagating mushrooms, raising and training livestock guardian dogs, herding dogs, etc.
Other Fun Facts: Sean and Monica are in the Idaho Master Forester Steward’s Program and Inland Northwest Food Network. They host workshops and speak at different events.