Meet the Founders of PERMA∞EARTH
Mariah Jade Campbell is the owner and founder of PERMA∞EARTH LLC Farm and Apothecary since 2016, a certified Permaculture Landscape Designer since 2014 and a self-taught herbalist and soap maker since 2011. The following is her story about why she changed from making plant-based products since 2011 to animal-based products in 2016.
Hey ya’ll! As the manager, soap maker, and product formulator at Perma-Earth, I have the privilege and pleasure of handcrafting and formulating all Perma-Earth products with lots of help from a couple great employees, my supportive husband, and patient family members!
My husband and I are also farming homesteaders. We enjoy and take pride in sustainably growing some of the ingredients that we use in Perma-Earth products like lavender, roses, dandelions, comfrey, raw honey, backyard chicken eggs, and more to come like loofah sponges!
I was born and spent the first part of my childhood where we are now settled in Southeastern Indiana between fields of corn, soybeans, and grazing farm animals. I learned to enjoy the outdoors in all of its seasons from an early age. I fell in love with the four seasons such as the magical splendor of a shady forest grove in the middle of summer, or running through a corn-maze and playing in the fallen leaves during autumn. Icy winter turned into glorious spring with a much-needed refreshment of color. “How does all of nature work together to create those lush woods abounding with life?” was a question that never crossed my mind. I was content in taking it all for granted and basking in the miracle of life whenever I could get away from the usual daily routine of school, homework, and television.
Spending the summers with my father on his horse farm in Kentucky gave me a small glimpse into a life of hard-work on a piece of land. I also heard stories from my grandfather of the life he lived on his father’s conventional crop farm in the mid-20th century. It did not sound like a fun time at all. The excessive labor and dangers of physical and chemical exposures were not appealing to me, even if I did get some food out of it. But to them, there was no other alternative in sight; it was the new “tradition”.
When I was 12, my mother and I moved to Florida where I spent the second half of my childhood. I began to appreciate sea life and I loved to learn about it. Some of my most memorable times were kayaking through the mangrove forests, Hurricane Wilma, learning about the environment at the local wildlife centers, and participating in Community Theatre programs as another way to give back to the community and have fun!
College & Beyond
I was expected to attend college as I had won multiple scholarships, but I honestly had no clue what to do. I eventually ended up going to public university to be close to my mom and friends in Florida. So for about two and a half years I studied mainly philosophy and psychology as my knowledge and interests expanded, but I still did not feel fulfilled or directed. I finally decided to leave university and explore life a little more to find my true path. I became more aware of wellness, ethics, and the impacts of my lifestyle on the planet. I learned more about skin issues since I saw many people I knew (including myself) struggle with adult acne, psoriasis, eczema, and more with no effective, natural or safer alternative in sight at the time. So, I decided to start making my own bath and body products in 2011. I even became a vegan for 3 years to show my commitment to “environmentally sustainable” and “ethical” efforts that I was taught by my philosophy professors in college, and I also believed it would make me healthier… More about where that ended in a moment.
I became obsessed in making the best life decisions, which was an extreme challenge. I began to learn more about living a healthy life while being kind to the animals and the Earth as I was working in herbal health food stores and a vegan restaurant. I worked hard to learn about nutrition and environmental impact, although mainly from vegan-based propaganda sources.
Permaculture & Veganism
I considered living a simpler life without all of the accelerating modern-day hysteria. This lead me down a long road of research and eventually I came across the term “permaculture” farming, which means “permanent culture.” This is to emphasize our needs as humans for high-quality food, water, air, and overall sustainable ecosystems to thrive anywhere. I received my Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University’s PACE Program through the Cascadia Permaculture Institute in December of 2014, which taught me how to create and maintain an abundantly self-sustaining ecosystem in all of the different biomes on Earth.
During this time I also started to experience some more serious health issues that I could not quite put my finger on the source of, and my 3 year running plant-based diet was the last thing on my mind to change. I tried experimenting with raw vegan, cooked vegan, fruitarian, soaking legumes and grains, supplementation, but to no avail. As I started to loose enough weight to put me near the underweight BMI, I began to finally question my vegan diet. With the help and encouragement of my family, whom I had tried to convert to veganism for years, I decided to try eating animal products again for a quick test to appease them and my fears… And then a “dreadful” thing happened: my health problems that had been plaguing me for many months disappeared almost overnight. These were subtle problems like loss of energy, brain fog, chronic adult acne, indigestion (bloating, gas, pain, IBS symptoms), feeling depressed and anxious, feeling weak, and feeling down with something almost all of the time.
What I was missing was long-lasting energy from animal fats like omega-3 DHA, brain fats like cholesterol, and proper amounts of certain bioavailable proteins (∫-lysine, ∫-carnitine, ∫-carnosine), vitamins (Retinol-A, Vitamin D3 since I moved to a seasonal place), and minerals (heme iron, zinc, magnesium) that are lacking so poorly in a vegan diet since our farming soils have been depleted of trace minerals for decades AND the fact that animal sources are far more dense and absorbable in these key nutrients. This, coupled with the issue of over-ingesting so many sugars (carbohydrates) and fiber, really took my body for a ride and thankfully I was able to recognize the real issue: my vegan diet and lifestyle. I was also spending a CRAZY amount of money on supplementation just to try to sustain myself, which I did not have to worry about anymore! However, instead of being happy for myself, I became distraught in thinking that I was hurting the environment and animals with my body’s “special nutritional needs.”
As an ex-vegan, instead of being happy for myself, I became distraught in thinking I was hurting the environment and animals with my body’s “special nutritional needs” (animal products).
What most vegans (including my former self) seem to be ignorant of is the fact that conventional plant-based agriculture is actually a chemical-based and machine-based agriculture, which painfully kills a lot more animals than factory farming. Some vegans will claim that veganism is not about health or the environment, but minimizing animal suffering. If that is true, then one would need to purchase all of their food from veganic farmers (which are few and far between for good reason), but the veganic farms themselves are not sustainable: they take way more labor and input for overly-priced, nutrient-lacking food. Vegans will still need industrial synthetic supplements to survive and function.
This led me down another rabbit hole of research to look at the other side of nutrition and environmentalism: the ancient hunting and gathering way of living. After a few more years of studying environmentally-sound animal-based agriculture, animal-based nutrition, and learning about hunting and fishing from my husband, it became very clear to me that it is actually more sustainable for the environment to support natural settings where animals and ecosystems can live in harmony and where people can take what they need from these systems in a controlled way to ensure resource replenishment for future generations. *BOOM* I became a post-vegan by discovering what the better next step is to being a human that reduces ALL suffering. And the funny thing is that this should be very obvious as it is similar to what tribal communities did for many thousands of years instead of flattening and sucking life out of landscapes, stealing the habitats of native wildlife, and tilling the soil until nothing but clay and sand is left. Perennial plants and animals need each other to be at their optimal peak and we should be encouraging this instead of separating them in our conventional annual agriculture.
Perennial plants and animals need each other to be at their optimal peak and we should be encouraging this instead of separating them in our conventional annual agriculture.
The way our modern society consumes and produces as a whole is not sustainable and I believe this will become more apparent very quickly. I value what our ancestors knew hundreds of years ago about living off of the land and only relying on herding, hunting, gathering, and growing small annual gardens. I learn as much as I can about self-sustainability and teach this to others. I now share my knowledge and services in the effort to help create strong, stable, and happy communities.
Why is Perma∞Earth Animal-Based?
I previously described all of the reasons why I went from a plant-based to an animal-based lifestyle, which I also applied to my bath and body product line using local and organic ingredients. I did this because of the superior nutrition that animal products can give our body, whether applied internally as food, or topically as a bath and body product. However, I had no idea how much of a difference this would make in our lives and in the lives of our customers.
“Your lotion bars have saved my skin and your shampoo bars have given new life to my hair!” Is something we hear quite often and it always puts a big smile on my face to know that the high-quality animal products are what really did it.
Since switching to using local, raw grassfed buttermilk instead of water or plant milks, and pasture-raised lard instead of “RSPO sustainable” organic palm oil or coconut oil shipped from halfway across the world, our customers have seen tremendous benefits with using our organic animal-based products that never happened with our organic vegan products: new hair growth**, skin and scalp healing from eczema and psoriasis**, dandruff control**, hair and skin health boosts like softness, suppleness, and manageability**, elimination of dry skin and nails** and more! Please check out our testimonials page for a quick look at real customer reviews and before & after photos to see these things for yourself. If you have experienced these things because of using our products and want to share your story we would love to hear it! Please contact us to send us at least 2 photos and your story to be featured! We would greatly appreciate it since many people are very shy.♥
If you want to try our products for yourself we would love to have you as a customer! Visit the Shop to browse our current selections. Your purchases not only support us, but other local, organic, sustainable, and ethical farmers too. Using local, organic, and sustainably-grown ingredients to create natural bath and body products is a humble and busy living that I very much enjoy as it helps our local farmers and supports more ethical animal farming while also giving customers the very best products in quality and craftsmanship. It is certainly a rewarding job and if this is something that resonates with you, I highly recommend that you start your own unique little homestead business too! I truly believe that local smaller farms and businesses are what will save us in the long-run. After all, if everyone supported their local businesses, most of us could be farmers and craftspeople, YAY!
If you are already a customer, I just want to thank you so much for learning more about us and helping our business and message grow! I love getting to know my customers and answering any of their questions. Please feel free to contact me and I or my team will respond as soon as possible.
My husband Brandon Campbell is a more traditional nature-lover, being an avid hunter and fisherman since he was a child. He often spent his childhood fishing around Hardy Lake in Deputy, Indiana. He grew up in the same area I did and we even attended the same elementary school, but we never knew each other as children since we were in separate classes. He and his father started a small beekeeping business when he was 14 years old, which we have now moved onto our farm. He considered becoming a professional fisherman, fishing guide or a conservation officer before attending school to become a certified Radiology Technician. In many ways he has help kept our business going, including supporting us as I grow Perma∞Earth!
Brandon was my first assistant and often calls me “boss lady” (a compliment, I think). He contributes in any way he can from helping at craft shows and events, to everyday shipping and acting as a soundboard for my crazy ideas. Like me, he is also passionate about homesteading, growing plants, and caring for our animals. He is the main caretaker for our gardens and farm animals.
Brandon is also our chief of construction in the new workshop we have built and are finishing up on the interior. He and his father, my father-in-law, so far have installed insulation, electrical wiring, walls, electrical sockets, lighting, a fan, plumbing for the sink, and countertops. We still need to hook up the electric and water and add an Ethernet cable for internet before we can move all of the necessaries in like shelving, an stovetop open, a refrigerator, and of course our equipment, ingredients and products! Once we get the electric hooked up, we will move everything into the temp-controlled shop to at least have a place for our customers to shop! We may save the water installation for spring of 2020, until then we are still working out of our home!
Tami Dubuque has been my assistant since the beginning of 2019. She is a floral artist, homemaker, passionate dancer, wild plant gatherer and persistent gardener! She is in the process of organically growing many of the herbs our businesses uses for making products. Some of her fondest memories were with her Grandma Marjorie in the kitchen making all sorts of goodies, which is where she spends most of her time working with me!
Ashley Armstrong and I have known each other since elementary school and we became friends a few years back. She watched the business grow and now since August 2019 she has become a part of our success as my assistant!
Bio and picture coming soon!
**Statements not approved by the FDA. Not intended to cure, prevent, or treat any disease