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Where to start a homestead and how to go about it

 
Posts: 25
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Hey all!

I would love to hear some experiences from people here and maybe some recommendations if you got. regarding this topics:
I am looking to find some land to be self sufficient. I've been spending most of my time in the last years studying and practicing Permaculture, Aquaponics, advanced Mycology, Alcohol producing and distillation worm farming, biogas ,stoves and building methods and basicity everything I thought could help me and I would enjoy doing and I can practice beforehand (due to my nature every subject I find become a rabbit hole and I just get sucked in it but I like it like that :) I've been also doing some farm volunteering to get the feel of it. Mostly in Israel and India.
I come from Israel and live in Germany currently. I am trying to find a place to make this dream happen. I thought about India before but decided it's not for me. Israel is almost impossible to have a homestead due to regulations which is unfortunate because altho the difficulties I feel most at home there...

I am currently thinking about Portugal and Greece. Looks like Portugal could be easier to find and buy land, easier regulations and comfortable climate (I like it hot but would be happy for the extra rain), easier language. On the other hand I do not have a special interest in Portugal..
Greece on the other hand is a Mediterranean country, similar to Israel in climate and food but from what I hear the language is extremely difficult and I do not know about regulations. I cannot find much off grid communities there or expats experience there.
I would like this year to do some volunteer jobs in farms around Portugal and Greece to get the feel of the place but would be happy to hear some recommendations/ experiences/ thoughts about these options- especially if you have some specific farms/ communities in mind.
second thing is that I am not sure how to go about it. I would be doing it alone and Im a bit nervous about moving to a new country on my own and start such a project. It took me quite a while to get oriented here in Germany.. Would it be better to find an off grid community to join to even temporary? or to relay on a place like Portugal which I might have some similar minded neighbors
well, it's not exactly a question but I would love to hear some thoughts.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I think your idea of visiting the prospective countries is the most important thing.

Spend a little time on farms in different regions of the most appealing/practical seeming countries and see what happens. If you like an area and make good connections with locals, come back for a longer stay, and start sniffing around for a permanent base...

All the long distance research in the world is no substitute for being there; once you have established that there are no glaring dealbreakers, a visit seems like thebway to go.

(But, determining more details of what you hope to do on your homestead may help you spot dealbreakers from afar...)
 
pjeter schornstein
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Hey Dillon, thanks for your replay!
Yes, it's best to do some on the ground research. I just came back from 5 month in India where I volunteered in a few farms since I thought I might move there but I realized it's not really for me.
I'm trying to save some money atm to do this trips and perhaps do some long term volunteer in some communities and farms there.
I thought best to ask here before  I go on WWOOF or Workaway as most of my better experiences where finding and approaching farms directly ..

So basicity I was fishing with this massage for some information to have some concrete starting points for planning a few trips. Especially for Greece because looking at the map Greece looks like thousand of islands and I'm not sure where to start. Portugal looks pretty large too.
 
master pollinator
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Here are some places to contact and maybe visit:

http://www.permaculturinginportugal.net/

https://www.terralta.org/

https://www.tamera.org/  famous Sepp Holzer work site

 
gardener
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Pjeter,

I will try to offer some useful information here, but it sounds like you have really narrowed your list to two places.

First things first though.  Have you looked into any local laws, zoning ordinances or other legal matters that might possibly be restrictive?  In the United States we are geniuses at piling up law after law about how one uses the very land we already own.  This is a hypothetical question as I have no idea the legalities of land use in other countries (I barely understand them in my own country).

As an example, would you need to pay land taxes and if so, how much?  Are there burn bans?  Are there any restrictions on how to maintain land (I have to mow my wild acreage once per year)?  Are there septic restrictions?  This list can go on a lot longer.  The reason I ask is that I have a neighbor who recently bought about two acres of land next to me not knowing that the best place to build by far was on an easement owned by a power company.  He would have been better served had he known this in advance.

The second point I will address is the value of land vs the value of culture.  Given your description, the Portugal option sounds much better to me (more rain), but you like the Mediterranean culture of Greece better (I think).  This really hits close to home regarding your ultimate goal.  Given the bit of information here it sounds like Portugal would be the better option for permaculture, but as this is ultimately your decision, this is one only you can decide.

Last issue and by far the most controversial.  Neither Greece nor Portugal has a great economy and both have substantial debts.  Would you inherit these problems by moving to either?  Please understand, this is not a criticism of either country, I only pose this question out of concern for your eventual choice.

You have a huge decision to make and perhaps you do not land in either country, but if these are the final contenders (and since we have no actual piece of land to consider), these are just a couple of thoughts to consider in advance.

I hope this helps.  If I have something flat out wrong or if I offended, please understand this is purely by accident in which case please ignore.  You have a fascinating background and I genuinely look forward to your future actions.

Eric
 
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