Hello, my name is alexander. Im 32 and a ARMY veteran. I am in the process of getting my horticulture degree and just finished my pdc at the college of lake county Illinois. Im having severe doubts about making the jump to getting land and starting a small farm/ranch and small permaculture community. I have decent funds available and good passive income but i dont see how people do it. Land now adays is just so much ... my budget is 60k but i keep finding myself either crap land or decent small land with insane yearly taxes. It just seems the government doesn't want people escaping the society i didnt choose to be in. My other concern is that im not the usual permaculture person. The soldier in me is .. hard to break. I currently work with horses out here so thats one of my main goals. Ive been looking at land in taos area but it only seems to be skyrocketing in price. Any advice welcomed and would love to make a few perma friends to chat with.
Alexander: welcome to permies!
Those are deep questions you have raised, and a lot us fight with them also.
As far as land: one of the cool things about permaculture is you can work with A) crap land and B) less land than you think.
For looking at land prices, anything in an area where there are lots of trendy people is going to be expensive, Taos is WAY trendy, and the prices have been driven up.
Do you WANT a ranch and a community? Or is that just what you think is "right" to do? Not meaning that rudely, but reality. The PDCs give all of us all kinds of neat ideas, what is actually reality as to your wants and needs? If you feel the need for a community, what about being part of an existing one? Or next door to it? And what kind of people would you want to be in a community with? And who is in charge, and how does it all work out? There are threads here on permies about both the good and bad parts of communities
What do you want to do with horses? Just have them and raise them as a hobby, or have goals about what they do in your life?
None of these questions need to be answered out loud here if you don't want, but they are worth considering in your own mind. Figure out exactly what you want, and see what parameters can be shifted in what you are thinking.
I bought only 4 acres of land, and I think it will be enough for me, and I paid what was too much for this area, but for reasons, I did it, and it cost 23,000. That gave me citywater and power, which is something we wanted to start with, easier to go off grid than do it straight from scratch. The house design has things worked into it, assuming it will end up off grid.
If I were you, and I'm not, it's just what I would do, I'd start by searching permies (search button up top) for things like "running a community" and "how much land do I need?" and read a LOT of the answers. Gather more data. That's the step I would take right now, in your shoes. It sounds like you are frustrated by things that may be affected by more information.
Alexander Rodriguez wrote:....making the jump to getting land and starting a small farm/ranch and small permaculture community. I have decent funds available and good passive income but i dont see how people do it. Land now adays is just so much ... my budget is 60k but i keep finding myself either crap land or decent small land with insane yearly taxes. It just seems the government doesn't want people escaping the society i didnt choose to be in. My other concern is that im not the usual permaculture person. The soldier in me is .. hard to break. I currently work with horses out here so thats one of my main goals. Ive been looking at land in taos area but it only seems to be skyrocketing in price. Any advice welcomed and would love to make a few perma friends to chat with.
permaculture, systems feeding systems, isn't about someone's background....you'll find a wide range of backgrounds and motivations in people who actually do permaculture...
you looked at taos and land is crazy there while, if you go to socorro county, you can find land for $60 to $300 per 10 acre plots in back taxes..... I believe all states have a cheap land location where you can find land for under $1000 usd but I haven't proved that to my self for all states... for instance it doubful RI would have any such location.....personally, I'd look for land north of Colorado due to climate changes but you can still find pockets of microclimates which might endure the coming changes
you're right to have doubts...when you look at jobs offered section, https://permies.com/f/276/jobs-wanted , you'll find couples who have land but need people to help them and can't find anyone...my opinion is these couples should consolidate with each other...but then whose land is it? who is going to move and trust the other couple?
...what I've discovered in my search is that it is community that matters the most (Paul thinks this too but I'm sure I discovered it first):
-with the right community, you can help each other (my belief is you need a minimum of 7 people, a guy named Marcin believes you need 30, and the Hutterites start a new community when one of theirs reaches 250...they like communities around 200);
-community gives you more resources: knowledge, skill, looks out while you're off property, the opposite sex, materials, food sharing, and some share tools;
-it can be done, you can do it: the Hutterites do it, the Amish do it, and some Mennonites do it.
Paul Wheaton would be a hellofa neighbor to be next to or with in a short drive of. Heck, you might consider visiting as Boot for a week to get to know what kind of community he is trying to build....that way you won't have to cough up your 60k for land...you can develop good income streams, have your own land, and have people around you who understand "not wanting to be in a system I didn't chose" You could get your community and land in a couple of years and still have your 60k. Listen to Paul's podcast so you know what to expect if you visit.
Paul is doing his best to build community first rather than just having a polished system already in place.....if you want to see what some crazy determined and very smart germans did, go to Portugal and visit tamera.org ....their energy approaches, the way they created water in a dry area is awesome....they have a large number of people.....be sure you watch their videos about sexuality before you go so you're not too surprised tho.
Community for citizens of the USA is very hard to do (those in the mountains of Nepal and other places have no such problem)....our whole secular belief system is centered around the myth of rugged individualism while in truth, the old West was built on community much like the Amish have today....yes, our warriors seem this way, but dang if they don't have a trillion dollar war machine behind them to feed, clothe, yank them out if need be and patch them up. ...community is gonna be a whole lot harder than that in my experience: you have to negotiate everything and put up with decisions that time may show are wrong....the whole while all your family and friends are going to be saying your wasting your time, what if the community goes away? what then? and your own conditioning is going to fight you too. ....anyway that's been mine and other's experience.
If you notice, Paul also doesn't try to avoid "the system you didn't chose".....He uses it to everyone's benefit. He could use your help....I'd encourage you to atleast visit for a week soon too cause there are some bright and creative people on property at the moment.
If that idea doesn't suit you, you might read
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities Paperback – June 1, 2003
by Diana Leafe Christian
she does a great job in showing people just how differently each of us from the USA thinks community is and what it should be
good luck, I'm sure you've been thru hell; there'll only be a different type if you get the wrong community!