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the first 100 Otises

 
steward
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The time has come to create the list.

We have had about a dozen people say that they are an Otis and now we have one person that is currently changing their will and they need details.    

I think we need an anoymous list for the Otises.   We have already learned that when an Otis publicly states "I would will my land to a PEP4 person" they get swamped with people saying "will it to me instead! Aw c'mon!  Why not?  I'm awesome as proven by the fact that I can type and I really want free land!"  So we need to show that there is land being offered and to give some vague idea of the property.  And at the same time, keep some of their particulars private.


Public Information

If a PEP4 candidate cannot be arranged, will a PEP3 candidate be acceptable?  PEP2?

What country?

Acres?

General climate notes

Structures (more than one home?  Barn?  Outbuildings?)

Tractor?

Vehicles?

Funds?  

Level of interest in willing land to a PEPper:

   o definitely
   o maybe
   o probably
   o it depends on the PEPper
   o currently thinking about it
   o need to learn more about PEP and the possible candidates
   o other

Transaction timing:

   o the PEPper gets my land after I have died
   o the PEPper comes before I die and they are written into my will on the day they arrive
   o the PEPper comes before I die and if it seems like a good fit, then I write them into my will





Private information

name
email
phone
address



This is the time to figure out the questions.   What other bits of information should be added to this list?

 
paul wheaton
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My guess is that by the time the first person completes PEP2, they will get six or seven Otis options.

By the time the first person completes PEP4, that person will probably get a hundred Otis options.  

I guess what I am trying to say is that I think that the desire for PEPpers is already quite big.     My guess is that for the first ten years there will be 50 Otises for every PEPper.   Maybe after that it will settle to something closer to 20-to-1 or 10-to-1.

---

At the time, we are still hammering out details for the curriculum and changes to our software.  But it is clear that we are long overdue on organizing the information on the Otises.  

 
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I appreciate the consideration of climate in your list.  What one person sees as intolerable another will see as perfect.  While you do not see a shortage of Otises, you may still wish to consider the marketing ...or at least validity aspect.  I understand that once the property is transferred it is transferred and conditions are difficult to enforce at best.  That said, I can see a real benefit to a PEP 5 (for lack of a better term) which would be a light follow up of the candidates experiences for the first year after they obtained the property.  I can see where this could be a real benefit for attracting future Otises.  I would hope that the person receiving the property would be happy to engage in such a project.
 
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Before I would ever consider willing property to a PEPer, they would have to show that they could keep the land running financially, which would mean some kind of a financial plan. I could easily see a scenario where someone shows up with no money, gets the land, then can't pay taxes and other bills and has to sell it.

They would have to show that they want, and can afford to live there at least 10 years. Affording to live there can be from their own resources, ongoing employment, or from a solid plan to make money from the property in a way that's in line with the ethics of the initial owner (me). Having a plan would benefit the PEPer too. How will they pay the capital gains tax from receiving the property? Are there any outstanding tax liens on the property or personal property? We got bit by the last one when we bought Ag property with an old business on it. We resolved it but it was a pain in the ass to deal with.

I'm not trying to toss cold water on this process. I find it's better to think through all the facets before making a move as big as this so that it succeeds. Unintended consequences are usually expensive and can derail the best intentions.

 
John F Dean
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Hi Robin,

I suspect the fact that someone is willing to complete the PEP provides a significant filter.  Inheritances are treated differently state to state.  And, of course, conditions can be placed in the will.
 
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The possibility of friction from potential heirs might need to be addressed in the legal jargon. A relative lusting for a million-dollar property could appear from the woodwork to contest the will:

"Your honor, out of nowhere this smooth-talking Guy From The Internet shows up and within a month svengali-ed my client's dear 'ol uncle into rejecting the loving nephew what personally cared for his every need in his declining years!"
 
paul wheaton
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I think Robin's needs are covered in the commerce badge.
 
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I'd say that "Private Information" could also benefit from:

      Otis's assessment of the likelihood of a contested will

I think that a key component will be a questionnaire for PEPpers as well.  Once you're to PEP1, you get to fill it out.  The primary question in it is where you would be happy to live.  Maybe down to the county level or enclosing areas on a map for Yes or No.  Then if an Otis has willed their land to any suitable PEPper, the field of PEPpers can be narrowed down to ones that would actually want to live in that spot.  

You could offer me all the best homesteads in Texas and I'd graciously decline all of them (no offense, I just can't handle the heat).
 
John F Dean
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Hi Dc,

Self appointed heirs are always a potential risk.  This is something to be discussed with an attorney as the will is written.  I suspect that if the will has been in place for a number of years, it will be more difficult for challenge on the basis you identify.
 
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I think your list covers the most important basics. However, in the public information, it may also help to have a description/explanation of current developments (Like if they are implementing rotational grazing, or have an established food forest, etc.) and maybe even what developments they want to see come to pass. How much of the development is going to be open to the PEPper and how much to the current land owner? What are their expectations of a PEPper, seeing this could help people tell quickly if they may be a potential match, like if it is expected that they never keep animals on the property for food then it would be something many people would not want to agree to.

Also, is there a way/place to rent out land/property or otherwise test potential PEPpers? I would be highly interested in this myself. I listed my property for rent on permies and thus far have mostly just been flooded with emails from people wanting to get to stay there for free and my property has been treated very unkind by tenants who even had their PDC certificate and years of experience. So I agree very much with the problems of:

We have already learned that when an Otis publicly states "I would will my land to a PEP4 person" they get swamped with people saying "will it to me instead! Aw c'mon!  Why not?  I'm awesome as proven by the fact that I can type and I really want free land!"  



I think all of this is a wonderful idea and you guys are doing a great job trying to find ways around the obstacles. I do wish I had been at my farm to have gotten badges myself now that the program exists!
 
Mike Haasl
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Hi Aimee, I'm glad you like the program!  The easiest way that I think you could select PEPpers would be to set a minimum requirement for their accumulated PEP badges.  The badges are made up of BBs (Badge Bits).  Before a PEPper gets to PEP1 there are intermediate badges like BB10 and BB60.  Perhaps limiting the rental to people with BB40 or PEP1 might be a way to find people who are serious about PEP and maybe line up better with what you're after.  Or if you care deeply about a few badges, require the Sand or Straw badges for those aspects.

We don't have a special place for those sorts of rental offerings so I'd just put it in the normal rental forum for now.
 
Mike Haasl
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Or, since we don't actually have a rental section...  How about:
Land shares or
Permaculture Real Estate
 
Aimee Hall
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Thank you Mike, I actually had mine listed under permaculture real estate. I may list it again as it is about to be available but I am now wary. I found a tenant on permies and it will have cost me significantly more to have had them there the last 6 months than if I had left the property empty. They are very nice, but every tiny thing turned into a huge mess unfortunately. I will be paying the bills on that particular experience for another year and a half. Part of why I find the idea of the requiring certain badges, etc. particularly appealing.

Hopefully in the next year or so, I will be able to return to the states and get the property back into really good shape. It looks like I am going to be in Australia for several years and finding the right tenants to care for the property is very important to me. At last report, most of my well established perennial vegetables like air potatoes, leeks (elephant garlic), sea kale, turkish rocket, jerusalem artichokes,  etc are all gone!

Most people who are renting are not so interested in the land and its potential. Most of the messages I got were looking to stay on my property free of charge and that is beyond my means, and I imagine the means of most folk. Even the rental agency is only now starting to appreciate that it is the land and its care which is most important to me, where most people are most worried about the house/out buildings. Though I may be weird in this situation as I am in so many others. Thank you very much for your suggestions, you are always exceptionally helpful and awesome! =)
 
paul wheaton
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Aimee,

A few years from now, would you be willing to knock a big chunk off the rent for somebody that is PEP1 certified?  Maybe even a bigger chunk for somebody PEP2 certified?

 
Aimee Hall
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Yes, I am.

I had been knocking a big chunk of for someone from Permies already in my posting, so getting someone pep certified would be great. I have to tell the real estate company who those folk are because it is market listed at a higher rate of course.

The house costs me $1,200 a month (plus all the upkeep expenses that come along, and of course the rental company gets 10% of anything for renting it but as I am abroad they are a definite must. So it has actually averaged out to about $1,500 a month in expenses.) and for someone qualified I would be willing to charge quite a bit less, because I hate to see what I have put SO much work into being torn up.
 
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Hi Paul I was here
https://permies.com/wiki/skip-pep-bb

And read this, “ If you think you might be an Otis, you can get registered here” but the link brings me to this post to register.
Yet I don’t see where to register?

Is this the correct link.

Cheers,
Craig
.
 
Mike Haasl
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Hi Craig, I'll send you a PM
 
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Oh yes I agree with you 100%.
There seem to be a ton of young'ns, who want to free homestead but, they fade away when faced with a) actual manual labour
And b) show me a sound business plan.
I really hope this plan works out.
Here in Canada, trying to orchestrate anything even close has been an exercise in futility so far.
 
Laura Wilde
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How to register as an "Otis-ette"?
 
Laura Wilde
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Craig Lewis wrote:Hi Paul I was here
https://permies.com/wiki/skip-pep-bb

And read this, “ If you think you might be an Otis, you can get registered here” but the link brings me to this post to register.
Yet I don’t see where to register?

Is this the correct link.

Cheers,
Craig
.


Me too please
 
Laura Wilde
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I'm with you there.
Still cleaning up a mess myself from an alleged tiny homesteader  that did nothing he said he would then left a mess (a 50 ft unfit transport trailer) for me to pay to have removed.
Hopefully the experiences of many of us can contribute to an accelerated learning curve for the rest.
I would very much welcome the opportunity to brainstorm with my peers on this.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Laura,

I watch the development of this project with interest. There are many critical points to be identified and monitored for this to work. The initial one is the screening of both Otises and participants.   Even in the best of circumstances, marriages fail, but a little matchmaking should help to improve the odds.
 
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When looking at potential candidates to take over or take care of the Land, of course qualifications are up there, but the glue that will hold it all together is the candidate's strength of character, their ingenuity, their ability and want to endure and overcome the challenges of Homesteading.

A "dream" is not enough, acquired skills show initiative, but it's their grit , to put in sustained effort over time:

Willingness to Learn
Strong Determination
Flexibility
Patience
Management skills, including balancing a budget.

I insist on a trial period, for them to show me what they're made of.

K



 
John F Dean
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Hi Kate,

Great observations.  When I interviewed employment candidates there were always those who wanted a job .... far fewer were looking for a career.
 
Kate Michaud
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Thanks John for the support, at least I consider it support.

I've been called "hard nosed" or similar in the past, but considering what's at stake, what weighs in the balance, I think I'm being realistic and practical.

Historically apprenticeships were 7 years in length.  What I've observed here from initiate "Back to the Landers" is it takes 7 years to learn the ropes, prove Ones got what it takes.  If they can get through the first seven years they've got a fighting chance.  I've seen too many quit after year 5.

I would consider,... look at,  well qualified candidates to begin.  
Interview them for potential, the chosen candidates would then enter a one year agreement to give them a taste of 1 full year on the Land.  
If they want to stay on, and I decide to keep them, the agreement would be extended for another 4 years, and see if they crack;  (1+4= 5 of 7 years).
If they manage that successfully, then the legal paperwork would commence for a long term (life long) Land Stewardship contract.

My Land is willed to my only offspring, who grew up here, and knows what it takes, but can't go it alone, no one could.  I did it for a decade, and it can break you in more ways than one.  My daughter would oversee the continued work of the Land.  The candidate would have their own "projects" of course, but a vested interest in the protection of the Land, and the benefits through that protection.  They could potentially earn "First Rights of Refusal", if and when it comes to succession.

I have other considerations on the matter, but I don't want to write a novel at this stage.  I can further the subject later in another post.

Cheers!  K

 
Kate Michaud
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Part II;  Candidates (as I see it).  Part I, was my previous post.

Easy won, easy lost.  
Hard won creates appreciation, something valuable.

What are the benefits for the candidates?

They would gain experience, knowledge, all the stuff no course or badge could teach them,...the particulars of the Land;  geography, topography, available resources/inputs, local predators, suited livestock, climate, varying soil composition, weather patterns/cycles, and the population, with those special individuals you want to stay neighbourly with, the ones that will have your back if the need arises,....that are particular to an area.  

The first year would be intense in my opinion, and quite the learning curve.  Are they willing to learn, do they pick it up fast, are they quick on their feet?  
They must earn their keep, be cooperative/collaborative, and show commitment.
They would be provided with free room for labour, but not board.  They would have to cover the expenses they incur.
They will have the time and support to develop their own money stream.  
The overhead would be extremely low.  So, either the money stream be on or off property is their decision and their responsibility.  
They would have the ability to save $.

If they should stay on passed year 1, all of the above would expand.  It is hoped that they would develop "value added" projects to the property, that would be kept record of and quantified for future reference if deemed necessary.  Any capital investment on their part should be mobile vs immobile, that way they take their investment with them should the arrangement not work out.  

The value added portion would be reserved to the "First Rights of Refusal".  In other words, if they stay on till year 7, their efforts should have increased the value of the property.  This would have been kept record of, quantified, to then be subtracted for the sale value of the property in recognition of their contribution.  They should have been able to save $, and then have the option of being the first to accept or decline the offer of sale, if that should be the case.  

They could also opt for a Land Stewardship contract, they would never own the Land, but would have access to the benefits of the Land for a tithe, cover the expenses they incur, maintain what infrastructure already exist,  while developing and covering the expenses of their own autonomous endeavours as long as they are in keeping with local Municipal by-laws, Provincial and Federal government authorities/jurisdictions.

Anyways, this is how I see something plausible.  Of course there are details yet to be worked out, but in general this is the template.
You get nothing for nothing,... Work hard for it, appreciate the effort, and increase the odds of keeping it.

"Care for the Land, and the Land will care for you".

Cheers!  K

 
Laura Wilde
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Yes
K
This is very similar to what I would see as reasonable. I can hope there are young'ns out there willing to do what it takes.
I did not inherit this land.
We had to work to buy it and work to build it. Now its worth more than we could afford.
 
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Probably the easiest thing to do which would be the hardest to contest legally would be to put the entire estate in a trust.
Then, the estate can be turned over to a designated trustee(s). Any real property, equipment, implements and just about anything else can be added or removed from the trust by the trustee(s). The successor(s) are designated and the estate moves from generation to generation and it's very difficult to break a trust legally. You gotta have a damn good reason.
If you go the will route there will be probate court to deal with after the fact and that'll cost some skin. There could be challenges in court by other heirs. It gets nasty.
With a trust, the legal fees are paid up front. The estate can be turned over before the fact. "Because I want it" wouldn't hold up as a justification to break the trust. I guess the courts figure the new trustee(s) is(are) designated before the fact and any challenges should be heard then.
With a trust conditions can be made such as...no mortgage can made on the real property, or none of the real property in the trust can be sold.
Now, having said all that I'm sure there are details I omitted or just plain screwed up, but this is pretty much how I understand it.
Please, do your own research because these rules vary from state to state. I'm neither a lawyer nor a financial advisor and have no standing for giving advice. Additionally, I do not have a trust for my estate yet, but it's on the list. Buyer beware!
 
Laura Wilde
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On the trust option, is this US Canada or international?
 
Michael Dotson
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Not sure at all how the laws are outside the US.
 
Kate Michaud
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In Canada, there are many model for Trusts.

Mainstream usually deals with $ Trusts, and are well versed in that.  When it come to Land Trusts, there are fewer lawyers who deal with that one.  A Land Trust is usually created as a "not for profit" or "non profit" model, or under a Corporation Lmt., model.  The creation of a family Land Trust is more unusual and seems to require more from the agencies to set up.

My property is in a Family Land Trust, dies when I do, and becomes privately owned by the beneficiary in a Will, simple.

In Ontario, something more extensive could be set up, but more than likely under a Corporation model, and "not for profit", much would depend on where you live and the location of the property in question.  The Trust is also subject to CRA rules and yearly taxes.  You can't administer your own Trust without giving it up to the created Trust.  A Trustee can administer but cannot be the beneficiary.

Now we're getting into what Bill Mollison did with his property, and what Geoff Lawton described in a Permaculture model, which as I understand it as being a Public Land Trust.  Then you have Trustees, board of Directors, etc.,.

A lawyer in your jurisdiction, who also deals with real-estate law, should be able to tell you what is feasible, the different model type, etc.,.  All very complex, even complicated, which is why I've chosen to go the route I mentioned in my previous posts about Apprenticeship and/or Land Stewardship contracts.  These contracts would also include "breach of contract" clauses.  Such contracts can be tailored made, and very specific with regards to both parties obligations and responsibilities.

Homesteading is a "calling", a life long endeavour, much more than a career or mere business venture.  The Land is sacred, to be appreciated, and properly cared for.  I've invested the whole of my Being in this place, and I want to make sure that what "I entrust to Another" is prepared to do the same.

Apparently the Green Party of Canada is developing policy to help young people easier access to land.  How this will take shape has yet to seen, but it's in the works.
 
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I'm 70 and plan to be around for a long time still, but I find the concept interesting. How do I become more involved? a PM??
 
Mike Haasl
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Hi Lyn, shoot me a PM and we can talk more about it.  Thanks!
 
Lyn Hart
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I'm sorry, what is a "PM"?
 
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PM stands for "Purple Mooseage" or Personal Message.  

If you are using a mobile device, first click on their name to take you to their profile, and then scroll down to "Purple Mooseage PM" to send a direct message.

Alternatively, on a desktop/laptop view, in the top right corner of the screen is a little envelope icon you can use to send (not quite but almost private) messages.  To send it to a person who has already posted "Send me a PM", in this case, Mike Haasl,  try clicking on his name at the left edge of his post.  That will take you to his profile.  From there, look to the right of the screen for an envelope to message him directly.   This works anywhere on the forums.
 
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