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James Colbert
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This topic has been flying around in a few threads. Buying and/or working land as a group has a number of benefits. Of course it will have its issues as well but I believe these issues can be overcome. So here is my desired permaculture farm community. I live in Northern California and would like to stay in the area so if there are others in this area with similar interest I invite you to post a reply or to contact me via personal message.

1. Grow the majority of our own food (above 90% is my personal goal)
2. Build my own home and supply my own utilities (power, water, waste management)
- I am thinking cob for simplicity reasons and because N. Cali weather isn't that harsh
3. Earth works to conserve water and soil (Swales, terraces, ponds)
- terraces can be formed either rapidly with machinery or over time with vetiver grass
4. Berms and wind breaks which promote flora and fauna diversity
- trees and shrubs grown within the wind break can serve as biomass for fuel and hugelkultur. This is also a safe place to dispose of human waste. They can also be used for sun traps.

Production:
- begin with a simple productive polyculture and evolve into a complex interrelated food forest
- grow a diversity of fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms
- raise chickens, turkey, goats, fish, pigs, rabbits, and cows for personal consumption and possibly for CSA members.


Logistics:
- 1 to 2.5 acres per adult in the village
- Each individual/family gets land to experiment (perhaps 1/2 acre to do what ever they wish with) whereas the majority of land is managed in common.

Economic Viability:
- Start with a "you pick it" focusing on sugar (fruit). Berries first then fruit trees.
- using brix measurements as proof of product superiority
- unique products, heirloom vegetables and fruits
- build a (relatively) small CSA with a dedicated and loyal customer base

Mitosis:
After the initial "village" is stable and prosperous (hopefully within 3 -5 years) the group invests in a new piece of land to start the process over again and to share the wealth. Each village member can own their own piece of property and establish their own village (or not). Either way permaculture spreads and we all reap the benefits of a healthier environment.

Random Thoughts:
*Long term goal: integrate trees, shrubs, and vegetables with aquaculture. Think mesoamerican chinampa.
*Bamboo has a lot of potential for fuel production, building, and food.
*paddock shift animal husbandry combined with orchards and bamboo groves
* orchards combined with grain production (a la sepp holzer)
* Build the soil rapidly with densely planted fast growing trees and shrubs which can be felled in as little as a year (black wattle, red alder, and wax myrtle etc.)


I am looking for comments and critiques so don't hesitate my apologies for the disjointed nature of this thread... too many idea to organize.
 
jesse markowitz
Posts: 151
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
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I like this. I want to do very similar things, but over in NY. Again, I think this topic should eventually have its own section on the forums where lots of people put down their ideas for everyone to see.

I'd like a more detailed plan for the initial purchase and transition phase. Especially with money. Does everyone need to come in with x amount of dollars, or is there a sliding scale based on skills you bring to the table and/or how much land you would personally want?

Would the goal be to buy a large piece of land outright from the start? Or to take out a loan?
 
James Colbert
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Personally, I want to avoid loans like the plague. I also don't want a strict financial contribution to be the only consideration for "membership." There are some Farmlink properties which might fit the bill. Many property owners are willing to share their land for cropshare, partnership, and owner financing. Last nite I found a 100 acre piece of property and the owner noted "{will} partner with any good & sound project." The property was for sale or rent/lease. Rent on the property was 1500 and even this was negotiable. I have found plenty of similar properties in California.

I would be willing to rent but of course that would change our design and time table. More annuals and quick producing perennials.
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 71
Location: San Francisco
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Try Vacaville its a good town/area; between the capital and largest Norcal city, a lot of farmers their sale quite well in SF. Mild winter and historically orchard country everything from apples and almonds to pomergrantes and citrus. I may be biased as I am from their but so few places still have the soil needed for perennials to thrive like out their.
 
James Colbert
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Vacaville or Davis would be nice but I am trying to get out of the valley as all the crap in California's air loves to settle in the valley. I also think land with elevation changes offers more opportunity in the long run. I a not too overly concerned about soil quality either. As long as it isn't toxic I can work with it and build the soil. Great soil is a bonus and something to be considered when land searching but I kinda like the idea of starting from little to nothing in the way of soil and building feet of dark rich soil over the years and decades.

Ahipa are you gardening or farming in the Vacaville area?
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 71
Location: San Francisco
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James Colbert wrote:Vacaville or Davis would be nice but I am trying to get out of the valley as all the crap in California's air loves to settle in the valley. I also think land with elevation changes offers more opportunity in the long run. I a not too overly concerned about soil quality either. As long as it isn't toxic I can work with it and build the soil. Great soil is a bonus and something to be considered when land searching but I kinda like the idea of starting from little to nothing in the way of soil and building feet of dark rich soil over the years and decades.

Ahipa are you gardening or farming in the Vacaville area?


Its weird how everyone not from Vacaville puts us in the Valley. I like to refer to Vacaville as being on "The Other Foothills" as we are SSz9 only the far east of VV is what anyone would call a valley (3 blocks from my house I was in Solano Water district east where it was flat and full of row wheat and corn fields but even there we're atleast a 100' above Sacramento and Davis which is marine influenced SSz14) but when I am referring to gardening or living in rural vacaville I only talk about the West and South-West in the mountains and hills were its slighty cheaper and more raw. If you've ever driven from Vallejo or Fairfield you'll notice the land gets higher and higher and eventually gets flatter.

I was gardening in VV but moved to SF a 3 years ago; Trees, Palms, and Opuntia are your friend, herbs of all sorts thrive as does the grape vine. We are in the truest sense a archetypal Classic Mediterranean climate.
 
Shelley Stark
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Hi James, I would love to chat with you electronically but not in the forum. I also have been wanting to start a community, again. I might have a land opportunity. How do you feel about Sebastopol?
 
James Colbert
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Shelly, feel free to contact me via PM. I am sometimes bad at responding quickly but I'll do my best.

Here is a little update on my search for community:
Today I drove to Nevada County to meet some landowners, an older couple that homesteads and sells mushrooms and veggies at the local farmers markets. They had over 30 acres of land but so far had only developed about 2 acres. They have almost finished building their straw bale house (wouldn't have known looking from the outside). It was beautiful and amazingly comfortable inside despite it being in the mid 90s outside. They told me that in a recent heat wave (over 100) the house temp only rose to 77 degrees and that was with the windows open (drying earth plasters). The couple was very permy friendly and very open minded. It was truly a great experience.
They have a trailer available so there is a good chance I may partner with them I just have to check on some other opportunities.
Did I mention they grow about 80% of their food (veggies, fruits, and meats).

If I do choose to partner with these wonderful people I'll probably see if it ok for me to clear a small space for a sun trap. I'll build a few hugelkultur beds as there is more wood than I could ever use available on the land. Ill build large swales and plant with vetiver grass and nitrogen fixing trees on the berm...
 
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