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Ideas for creating/maintaining multiple permaculture sites?

 
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Hey everyone!

I was wondering what people thought about creating/managing multiple permaculture/food forest locations in different/locations zones? I'm not sure what sub-forum to post this in, but I hope homesteading will be ok!

What are some ways to make this happen? I realize this may be very challenging and/or unrealistic.

Are multi-locations realistic/possible? And if so, what might be the best solutions/practices to do so?

Finding managers, collaborations, letting some of the land grow on its own for most of the year?

I'm just daydreaming/brain storming ...

For example, zone 5-7 in the midwest/east US in a humid climate 6-9 months. Then zone 10-12+ for 3-6 months in Latin America. Also maybe a zone 6-10 in a dry location, like somewhere in the western US or Mexico.

Potential Multi-location Challenges & Benefits

  • Live in a beautiful northern location for most of the spring/summer/fall, and then go somewhere warm for the winter.
  • Also, for people interested in Greening the Desert, but also interested in living in other locations - how could one do this? Is it even a good idea?
  • Part of permaculture and soil creation relies on animals, which means someone would need to take care of the animals every day. Or you'd have to create a system without domesticated animals.
  • Especially with greening the desert ideas, getting a dry climate location with only a few heavier rains per year might take years to really create a serious change in soil, plants, water, etc. So it might be a good idea to work on other projects while this site develops?
  • Also, (dry lands) protecting against wildfires, etc could be an issue with brush growth, etc.
  • Not spending too much time traveling between locations. In other words, not ferrying back in forth multiple times per year between locations. Rather visiting each location 1-2x/year for 3-6 months for the most part.
  • You could start certain projects that take 2+ years to see results on, for example, fruit trees, timber, converting wood chips to compost, etc, and work on other sites/projects while "waiting".
  • Beside experiencing different parts of the world, you might be able to create/cross-polinate different ideas about permaculture, etc.


  • Possible solutions

  • Have one place, and then visit/live at other people's places for part of the year. Basically, have one location and then set up solid exchange/collaboration with another location(s).
  • Creating permaculture locations that produce enough abundance (food, water, money, community, etc) to be attractive to sustain a well-paid manager for each location.
  • Set up some sort of small community in each location.
  • Be involved in several different communities, but not be running your own place.
  • Spend a lot more money than most. Dedicating more time, energy and resources in creative ways to help facilitate more good outcomes. In other words, since there's multiple locations, you might have to spend more money to get things going, plus expect to dedicate more time and energy to make them sustainable, etc.
  • Learn to fly an airplane or build a cool bus that would be very comfortable to drive around the country/world:)
  • Just live in cool weather place and construct a massive tropical greenhouse for the wintertime :)
  • Find a location with several different microclimates nearby, and reduce travel distances. For example, Southern Cali or near Granada (beach, mountains). Basically anywhere warmer near water but also near mountains.


  • Thanks and all the best! (multiple edits for clarity + extra ideas)
     
    pollinator
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    It's a good idea if you have the time and resources. Honestly, if I won the lottery, or if some organisation was arranging funding to pay for all this, it's exactly the type of thing I would want to put into place.

    Understand, though, that being away for extended periods will probably mean choosing your sites with a view to collaboration with local community.

    My fear, were I managing several sites by myself, is that during my absence, literally anything could happen, including someone destroying my site by using it as an ATV stunt site and camp ground, or someone seeing something of value they could take and sell, and doing that.

    You could also see loss due to predation, even if it's hungry bears tearing down your fruit trees to get at the top branches.

    But if you decide that you're going in to create a partnership with local community, giving members things of value, like jobs and perhaps even a community stake in the business, you suddenly have someone on-site year-round, who will value the project at least as much as you, if it is designed and created with a view to supporting the community.

    I like to think of semi-nomadic bison farming as an example. If I buy a bunch of rangeland with lots of grazing, drop some bison on it, and hightail it for somewhere else, the bison could survive with only an annual culling of yearling or two-year old males above the population required for healthy genetics in the herd. I could also come back to find that someone decided that this herd was tasty-looking, and would fetch a fine price.

    But if I were to start up and invest in such an operation in consultation with a ranchers' organisation looking for such an opportunity, or better yet, an indigenous group that could embrace that lifestyle and use it to both build the herd and bring in income, it's money in their pockets and food in their families' mouths when it succeeds; they have lots of reasons in that scenario to care for the project like its their own.

    So you know what? Do it. Set up a semi-nomadic bison ranch somewhere in their traditional range. Set up food forests all over north and south america. Hell, grab a piece of beach in Jamaica or somewhere else and set up a seafloor-based vertical mariculture operation.

    But just like you choose species that are appropriate for your conditions and for how you want them to all work together, select the operations to match the sites, and the people with them. The people that look after sites, even just to live near them and make sure people don't mess with them, are critical infrastructure if there are people there at all.

    In some places, usually where there is perceived or real disparity between locals and those from away, the affluence required to come in as an outsider, arrange for the land through lease or purchase, and then develop it, could easily offend, just like showing up somewhere and trying to supplant their traditional knowledge with other ways.

    If advice is sought, however, right from a project's inception, not only do you avail yourself of local knowledge about natural patterns and weather conditions, you get people on your side who might otherwise look askance at your wealth and see it as a reason to steal from you, or otherwise not intervene when some misfortune befalls.

    That's my take on creating and maintaining multiple permaculture sites. If you don't plan to include people, especially if they're anywhere near it in the first place, they will likely be your downfall, or at least an obstacle instead of the boon they should be.

    -CK
     
    Patrick David
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    Thanks, CK! Lots of words of wisdom and inspiration!  

    Agreed - it makes sense to plan, create, grow, and seek advice for the project so that it will benefit the community, too - and tailor the design to specific locations, too.  Also, in general, for something to succeed long-term, there probably will almost always need to be boots on the ground working towards beneficial goals and insuring the well-being of the area.

    I hadn't thought about buffalo, nor the beaches of the Jamaica but will keep those in mind :)
     
    pollinator
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    Quite a few people in Boston have cabins in the woods in Vermont/NH/Maine, that they only stay in for a month in the summer and then it is empty for most of the rest of the year.
    There are quite a few "snow birds" here, who head down to South Florida for the winter. It want to be like that.

    I would be okay leaving my house in the north while I go on a 3month "vacation".
    * Drain Pipes to prevent freezing
    * Thermostat set at 50F
    * Lights on a timer
    * Camera
    * Mail could be forwarded or paused or electronic only
    * Pets would have to carried
    * Chicken/Rabbits/Pigs/Sheep/Cows would have to be harvested
    * Fish Pond would be okay
    * Bee Hive would be okay
    * Once a month cleaning crew for $100/visit
    * All fruits, nuts, annuals would have been harvested already
    * Have a company/person rent it out via AirBNB
    * Most 10ft+ trees will be fine even with a storm/bear/human
    * Automated Ozone Machine to remove all the pest inside the house a week before I arrive. Maybe I could just turn it on once a week, every week that it is empty.  

    Leaving my house in Florida/Tropics from April-October or even more, say 9 months.
    * Most of the above will apply here too
    * Select cultivars that only ripen when I am there
    * Go hunting for meat to stock up the fridge, eat more fish
    * No chicken/rabbit/pigs/sheep/cow, unless it is just to finish them vs rearing from baby.
    * Pay a landscaping company to come and mow the orchard & crew to clean the house $150/month
    * AC would be off.
    * Have a company/person rent it out via AirBNB
    * Most 10ft+ trees will be fine even with a flood/hurricane/bear/human
    * Have alot of perennial vegetables, like tree collard, so that you can harvest as soon as you arrive vs starting from seed
    * Have nuts and dried food stored from last harvest (dried beans, rice/flour, nuts, oil, raisins/dates/figs/etc)

    If we included the added dimension of another country in latin america vs just south florida. We would probably have to embrace that people will use our site. So make it a farm, where they can harvest what we have and sell it. That way there is a single point person with a set rule of engagement and a steward onsite. We could remove all valuables from the house, once we leave for the spring, so no laptops/Xbox/jewelry just hanging around. Maybe have all the furniture rustic, where the locals, call you the "crazy American".

    Maybe you could just carry your house with you, aka an RV/tiny house, or maybe it would be a catamaran, that you just dock and hook up to shore power, with your 2+ acres behind you.  Or maybe you could get a 55+ condominium, where the manager will take care of your empty condo/house. but you own the adjacent 2acre lot, and you plant your food forest. Or maybe you own the land and house, and you rent out the house and then just show up with your RV for 3month and hook your utilities to the fenced off rental property.
     
    master steward
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    Dreaming is fun! Owning multiple properties comes with headaches.

    Higher taxes; insurance if there are buildings, maintenance costs, accounting, etc.

    All that said, there are lots of people that own multiple properties.

    If I had lots of money and wanted to make more I would have permaculture Air BnB.  Maybe offering PDC's every now and then.

    I might even model mine after Wheaton Labs.
     
    Patrick David
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    Thanks S Bengi and Anne!

    Lots of good ideas! I hadn't thought of the more snowbird approach to 2 places, but they would seem to have a lot of overlap.

    It remind of a market gardener who travels between Maine and Florida:


     
     
    pollinator
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    I would be too overwhelmed with concern to leave a property "abandoned" for months on end. When we had a house fire and were out for six months it was incredibly nerve racking.  I worried constantly, DESPITE either myself, my spouse or the neighbors checking on our property, daily.

    I would think the solution would be to "rent" the property out to one of the seemingly gazillion people looking to dip there toes into permie/off grid type living; ideally one(s) who bring their own "tiny house" rv, bus, tent or whatever, with them.

    I would have them spend several months working alongside me, before I was comfortable "leaving"... This way you KNOW the person(s), have trained them in YOUR protocols AND they might even pay a nominal rent!

    For myself, there simply would HAVE to be a caretaker, on site, of some sort.
     
    Patrick David
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    Good points, Lorinne! I agree - it seems some sort of person(s) caretaking the space would needed with some exceptions.  Renting the place out could really work out with the right people, too.
     
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