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Food Forest Northern MN - Wetlands

 
Jody Tracy
Posts: 19
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This is a question for Geoff or anyone who wants to answer.

I live in MN and there is a lot of inexpensive land available in relatively rural areas northern MN. I signed up to get emails from the Government (state/county) when they sell land.

Here's an example of what they list at the DNR Website: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/landsale/index.html
A lot of counties do the same thing, so there's really a lot to choose from.

Most of what I've seen for sale is at least partially, if not almost totally, wetlands. A lot of parcels border on state parks land, with restrictions not to build certain size cabins, etc. Other lots border on farmland.

So here's my question: If I were to purchase a parcel with the intention of creating a self-sustaining food forest, what should I look for in the parcel (i.e., running or standing water, highlands/lowlands, what type of vegetation/previous use - there may also be restrictions on what I can do with it for better or worse)? What should I make sure of when I walk the land before purchase? What should I do with the land, and what should I plant to create a stable food forest/ecosystem? How would I reduce the amount of maintenance needed over the years so that I can visit and take advantage of the forest (camp/hike, etc.) instead of living there?

I've been interested for a long time in doing this but am not sure it's practical considering the intense weather patterns here. Sometimes it seems there's more winter than summer (though this year has been beautiful!). Also my husband requires living in the city with public transportation, so visiting up north would be pretty much for weekends only, if that.

Thanks for any help or brainstorming you can provide.

Jody

Also very interested in getting the geoff lawton Food Forests book!

 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 86
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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I grew up and have family north of you, so I've done some thinking about this issue. I have no practical, just thoughts so take it as you will.

I look for land that has some slope to it so you can collect water and has the possibility of creating dams.
If you end up getting into rocky Shield country it would be sweet to utilize a nice granite rock face for radiant heat.
A earth bermed passive solar greenhouse running aquaponics is probably something I would consider.

There's so much to say, I would suggest searching this site and youtube for mike oehler, and sepp holzer as they are cold climate. Of course, Lawton & Mollison are indispensable for so many basic & advanced concepts but tend toward tropical in their videos.

I've invested >1200hrs in the last two years devouring permaculture info, and I know I'm a rank amateur. Geoff emphasizes in the video PDC that you should not run out and design your own land, have an experienced designer do it and help you select the land, you also get to learn from them while this happens.

There's a cold climate PRI near you, I believe they have some courses running soon. Hook up with them. Best of luck.

Also, if you haven't yet, get the black Intro to Permaculture book and gaia's garden
 
Jody Tracy
Posts: 19
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Ed,

Thanks for the informative response! Yes, I'm saving up some money to buy some of the books and go to the classes. Your recommendations help!

It's good to know I shouldn't attempt to do it all by myself. Having an experienced designer involved would help a ton.

Meanwhile we have a 5 building cooperative property in Mpls which we are attempting to convert slowly to permaculture-ish uses. A little at a time because, again, we don't have a lot of money. However it's amazing what you can do if you just decide 'why not?'!

Jody
 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 86
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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If you're fortunate enough to have a group of people who are interested in permaculture, may I suggest that you pool funds and pick up the video PDC, it's 72hrs of gold.

Good on ya for starting =)

Gotta run, will try to reply more later.
 
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