• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • thomas rubino
  • Bill Crim
  • Kim Goodwin
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Amit Enventres
  • Mike Jay
  • Dan Boone

Is there an ideal spot for a homestead in the US?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am trying to figure out where I want to live, and having trouble. If there is an ideal location, why wouldn't everyone do it there? I know there are pros and cons to all locations, or maybe not? Are there some states in the US that are perfectly ideal in every way? Are there some states that are absolutely horrible for this? How can it depend on the person, when the goal of permaculture is the same for everyone? You want an area that has a good climate (not very cold), enough rainfall (not a desert like area), good soil (I have no idea where the best soil is in the country), and where the land is cheap. So wouldn't that eliminate a large part of the country? Is there a map online somewhere that shows all the pros and cons of each state?

 
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
262
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shelly, There are folks practicing permaculture techiques in all parts of the US and the world. A large percentage of them would and could, argue that their little slice of permies heaven is the best.

In fact I think my spot in Wyoming is the best !

I have known many folks who wouldn't even think of setting foot in Wyoming. I would never live in a place that gets too hot.( I get heat exhaustion very easily.) Even if it was the garden of eden.
So for me it is up to the individual and what they are looking for.
It seems like the beauty of permaculture is that it can be applied to every setting on earth.

So what is it that you are looking for in a place to live?
 
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Probably Canada, otherwise Mexico.

I'm a farmer not a geographer....
 
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shelley - I get why you're asking this, but you may be missing the "big picture" of permaculture. The real power of permaculture is that we get to CREATE the ideal spot for a homestead. Wherever we choose to do so.

Permaculture is a design method that helps to restore ecosystems, provide for our needs and channel surplus back into supporting the earth and it inhabitants. Success in permaculture really depends on how effectively you design your system to meet your needs within the constraints of the elements and systems that exist in your chosen location. And we all have climates/locations that we prefer. I dislike cold REALLY intensely. And I love heat. And I find deserts fascinating and challenging enough that they hold my attention and imagination. I think that's one of the reasons geoff lawton's "Greening the Desert (the Sequel)" project is so hugely popular - he's taken a piece of land that looks like a moonscape and made it green. Against the odds. And he's changing that landscape for the better.



And from a few weeks ago - Oct 2013 - now the neighbors are seeing the merit of his system!!!



I've lived in climates where you spit a seed on the ground and it grows (WI, MI) - everything is lush and green and easy. I got bored. Then I damn near froze to death in winter. I then came to a place where I couldn't grow a tomato to save my life for THREE YEARS. And I love it. I really wouldn't be anywhere else. Except someplace even more "harsh". Hell, one of these days I'll have enough skills to grow things on the moon. But I love a challenge and love making a difference. The desert is a challenge and the difference can be IMMENSE.

So I say drylands are the perfect places to be because more and more of the world is being desertified every day. If we can't turn that tide back, humanity will quickly run out of options.

Bill Mollison said the below in an interview in 2012 - this is definitely how I see permaculture - "making paradise where you are".

The whole of the peninsula of northeast Australia runs right up into the tropics, it’s called Cape York. When we first got photographs of it, it was solid rain forest. In Sydney, though, we’re noticing little holes appearing in the rain forest all along the coast and in the end, they turned into quite large holes with buildings in them. So, they went to have a look, and the hippies were escaping the city by going to Cape York, finding a nice waterfall ten yards from a beach, cutting themselves a clearing, putting in a garden and building a house and then getting a bigger house and asking their friends to come. So the hippies were actually eating the rain forest. And they’re the very people who turn up in thousands to stop all forests being cut anywhere. But they themselves, at home, were the main cause of the disappearance of a very uncommon tropical rain forest because they like to live in a beautiful place. What they don’t like to do is build a beautiful place to go and live in. They like to go to a place that is already very beautiful. That’s very typical of rich people and hippies. You’ll hear hundreds of hippies say, “Oh, I’ve found this marvelous place. It’s got a waterfall; it’s got beautiful trees. It’s got thousands of birds, you know. I’m gonna build there.” It’s right in a national park! You’ll hear that a million times, right? And I think, “You stupid bastard. You’re a type one error yourself!”(laughs) The hippy should go somewhere where there’s no forest, like I did, where there’s just cattle-trodden grasslands and build that beautiful place, which I did. I put lots of lakes in it with 50 good dams, so everywhere there’s water, and I created paradise. It created itself even more than I did; I gave it a three-year start. It built itself amazingly fast.



So pick a place that makes you happy and make your mark! Become an expert on that place. Fall in love with the challenge and the wonder of creating your own ideal.

 
Shelly Stern
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Miles Flansburg wrote:Shelly, There are folks practicing permaculture techiques in all parts of the US and the world. A large percentage of them would and could, argue that their little slice of permies heaven is the best.

In fact I think my spot in Wyoming is the best !

I have known many folks who wouldn't even think of setting foot in Wyoming. I would never live in a place that gets too hot.( I get heat exhaustion very easily.) Even if it was the garden of eden.
So for me it is up to the individual and what they are looking for.
It seems like the beauty of permaculture is that it can be applied to every setting on earth.

So what is it that you are looking for in a place to live?



Ahh, I understand! Thanks for your answer!

And to answer your question, it's actually quite complicated because I have equal pros and cons for every location I am considering, so i'm really unsure. This is clearly going to be my biggest hurdle. I am a perfectionist and it's hard to choose an option when I know there are any cons to it, that goes for anything in life, for me. Ideally I would like to move around, I was originally considering living in an RV so I could travel forever and live wherever I feel like it anytime I want, but then i can't grow my own food, which is one of the main reasons I got into permaculture. It also isn't very eco friendly to use a lot of gas. But I love to travel and hate public transportation, I want to be able to go anywhere I want, anytime. I guess I just want the best of both worlds and that's impossible.
 
Shelly Stern
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Jennifer!! Wow those pictures are amazing. And you're right, I think I have the wrong idea about how this works, I was thinking you should find the perfect spot, just like those hippies Bill talked about! lol I'm ashamed now that I would be like that. I'm a lazy person by nature though and I have always preferred to get something already finished, that goes for anything in life, for me. I've even considered finding a homestead for sale that someone has already been sustaining and just move in myself! lol
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Shelly

I think MOST of us would be like those hippies - myself absolutely included! Who wouldn't want to live in paradise - and for almost no work?? That interview was a HUGE wakeup call for me, personally. I finally got that permaculture is about healing the ecosystems of the planet so that we call ALL live in abundance. But we must do so on land that has already been damaged by us (human activity) and leave the existing functional ecosystems alone to continue to serve as the backbone of our healthy planet. When I finally got that into my head, I actually found more excitement in pursuing sites with more "cons" because again - it's easier to make a massive difference.

The "juice", if you will, of permaculture for me now lies not in small acreage where it is relatively easy to control many aspects of how you live, but rather in places like cities where one needs to cooperate with larger entities (neighborhood, city, county, utilities, etc.) to become more sustainable AND broad degraded landscapes where ecosystems are in disorder and are actually causing negative impacts on the planet like dehydrated watersheds and deforested land. These take more concerted effort by a larger group of people to regenerate. And it fascinates me. And it's happening here in the SW where I live - which is inspirational.

Two of my current goals for Phoenix are:
--restore urban forest canopy to 25% coverage
--make the Salt River run again (currently this "river" that Phoenix is build around flows underground in all but the heaviest monsoon seasons - and then it is ephemeral).
Are they tall orders? Yes they are. But they are some of the most powerful things I can put my energy towards. And by rebuilding the ecosystem, the end result will be a moderated environment in which food production is vastly more possible with fewer inputs. In other words, rehydrating the watershed and restoring the tree canopy will moderate our climate, increase soil fertility, bind up pollutants, smooth out our flood/drought/flood/drought cycles, impact the urban heat island effect and on and on. Pretty amazing stuff.

Regarding wanting to be a vagabond - there are ways of going about that.
--there's a couple of permaculture converted buses out there - Permibus is one. There are others.
--you could decide on one location then travel to permaculture sites around the world in your "down" season and do work trade, etc.

Permaculture is wonderful because you can choose to apply it to any lifestyle - you just have to figure out what you want to do!

Keep us posted as you make your decisions - this site is great for tossing around ideas.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shelly - also check out this thread for a video by Geoff Lawton describing what to look for in rural small acreage. That might get you started thinking about what you want.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
262
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shelly, have you heard about WOOFERing?
There are lots of permie folks all over the country and the world who need help with their projects. You could sign up, drive the RV to a farm, spend time learning and sharing and get to travel at the same time.

Check out some of the posts here...

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-27/WWOOF-organic-farm-volunteers-interns
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
262
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great posts , as always Jennifer !
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Back atcha, Miles! Sometime (not winter - LOL) I may venture up to WY to see what you've got going on. I truly do love the wide open West!
 
Shelly Stern
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer...I am starting to agree, rather than just have paradise handed to you, I agree it would be better to accept the challenge of creating it where it didn't exist before, that would be an awesome feeling! I just wish I was younger, being in my 40's makes me feel rushed, especially since I have no one to help me. I feel like even if I started now, I wouldn't even have my homestead set up for 5-10 years at the least (since I can't quit my job yet and I have little to no free time right now).

I did check out Geoff Lawton's page before I joined this site and I watched a few of his videos and learned a lot already! He seems to really know his stuff! I'm starting to learn who the big names in permaculture are so I feel like i'm getting somewhere with my learning!

I dont think i've heard of the Permibus, i'll check it out when I get a chance, thanks!
 
Shelly Stern
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Miles Flansburg wrote:Shelly, have you heard about WOOFERing?
There are lots of permie folks all over the country and the world who need help with their projects. You could sign up, drive the RV to a farm, spend time learning and sharing and get to travel at the same time.

Check out some of the posts here...

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-27/WWOOF-organic-farm-volunteers-interns



I was actually a member of WWOOF a few years ago, but got caught up in depression and trying to find a job and got sidetracked. Now I don't have much free time with my job, but still would like to try that someday! It seems more suited for a young person just starting out though, who doesn't have bills and stuff yet. I just feel bogged down by needing a job. If I were to buy an RV, it would take me at least a year or two to save up for it.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Shelly Stern wrote:Jennifer...I am starting to agree, rather than just have paradise handed to you, I agree it would be better to accept the challenge of creating it where it didn't exist before, that would be an awesome feeling! I just wish I was younger, being in my 40's makes me feel rushed, especially since I have no one to help me. I feel like even if I started now, I wouldn't even have my homestead set up for 5-10 years at the least (since I can't quit my job yet and I have little to no free time right now).



Shelly - if it helps any - I came to permaculture only after suffering a severe autoimmune disease that put me on permanent disability back in 2005 (mostly due to the effects on my vision - I worked as a systems analyst for a fortune 100 company). That happened when I was 41. I am now 50. I took my first PDC after being mostly bedridden for almost 2 years. That PDC was done over a series of weekends (8 hrs each day). I didn't have enough stamina to make it through the entire 8 hrs without resting, so (and this is an amazing manifestation of the "people care" ethic of permaculture) - the host site always made sure I could nap during the lunch hour. That's how I made it through that first PDC. I was no longer driving then either (because of vision damage) so various classmates took it upon themselves to arrange rides for me. It was truly an inspirational expression of "community".

I actually wrote up an article for the Permaculture Research Institute (Australia - Geoff Lawton's org) on my experience and how healing I found permaculture and what a semi-blind, constantly in pain 50 year old woman can STILL do (applying the permaculture principle of "working with what you've got" and "stacking functions"). I have to say that dealing with an aggressive and chronic illness has opened my eyes (pun intended) to new ways building community, and making due with much, much less - not only physically, but financially (I now live on 27% of what I used to make at my job - a pretty drastic decrease!) and discovering that I can make a huge difference even though most people would discount me for being "disabled".

I was in some ways lucky enough to have this realization foisted upon me with the decline in my health. For those folks who retain full and robust health, looking at things from a perspective of making due with less and yet still leading a more abundant life may seem foreign or impossible. I am here to tell you that you are only limited by your imagination and your zest for living the life you want NOW. Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Oh yeah!

You'll always have my support for making your dream a reality. The sooner the better. You really DON'T know what tomorrow might bring.
 
Shelly Stern
Posts: 23
Location: Minnesota
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow Jennifer, that is amazing!! I always feel silly for explaining to someone why I can't do something when they had it worse than me and overcame it anyway! Your story is truly an inspiration!! Thanks for sharing!
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
181
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It was interesting when I took Geoff Lawton's online PDC this summer - I started a thread to query if there were others in the class who had limitations/disabilities. A surprising number of people responded. We started to generate ideas on "accessible" permaculture design - something that is often "missing". We had people design for being in wheelchairs, using walkers, not being able to bend down and for managing limited energy or cyclical ability that often comes with limitations and disabilities. It was highly encouraging to see all these good folks demonstrating, yet again, how flexible and powerful permaculture is as a design science.

For myself, knowing that at some point I may lose the vision of my left eye as well - there is already significant damage - I need to plan for being blind. To that end, I am looking at the barriers to accessing various parts of my property and fixing issues and devising ways to guide myself around, like planting highly aromatic plants in specific locations to give me a clue as to where I am. I also have to either get rid of or trim up any thorny plants in my yard (being in a desert - I have several of these). It's a process I'm documenting.

Right now I'm the "one-eyed permaculture desert pirate". If I become the blind permaculturist so be it. Hell - there are blind architects, mountain climbers, etc. I, and others like me, can do this. It just takes the right application of design.
 
I was born with webbed fish toes. This tiny ad is my only friend:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!