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Where NOT to start a Homestead/Permaculture Land

 
Posts: 34
Location: FL
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There are some cities and States out there that likely have bad zoning laws, or the local government is so corrupt that they would, for example, come up with BS charges like "He was growing marijuana in the garden" and sending a SWAT team after them. And let's not forget Farmageddon.

Strange things are happening all over the United States, and I want to find the places that are the absolute WORST to settle if you want to cultivate the land with Permaculture, establish a homestead, sell crops and other farm elements, and live in harmony with nature overall. Where NOT to buy land. The kind of places to avoid, so that all of us can examine the local government and say, "F*** that, I'm out of here."

I know that many States have made it illegal to sell raw milk. But is it possible that there are laws out there amongst the States that make it illegal to DRINK it?

I know that Monsanto has established areas for growing crops. I want to know exactly where they are so I can stay far, far away from them (to avoid cross-pollenation and then wind up with crappy crops and a lawsuit).

This is the kind of information I need to make a well informed decision. And for all of us to avoid hassle and, possibly, tussles with corrupt Police.

List of places in the US to avoid:
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Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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I get what you're getting at - for example, living in the desert SW I'm APPALLED by Colorado's laws against harvesting rainwater in tanks... However, I tend to see such limitations as guides to further innovation. For example, I would never say, "Don't live in CO 'cause you can't harvest rainwater in tanks". Instead I would say - "Hey fellow CO permies - what ingenious methods are you using to get around this silly law?" Permaculture is the mother of many, many inventions and creative ways of addressing problems! After all - if WE don't work to correct these situations - they're just going to remain.

Also, I always go back to this quote by Mollision which is part of a larger interview:

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.



Therefore I contend that the only "bad place" to homestead is someplace where you're going in and ignoring the ethics and building your own personal haven at the expense of the environment and everyone else be damned. (and yes - I get that's NOT what you're doing - but there is that mindset out there).
 
gardener
Posts: 787
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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I think you will be able to find totally negative things in most states in the union. But it's difficult to take those things at face value. In my state there are stories both actual news stories and rumors of city workers coming over and tearing out food crops and medicinals because they did not meet the lawn code.
So when I read those I was fired up thinking "this aggression will not stand, man" but the more I thought about it and observed my surroundings the more I realized it wasn't as it appeared. There are places in town where you can see huge square foot market style gardens near busy streets and they don't seem to have a problem with code enforcement. There had to have been more to the story.

An example from my home here is cockerel related. When I got him he began sleeping in the trees. He was so young then that he did not do a full crow or anything so I left him be. After a few weeks he started crowing. Then the crowing got earlier and earlier. Just about the time I started to think we needed a solution I got a note from animal control saying I was illegally keeping a rooster. I was kind of mad because I do not break the law with these chickens and I researched the law extensively and was well within it. After figuring it out with them it was actually simple, they sent me the notice because the cops had received a noise complaint from a neighbor. So that kind of upset me, and I was angry that they did not just come ask me to shut the thing up. But I did realize the extent of my lack of respect felt by the neighbors and promptly started plucking him off his limb and putting him in a dog crate inside the mud room so his crowing would not be
audible. I wanted to call code enforcement on all my neighbors and animal control for all the house cats lurking around but I refrained, it would be bad for all.

So I will add to what Jennifer said. Another "bad place" to start homesteading is next to a neighbor that you have pissed off or cannot get along with.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 8735
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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National parks, state and provincial parks, BLM land and any other place where you must remain undetected are horrible choices. There are several threads where people talk about this as though it could go on undetected in the long run. It can't, and all of the hard work is wasted when public land is temporarily stolen by fools who think they're being clever.
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Two big No-No places for me are:

* Within city limits
* In any area with a Home Owner's Association (HOA).

Each city has the right to create its own set of codes. Have you ever noticed that City Councils are packed with Realators, Developers, and the wealthy? They believe that things like clothe lines, herbs, weeds, etc devalue the neighborhoods that they want to profit from. I know people who have been fined for allowing their lawns to grow to more than a couple of inches, or planting things like rosemary in their front yards.

HOAs are even worse. They are usually controlled by the developer who developed the neighborhood. They do not want "their neighborhood" to look like a farming community...no chickens, tomato plants, or anything else that makes it appear as if the residents are too poor to buy their food from the grocery store. HOAs can tell you what color to paint your house, what type of roof covering is acceptable, and the list goes on and on. Quite often, they have a committee of residents - these tend to be the most busybodies in the neighborhood - those who have nothing better to do than try to make everybody else live up to their standards.

 
pollinator
Posts: 160
Location: Denver, 6a / BSk, rental house dweller, going back to Wheaton Labs soon
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This isn't answering the OP, however I'll add that restrictions can also vary at the county or state level, even if you are outside of a town/municipal limits.
  • I've seen several states (Colorado, Texas), that have county-level use-based zoning, independent of the restrictions placed by towns or HOA's. In Clear Creek county in Colorado, M-2 (Mining) forbids any residential structure existing, period. In a couple others, (Elbert, Gilpin,) any A (Agriculture) land smaller than 35 acres appears to be severely limited in adult animal counts (no more than 12 avians/chickens/ducks/geese, and no more than two total bovine/swine/yak/emu/etc)


  • To give a generic answer to OP,
  • usually outside municipal boundaries (Gabe Brown is a counter-example, ranching inside city limits in South Dakota,  [youtube]https://youtu.be/9yPjoh9YJMk),[/youtube]  
  • WAAAY outside HOA's (usually subdivisions made post-1950),

  • and also taking a look at how overbearing a county's ordinances:
  • are (e.g. www.versaland.com, county placed a moratorium on orchards in ag-zones),
  • or aren't (I learned that Custer county here in Colorado has a code that says, in not so few words, "Farming is important to Custer County, so you city folks better expect to see, hear, and smell farms") which is quite unique in what little I've seen.


  • Since I have to stay close to Denver, I'm trying to think my way around the problem by Co-Opting the PUD (Planned Unit Development)
    https://permies.com/t/71324/opting-PUD-Planned-Unit-Development

    But good luck in cataloging the fertile and infertile units of government around!
     
    Posts: 233
    Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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    Local conditions may differ substantially from conditions in a state overall.  Here in Massachusetts, we're notorious for our regulation; but my local town is supportive of a lot of things permies would like, and there are a lot of permaculture enthusiasts and resources here (see: Paradise Lot, Tripple Brook Farm, UMass Amherst's permaculture garden, etc.).  Building an atypical home would probably be difficult here, but I have neighbors with cold frames in their front yard, and there is a lot of consumer enthusiasm for local and ecologically minded produce and meat.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 1559
    Location: Denver, CO
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    I know that Monsanto has established areas for growing crops. I want to know exactly where they are so I can stay far, far away from them (to avoid cross-pollenation and then wind up with crappy crops and a lawsuit).



    Monsanto strains are grown on farms all across the country. However, you don't have to worry about cross pollination unless you are growing corn, seed beets, or canola. And even if you are growing them, so long as you don't try to save and sell seeds from them, or grow thousands of acres of them, you will be fine.
     
    Squanch that. And squanch this tiny ad:
    A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
    http://woodheat.net
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