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Feasibility of purchasing a former conventional farm to start a permaculture farm  RSS feed

 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 25
Location: NWA
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Hi, All!
I am new here. Travelling to AR (NWA) next month for a visit and to investigate finally leaving the Left Coast and pursuing a dream of living a life more in tune with nature and permaculture-like with more than ten feet between me and the neighbors. A place with no HOA's. I do not have unlimited funds and have noted in real estate listings that former chicken concentration camp farms and one small looking hog farm appear to be somewhat of a bargain and a potential good starting point. I have so far been unable to locate info if all of these are superfund level eco-disasters or if with some work and common sense they can be a safe and reclaimed permaculture haven. Also wondering how many farms away one should stay from current confinement farms to be safe. Does one have to distill there own well water? Thoughts and input welcome. Perhaps failing to use correct search terms but UTL such info so far on the net. Also, any recommendations about organic/permaculture havens in the greater Fayetteville or Huntsville areas very welcome. Thank you.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 94
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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My biggest concern would be contamination. I would have the soil checked properly, I would be very concerned about chemicals and antibiotic overdosing in the soil. Giselle
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5868
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Tirzah and welcome to permies. I love the Fayetteville area and would urge you to check out the farmers market there. I think it is one of the best around and there are some local organic growers who sell there. I think you will find that area has growers with permaculture leanings and definitely many organic growers. There are several who post here in that vicinity. Try looking in the 'Ozarks' forum to read their posts.
i agree with Giselle about a soil test, for at least heavy metals, whether a pig farm or old chicken factory farm....even old, old apple orchards are said to have persistent arsenic residue. I do like the idea of rescuing a farm like that and converting to permaculture though. good luck.
I added a few more forums to your post and a couple flags for attention
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I read a great line recently, which I can't quite remember...

Basic gist of it was that rather than try to find paradise "out there somewhere" we should turn what we already have into paradise instead. One of permaculture's greatest merits is that it can help heal land damaged by agriculture. There are very few things that persist in soil for more than a year or so (the exception being heavy metals) and most things like pesticides will be broken down as your land improves. You may start with soil problems but they will get better every year that you work at it.

My view is that degraded farmland can be an excellent place to start - you can't make it any worse than it is, after all.

Most important to the long term success of your project though is a business plan. A project on the scale of a farm becomes a full time venture and needs to pay an appropriate wage if it is not to end up being abandoned.
 
Amos Burkey
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Location: Nebraska
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In my opinion, permaculture is about making the earth a better place, not just being sustainable. What better way to do that, than to breath new life into a piece of land. This will not only affect that piece of land, but hopefully be a beacon of light in that area, spreading permaculture across more acres. Its easy to be a permie in an area that is already permiated with this way of being. It take courage to be the only permie on the block.

I wish you well with your adventures, and I am sure that it will happen just as it should. Listen to your heart.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Tirzah, Take a look into what folks are doing with Mycoremediation.
 
Sam Boisseau
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Location: PNW, British Columbia
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Peter Ash had some good results rehabilitating polluted ecosystems with compost. I agree with others that it is part of our mission to rehabilitate damaged land.

I would like to add that I recommend you take on what you think you have the energy and will to take on.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Tirzah Schmaltz wrote:Hi, All!
I am new here. Travelling to AR (NWA) next month for a visit and to investigate finally leaving the Left Coast and pursuing a dream of living a life more in tune with nature and permaculture-like with more than ten feet between me and the neighbors. A place with no HOA's. I do not have unlimited funds and have noted in real estate listings that former chicken concentration camp farms and one small looking hog farm appear to be somewhat of a bargain and a potential good starting point. I have so far been unable to locate info if all of these are superfund level eco-disasters or if with some work and common sense they can be a safe and reclaimed permaculture haven. Also wondering how many farms away one should stay from current confinement farms to be safe. Does one have to distill there own well water? Thoughts and input welcome. Perhaps failing to use correct search terms but UTL such info so far on the net. Also, any recommendations about organic/permaculture havens in the greater Fayetteville or Huntsville areas very welcome. Thank you.


Welcome to permies. If it is a former chicken operation, it was probably a Tyson Foods venue so definitely a substantial soil test is in order. If it is a former pig farm, it too was probably a Tyson Foods venue so the same applies. Tyson has the policy of providing the "farmer" with everything from the new chicks, piglets to the end product. This means the feeds, any medications the animals might need or that Tyson Foods wants them to have including antibiotics. In the chicken arena they use arsenic to control parasites so be sure the soil is tested for that, also all the nasy sulfates used in the animal rearing industry should be looked for. The Land can be healed by ample use of composting and broad forking, leaching and planting sacrificial crops that will suck up the bad stuff. These crops will have to be disposed of unfortunately. An alternative is to scrape up the top foot of soil and dispose of it, that seems to be where most of the nasties hang out but I like the idea of healing mother earth instead of giving up on her.
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 25
Location: NWA
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Thank you all for your input. I will check out your suggestions. Do those of you in AR or that part of the Ozarks know of places in addition to the farmer's market where like-minded fold may be easier to find? And, if there are certain towns or areas where there may be little pockets of them? Also, any published examples of folks doing this?
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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There are lots of little communities in NW Arkansas, from the Fayetteville area all the way over to Mountain Home, Eureka Springs is a nice area but more Tourist oriented these days. One thing you could do is to contact Tyson Foods, they may have a list of farms that you could look into. The University of Arkansas Extension Service also may be able to help you in your endeavor.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Please tell me you're going to raise poultry and incorporate schmaltz into the farm name. That would be kind of funny but then again, I'm a Jewish woman raising pigs...
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 25
Location: NWA
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:There are lots of little communities in NW Arkansas, from the Fayetteville area all the way over to Mountain Home, Eureka Springs is a nice area but more Tourist oriented these days. One thing you could do is to contact Tyson Foods, they may have a list of farms that you could look into. The University of Arkansas Extension Service also may be able to help you in your endeavor.


Bryant,

Thank you for the advice. Are there any areas you've noted where there are little pockets of permaculture people or folks with that bent?
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 25
Location: NWA
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Cj Verde wrote:Please tell me you're going to raise poultry and incorporate schmaltz into the farm name. That would be kind of funny but then again, I'm a Jewish woman raising pigs...


OY! Cj! You're killin' me! ...Would like to have some poultry, not so sure I wanna incorporate schmaltz into the name though. Planning on marrying into another surname one day. One of my way out dreams would be to grow hemp for hempcrete construction projects if it is seriously decriminalized. My understanding is a bill was passed allowing some monitored experimental and educationally oriented pilot farming of it, but then... mayhem in KY, so not sure that's happening soon. Maybe there is room for a thread on that soon. I read AR is one of the states cleared for some gov't oversight activity in that vein. ...A Jewish woman raising pigs.... Is "Oink Vey!" is too slap stick for a small craft Jewess operated pork operation?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Don't wait to marry to change your name! Pretend you're going into show biz and change it now!

There's no such thing as too slap stick. I do have some great pigs stories but see this thread for a link to a Jewish person one upping me, pigwise.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2757
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
225
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Most of the North Western communities have a few of us around. Stop in at the local feed stores, Drug stores, Farmer's markets, Usually the Permies and Organic folks are known by at least one of these businesses.
 
Luna Thompson
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Hi! Hello!

There is certainly loads of potential here in AR.
The topography seems to have kept a lot of destruction at bay.
I'm just passing through but I have yet to see a single gmo field.
Super Bliss!


I must agree with the suggestion for micoremediation.

Mycelium running by paul stamets will be of great assistance!
I'm reading it now and feeling the need to apply this bit of pressure to my peers.. READ IT!
He gives extensive charts pairing heavy metals/toxins and the wondrous species that devour them.

Every page turned, I'm delighted and end up spewing summaries unto anyone around. )

What other sources for information have yeens found to be utterly revolutionary in the quest to create a new world by healing the old??
Has anyone read Liiving Machines? Estuaries for processing toxic waste..
I'm thinking even if you inoculate with hyperaccumulators you have to then put the fruiting bodies somewhere..

Ah I'm new to posting.. I should probably stop and seek out a remediation forum.

One planet. All the best to you dear Tirzah. Let us know how your search goes!

Ps Stockton lake area is lovely, fairly pure, and cheap.
Psps..if you feel like abandoning this region. The big island is full of like minded folks, and reasonably priced land that craves remediation.
Ohhhh and Hawaii is working to not only legalize but grow hemp on a major scale! Major win since it absorbs radiation!



 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Luna Thompson wrote:The big island is full of like minded folks, and reasonably priced land that craves remediation.
Ohhhh and Hawaii is working to not only legalize but grow hemp on a major scale! Major win since it absorbs radiation!


Luna, consider adding your location to your profile.
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 25
Location: NWA
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Ps Stockton lake area is lovely, fairly pure, and cheap.
Psps..if you feel like abandoning this region. The big island is full of like minded folks, and reasonably priced land that craves remediation.
Ohhhh and Hawaii is working to not only legalize but grow hemp on a major scale! Major win since it absorbs radiation!


Luna, confirming Stockton Lake, MO?
 
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