i am looking for a place i can live and grow food next year. i am from norther michigan but i would be open to other places. i apprenticed on a vegetable farm in maine last year and in a month i am leaving to wwoof in germany for 6 months. when i get back i would like to start a farm. after spending two years making little to no money buying land is out of the question and i never want to take out a mortgage. im only looking for an acre or two just to get my feet wet. i would also be willing to live/work on a vegetable farm if i could have space to do something on my own, like raising chickens and turkeys. basically i would like to find a way to own or just use a piece of land that does not involve the exchange of money. i would consider the right land contract or rental but that is not ideal. any information or advice would be appreciated. thank you!
We have been considering the possibility of "renting" some land in and around our orchards to someone who wanted to pasture poultry in season. The right person has adopted Joel Salatin's ideas about fiefdoms and wants to run his/her business overlaid on top of ours. We hadn't really thought about providing housing but as always there is probably a way for willing minds to sort things out.
What we have: 6 acres of pasture being converted into organic/permaculture orchards with loads of space to run birds. The land is in two parcels, about 1/8th mile apart. Water for animals on site. Some available electricity, space in the unheated hoop house to set up a brooder. A place to hook up an RV (electric, power, blackwater drain, WIFI). A very small farmers market with no one in the poultry space. 150-200 mile drives to several urban areas to access other farmers markets. A local economy with seasonal part-time jobs, both in agriculture and tourism. Incredible scenery and recreation.
What we want: fertility from the birds, more critters eating to manage the grass/alfalfa mix growing between the trees. Help 3 days a month to irrigate and other projects that arise. A few birds for our table. NO drama, drugs, late night noise. Occasional trades of animal care so we can leave the farm once in a while (I'd like to go camping again!)
What you bring: your own portable electronetting, your coops, your camper/trailer if you want to stay here. You develop your marketing plan, slaughter plan (we can be the holder of record for the on-farm slaughter permit or you find a slaughterhouse).
A couple other "rules" we would be pretty strict on: bring in only organic feed; as far as using our tools-you break it, you replace it; we get along with all our neighbors and expect people here to do so as well (this is a very conservative and religious community-we are neither but we are good neighbors).
Here's the issue that may not work for your timing: it's a short season. Our pastures don't start to green up until mid-March/early April. Irrigation doesn't begin here until the first Saturday in April. The seasonal jobs are slow to start in April, ramp up by Memorial Day, you can work your butt off through the tourist season, then dry up after October.
For anyone else who might read this (since posts are forever), we are not looking for interns or WWOOFers at this time. Anyone who wants to discuss a "rental" has the experience to start their own business and the financial resources to supply their own infrastructure. We would want references from previous internships and to see a basic written plan that shows you've figured out how to make some money at this. We would consider a stable couple, but no kids or dogs.
We are a heckofa long way from Michigan: central Utah, on the edge of the Colorado plateau at 6800'. Capitol Reef National Park is 11 miles away. The other national parks in Utah (Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches and Zion) are all a couple hours away. There are a bunch of photos on my blog.
We can Skype before burning fuel. Will send you a PM. (You might want to edit your message to take out your email.)
I am sorry, because this is the Midwest forum I thought any response would be from someone a little closer than that. As hard as I is for me to pass on this, I have to. I don't think I could go more than a 12 hour drive from Michigan. I should have put that in my origanal post. Sorry again! I hope you find someone who is a better fit.
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days