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John Brock
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Hi everyone,

My question is essentially how can a young individual work towards owning a farm and practicing permaculture upon it.

Thanks !
 
Sean Banks
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I would suggest saving up as much money as you can within the next 5-10 years and then buy yourself some land. Raw land is usually cheapest.....check out landwatch.com for postings. I seen land go for only a few thousand in the most remote of places. You dont need a whole lot of land a few acres can get you pretty far. It is very important however that you make sure there are no building restrictions/codes. Unfortunately the situation these days is not looking great for those wanting to go offgrid in the city or suburbs. Many laws exist that prevent you from using composting toilets and alternative energy. In the mean time learn as much as you can about alternative energy and permaculture so that you can jump right into it once you have the land. I have discovered that Youtube is a great resource for that..for the past few years or so I have been obsessing over permaculture/offgrid stuff...I have watched nearly every video in that genera....this site is great of course too if you have any questions.Also check out Geoff lawtons videos if you haven't already.Good luck.
 
Mike Haych
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Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Jake,


Yeh, it's frustrating - knowing what you don't want & knowing what you do want but not seeing a way to getting it. I've found there are many paths that lead to the same place. You are focused on dollars alone. There's another and, I think, far more important path - knowledge and experience. Learn as much as you can about permaculture & horticulture. Read, watch videos. Go to workshops. Participate in permablitzs. Volunteer at permaculture events. Volunteer on permaculture or organic operations around Toronto (check Workaway, Helpx, and WWOOF-Canada) . For example, there are 34 Workaway hosts in Canada who list permaculture in their description. Seven of them are in Ontario. Some are close-ish to Toronto. Go to convergences. As you gain practical knowledge and meet people, doors will open. Maybe one will be a path to what you want.

The point that I'm trying to make is not to get too hung up on acquiring the money but rather start acquiring the knowledge, the practical experience, and the community. Perhaps you'll find peace of mind that way.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jake Nisenboim wrote:My dream is to "farm naturally" hopefully own the land, live off-the-grid , have community and so forth but I have no idea which route or direction to go. I must say though, I feel like time is running out.


Slow down a bit. It might feel like time is running out but at 17 you do have lots of time.

The best thing would be for you to intern with a farmer you respect, after you graduate HS. You probably wont earn much, or even anything at all but your living situation will be good and you'll be learning. Joel Salatin talks about older farmers needing new recruits in his new book, Fields of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating. See if you can get it from the local library.

Explore http://www.permacultureglobal.com/ to find local permaculture farms.

In the mean time, can you grow anything at the group home? Even just doing sprouts for eating might cheer you up and make you feel productive. There's lots of info about urban permaculture out there.
 
John Derry
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Location: County Kerry, Ireland
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Hi Jake,

I truly understand the feeling of urgency in moving forward and building a sustainable and healthy life.

I would repeat the suggestion of reading (or perhaps more immediately watching as many youtube videos as you can find) Joel Salatin's ideas on this. If raising beef could be your thing, then he shows that very little capital is needed to rent land and setup with portable electric fencing and a highly efficient design to produce profits that could buy you your land. If establishing a food forest is closer to what you want to do then he also talks about finding an established older farmer to partner with. You build up a trusting relationship by helping them for a couple of years, then you could setup a business that compliments and enhances the existing farm rather than competes with.

Another alernative, and one I think your introduction precludes would be to join the rat race, get a well paid job for 5-10 years following the principles of the blogs early retirement extreme and Mr. Money Moustache to build up the money to buy a homestead outright.

Hope this helps. There are so many options, and at 32 I still find such decisions impossible, let alone at 17. A gap year WWOOFING or alike could give you time to gain experience and perspective to make better decisions.

John.
 
John Brock
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Sean Banks wrote:I would suggest saving up as much money as you can within the next 5-10 years and then buy yourself some land. Raw land is usually cheapest.....check out landwatch.com for postings. I seen land go for only a few thousand in the most remote of places. You dont need a whole lot of land a few acres can get you pretty far. It is very important however that you make sure there are no building restrictions/codes. Unfortunately the situation these days is not looking great for those wanting to go offgrid in the city or suburbs. Many laws exist that prevent you from using composting toilets and alternative energy. In the mean time learn as much as you can about alternative energy and permaculture so that you can jump right into it once you have the land. I have discovered that Youtube is a great resource for that..for the past few years or so I have been obsessing over permaculture/offgrid stuff...I have watched nearly every video in that genera....this site is great of course too if you have any questions.Also check out Geoff lawtons videos if you haven't already.Good luck.



Thats the plan ! Learn as much as I can , take courses and workshops on everything from making tinctures and salves to permaculture & forest farming. I plan to take a course on rainwater harvesting and management as well.

About the government regulations, I know. I can only dream of a society where these narcissistic sociopath parasites just leave me (and those who want to be left) alone. They simply create problems to show the public that they have reason to exist. Incredible really.

My plan is to finish high school & intern for a year or so and take it from there. In all honesty, it felt great to reach out and write this message down. I posted a similar message to a forum for a course I Was taking and the feeling of vulnerability is scary, but satisfying when I realize (especially being so young) there are people out there who want to help !
 
John Brock
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Mike Haych wrote:
Jake,


Yeh, it's frustrating - knowing what you don't want & knowing what you do want but not seeing a way to getting it. I've found there are many paths that lead to the same place. You are focused on dollars alone. There's another and, I think, far more important path - knowledge and experience. Learn as much as you can about permaculture & horticulture. Read, watch videos. Go to workshops. Participate in permablitzs. Volunteer at permaculture events. Volunteer on permaculture or organic operations around Toronto (check Workaway, Helpx, and WWOOF-Canada) . For example, there are 34 Workaway hosts in Canada who list permaculture in their description. Seven of them are in Ontario. Some are close-ish to Toronto. Go to convergences. As you gain practical knowledge and meet people, doors will open. Maybe one will be a path to what you want.

The point that I'm trying to make is not to get too hung up on acquiring the money but rather start acquiring the knowledge, the practical experience, and the community. Perhaps you'll find peace of mind that way.


I appreciate the feedback and response.

One thing though, it might have come across this way (and could be -- unconsciously for sure), but one thing i (think) am certain of is i am not only focused on money alone. Heck, I spent $700 under a year ago when that was all of my money because I know what I want to pursue so I figured it would have been the greatest investment i could have made. The reason I do focus on money though, is because I desperately want to escape a toxic situation of being in a grouphome to say the least.

I have come to more of an understanding of what I want and plant to do in the next few days and that is complete high school and then go intern on farm(s) for a while to get experience and enjoy the life I want to live. I have volunteered for PermacultureGTA and though I am not an expert, the person I interacted with at the gardens she was very bitter, arrogant and had us weeding the entire time (and did not plant anything to make up for it --- and we were weeding edibles such as lambsquarters and dandelions which I attempted to explain are great for the soil) to say the least I Was not very pleased, though I will be going back for a workshop they are offering. I wont let this stop me from pursuing everything and looking everywhere for knowledge. Also one shitty staff does not mean the entire team is bad.

Anyways, I am 100% trying to pursue the knowledge and experience over the money. That I am certain of; though it may not have come across that way. I will be taking every workshop I can (spending the money to do so) and take every course I can afford which I feel will bring me value and knowledge. That is my plan.

Please let me know your thoughts ! I am happy to hearing any feedback, advice, critism to everything ! In fact, that is why I am here ! Thanks
 
John Brock
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Cj Verde wrote:
Jake Nisenboim wrote:My dream is to "farm naturally" hopefully own the land, live off-the-grid , have community and so forth but I have no idea which route or direction to go. I must say though, I feel like time is running out.


Slow down a bit. It might feel like time is running out but at 17 you do have lots of time.

The best thing would be for you to intern with a farmer you respect, after you graduate HS. You probably wont earn much, or even anything at all but your living situation will be good and you'll be learning. Joel Salatin talks about older farmers needing new recruits in his new book, Fields of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating. See if you can get it from the local library.

Explore http://www.permacultureglobal.com/ to find local permaculture farms.

In the mean time, can you grow anything at the group home? Even just doing sprouts for eating might cheer you up and make you feel productive. There's lots of info about urban permaculture out there.


Thanks ! You are totally right. What I feel like time is running out, is because my head is going crazy. I am not cut out for the city. I prefered 9 hour days under the sun, with that peace in the country than living here in the city. Not to complain though, what I also mean is we need more "forest farmers" ASAP ! Lastly, it just feels like it will be (and it will be extremely slow if I do pursue the money and my own land! which I know get) slow achieving my final goal (land with chickens, etc.). That doesn't mean I have to work in the city until then though !

Yes, my plan is to finish high school, and then look for permaculture farms to intern on and gain knowledge, experience and skills which will be of value in the future.

Funny you mention that, I actually have grown my own tomato plant (there is a tiny patch) and basil by its side and I do make my own radish and red clover sprouts ! Wish I didnt have to use city water for em.


Thanks for the response ! I will continue to pursue knowledge, skills and experience and grow sprouts ! I will continue to Sprout Change : ) !
 
John Brock
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John Derry wrote:Hi Jake,

I truly understand the feeling of urgency in moving forward and building a sustainable and healthy life.

I would repeat the suggestion of reading (or perhaps more immediately watching as many youtube videos as you can find) Joel Salatin's ideas on this. If raising beef could be your thing, then he shows that very little capital is needed to rent land and setup with portable electric fencing and a highly efficient design to produce profits that could buy you your land. If establishing a food forest is closer to what you want to do then he also talks about finding an established older farmer to partner with. You build up a trusting relationship by helping them for a couple of years, then you could setup a business that compliments and enhances the existing farm rather than competes with.

Another alernative, and one I think your introduction precludes would be to join the rat race, get a well paid job for 5-10 years following the principles of the blogs Early Retirement Extreme and Mr. Money Moustache to build up the money to buy a homestead outright.

Hope this helps. There are so many options, and at 32 I still find such decisions impossible, let alone at 17. A gap year WWOOFING or alike could give you time to gain experience and perspective to make better decisions.

John.


Thanks John !

You got it man. I feel it is urgent to move forward, pursue my passion(s) and build a thriving and healthy life. That is it ! I didnt entirely know until you said that. That is why I feel "time is running out"....

That is also a great idea. I listened to a few of Joel Salatin's videos, and that is exactly what I would love; to help out and eventually partner with an older farmer and create my own business that compliments his/her own. That is my plan... I dont have 10 more years in the city .. I want some fresh air and good food ! : )

Yeup, my plan is to finish high school and then WWOOF on permaculture farms.

Thanks a lot for the response ! Much appreciated.
 
John Saltveit
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Hi Jake,
I can really identify with what you're talking about. I also felt trapped by a very negative father at your age. For a few years, the only thing I was running on was the hope that things would eventually get better. I think it's important for you to realize that as you move from your current situation to one that works better, you will be inspiring many people around you to be nicer, more positive, and to make a better life. I'm sure that you have already inspired many people on permies, including myself. You are creating a road that is a better place than what you came from, and that positive road is a gift that you are learning to give to others around you. The vast majority of people your age know almost nothing about growing food, permaculture, or the environment. Many adults will think back when they are gruff or unpleasant to you and you are nice to them. They won't tell you, but you are helping them to become more positive. It sounds like you might become a kind of ambassador for permaculture and positive living to others around you. You will be developing tons of skills all through that period that will help you in life.

The average age of North American farmers is about 65. There are organizations like the grange, local permaculture organizations in TOronto, and others. We have a county government program that helps young farmers learn about newer techniques in running farms, some of which is permaculture. You will also inspire many people who are tired, burnt out and need a fresh perspective on life. Many farm sections are not farmed. Many arrangements have been made in which someone (like you) can grow crops or take care of animals and work/money splits can be made. I don't know how many 65 year olds you know, but most can't climb ladders, haul heavy stuff, and they probably will need your help. Informal mentoring is a wonderful process. Most people in the country are friendly and would be excited to interact with a young positive person such as yourself. You will be doing a zillion things to make your life better and also for those around you. I applaud you on your ability to see your situation and your efforts to make it better. Your path will probably not be exactly like you envision, but if you keep setting out a positive path, you will find one somehow.
John S
PDX OR
 
Ann Torrence
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Jake,

That's quite a story! Most folks have stories, what matters is what we do with the experiences life throws at us. Since you are one of us crazy-for-permaculture folks, let's apply the observation principle:

Assets:
-you know what you want to do. I suspect I'm not the only one reading your post who is insanely jealous that you have found your compass so young. I can only imagine that you stick out like a sore thumb among your housemates.
-you are unencumbered by debt and bad habits. I can think of two recent threads where folks are coming out of college with mountains of debt that they have to move before they can start thinking about living their dreams. $30, 40, 50K of debt dragging behind you is crippling.
-you clearly can think and write a few sentences. That is nontrivial-just look at your peers
-you have some spunk, resilience and drive. Enough said, but don't forget that these are not common traits to work with

Limitations:
-no safety net. I doubt you left out the part about a hefty trust fund. I have no idea how old you are when you age out of the Ontario system, but that time bomb is ticking. It doesn't sound like you can just go off and WWOOF and have a bed to come home to if the opportunity turns out poorly.
-no marketable skills to generate income. Pulling weeds for an organic farmer ain't it.

I can't think of anything else to add to the limitations. That's pretty cool right there. You don't have much to unlearn or undo.

Now, onto the 3 ethics, care of people, care of land, return of surplus.
-Well you don't have any land or surplus to worry about!
-Care of people: I can't say this enough. It doesn't say "care of other people." Care of people means putting yourself first right now. Forget about supporting the movement, organic farmers or any other good causes. Those are things you do with surplus. You don't have kids, the adults in your life are responsible for themselves (not on your list of obligations regardless of their opinion of what you should do for them.)

Onto the zone analysis:
Zone Zero (your immediate living situation)
-you need a safety net. Like $10K in the bank ASAP. That will give you the freedom to quit a sucky job, or take a summer off and WWOOF, move to another part of the world, whatever. It won't take you 5-10 years to save that up. Most of us had parents that provided some kind of safety net at 17. But you have to do this for yourself first. Like on the airplane, you put your oxygen mask on first, then worry about others around you. Other people's emergencies are not your problem. This is sacred money-it is your freedom.

Zone One (what you touch every day)
-you need a fall back skill. I am wondering in your aging-out program whether there is any vocational ed opportunities? I'm not saying you should aspire to a trade in welding, or heavy equipment operations, but those are examples of skills that you can nearly always gen up some cash with in short order. Learning to operate a back-hoe is a valuable permaculture skill. So are basic business skills. So is being able to machine and weld farming equipment. Or working as a vet tech. Or or or. But something that you can do to earn a living until you get your land. A trade that does better than $13 an hour. It doesn't have to be your dream career, just something to add to the asset list. The ability to earn money will make a lot of goals easier to reach.

Zone Two and beyond
-plenty of good advice here in this thread about ways to move forward and get out of the city. Knowledge is something you can carry with you for free (no freight for moving that to a new location). I wouldn't rule out college for some of that knowledge, esp if there are programs in the foster system to pay for it. Just don't go into debt for it. Good relationships and a good reputation are also priceless and don't cost anything. Who do you want to learn from? A business mentor? A farmer? A rancher? An earthmover? Those relationships are a key part to your Zone 2-4.

The standard advice is a year of observation before touching the land. For you, Jake, let's interpret that as a year of building up the F#$% You safety fund, meeting everyone you can and finishing school. Work on Zone 1 and 2 as time allows, and I hope that permies.com is part of that.

I can't wait to see where you go with this.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jake Nisenboim wrote:
Funny you mention that, I actually have grown my own tomato plant (there is a tiny patch) and basil by its side and I do make my own radish and red clover sprouts ! Wish I didnt have to use city water for em.


Maybe you don't! In Australia they use water caught off their roofs and stored in tanks. geoff lawton said given a choice, Aussie's would opt for rain water every time over city water.

There is something called a first flush system and some interesting drawings in the Permaculture Designers Manual. Several videos are available on youtube. Maybe you can scale one down real small and cheap for your sprouts:
 
John Brock
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John Saltveit wrote:Hi Jake,
I can really identify with what you're talking about. I also felt trapped by a very negative father at your age. For a few years, the only thing I was running on was the hope that things would eventually get better. I think it's important for you to realize that as you move from your current situation to one that works better, you will be inspiring many people around you to be nicer, more positive, and to make a better life. I'm sure that you have already inspired many people on permies, including myself. You are creating a road that is a better place than what you came from, and that positive road is a gift that you are learning to give to others around you. The vast majority of people your age know almost nothing about growing food, permaculture, or the environment. Many adults will think back when they are gruff or unpleasant to you and you are nice to them. They won't tell you, but you are helping them to become more positive. It sounds like you might become a kind of ambassador for permaculture and positive living to others around you. You will be developing tons of skills all through that period that will help you in life.

The average age of North American farmers is about 65. There are organizations like the Grange, local permaculture organizations in TOronto, and others. We have a county government program that helps young farmers learn about newer techniques in running farms, some of which is permaculture. You will also inspire many people who are tired, burnt out and need a fresh perspective on life. Many farm sections are not farmed. Many arrangements have been made in which someone (like you) can grow crops or take care of animals and work/money splits can be made. I don't know how many 65 year olds you know, but most can't climb ladders, haul heavy stuff, and they probably will need your help. Informal mentoring is a wonderful process. Most people in the country are friendly and would be excited to interact with a young positive person such as yourself. You will be doing a zillion things to make your life better and also for those around you. I applaud you on your ability to see your situation and your efforts to make it better. Your path will probably not be exactly like you envision, but if you keep setting out a positive path, you will find one somehow.
John S
PDX OR


Wow. Thank you so much. You got me all emotional and tearing up.... I dont even know what to say to that first part. But thank you very very much, that is some truly uplifting and positive stuff to read. Sorry to hear you went through similar situation. No (defenceless) child should ever suffer at the hands of any cowardly adult. And I guess if there is really one thing I want to do (here and everywhere) it is to speak the truth, rebel against shitty people (i incorporate stuff like "spanking and abuse also contributes to a lower immune system which can make a person more vulnerable to this disease, etc." in science projects in school) and inspire others to do good.

It is partly why I buy organic too, I want to be able to say, Im 17, working full time / part time providing for myself, and the majority of my food is organic. Stop bad habits like smoking and create priorities (with more sympathy..).

I tried to look into the Grange and I am not sure what that is to be honest. I have volunteered for a few such as Garden Jane & PermacultureGTA..

True ! I wish i could find some of those places/people and do that. In any case my plan is to finish high school before going off to a farm, etc.

Im sorry I dont have enough to say. This is probably the most influential message I have received back from reaching out. In any case I really really appreciate your support and uplifting words.

If you want, Id love to chat with you sometime.

Anyways take care and happy farming!
 
John Brock
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Ann Torrence wrote:Jake,

That's quite a story! Most folks have stories, what matters is what we do with the experiences life throws at us. Since you are one of us crazy-for-permaculture folks, let's apply the observation principle:

Assets:
-you know what you want to do. I suspect I'm not the only one reading your post who is insanely jealous that you have found your compass so young. I can only imagine that you stick out like a sore thumb among your housemates.
-you are unencumbered by debt and bad habits. I can think of two recent threads where folks are coming out of college with mountains of debt that they have to move before they can start thinking about living their dreams. $30, 40, 50K of debt dragging behind you is crippling.
-you clearly can think and write a few sentences. That is nontrivial-just look at your peers
-you have some spunk, resilience and drive. Enough said, but don't forget that these are not common traits to work with

Limitations:
-no safety net. I doubt you left out the part about a hefty trust fund. I have no idea how old you are when you age out of the Ontario system, but that time bomb is ticking. It doesn't sound like you can just go off and WWOOF and have a bed to come home to if the opportunity turns out poorly.
-no marketable skills to generate income. Pulling weeds for an organic farmer ain't it.

I can't think of anything else to add to the limitations. That's pretty cool right there. You don't have much to unlearn or undo.

Now, onto the 3 ethics, care of people, care of land, return of surplus.
-Well you don't have any land or surplus to worry about!
-Care of people: I can't say this enough. It doesn't say "care of other people." Care of people means putting yourself first right now. Forget about supporting the movement, organic farmers or any other good causes. Those are things you do with surplus. You don't have kids, the adults in your life are responsible for themselves (not on your list of obligations regardless of their opinion of what you should do for them.)

Onto the zone analysis:
Zone Zero (your immediate living situation)
-you need a safety net. Like $10K in the bank ASAP. That will give you the freedom to quit a sucky job, or take a summer off and WWOOF, move to another part of the world, whatever. It won't take you 5-10 years to save that up. Most of us had parents that provided some kind of safety net at 17. But you have to do this for yourself first. Like on the airplane, you put your oxygen mask on first, then worry about others around you. Other people's emergencies are not your problem. This is sacred money-it is your freedom.

Zone One (what you touch every day)
-you need a fall back skill. I am wondering in your aging-out program whether there is any vocational ed opportunities? I'm not saying you should aspire to a trade in welding, or heavy equipment operations, but those are examples of skills that you can nearly always gen up some cash with in short order. Learning to operate a back-hoe is a valuable permaculture skill. So are basic business skills. So is being able to machine and weld farming equipment. Or working as a vet tech. Or or or. But something that you can do to earn a living until you get your land. A trade that does better than $13 an hour. It doesn't have to be your dream career, just something to add to the asset list. The ability to earn money will make a lot of goals easier to reach.

Zone Two and beyond
-plenty of good advice here in this thread about ways to move forward and get out of the city. Knowledge is something you can carry with you for free (no freight for moving that to a new location). I wouldn't rule out college for some of that knowledge, esp if there are programs in the foster system to pay for it. Just don't go into debt for it. Good relationships and a good reputation are also priceless and don't cost anything. Who do you want to learn from? A business mentor? A farmer? A rancher? An earthmover? Those relationships are a key part to your Zone 2-4.

The standard advice is a year of observation before touching the land. For you, Jake, let's interpret that as a year of building up the F#$% You safety fund, meeting everyone you can and finishing school. Work on Zone 1 and 2 as time allows, and I hope that permies.com is part of that.

I can't wait to see where you go with this.


Thank you ! I really appreciate the message and you taking your time to help !!! Incredibly appreciated. And an awesome approach ! I should have seen it coming ; )

I am glad I have found my passion(s) too; I really don't think I would even be around if I didnt have somthing to look forward to... as dark as that is... I do stick out, in the sense that, well, at first everyone thought i was a "Crazy f*ggot", but i guess as time went on people realized Im just a nice, funny, passionate kid in a shitty situation... So those dirty remarks stopped relatively quickly (from all except one)..

That is awesome to remind me of and you are totally right !! I am a step ahead, atleast I am not in debt (and sure as hell not going into debt!)! I think I have pretty decent communication skills (better when I talk than type all abstract I think). Also sometimes, and thank you, I need to remind myself that I really am working pretty damn hard and need a break. If there is one thing I think I have, it is tremendous ambition and drive.

Your right! I did leave the part out where, Im waiting on a few million dollars when I turn 18 (that was a joke, by the way lol).... Though, and I have no idea whether this is the case or not and expect nothing, when my father does die, if I am in his will I guess I may get a few grand... ? Nothing to count on though, to say the least.

In regards to having a bed to come home to, in short no... I could maybe sleep at my grandmother's, for a night.. But I would just count on hostels.

Hmm, in regards to marketable skills. I know how to grow food from seed until harvest (a few vegetable crops), know how to build, start and maintain compost, work in raised beds, cook, and I am the best sales person (probably because of communication skills and my ability to think quickly) I know (however to say that humbly) and am pretty creative in making something appeal to customers.... In short though, I know what you mean and Im not an engineer or an electrician or anything like that.... Theres probably a few things to unlearn, but hey, thats why iv spent hours "working on myself" from yoga to meditation to paying for my own councillor/therapist (who now gives me free sessions) -- there are a few people out there trying to support children / teens. The rest of the adults (ones not helping), are simply the abusers so if they actually did do somthing, that would involve them being exposed of being an incredibly shitty human being. Thats all I will say to that though : )


Thank you thank you thank you. True! I got to take care of myself first. I've always done that, intuitively, to survive; but I dont think really consciously. Im always standing up for others more than for myself, giving others (in the grouphome even) free organic food to be like "Hey doesnt this taste so much better !?! Its a lot healthier too!". In any case, I take care of myself and moreso recently through yoga, therapy, philosophy, putting an effort into school -- so that I get SOMETHING out of my dreadful time, meditating, standing up to people like my "family", etc. In fact, coming to think of it, at this time, I dont even know what else I could do or have done better for myself... Thats actually I pretty good feeling.

You are entirely right! Build that freedom fund! That will be my key! I have a few grand so far, though just spent another $800 (which I half regretted after -- but too late for that shit!) on another Gaia College course to dive even deeper into specifically everything related to growing food in permaculture. Still got some money behind me though. And if anything, at this grouphome, I dont really have to buy any food... My only ("forced") expense is transportation while I live here. Better than when I was 12 years old working to feed myself (shitty food like mcdonalds)...

What is a "vocational ed opportunity"? Definetely. My plan is to intern in a kitchen (which I know is not a "real" trade) during the winter (out of landscaping season). I just got an interview to work full time in a kitchen but cant really commit until the winter so might have to pass it up... In any case I would like to learn all trades possible. My experience in looking around though is that any "formal" training or job or anything requires high school. I spoke with an electrician though, I could always "follow him around" to learn..
Do you have any suggestions for these kinds of trades, that I could learn in the city? I would love to hear !

Exactly! This part is priceless. Knowledge is incredibly valuable. Which I why I have and am taking these courses. These are things that I know, when all fails, I can possibly go out into the country and say "Hey, I know all about organic farming, can I work for you?". Whenever I hear people say "Its not about what you know, its about who you know." I say "Its not about who you know its about how you know them" (positive or negative relationships).. But also obviously, if you are truly going to succeed in anything, it sure as hell is about what you know!

And I want to learn everything. Though, my ultimate goal is to learn hands on forest farming & wildcrafting! (From a guy like Skeeter!)

Haha I appreciate that last part. Very true. Got to just take care of myself, my body and health, build up as much finances as possible, take as many valuable workshops and courses and finish high school. Then go from there, which will very likely be to intern.

Again, I cant thank you enough for this post and helping me very clearly plan things out and get clear on a number of things and short vs long term goals.

I would LOVE to keep in touch with you !!!

Thank you so much.

With much love !!!

Jake
 
John Brock
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Cj Verde wrote:
Jake Nisenboim wrote:
Funny you mention that, I actually have grown my own tomato plant (there is a tiny patch) and basil by its side and I do make my own radish and red clover sprouts ! Wish I didnt have to use city water for em.


Maybe you don't! In Australia they use water caught off their roofs and stored in tanks. Geoff Lawton said given a choice, Aussie's would opt for rain water every time over city water.

There is something called a first flush system and some interesting drawings in the Permaculture Designers Manual. Several videos are available on youtube. Maybe you can scale one down real small and cheap for your sprouts:


Man I would love to do that ! I am not sure that these unhappy, overpaid govt workers would let me do that though... Heck, their the ones who vote Yes to Fluoride and Chlorine in the water. In any case Ill look into it but I have trouble believing they would let me do anything like this.

I recently just bought a "Berkey" water filter though which I have been keeping in my room. Apparently it can even filter out lake water. Great for if I ever get stuck! Kind of big though. Its awesome though and makes my water taste awesome and makes pesticide free water.

Heck yeah !
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Now fall is almost upon us, I would spend some time studying a few people you will find very important.

These three podcasts are a good start:

Curtis Stone: Started his farming operation with 7K and made 22K in his first year. The model he uses (SPIN) provides a means to make approx $100K per acre per year. (Curtis lives in Kelowna BTW)

Greg Judy went totally broke doing traditional farming and started again with $20. He now operates a cattle operation encompassing over 1,500 acres running over 1,000 head of cattle. His basic model was to lease land and raise other people's cattle using mob grazing methods. He then slowly grew his own herd over time.

Finally, Jean-Martin Fortier lives in Quebec, where he is producing $140K on 1.5 acres, with a profit margin of 40%.

Basically, there are options for you provided you get your act together over the winter. I'd look into places where you would want to base yourself, business models you would want to base your operation on, and possible government financial assistance that is available.

 
Archie Quinn
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You already have the life you need, or you would not be alive, everything else is desire, remember that. The only happy people are those who are happy with what they have right now. This does not mean they do not want more, or something different, but they unlike most understand that all people will want more, but most are unhappy because they do not have it. Stupidity is to think that upon reaching a goal you will never want anything again, you will, be it a partner, a better crop, a better solar system, to build a hydro from your waste water as it falls, discovering you should have built on a hillside so you have fall for hydro no matter how tiny (you can put hydro machines on taps)

I live without power and water from connections, sometimes it is hard, no sun or fuel for the generator, hasn't rained so i have to cart water, my girlfriend would rather live on the grid. whatever you think will make you happy or "give you the life you want" is simply a matter of acceptance. Accept what you have now as "your great life" you will make better regardless of all these things you want to "add to your great life" and you will always have a great life.

As for the practical applications of off grid self sufficiency, be worthwhile, get a trade, carpenter or electricians are best, if the world ended and you are only a grower, who will fix your house, build your power equipment to pump water and so on? learning a trade gives you common sense building skills, a welder is another good one or steel worker. think of something you would use to be useful other than farming, anyone can farm enough to survive, it may not be the ultimate in horticulture, but you can learn this afterwards. your trade will help to set you up, you can fall back on it and so on for extra money. buy hillside land for water collection and hydro use, yes even a half acre block can produce hydro, hills get good wind for turbines, all very helpful when it is cloudy for days.

don't concentrate on having it all at once and right now, but buy the land as soon as you can, it is going up really fast everywhere, and at least you can camp on it if you have no job, old dumpy caravan, 4 100 amp hour batteries and 500watts of solar to recharge them, they will run your computer your lights and your bar fridge in the van (turn off bar fridge at 4pm daily and on at 9 am keep ice bricks in freezer everything will stay cold) there is your escape place, and you accommodation while you build when you have enough money to move to your block. buy diesel only vehicles and generators, you can make biodiesel but you cant make petrol. good luck
 
Simon Johnson
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My two cents would be to have a look at Paul's book list and read some of those over the winter. I would say start with "mortgage free". An excellent book. I would also recommend heading over to http://earlyretirementextreme.com and having a look at what Jacob has to say over there. He also has a good book list to pick from.

Following some of those strategies will make it much easier for you to accumulate the necessary funds needed to "do whatever you want" instead of being "a wage slave", if you will. With a pretty low income you can still save a good deal of money if you go about it in a seriously extreme manner. Before you know it you will have enough to get some land and build a place to live.

Main thing is, don't stop learning and don't stop doing. Continuously adding to your repertoire of useful skills by reading about and working at them will be of great benefit down the road. Not only will you be able to do things for yourself and not have to pay someone else to do it, but you can also get paid for doing these same things for others.

Good luck on your journey!
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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Hey Jake, just wanted to wish you luck. A lot of us come from abusive backgrounds, so you're not alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.

Be thrifty. Even if you're only making $13/hour, you can save a few hundred a month. Most people making that little won't save any money, but they don't have a dream to pursue. You do.

Be patient. Even under perfect circumstances, it will take years to acquire the money and knowledge you'll need. You have time. Luckily, life lasts decades, not years.

Be resourceful. There are lots of skills that aren't farming, but will useful one day when you have a farm. People have already mentioned some: construction, heavy equipment, welding, electrician, arborist, etc. learning one or more of these will make things easier for you when you're a farmer. They also tend to pay well, so they'll help you save for your farm faster.

Be open. Try as many opportunities as you can. Most won't be the right fit for you, but you won't know until you try. You may find that after working for a farmer for a while, he (or someone he knows) has land you can lease, which you let you start farming much sooner. You can save up for a lease much faster than a purchase. And if you're successful on your lease, you'll soon have enough money to buy your own land.

Finally, be nice. When you realize a situation isn't right for you, be nice to the people you're leaving. They may be mean or arrogant or ignorant, but they may have their own difficult backgrounds that make them that way. They may be trying just as hard as you, even if it doesn't show. Leave situations that aren't right for you, but be nice on the way out.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
 
John Brock
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Archie Quinn wrote:You already have the life you need, or you would not be alive, everything else is desire, remember that. The only happy people are those who are happy with what they have right now. This does not mean they do not want more, or something different, but they unlike most understand that all people will want more, but most are unhappy because they do not have it. Stupidity is to think that upon reaching a goal you will never want anything again, you will, be it a partner, a better crop, a better solar system, to build a hydro from your waste water as it falls, discovering you should have built on a hillside so you have fall for hydro no matter how tiny (you can put hydro machines on taps)

I live without power and water from connections, sometimes it is hard, no sun or fuel for the generator, hasn't rained so i have to cart water, my girlfriend would rather live on the grid. whatever you think will make you happy or "give you the life you want" is simply a matter of acceptance. Accept what you have now as "your great life" you will make better regardless of all these things you want to "add to your great life" and you will always have a great life.

As for the practical applications of off grid self sufficiency, be worthwhile, get a trade, carpenter or electricians are best, if the world ended and you are only a grower, who will fix your house, build your power equipment to pump water and so on? learning a trade gives you common sense building skills, a welder is another good one or steel worker. think of something you would use to be useful other than farming, anyone can farm enough to survive, it may not be the ultimate in horticulture, but you can learn this afterwards. your trade will help to set you up, you can fall back on it and so on for extra money. buy hillside land for water collection and hydro use, yes even a half acre block can produce hydro, hills get good wind for turbines, all very helpful when it is cloudy for days.

don't concentrate on having it all at once and right now, but buy the land as soon as you can, it is going up really fast everywhere, and at least you can camp on it if you have no job, old dumpy caravan, 4 100 amp hour batteries and 500watts of solar to recharge them, they will run your computer your lights and your bar fridge in the van (turn off bar fridge at 4pm daily and on at 9 am keep ice bricks in freezer everything will stay cold) there is your escape place, and you accommodation while you build when you have enough money to move to your block. buy diesel only vehicles and generators, you can make biodiesel but you cant make petrol. good luck



Hi there, I appreciate your comment and feedback and I will take your advice though; I fundamentally disagree with your statements (especially as universals). Agreed, most people want more, and will always want more. To some degree I agree I have everything I need otherwise I wouldn't be alive, but then again, that can be debated for sure. Many people grow up without food, without substantial shelter, clothes, etc. and your universal basically states that these people only desire to want enough food, to feel and have love, etc. My friend, this is why people resort to drugs, suicide, etc. --- because it is far more than a desire --- the brain and body does not function properly without enough food, without love as a child and much more. I hope this is beginning to make sense. It sounds to me like you are claiming

Its also important to note that most people who claim to be happy and know how to achieve happiness, generally aren't (religious people, most people I have ever met, etc). Happiness comes from actually doing somthing, achieving somthing and creating and pursuing somthing. To sit here and think "Oh. I can just choose to be happy with my life; without friends, working fulltime to feed and cloth myself since about 12 years old, having my life pretty much destroyed by the state." That would be ridiculous.

Furthermore, wouldn't it be nice to think that all those millions of people who died from communism, the american govt, etc. people who were forced to serve in the military and lost an arm and a leg; well, you see, they only desire more... They don't need that arm or leg, otherwise they wouldn't be alive. Are you beginning to see that this logic has massive holes and basically opens up spaces for incredibly evil people to do harm and get away with it by saying "well, happiness comes from within and you can chose to be happy no matter what". What about the rape victim, or the victim who was kidnapped? I guess they could have chosen to simply be happy during such horrors.

I get this is not what you meant or were thinking about, but philosophically, by creating this universal, you are implying this. "You only desire not to have been raped." "It is only a desire to not have served the military and not losted my hearing, an arm & a leg".

Also you say "happiness" comes from acceptance; but the world cannot possibly progress if we are to accept, or be happy. To be happy and accept things the way they are is to allow corruption to thrive, not educate ourselves, not support and share permaculture, etc.

What you are saying is accept and pretend things are great. This would undermine all human progressiveness, this takes away all incentives in the world, because things are so so great, and this would mean we have no standards, in the way we live, the "friends" we have, the people we surround ourselves with, etc.

I appreciate the advice, and I am pursuing learning about electrical work. Also yes, a hillside would be awesome, I have looked into sepp holzer and he seems to have done beyond great things on the hillside.

Thank you sir I very much appreciate you kind words, approach and sharing of information. My goal is to definetely by land asap.

I just want to point out, my intent was / is not to attack you for that first part, but to point out that acceptance and pretending you are happy when you aren't is not actually a positive things.

Thanks again.

Jake
 
John Brock
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Now fall is almost upon us, I would spend some time studying a few people you will find very important.

These three podcasts are a good start:

Curtis Stone: Started his farming operation with 7K and made 22K in his first year. The model he uses (SPIN) provides a means to make approx $100K per acre per year. (Curtis lives in Kelowna BTW)

Greg Judy went totally broke doing traditional farming and started again with $20. He now operates a cattle operation encompassing over 1,500 acres running over 1,000 head of cattle. His basic model was to lease land and raise other people's cattle using mob grazing methods. He then slowly grew his own herd over time.

Finally, Jean-Martin Fortier lives in Quebec, where he is producing $140K on 1.5 acres, with a profit margin of 40%.

Basically, there are options for you provided you get your act together over the winter. I'd look into places where you would want to base yourself, business models you would want to base your operation on, and possible government financial assistance that is available.



Thank you. I will look into all of these people. As everyday goes by I try to make it a commitment to do positive things such as learning, running, working out, etc. I am taking an accounting course in high school and other subjects I felt would offer the most value. I don't know where I want to base myself or anything, my plan is to intern after high school ... ideally at Geoff Lawton's farm or somthing.
 
John Brock
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Simon Johnson wrote:My two cents would be to have a look at Paul's book list and read some of those over the winter. I would say start with "Mortgage Free". An excellent book. I would also recommend heading over to http://earlyretirementextreme.com and having a look at what Jacob has to say over there. He also has a good book list to pick from.

Following some of those strategies will make it much easier for you to accumulate the necessary funds needed to "do whatever you want" instead of being "a wage slave", if you will. With a pretty low income you can still save a good deal of money if you go about it in a seriously extreme manner. Before you know it you will have enough to get some land and build a place to live.

Main thing is, don't stop learning and don't stop doing. Continuously adding to your repertoire of useful skills by reading about and working at them will be of great benefit down the road. Not only will you be able to do things for yourself and not have to pay someone else to do it, but you can also get paid for doing these same things for others.

Good luck on your journey!


Thank you very much ! Your advice is noted and I will look into those places. For sure, learning is the most i can do at this point.

I am on my last year of high school, not working as much but counted up my money and have about $3900 total . Not a whole lot, but a good amount I think. Not an amount that will get me on some property to farm, thats for sure.

Thank you and good luck to you as well with your endeavours !
 
John Brock
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Mountain Krauss wrote:Hey Jake, just wanted to wish you luck. A lot of us come from abusive backgrounds, so you're not alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.

Be thrifty. Even if you're only making $13/hour, you can save a few hundred a month. Most people making that little won't save any money, but they don't have a dream to pursue. You do.

Be patient. Even under perfect circumstances, it will take years to acquire the money and knowledge you'll need. You have time. Luckily, life lasts decades, not years.

Be resourceful. There are lots of skills that aren't farming, but will useful one day when you have a farm. People have already mentioned some: construction, heavy equipment, welding, electrician, arborist, etc. learning one or more of these will make things easier for you when you're a farmer. They also tend to pay well, so they'll help you save for your farm faster.

Be open. Try as many opportunities as you can. Most won't be the right fit for you, but you won't know until you try. You may find that after working for a farmer for a while, he (or someone he knows) has land you can lease, which you let you start farming much sooner. You can save up for a lease much faster than a purchase. And if you're successful on your lease, you'll soon have enough money to buy your own land.

Finally, be nice. When you realize a situation isn't right for you, be nice to the people you're leaving. They may be mean or arrogant or ignorant, but they may have their own difficult backgrounds that make them that way. They may be trying just as hard as you, even if it doesn't show. Leave situations that aren't right for you, but be nice on the way out.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Thanks man, for the sympathy, empathy and kind words. Sure feels lonely, even more so when I surround myself with folks who I can't totally connect with (kids in high school, etc).

I only have $3900 saved up ... though I did invest in silver and gold this past year which I have a good amount of.

I really really appreciate your message. You raised some very important points and things to remember and acknowledge. I won't get anywhere or find myself in relationships I want without compassion, love and kindness.

Helps a lot and gives me a reminder as I continue to finish this "lord of the flies" environment "education" while being surrounded by thousands of not so great and toxic people.

Jake
 
Emily Wilson
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Location: Atherley, Ontario
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Several others have said this before, but I can't emphasize enough...get a trade. I'm in my 30s, originally from B.C., and now live close to Orillia. I've known lots of young people over the last 15 years on your path and my husband and I have floundered along as well. Here's what insight I have into your current situation:

Ontario is a difficult place to get a job, especially one that pays well. I would say Ontario has one of the worst jobs markets in the country right now. As an unskilled worker, and by this I mean no tradesperson's ticket or degree in whatever, you will have to settle for low wages, in fact you've done well to find somewhere to pay you $13/hour. What many people responding to you may not realize, is that in Canada, our housing market didn't crash in 2008, so despite the low wages, you are still looking at shelling out $150 000 for 50 acres of Ontario farmland, at the bare minimum. And of course, while you are saving, you will be paying really high rent relative to your income. Folks out there may not know this, but Toronto is one of the most expensive places to rent in the world.

I love that you are so interested in permaculture at a young age. But consider not spending any more of your hard earned savings on permaculture courses for a while. It would be amazing if we lived in a province (or country) where your permaculture certification was going to get you a job that you couldn't get without it. But we don't. Right now I'm the head gardener for a CSA and market garden, ( and somehow get paid for it) but I still can't afford to take those courses, they are simply not going to deliver a benefit until I am actually in a position to teach or start consulting. You are clearly a very smart young man. Read books, that's where you can gain knowledge and acquire skills. Read every book you can get your hands on, and take any volunteer opportunities you can afford to. But put your money into something that will help you out in the short term.

You should look into a trade you can enjoy and will be beneficial later on. Solar is a really hot industry in Ontario right now, become an electrician. You will get paid to be an apprentice and you will be getting that marketable skill. Or follow up on that cooking job. Restaurants are a place where unskilled young people can work their way up fairly quickly, without any sort of formal education. Have you considered becoming a server? You can't serve alcohol until you are 19 but you can work as a busser until that time. I mention this option because these are jobs where you can make tips. You can turn a $10/hour job into a $20/hour job, then more when you can become a server. If you save all your tips, you can put away money pretty quickly. Plus, like a tradesperson, and experienced cook or server can travel to fairly remote areas, a real asset if you are wanting to get away from the city. At the end of the day, however, the trades are a better option. If you want land, you will most likely need a mortgage, and for that you need a real job. Yes, you can buy a piece of land in Saskatchewan for $50 000 cash, (with no house on it) but who saves up $50 000? It's possible but practically unheard of these days. Banks need you to have a real job PLUS the down payment. You might have a bit more leniency with a privately held mortgage or a land co-op, but those lenders will still prefer to partner with someone with a real job and paycheque. IMO a trade will get you the highest paying job in the least amount of time and little to no accrual of student debt.

You should seriously consider moving to another province for a few years, either after your apprenticeship or as part of it. Or eschew the apprenticeship and work as a labourer, those jobs still pay a lot, although are less valuable in the long run. The prairie provinces have lots of work, although you won't want to work on an oil rig I assume, it just means you have to be a bit choosy. There is lots of construction in the booming areas surrounding resource development - mining and oil etc. Learning how to build things is an extremely valuable skill for your homesteading future. I have lived in communities where inexperienced homesteaders have felled and milled their own trees and built beautiful cabins in the woods - only to have them warp and split apart because the wood wasn't properly dried, or trap moisture to rot and moulder. Learning how to build in a conventional way will really help even if you eventually want to construct a cob house out of a hillside. Plus if you live in northern Saskatchewan for a few years, you will get a really good idea of what you are willing to put up with, climate and soil-wise when you do finally get that land you yearn for. So many people try to sell this idea that you should go and try to eke out an existence on some frozen, rocky, undeveloped bit of land simply because it's cheap. Maybe you would love that, you could spend the long winter hunting and fishing to support yourself. But it's a good idea to figure that out before you invest in land. I have known many young people who have bought land without understanding the reality of what it will be to work it and have ended up stuck with property they are unable to work and worse; unable to sell. Sometimes it's really cheap like that because it's not really a desirable property. Anyhoo, Alberta and Saskatchewan in particular are goldmines for a hardworking person who saves instead of spends. You really could work for a few years and save up 10s of thousands.

You are so awesome! I wish I had been thinking about getting land at 17 - most teenagers are smoking dope in someone's basement and here you are, being so amazing. You are totally going to achieve this! Above all be realistic. Crunch numbers. Talk with people who have homesteaded on raw land - probably one of the most romanticized concepts out there. A few years, even 10, of working for someone else could set you free to be the self-sufficient entrepreneur you dream of being. It sounds like a long time, but it's not. It will go by in the blink of an eye. So many things I was doing at 17 seem like they were just yesterday. I'm going to check back, because I'd love to see where you go from here.

Good luck!

Emily
 
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