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New Kentucky Permaculture Farm Adventure

 
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Well, I have been planning for a few years now, and we are making progress. This thread will serve us as a place to record our journey towards becoming self sufficient in Kentucky. We will post questions and ask for your feedback here. I will ask for your help in choosing property to purchase, and choosing how to setup the land.

My wife and I are 28 and 33 years old, she being the senior to me. We have two young boys (1.5 and 4). I grew up in Louisville KY and she in the midwest, mostly around Broken Arrow OK. We lived in Owasso area for 5 years. We were in debt up to our eyeballs making no progress and implemented a plan to become self sustainable and pay off all our debts.

Luckily, we are staying in Mt. Washington with my folks rent free. My house in the Owasso area is being rented with a lease to own contract.

We are now Medical debt free, almost credit card debt free, but still have school loans. No other debt. Cars are paid for.

Now we are putting away $1000-$1500 a month toward this land purchase. We will continue to live with my folks for 1-2 years.

My co-worker is a new permie like myself and has expressed interest in going in on the land with us to create a "for-profit" permaculture farm.

We think we can achieve this in 10 years, or less hopefully.

So, why don't you other Kentuckians join us in helping us further the permaculture movement by contacting me in this thread. Let me know if you want to get involved in the process and design of this farm. We have no set plan yet, but right now we are focusing on saving for the land and finding the right land in the right location for us. We are looking on the rural east/ south east side of Louisville between there and Lexington, anywhere from the Ohio River south to Bardstown. Please keep an eye out for us if you see anything for sale. We are not against moving across the river into Indiana.

Okay, does anyone here have any experience with Kentucky or Southern Indiana and building code law/enforcement?
 
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My family is right down the road from you. Made this account just to reply. PMing you.
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Shane in Kentucky wrote:My family is right down the road from you. Made this account just to reply. PMing you.



Shane I sent you a message to your gmail account. Thanks for responding.
 
steward
Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Greetings from Muhlenberg County . An uneducated guess would lead me to suggest looking at land west of Lousiville and north of Leitchfiield . You may find some better land deals and still have access to the hipper marketplace between Louisville and Lexington . There is a lot of regentrification around Bardstown along with expensive horse farms . This has made that square you speak of more expensive than the rest of the state . Good Hunting !
 
Posts: 174
Location: Berea, Kentucky
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Codes in Ky is all up to the county. I live just a couple miles from Jackson co. that has no codes. Madison co. has terrible codes, and codes department!If I could turn back time I would of have been a couple more miles down the road.
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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wayne stephen wrote:Greetings from Muhlenberg County . An uneducated guess would lead me to suggest looking at land west of Lousiville and north of Leitchfiield . You may find some better land deals and still have access to the hipper marketplace between Louisville and Lexington . There is a lot of regentrification around Bardstown along with expensive horse farms . This has made that square you speak of more expensive than the rest of the state . Good Hunting !



Wayne, that is very true. I am finding land for sale everywhere, but Bardstown area is pricey. This is going to take a lot of research and development. My problem is I have a family to support and debts to pay off. So living in the middle of nowhere isn't a very good option for a number of reasons. I need to have quick access to a job. I spend some time traveling back and forth a little over an hour each way working for Remington Arms and to be honest it sucked. Now I am 15 minutes from work and I save big bucks on gas!

I think a strategy is starting to develop. I have one guy at work interested and telling me he is serious about starting a for profit farm with me. He is a really skilled, smart individual and he has kids the same ages as mine. We may pursue this avenue if we can all come to agreement on responsibilities, finances etc. I think the idea is to share tools and labor, but not be right next door to one another. We want our individual space and place to do our own things, but we recognize the advantages to working together.

My parents, who are not at all interested in doing off grid or sustainable anything want to eventually sell their home and live on some land with us. And I want them to. They are great people. So I have to weigh that in as well. They won't want to be too far from modern luxury. My mom loves Bardstown. My dad is a power plant manager.....yes I know.....I am pretty OPPOSITE from him in many ways. He produces pollution, and I am trying to figure ways to not pollute. I have worked at the power plant, and may have to again to realize the permaculture dreams I have. Maybe not, but we'll see.
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Joseph Fields wrote:Codes in Ky is all up to the county. I live just a couple miles from Jackson co. that has no codes. Madison co. has terrible codes, and codes department!If I could turn back time I would of have been a couple more miles down the road.



Joseph, sounds like I need to narrow down a few counties and call the clerks office and speak with code enforcement personnel on what is legal and what is not. Heck, I might just make a list of all possible counties, call all the clerks offices and narrow it down that way!
 
Posts: 24
Location: Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USDA Zone 6a - unpredictable but manageable
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Ray, We're establishing a permaculture homestead (and hopefully multiple streams of income off the land in the future). We've got 16.5 acres in Mercer County (Harrodsburg Area) and the land here is fairly affordable, the code enforcement people scarce and the codes while present are largely ignored if you have more than 10 acres and are zoned agricultural. Good luck on your adventure, I'd love to get in touch once you're down here. We are building a timber frame and strawbale home which we will be chronicling here on permies as we go; right now we've broken ground and are getting ready to set footers. Cheers.

Adam
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Adam Chisholm wrote:Ray, We're establishing a permaculture homestead (and hopefully multiple streams of income off the land in the future). We've got 16.5 acres in Mercer County (Harrodsburg Area) and the land here is fairly affordable, the code enforcement people scarce and the codes while present are largely ignored if you have more than 10 acres and are zoned agricultural. Good luck on your adventure, I'd love to get in touch once you're down here. We are building a timber frame and strawbale home which we will be chronicling here on permies as we go; right now we've broken ground and are getting ready to set footers. Cheers.

Adam



Adam, it is good to hear that. Mercer county was on my short list. My wife and I have even visited Harrodsburg to see what it was like. I have job possibilities with KU/LGE at the power plant. I have a hard time reconciling worker at a power plant and doing permaculture though. We like Mercer county and are aware of land prices there. I was not aware that code enforcement was relaxed. Thanks for that bit of information!
 
Posts: 17
Location: Kentucky Proud
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So, why don't you other Kentuckians join us in helping us further the permaculture movement by contacting me in this thread. Let me know if you want to get involved in the process and design of this farm. We have no set plan yet, right now we are focusing on saving for the land and finding the right land in the right location for us. We are looking on the rural east/ south east side of Louisville between there and Lexington, anywhere from the Ohio River south to Bardstown. Please keep an eye out for us if you see anything for sale. We are not against moving across the river into Indiana.



Anderson, Franklin, and Shelby...don't forget about them! Scott and Owen are probably too far north for you and your wife, but you can get a good amount of land for your money there.

My husband and I are empty-nesters and building our new permaculture farm, too. I'm envisioning a culture of collaboration among newbie farmers and hoping to find others willing to engage in some productive discussions. We're in northern Scott County - within a respectable collaborative radius, for sure.
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Well, here we are over a year since I first posted. We have finally found a nice piece of land in Cox's Creek KY. Its sort of between Mt. Washington and Bardstown. 6 acres. 250 yards of creek frontage on cox's creek. Currently being mono cropped in soy. Has a house that needs either bulldozing or to be gutted and rehabed. Has a nice 45' x 45' tobacco barn. Flat as a pancake. Few trees.

It'll be another year in the making to rehab the house and get the barn fixed up. We will be focusing on getting those structures in place and habitable. 5.5 acres is current in soy, so cover crops and wild flowers will be the scene until we have time to put in the swales and do a proper design layout.

If any of you guys have any tips and tricks for getting started let me know!

We are so excited!!
 
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I saw your post when researching permiculture in Kentucky.  I live in Nashville, but grew up in Taylorsville and I am beginning to start plans to work on the land I grew up on an established a Pirmaculture situation. I'm interested in getting together with you when the opportunity arises .
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Shannon Lawson wrote: I saw your post when researching permiculture in Kentucky.  I live in Nashville, but grew up in Taylorsville and I am beginning to start plans to work on the land I grew up on an established a Pirmaculture situation. I'm interested in getting together with you when the opportunity arises .



Well, its been right at a year since I last posted. Shannon, turns out we found a piece of land we liked better than the one in Coxs Creek, wanna guess where? Taylorsville! Five acres, a fish pond, two pole barns and a really nice double wide. Im adding onto the pole barn in two weeks. Unfortunately this past year and a half has been rough. I haven't had the time to focus on permaculture. I lost my big sister to cancer last year, and my father just passed from a heart attack this past March. But things are getting slowly better. My widowed mother is trying to buy the five acres next door to me. So we will have a ten acre operation. The other neighbor wants to sell her five acres too...so Shannon...maybe you can jump on it? And we have have a 15acre two family operation?  Ray.cecil.3@gmail.com for more info. Pm me there.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1228
Location: Green County, Kentucky
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We are about to buy property in Kentucky and plan to practice permaculture on it, also.  We won't be that close to you (I'm looking a little farther south and/or east for the most part -- will be better able to tell you where we will be in about three weeks or so), but maybe we can stay in touch and share ideas.

Kathleen
 
Ray Cecil
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Adam Chisholm wrote:Ray, We're establishing a permaculture homestead (and hopefully multiple streams of income off the land in the future).  We've got 16.5 acres in Mercer County (Harrodsburg Area) and the land here is fairly affordable, the code enforcement people scarce and the codes while present are largely ignored if you have more than 10 acres and are zoned agricultural.  Good luck on your adventure, I'd love to get in touch once you're down here.  We are building a timber frame and strawbale home which we will be chronicling here on permies as we go; right now we've broken ground and are getting ready to set footers.  Cheers.

Adam



Did you ever get that strawbale/timber frame home built?
 
Posts: 43
Location: Corinth, KY
forest garden fungi homestead
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Hello. I see this post is 4 years old up to 8 months ago. Is there any interest still. I work in Lexington and soon to be living in Corinth. I took a Permaculture Design class, did an apprenticeship on cob building and am starting my own homestead as well as teaching others how to build their own cob home. I am almost finished with my pole barn which I will live in until I can build my dream house...cob/strawbale hybrid. I'm also working on a rocket mass heater. If anyone wants to connect, share ideas and help each other I'm all for it! Please let me know. Good luck to everyone!!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
pollinator
Posts: 1228
Location: Green County, Kentucky
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Diane Maldonado wrote:Hello. I see this post is 4 years old up to 8 months ago. Is there any interest still. I work in Lexington and soon to be living in Corinth. I took a Permaculture Design class, did an apprenticeship on cob building and am starting my own homestead as well as teaching others how to build their own cob home. I am almost finished with my pole barn which I will live in until I can build my dream house...cob/strawbale hybrid. I'm also working on a rocket mass heater. If anyone wants to connect, share ideas and help each other I'm all for it! Please let me know. Good luck to everyone!!



Well, I bought an old farmhouse on a little over two and a half acres in Green County (south of Campbellsville), and we've been here a couple of months over a year now.  I'm getting things done very slowly due to budget and medical issues, but have some trees planted, and some of the work done that the house needs (with a lot left to go).  I'd like to see more conversations about growing in this part of the country, though, because it's still a new climate for me.  

Kathleen
 
pollinator
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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Diane Maldonado wrote: I'm also working on a rocket mass heater. If anyone wants to connect, share ideas and help each other I'm all for it! Please let me know. Good luck to everyone!!



Hey guys,  I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon this thread.

I'm only part time in KY till next year, but I'd love to connect.  Diane, I'd like to poke in beside you while you build your RMH.  My place is 12 miles SE of Berea in Jackson County.  But I have family in Cincinnati, so I travel I-75 sometimes.

Joseph Fields commented up-thread about building codes.  I found that the Jackson County sanitarian is much more traditional than in Madison County, where they allowed an alternative septic grey-water field and composted humanure system.  I was required to install a full septic tank and field, though it sits there unused.  If I thought I wouldn't get caught, I'd plug the drain hole and use it for rainwater catchment.

I invite y'all to Mooseage me.
 
Posts: 83
Location: KY
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Ray Cecil wrote:

Joseph Fields wrote:Codes in Ky is all up to the county. I live just a couple miles from Jackson co. that has no codes. Madison co. has terrible codes, and codes department!If I could turn back time I would of have been a couple more miles down the road.



Joseph, sounds like I need to narrow down a few counties and call the clerks office and speak with code enforcement personnel on what is legal and what is not. Heck, I might just make a list of all possible counties, call all the clerks offices and narrow it down that way!



There can also be city ordinances if the land happens to fall within city limits

I'm glad to see another KY adventure! I'm currently living full time in a suburb in Northern KY about 8 miles south of Cincinnati OH. My wife and kids are are wanting to stay here for the most part for at least 5-8 more years which is difficult for me but trying to make that work - looked for land w/ my mom for about 6 months and had to go a bit out there (Robertson County KY) to find the acreage we wanted at the right price. Ended up getting 27.5 acres 4 months ago and I go down every weekend to keep some paths mowed and hike/ride around a bit, but that's about it since we aren't staying there and it's a little over an hour away.

Hopefully you find something great and can spend the time needed to make it what you want. Having an equally enthusiastic partner I think is a major part in that journey because it takes a lot of research, trial and error and question bouncing off a like minded individual to figure things out. I kind of feel alone in my journey but hopefully that can change as time goes on

I'll be looking for your updates, heck I don't even think I read the whole thread yet so I'll get back to it, good luck!

 
Kathleen Sanderson
pollinator
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Ty Greene wrote:

Ray Cecil wrote:

Joseph Fields wrote:Codes in Ky is all up to the county. I live just a couple miles from Jackson co. that has no codes. Madison co. has terrible codes, and codes department!If I could turn back time I would of have been a couple more miles down the road.



Joseph, sounds like I need to narrow down a few counties and call the clerks office and speak with code enforcement personnel on what is legal and what is not. Heck, I might just make a list of all possible counties, call all the clerks offices and narrow it down that way!



There can also be city ordinances if the land happens to fall within city limits

I'm glad to see another KY adventure! I'm currently living full time in a suburb in Northern KY about 8 miles south of Cincinnati OH. My wife and kids are are wanting to stay here for the most part for at least 5-8 more years which is difficult for me but trying to make that work - looked for land w/ my mom for about 6 months and had to go a bit out there (Robertson County KY) to find the acreage we wanted at the right price. Ended up getting 27.5 acres 4 months ago and I go down every weekend to keep some paths mowed and hike/ride around a bit, but that's about it since we aren't staying there and it's a little over an hour away.

Hopefully you find something great and can spend the time needed to make it what you want. Having an equally enthusiastic partner I think is a major part in that journey because it takes a lot of research, trial and error and question bouncing off a like minded individual to figure things out. I kind of feel alone in my journey but hopefully that can change as time goes on

I'll be looking for your updates, heck I don't even think I read the whole thread yet so I'll get back to it, good luck!



Sometimes you do have to compromise, at least for a while.  My oldest daughter and her family live a little north of you, closer to Dayton than to Cinci.  She would love to have acreage to grow things on, but she and her husband both work full-time.  The two girls still at home are working and going to college, and the boy, who is almost fourteen, wants to stay put until he graduates from high school.  So they ended up buying a house on half an acre last year, and my daughter has got quite a few things planted.  She wants to have a fedge around the perimeter; she's put in some fruit trees and some berries, and a small vegetable garden.  It should be a pretty nice little food forest by the time the boy is through high school and they are ready to look for a different place.

Kathleen
 
Ty Greene
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Location: KY
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Well that's good to hear they are making the best out of what they got! Very tough to figure out just what is the right thing to do with kids/pets, etc. involved.

Sometimes just being patient is the best bet because timing has to be right and the steps involved in moving to a more sustainable life are different for everyone. Seems like a fair amount of people have built a life the "normal" modern way (we did) and have come to a realization/life-crises moment where they now question everything they have done...takes some time to dismantle that!  

Personally, I'm finally starting to take apart and rebuild that foundation, block by block, with a different perspective.  Previously I spent a lot of time focusing on the negatives and my limitations with our current setting but that was getting me nowhere fast. Several months ago I took a full-time job on a small farm to learn the ins and outs - and have began to compost and get a garden area of my own in the prep stages :) Having fun and learning A LOT
 
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I bought 35 acres of woods with about 2 acres of weeds and a small pond in Lee County. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Lexington. Got 35 acres for $28000. However, the best part is that there is no zoning or codes. The county doesn’t even HAVE a permit office.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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Sheena Whittemore wrote:I bought 35 acres of woods with about 2 acres of weeds and a small pond in Lee County. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Lexington. Got 35 acres for $28000. However, the best part is that there is no zoning or codes. The county doesn’t even HAVE a permit office.



It sounds like you've got a great place!  Would love to see pictures!  And the no zoning or codes is GREAT!  Just keep your own safety and health in mind (and your neighbors, depending on where you put your septic system or wnatever you do for waste disposal), and you should be just fine.
 
Sheena Whittemore
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

Sheena Whittemore wrote:I bought 35 acres of woods with about 2 acres of weeds and a small pond in Lee County. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Lexington. Got 35 acres for $28000. However, the best part is that there is no zoning or codes. The county doesn’t even HAVE a permit office.



It sounds like you've got a great place!  Would love to see pictures!  And the no zoning or codes is GREAT!  Just keep your own safety and health in mind (and your neighbors, depending on where you put your septic system or wnatever you do for waste disposal), and you should be just fine.




We are implementing a grey water system and using composting toilets. We are following a lot of info from the book “the scoop on poop”.... it’s a great resource. We are trying to be stewards of the land and only help the land thrive
 
Sheena Whittemore
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

Sheena Whittemore wrote:I bought 35 acres of woods with about 2 acres of weeds and a small pond in Lee County. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Lexington. Got 35 acres for $28000. However, the best part is that there is no zoning or codes. The county doesn’t even HAVE a permit office.



It sounds like you've got a great place!  Would love to see pictures!  And the no zoning or codes is GREAT!  Just keep your own safety and health in mind (and your neighbors, depending on where you put your septic system or wnatever you do for waste disposal), and you should be just fine.

ABD61404-EB78-4666-AF51-A36F6487842D.jpeg
[Thumbnail for ABD61404-EB78-4666-AF51-A36F6487842D.jpeg]
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Sheena Whittemore wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

Sheena Whittemore wrote:I bought 35 acres of woods with about 2 acres of weeds and a small pond in Lee County. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes southeast of Lexington. Got 35 acres for $28000. However, the best part is that there is no zoning or codes. The county doesn’t even HAVE a permit office.



It sounds like you've got a great place!  Would love to see pictures!  And the no zoning or codes is GREAT!  Just keep your own safety and health in mind (and your neighbors, depending on where you put your septic system or wnatever you do for waste disposal), and you should be just fine.



Lovely!  Post more as you can -- I'll enjoy seeing what you do with the place!
 
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