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$600,000/year in 4 years on 1200 square feet?  RSS feed

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Can it be done? could it be done potentially in the future? should it be done?

I was talking with another permaculturist whose landlord has allowed him to grow a garden in raised beds (with secret hugel wood inside them! shh!) in the city here. The landlord will tear the place down in a few years, build condos, and get a return of $600,000 per year.
I said, I bet some permaculture genius could beat that number with a sustainable use of that land, and I thought I'd put the challenge out here.

A few ideas I had (i encouage you to respond to this thread with your own before reading further, so my thoughts won't limit your brainstorms):
Make it into condos, but not by tearing down, simply by retrofitting, attact young parents who are awake to the historical moment, and make community the #1 priority for it. Put infrastructure in place (people who act as an ombudsman/woman, encourage stewardship of relationships, community, educational resources in the immediate area, social capital, security, etc. and give the residents a a much greater chance of having a fulfilling experience and a beautiful life living there as well as facilitating their pleasurable involvement in stewardship).
THen, also turn the back yard (it has full sun much of the day) into space for growing, making super-healthy nutrient-rich, ultra-fresh food that is far far far beyond what could be bought for ready money in any store, and serves as an educational resource for the kids living in the house.
Have value-adds that faciliate people'd happiness, maximizing social capital: in-house day-care, an on-site coworking space, a community space.

That's really brainstormy, but I think some of it is kinda on-target.

Other ideas? whole different use of the space?

Only limitations, let's assume it can't be zoned as a school, only as residential.

Thanks for playing, geniuses!

Begin!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 563
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Bumping my own thread here. Any ideas??
 
Dave Burton
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"Stacking functions" would be the key, I think to succeeding in that challenge. Stacking the functions of people, places, and everything.
 
Cj Sloane
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:The landlord will tear the place down in a few years, build condos, and get a return of $600,000 per year.
I said, I bet some permaculture genius could beat that number with a sustainable use of that land, and I thought I'd put the challenge out here.


I think the landlord is making an awful lot of assumptions so I don't really think it's reasonable to try to match/beat those assumptions.

To answer the original thought, I think the highest dollar return on the smallest space is from mushrooms. But... there's no reason why you have to do it on really expensive land.
 
Michael Cox
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Frankly if the land is worth that much for development you are on to a loser...

My approach if I was the land owner and want to develop in some way - a sympathetic development and sale followed by purchasing land in a rural area to convert to a permaculture system. Essentially swap a tiny area in a city for a huge area in the country.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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$600,000 per year, year over year? On how many acres?

A well run market garden is 100k/acre.

Mint and lavender are baselines that also do 100k/acre as a monocrop. You can make a LOT of money in (legal) medicinal herbs per acre. Florist greens (baby's breath and all those leafing things they use to fluff out a bouquet) have a HUGE market in some urban areas.

Your location and climate limit you somewhat, but the people side is the bigger limitation (production, processing, sales, customers).

Go to the upscale farmer's market and see what people ask for. Do the same thing with small stores
 
Michael Cox
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He is talking about 0.02 acres if Google is working it out properly.
 
Mountain Krauss
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"Mint and lavender... do 100K/acre"

That's extremely useful information for me. Lavender seems like an ideal drought-resistant fit for our 15 inches of rain per year (10 last year). And mint grows like a weed in the few moist, well-shaded areas we have. Wouldn't monocrop them, but they could bring big returns from small spaces.

Getting back on-topic, the landowner's projections sound more like gross revenue than net income, but some spaces will have a higher value being used for non-agricultural purposes.
 
John Wolfram
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$600k a year on 1200 square feet would be $500 a square foot. Marijuana supposedly can do $77 a square foot, but there's the whole problem of the DEA showing up at your door. Now, in theory, if you put in a 99.17 square foot Apple store on part of the property and grew vegetables on the other 1100 square feet you should average $600k a year.
 
R Scott
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Those numbers are upper end. Don't get your hopes up too high. At least not initially.

But there are lots of medicinal herbs that are BIG $$$ if you can find or grow and PROCESS them. Processing is always the problem (and why big ag went to monocrops and machines.)

I have a friend that makes $20-50k in about a WEEK wild-harvesting (plus a couple weeks processing) ONE kind of medicinal. Find a couple of those in your area and spend the rest of the year building your place or hangin' on the beach or whatever charges your batteries...

 
Troy Rhodes
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I think your landlord has been smoking too much of that herbal product that was mentioned.

It would be very unusual to net 600K from that size property. Very unusual.

If he's talking about gross, the gross numbers are the wrong numbers to look at.

I can gross a million bucks growing watermelons, but it might cost me a million bucks to do it, and I haven't made a penny.



If he or she is that unsophisticated about real estate revenue, I think it unlikely you will convince him or her otherwise with math.


hth,

troy

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks for the great responses, guys! Maybe the landlord really isn't going to get what he thinks he's going to get from this property.

I only have the info second-hand, from a tenant there. I'll see if I can get more clarity.

The gross/net thing...hm, maybe it was gross, and maybe there's a way to stack functions to beat that and beat the ecological and social bottom lines.

To clarify the question, the goal is to beat the return in money of $600,000 (let's call that gross, not net, for the time being) a year or that minus whatever you think the costs of real estate tax and any other costs, within four years, while also improving the sustainability of the land/ecological balance of it considerably (enough that you're "in the black" not just less in the red--hard to define numerically, but let's pretend it's like smut, you know it when you see it, for the sake of simplicity) and improving the social capital retention of the fact that right now you have someone there who's gardening and getting his housemates interested in gardening and there's some degree of social capital built up with their involvement in community together and with others around them in the neighborhood. I know this is a rather vague challenge, but you can still come up with some clear responses that will be informative additions to the conversation cause you're all brilliant!
 
Michael Cox
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I get that you want to "save" this land, but just because this particular parcel of land is under threat of development doesn't mean it is cost effective to save it - particularly for such a small area.

You may be able to get some incredible yield of obscure highly profitable plants (I doubt it though - if they were that profitable everyone would grow them and the profit would be gone, if you are chasing a trend "goji berry superfood" you may do well for the short term but it won't be sustainable.) but you can pretty much guarantee that highly intensive yields on a small plot of land will take high capital expense.

That same money could instead be spent on capital project on a much larger area. Lets say costs you £30,000 to set up your intensive high yeilding system - quite feasible if you are talking about a combination of systems like aquaculture, aquaponics, hothouse cultivation etc... That same £30,000 could install swales and other earthworks across a huge area of farmland that will bring truly permanent benefit with no further input of expenses year on year. Even if this project could be feasible I would suggest that an analysis of opportunity costs would suggest that it shouldn't be - you can get much more bang for your buck (or impact for your time and thought investment) elsewhere.

While writing this I thought of a crop yield that might just about make your target - cannabis. Of course the reason the price is so high is because it is illegal, but that is another discussion.
 
Cj Sloane
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Michael Cox wrote:
While writing this I thought of a crop yield that might just about make your target - cannabis. Of course the reason the price is so high is because it is illegal, but that is another discussion.


Someone posted about that earlier in the thread. Maybe you got it subliminally.
 
Wojciech Majda
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Organic cocain?
 
wayne stephen
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$150,000 a year on 1200 sq. ft.? Now , that is a challenge. Soybean farmers are expecting $600 per acre. The market gardeners that predict $100,000 per acre have to deal with many small sales and will need to pay employees to help with that {and harvesting/planting}. So , value adding might help. Many chefs grow their own herbs and fruits/vegies. Growing these - with some egg production- and then hitting the road with a food truck might get you near the $150,000 gross mark. You would not be able to produce all your product but cutting the cost of fresh herbs and micro greens would widen your margin. Paleo-Thai-TexMex Tacos anyone?
 
Ann Torrence
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What's the zoning?

How about a restaurant that grows food, like hydroponics/aquaponics, as part of the decor? Every table base is a fish tank with a glass top. Vertical salads for walls and dividers. Food trellises on the outdoor dining spaces and if there has to be parking, make it covered and grow on that space too. Beehives - make it a meadery. Even the SLC library has a beehive on the roof terrace. Chickens for eggs. Buy veg from the neighbors for cash or meal credits. An extreme locavore experiment. Forget 100 mile eating, how about 100 blocks or even 100 yards? Create jobs, encourage sustainable urban ag, walkable neighborhoods. Stacking functions on the site but also extending the reach beyond the property lines.
 
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