I'm a 20 year old college student who cannot get enough of everything permaculture. I'm currently studying sustainable agriculture in Italy, and find myself laying awake at night fantasizing about my own homestead. I've been very frugal in my life, and have around $9,000 to my name. In the summers, I forage for wild edibles, and sell my products to restaurants. This is how I have made much of my money. I am dying to start my own small, self-sufficient homestead when I finish school, which I know is not what most 20 year olds dream about. I have spent my summers in Vermont, and I think this is where I'd love to live (although I could be convinced otherwise). I would love to know if anyone else has started a homestead on there own, and at what price. More specifically, if anyone has any experience with natural building and permaculture in a cold weather climate like VT, I'm all ears. I love the idea of using reclaimed and natural materials for building (especially cob). Right now I'm just trying to absorb as much information as possible before I'm finished with school (2016). I'll be back in the States around christmastime. Any comments or feedback is highly appreciated!
"When the time comes for a man to look his maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"--Richard Proenneke
Hey Walker! I know this is a little late of a response but I want to let you know that I am in a similar situation! (Kinda)
I have graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in biology and environmental science and I have recently joined the permaculture community. I too want to know where to start/how to start. I have been doing some reading on permies and other sources and my least favorite answer to my question of how to start is "It depends on the situation." I know that this answer is true, but I still hate it!
Other things that I have read include:
-Pay off all your debts! (easier said than done as a college graduate)
-Downsize or continue to live a simple life
-Observe the land and how you would fit in with its cycles
-Start small (kinda disheartening when you have so many projects you want to get started)
All those things are great advice, however I was hoping to find an instruction manual explaining step by step how to have a successful maybe even profitable homestead. As far as I know (hopefully someone will prove me wrong) there is no such thing.
So my plan is (you can too) to write a blog/book/diary/whatever with a step by step record of what my situation is, where I am, and what I am doing to prepare myself to start a homestead. After I start my homestead (successful or not) I will have a collection of the steps I took to get there and be able to share them with future people like us who want to know what works and what doesn't.
I would read Ben Falk's book The Resilient Farm and Homestead. Also check YouTube for some great talks by Ben. He and his wife farm 10 acres in Vermont and their system seems to be doing great. He does state that the farm is mainly providing their own food; income comes from his design firm.
I am blessed and cursed with the fact that my wife is getting her master's degree and we will not be able to invest in land for another threeish years. Bad thing is obviously that I have to wait, good thing is that I have plenty of time to research and network! Almost every Joel Salatin book is on my to-read list. I have heard of the Resilient Farm and Homestead but I will move it up the list and definitely watch some of Ben's videos. Some reason it takes me days to read books and only a few minutes maybe a few hours max to watch videos...
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