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Advice for creating a off grid sustainable community.  RSS feed

 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
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Hi there everybody,

New to the forums and im so excited about the wealth of wisdom and love I have found reading here. I am posting because my wife and I have a dream to start an offgrid community on our land and I know we can benefit greatly from being humble and asking for help.

Our goal is to start small with a structure and garden that can feed 6-10 people year round and expand that number each summer thereafter. So here are some of my questions

1. We are planning on crowdfunding to help make this dream a reality. I am curious, does anyone else has experience with crowdfunding for a project like this?

2. We live in quite a cold climate, winter temperatures can reach as low as -45 celcius. What are the best methods of growing/raising enough food to be self sufficient during winter months with a greenhouse and barn and what reading material can you point me towards to learn the ins an outs of this.

3. Please if you have any information that can benefit me lay it on me. I love to learn and I need as much help as I can get with a project of this scale.

Thank you for your time I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 626
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I built a greenhouse two years ago (michigan, cold enough to matter). It has really changed what I can get out of a garden. 12 1/2' x 28' hoop house from EMT and proper greenhouse plastic. Less than a thousand bucks and super sturdy. A youtube search for build a hoop greenhouse will get you a ton of info.

I am going to build a second one, and have been gathering information on how to heat it without the use (or bare minimum use) of fossil fuels. There's a book called the Forest Garden Greenhouse that is a good resource, and it's very inexpensive. Twenty-something.

You can also do a google search and a youtube search for Annualized thermal intertia, solar battery greenhouse, winter greenhouse, and get a ton of resources. Jerome Osentowski is growing bananas and figs in 7,000 foot elevation colorado...


As far as an intentional community, how much government supervision do you have? Are they crazy about building codes and zoning? Around here, we often refer to them as the Department of Making you Sad.
 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
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Troy Rhodes wrote:I built a greenhouse two years ago (michigan, cold enough to matter). It has really changed what I can get out of a garden. 12 1/2' x 28' hoop house from EMT and proper greenhouse plastic. Less than a thousand bucks and super sturdy. A youtube search for build a hoop greenhouse will get you a ton of info.

I am going to build a second one, and have been gathering information on how to heat it without the use (or bare minimum use) of fossil fuels. There's a book called the Forest Garden Greenhouse that is a good resource, and it's very inexpensive. Twenty-something.

You can also do a google search and a youtube search for Annualized thermal intertia, solar battery greenhouse, winter greenhouse, and get a ton of resources. Jerome Osentowski is growing bananas and figs in 7,000 foot elevation colorado...


As far as an intentional community, how much government supervision do you have? Are they crazy about building codes and zoning? Around here, we often refer to them as the Department of Making you Sad.


Hey thanks for the reply, I will check out the book for sure. Been searching around quite a bit and have found some useful information.

Regarding the government, we don't really have an issue with them trying to regulate anything. The worst they can do is put a chain and lock on our door that we would have to cut off.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 966
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Feeding that many people year around will be quite a big project unless those people already know how to grow and store the types of food that they prefer to eat. A lot depends upon the land and infrastructure. Is the soil already fertile or will it need to be developed and enhanced? Is irrigation, run off control, wind blockage, wildlife control already set up? Are tools already available? Is there housing and sanitation already in place or will it need to be built? Do the 6 to 10 people already know each other or have worked successfully together? Does anyone know how to preserve the food you plan to produce so that it will be available through the winter? There are plenty more questions that need to be explored. .......Just a suggestion for things for you to think about.
 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Su Ba wrote:Feeding that many people year around will be quite a big project unless those people already know how to grow and store the types of food that they prefer to eat. A lot depends upon the land and infrastructure. Is the soil already fertile or will it need to be developed and enhanced? Is irrigation, run off control, wind blockage, wildlife control already set up? Are tools already available? Is there housing and sanitation already in place or will it need to be built? Do the 6 to 10 people already know each other or have worked successfully together? Does anyone know how to preserve the food you plan to produce so that it will be available through the winter? There are plenty more questions that need to be explored. .......Just a suggestion for things for you to think about.


I agree it will be quite difficult, that's why we intend to have food growing in the winter as well as goats, chickens and rabbits.

The soil needs some development for sure, the area of land we want to use used to have a sawmill on it many years ago so there is a ton of wood chips at our disposal.

There is a running stream we wish to develop into our irrigation system. Wind control and wildlife control are not set up we are still learning how to design these systems.

There is a house we can live in while construction is taking place with an outhouse. There is no plumbing, electricity etc. available on this land which is fine as we intend to be off the grid.

Yes these people have worked together successfully in the past and we have someone with knowledge of canning and pickling techniques.
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 626
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Who/how many are living there now?

What do you need to run on electricity? Make a list, then we can give you some pretty good ideas of what you need in the way of solar panels, generators, battery bank, etc.
 
Sunny Baba
Posts: 69
Location: Northern New Mexico, 7600'elevation, 24" precip
3
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Great to hear what you are up to..... We are experienced homesteaders.. we grow 90% of our food year round, at 8,000 ft in the rocky mts., 90 day growing season.... a root celler is important, we grow about 3,000 lbs of potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas, parsnips..... enough for about 4-5 people for 8 months, plus some to cut up and feed the 6 dairy goats during the winter. We also store inside our house onions, and winter squash which we eat a lot of.... immature squash cut up for goats...... we have a double walled poly carb and used glass green house.... which gives winter hardy greens during the winter and abundant tomatoes to dry in the summer/fall.... Most people don't realize that being self sufficient on your food supply.... requires changing you eating habits .... and eating what you have available, in season...... you plan your meals a lot around what Needs to be eaten now....and what ingredients do you have stored away at this time of year.... How many acres do you have and are you willing to have some mature experienced people join you..?? check out our request for sharing land in the homesteading section, under the WWOOFer section..... best of luck, Sunny & Sequoia
 
Aleksandar Jankovic
Posts: 15
Location: Somewhere in Serbia
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I have just finished reading Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities and I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about starting a community

 
Todd McDonald
Posts: 46
Location: Mid-Missouri
3
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I second Aleksandar's recommendation. Reading "Creating a Life Together" is a great place to start. I found it at my local library. The book covers everything from organization and legal structure, founding documents, dealing with local zoning and codes, communication, etc. Its pretty thorough and arms you with enough information that you won't feel intimidated when you go to talk to a county official or an attorney.

As far as logistics of it all, I'm still working on that myself. HERE
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
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Though I'm not currently doing so, I've lived much of my adult life in intentional community of various sorts. The huge lesson from those pushing 30 years is that most of what you're after is relatively easy, with a bunch of research, some training, a bit of luck and a bit of capital, and a whole lot of work. It's comparatively easy to grow food, build stuff from scratch, set up water and power systems, all of it. If someone is savvy enough and connected enough, there are even ways to make money doing it. But the one thing that will bring the whole thing crashing down more often than not is the basic issues of getting along with people, and I mean with each other, not the government or the neighbors (though they can be a pain too). It's easy to do for a weekend workshop or a festival or gathering, or even for a 2 week residential PDC or something similar. I'm talking longer term than that. Some of this is covered in "Creating A Life Together" which I also highly recommend. I'd suggest taking the entire group considering this and take some training in communication skills, decision making models, and other such things. The other thing to be aware of is that people change. Relationships form and dissolve, goals and values change, health issues come and go, and so on. A set of guidelines and agreements needs to be in place so that people can either voluntarily or involuntarily exit from the community, and new ones can enter it, without anyone feeling exploited......
 
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