i read a cool book called renewing the countryside wisconsin and it talked about what people are doing to renew the country side. what do you think can be done to allow more people to live in the country that want to without destroying it and keep most of it preserved? ecovillages are one way but other options? i was thinking small towns mixed with cohousing and single owner living lots that are all protected with conservation easements. small farms that are 50 acres in size single owner and the bigger lots like say 500 acres a community.
Where I live its a preconceived notion of what small farm life should be like that kills the countryside. We have two sections in my town; rural and village and while I understand the draw of living in the rural acres on a few hundred acres and all that, right in town is the village district that is slowly dying. These are nice homes, and while there are neighbors to each side, right behind the house is acres upon acre that is growing up into scrub brush because no one farms it. I know someone could buy one of the many vacant houses there, and while their deed might be only a few acres, I am almost certain the abutting landowners would let people work the land IF THEY ONLY ASKED! (Not really yelling, just making a point).
To me it just mind boggling: use what is already there. The stumps are pulled, the biggest rocks are already on the rock walls, and the soils good.
I continuously have offers on the table to farm more land. People would be delighted if I would farm their land so that they don't have to feel responsible for it. I'm pretty much maxed out on what I can do as an old man working mostly alone. If I wanted to hire help, the land for expansion would be readily available.
It seems as if people on this messageboard are always wishing they had land to work with, while other people on this board are wishing they had someone to help work their land! How can we get these people together?
By me there is a link program that is supposed to unite farm owners with people who wish to farm, but it is really a scam. The problem is; Maine, and in particular this part of Maine, is really sought out by people who want to farm small scale here, but the available acreages to farm are small in comparison. Put another way, the poor people who want to farm far out weight the farms available and so they end up on a waiting list for years and of course pay a fee every year for the privilege. In the meantime, thy either settle for a less-than-ideal location and then move when the link finds them a place, or just give up and stay where they are. Either way, the vast majority spend money on a fee that never materializes. My heart goes out to them because someone is in essence cashing in on their dreams and promising them something they probably won't deliver on.
But I will add a caveat here; where I live is truly unique. Maine has the youngest age of farmers in the country and also the most beginning farmers. Down south farm land is being put into suburbs while up north the farmers are dying off and land is being reforested by natural forces again. But where I live; when a local farmer stopped renting my acreage I had 18 different people ask me to lease the farmland. As me and the Commissioner of Ag was discussing one night, it is amazing the amount of forest land being cut, stumped and put back into agricultural land. In 1900 it was 90% field and 10% forest, but in 2016 it is 10% field and 90% forest. With the paper mills closing now, the shift is returning back to agriculture. Myself, I have cleared 12 acres and plan on converting another 20 in the near future.
That is why I said in my first post on the topic...at least in my tiny part of the world, if people would look to areas like downtown, where 1-10 acre fields are prolific just behind the houses that are already up for sale, they would keep the fields from growing up into scrub.
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