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build it and they will come?

 
Laura Emil
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a conundrum. today, in northeastern pennsylvania, it's 65 degrees already at 9am, a glorious day. Before I head to work, I stood on the back deck and wondered: is this beautiful weather, or global warming? should i enjoy, or be worried?

doing both... and trying to figure out what to do next.

once upon a time, i thought i'd try to save the world, or at least my corner of it. 30 years ago, with grand dreams, I bought land (and bought it again 15 years ago... family grew in a different direction) so instead of working ON and learning from the land, I'm working a J-O-B doing what I know how to do in order to finish paying for land.

I can't build it - but i CAN share it. Someone else can grow from and grow with this land.

And so I put a 'land-to-share' offer out there in a few places over the past several years, but i see so many others have done the same, and the offers recur. I don't see the success stories. Where are they? IF you found a good partnership, please share HOW you found the right people to share with.

If you're the right person wanting to grow (but not needing "personal" ownership of the land - it'll go into a trust as soon as I can figure out the legalities), and not needing me to teach you (I'd be doing the farming full time if I knew how), and ONLY IF you have a strong work ethic and your own initiative, my offer is still out here... where are you? smu.gs/1bXulnk
 
Tyler Ludens
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This is an important topic to me. I see people wanting land, and I see people wanting to share land, but I don't very often see those people coming together. Maybe they come together and we just don't hear about it? Maybe it fails and nobody wants to admit a failure, so we never hear about that?

My hope is, when I get older, to find someone who wants to stay on the land and maybe even make a living from it. But I don't want to sell it to them. I might give it to them, or, like you're trying to do, put it in a trust.

 
alex wiz
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I think it sounds like a good deal for the right person.
But I think you are being too vague in your description.

Who pays for the perennial plants?
What is the housing situation?
How long can they stay?
How much land is it?
What type?
etc.

The biggest problems most people have with this is:
1. How do they make enough money to survive?
2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience?

I'm just pointing out some things. Like I said it sounds like a nice setup for the right person. I'd consider the offer if I didn't hate the cold so much and knew that I could make a living wage doing it.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I think a regular lease works just fine.

$12 for the 1st year and $100/acre plus 30% of profit every year.
Using x-class of chemical is a considered a breach of contract and result in termination of contract, I think most ppl would like to see a 3-10 lease for annuals and berries. For nuts multi-decade.


When it comes to finding 'customer' for you lease. As usual referral's from trusted friends is best, after that folks from a mutual club/association, followed by lifestyle/work experience and lastly some type of certification.
 
Tyler Ludens
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alex wiz wrote:
The biggest problems most people have with this is:
1. How do they make enough money to survive?
2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience?


I'm thinking about my own future hopes of having someone living here on the land, and how I would address these problems.

1. How do they make enough money to survive? Though there is no guarantee of any business being successful, the person offering the land share (or lease) could provide a business proposal, a complete plan of how the person coming on to the land might make a living. But it seems as if someone wanting land would already have a really good idea of what they want to do on the land, so this kind of proposal shouldn't be necessary. Because they won't be an employee of the land owner, they can't demand a "living wage." It is up to them to earn the money by their own endeavors as a self-employed person.

2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience? The opportunity to live on land they don't have to purchase, build their own dwelling, and operate their own business(es).
 
Krystina Szabo
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I really feel this conundrum. I have 200+ acres in southern Virginia. Periodically, I have put up something on Permies. I have started phone conversations with some people, but they either are going in a different direction, or their lives seem to be in complete chaos, and they just won't respond after awhile. I have recently opened up a 2-bedroom house on the property, after trying a local person. THAT was awful. What to do? I basically will offer free rent (you pay electric) in exchange for some feeding, garden and general help to equal the amount of rent. You COULD also work part-time for me. Or you could work elsewhere. Or we could have a farm enterprise and share the profits, but I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR EVERY SINGLE THING, PAY YOU BY THE HOUR, AND PROFITS TOO. Some people think they should just dip their hands into every single pot. It is very frustrating. I have so very much to offer!! But I have been so incredibly burned, and by people who were well-known in the community, family and friend recommended. How does one prevent a complete stranger from running amok? It would be nice to have someone who has some kind of initiative, or someone who would share in the financial risk/up-front costs, or someone who understands that if you work for profit you only receive the profit, and anything else is just an advance on that profit. And that it requires them to do something independently. My problem is MARKETING. I just don't have "the knack." There are farmer's markets, local stores, etc. everywhere, but I just freeze up with the public. I am also unable to get a regular contract, such as with a restaurant or vendor, for the same reason. I can raise any kind of animal, in particular, very well. Gardening, I'm pretty good at, although I have a problem getting rid of certain pests because organic just doesn't seem to work on them. But it needs to be about more than just ME doing everything, thinking up everything, paying for everything, paying everyone, bankrolling every single nail and taking all the risks. I need more than "FARM HANDS." I need AGRICULTURALISTS. Business people. Under what rock do these people hide? Does anybody have any ideas? I have a beautiful house for someone to live in. I have a beautiful piece of property. I need Partners.
 
Laura Emil
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Location: northeastern USA
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... most people... 1. How do they make enough money to survive? 2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience?

Tyler addressed these 'problems' well in his response (thank you!) and there is a link in my first post if one wanted more info.

But my musing was less about a single offer of sharing land and more about the challenge of finding the FEW folks who MUST be out there who envision the long view and recognize that the benefit is for the future. Even with websites like this, and organizations like 'land link', potential partners are not connecting.

If 'most' people think 'what's in it for me'; instead of 'here's my part, what do you have to offer, and how can we combine our gifts to make the future better?' where are we going? ('hell in a handbasket' comes to mind... and sadly, in an increasing hurry!)

 
Sunny Baba
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Hi Laura and other responders.... First off I would like to say that I have been on both sides of offering to share land with folks that don't have money to buy property... and now seeking people who will share their land with me... My wife and I have been homesteaders all of our adult lives.. growing 90% of our food (buying only cooking oil and condiments)...... From my experience, there are two ways to make a living... Spending most of your time making money, to buy almost everything you need to live....OR...... spend your time at home growing and making almost all everything you need...... Over the past 40 years..... we have made our living DIRECTLY from the Land...... making our own clothing, building our own home with local material, growing our own food, fixing and repairing our own machines, doing our own electrical, and plumbing .....healing ourselves and our animals....
This is what Homesteading has always been..... living directly from our efforts on the land.....enriching the land and being enriched by it....... creating a system that you enrich and this system supports you.... Part of this process is living debt free and having very few bills..... We raised 4 children on $1,500 A YEAR.... in the 20th century...... This can still be done today... IF you don't have to buy your own property.... Thank God there are people like your selves, who are willing to share your property with other folks, who cannot afford to buy land... THANK YOU, for your Open minds and generous HEARTS.....
Now I know there are young people out there in the bigger society that Desire to be self-sufficient .... and produce most of what they consume.... BUT, what I hear from most of them is....."I don't know how to do all those things", (grow my own food, make my own clothes, care for animals, repair my vehicle etc.... etc.)....."I need to learn all this BEFORE I can start to do it..." Well .... nobody taught us... we Learned by Doing it... I took my young family out to a remote property... miles from the nearest neighbor... no electricity, no phone.... walk in access only... No roads.... and built a temporary... shelter.. packed in about 800lbs of bulk foods, and some basic hand tools ... and started homesteading.... just the way it has been done for the past 700 years..... Except, we had it easy... we had rolls of poly pipe, chain saw, truck, grain grinder...more modern tools..... and we knew that if we failed ..... we could walk out and join the UNREAL, modern world.... where our forefathers would have starved to death.
So where has courage gone, and determination, and a strong work ethic...? We learn best by simply doing.... and learning from our mistakes..... But this trying to make an income from farming... is a Hard way to go.... instead.... try living debt free and make what you need with your own hands.... such as your shoes,they may look crude at first... be you will get better as you make more over a long period of time... and before you know it... people will ask you, "how much would you charge me for a pair of moccasins like yours ..? and before you know it you can make a pair in a day or two... and sell them for $100-$150 a pair.... and if you don't watch out..... your business might begin to OWN YOU...... and then you would NO Longer have the time to make everything you need... you would have lots of money and be buying everything you need.
SO... there are two ways ... Direct living... directly from the homestead... or Indirect living... pursuing the $$$$$ to buy what you need to live...... OR THE MIDDLE path Being so good at producing more than what you need... so you can sell and trade the surplus..... Thanks for listening to this crazy old man..... In Love with Life, Sunny
 
Tyler Ludens
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Sequoia Neumann wrote: before you know it... people will ask you, "how much would you charge me for a pair of moccasins like yours ..? and before you know it you can make a pair in a day or two... and sell them for $100-$150 a pair


I think this may only work with some things, like moccasins, I guess, but not for anything a person can make. I wish I could sell my crafts more often, but I am not a good salesperson or marketer.

 
S Bengi
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You have to be very clear what you expectations are both to yourself and to the other person. You also have to have realistic expectation of the outcome and the ppl you will get. Even someone is self-funded and has all the time and skill, it is very possible that said person biz will fail 3yr later, in fact it is 80% chance it will have failed. Now just imagine that said person has very little skill, growing, logistics, marketing, selling, budgeting, etc. Just because I am very good at growing doesn't mean that I am good at marketing/selling/budgeting or visa-versa.

If you just want someone to campout on your land with no expectation good.
If you just want someone to plant your fruit trees for you during fall+weekend in exchange for free rent. Then cool
If you just want someone to teach your skills to and they help you fix your roof, cool.
If you just want someone to lease your land and run their own farm, but you will lend them some startup money, then cool.
However don't try to get a 60yr old corporate executive or 18yr kid and expect them to all of them good, odds are they can't even do one of those good. We may think we are really good at multi-tasking but we really aren't.
 
leila hamaya
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
alex wiz wrote:
The biggest problems most people have with this is:
1. How do they make enough money to survive?
2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience?



2. What is the benefit for them besides free food and a learning experience? The opportunity to live on land they don't have to purchase, build their own dwelling, and operate their own business(es).


yeah free food and a learning experience dont add to that much value for me anymore, i dont need them. not trying to be snarky, at all, just saying this is more valuable to young people without the skills, where many people seem to be expecting and hoping for someone with considerable experience, able to work on their own. if what you are offering is free food and a learning experience, and what you are hoping for is a little help, another words its still a mutually beneficial situation, then that could work out.
the problem is when people, on either side of this, are offering hugely unequal arrangements. it's especially problematic when this isnt even acknowledged or understood...like one person of one side thinks they are giving so much for so little, without the other person acknowledging it, though it may seem obvious to the person and someone observing. usually the landowners tend to over value what they are providing....that may not sounds fair but thats what i have seen...offering substandard small places with little to no amentities for lots of physical labor and thinking its obviously worth it, when its really not.
....though i am sure it happens the other way too.

paying it forward to the future, noble, a goal i had for a long time, and much less so now. when i started doing things like this that was a huge motivation i think for myself and the people who were seeking situations back then. i've paid it forward, paid more forward, and kept paying forward to the future. meanwhile my own little boat was sinking with little assistance from others. in fact with others rocking it and pushing it over!!!

the opportunity to live on land they dont have to purchase, build their own dwelling and run a business, is worth a great deal. but only if there is security in it for the person. too often it seems people would like to present as though this is what they are offering, and maybe even sort of defensively almost, like how could someone not see thats such a great deal. its a great deal if -- and only if -- its for keeps.

if its...more like...the ability to build them a structure with your own resources, so they can kick you out and charge someone else more ( in time, or money or whatever taking what you have built to "offer" to the next person)...or just move in themselves, or make it unpleasant for you to be there...or a lot of other possibilities...yeah not a good deal at all. i have put too much of my own money and tools and time and love into land that i was land sharing with people, only to end up with less than nothing by the end. now i am rather suspicious of people around this stuff...thinking mostly people can be selfish jerks! if someone is trustworthy, and willing to at least make an offer that smells like "ownership", or at the very least - autonomy, respect and reciprocity...i would try to suspend my suspicions.

i am actually currently in a good work trade , long term land share, situation. maybe the things that keeps my situation good are...somewhat corresponding to whats written here. i agree that its important to be extremely clear about whats expected on both sides. whatever people are obligated to do, must be spelled out super clearly , like stating the obvious things too, and even awkward to talk about -- you gotta get it all out there. and all laid out, agreed or disagreed, debated, whatever, maybe even in writing.

the people i am working with are really great people, they do not make a lot of demands of me, they go out of their way to make things simple and clear. they need a little bit of help with specific things, which happens to be things i enjoy mostly, or at least can do. they let me know clearly, i do what i say i will do, and then theres no problems.
if they want me to do something, they always provide all the materials needed to do it. if i want to do something on my own, i get my own materials, and i do a lot more than the necessary obligatory amount. just a simple thing like that, not being supplied materials and sort of by default having to get them on my own ...has been a major source of contention for me in other situations. if someone wants me to do something, and i've agreed, then it should be clear they need to get what's needed for me to be able to do it. if i want to do something myself, well thats obvious i am going to need to gather the materials myself.

i feel like what they offer is balanced with what they expect, which is not very much....in this situation. a lot of other things happen, that we work on stuff together sometimes, or i work on my own mostly, and in that i have a lot of elbow room and creative freedom to do it the way i see it and want it. the place is too small to build my own structure, so thats not possible here. and interestingly we have always had a ...one day at a time plan...like we both agreed from the beginning that we would just take it one day at a time and see how it goes, and its lasted...almost 2 1/2 years now, and still working out great on both sides. where other places...it was implied or said i would be there for a long term, and then invested a lot of my own, only to have the people be selfish/change their minds through no fault of mine/or worse case be deliberately exploitive and steal all my work, materials and tools.
 
alex wiz
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The more details about an offer to live off the land the better.
There's a lot of things holding me back from living off the land:
1. Fear
2. Money
3. No companion to be by my side
4. Wanting to find a "great" piece of land
5. Procrastination
6. Comfort in my current situation
 
Tyler Ludens
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leila hamaya wrote:
more like...the ability to build them a structure with your own resources, so they can kick you out and charge someone else more


That's one reason why, if I ever do this, I will require the structure be transportable - a tiny home on wheels, yurt, tipi, etc. Not a cob house or the like. I would want the person to own their own house, tools, livestock. Some tools might be shared, but it would be clear which are shared and which are owned.

We actually have kind of a land share deal with my sister, who was starting an outdoor skills day camp for adults on a little corner of our land, with trails all around the perimeter of the land, but she became very ill and hasn't been able to do anything with the business for over a year and I think she's probably given up on it. This was also a case in which there weren't enough resources available to invest in marketing the business, so it did not take off, even before she got sick. All we could provide was the land and some maintenance, but we couldn't spend enough energy or $$ to get the land properly cleared to make it comfortable for people to use, so it is very rough and I think a little dangerous. I still wish the camp could happen, but there would have to be at least one truly healthy enthusiastic person with some financial resources for it to actually have a chance of success. And that doesn't look like its happening...

 
Morfydd St. Clair
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Krystina Szabo wrote:I really feel this conundrum. I have 200+ acres in southern Virginia. Periodically, I have put up something on Permies. I have started phone conversations with some people, but they either are going in a different direction, or their lives seem to be in complete chaos, and they just won't respond after awhile. I have recently opened up a 2-bedroom house on the property, after trying a local person. THAT was awful. What to do? I basically will offer free rent (you pay electric) in exchange for some feeding, garden and general help to equal the amount of rent. You COULD also work part-time for me. Or you could work elsewhere. Or we could have a farm enterprise and share the profits, but I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR EVERY SINGLE THING, PAY YOU BY THE HOUR, AND PROFITS TOO. Some people think they should just dip their hands into every single pot. It is very frustrating. I have so very much to offer!! But I have been so incredibly burned, and by people who were well-known in the community, family and friend recommended. How does one prevent a complete stranger from running amok? It would be nice to have someone who has some kind of initiative, or someone who would share in the financial risk/up-front costs, or someone who understands that if you work for profit you only receive the profit, and anything else is just an advance on that profit. And that it requires them to do something independently. My problem is MARKETING. I just don't have "the knack." There are farmer's markets, local stores, etc. everywhere, but I just freeze up with the public. I am also unable to get a regular contract, such as with a restaurant or vendor, for the same reason. I can raise any kind of animal, in particular, very well. Gardening, I'm pretty good at, although I have a problem getting rid of certain pests because organic just doesn't seem to work on them. But it needs to be about more than just ME doing everything, thinking up everything, paying for everything, paying everyone, bankrolling every single nail and taking all the risks. I need more than "FARM HANDS." I need AGRICULTURALISTS. Business people. Under what rock do these people hide? Does anybody have any ideas? I have a beautiful house for someone to live in. I have a beautiful piece of property. I need Partners.


Hi Krystina,

If I'm reading you right:

You don't actually need a co-farmer or partner. You need an agent. Or salesperson, or marketer, or business manager, however you want to call it. You have the gardening and animal smarts, and it sounds like the time (mostly) to do it. Can you hire someone to sell your product into restaurants and manage those contracts, and PAY them in some combination of commission and profits? I know in my parents' small town, real estate agents are starving for business. Perhaps someone with those skills (sales, contracts) would want to branch out.

As far as creating the product, you may also need a farm hand. They will need a salary, and maybe there you can reduce that salary with the free rent.

But I think you should really sit down and think about what skills you need, what time commitment you need, and then hire EXPLICITLY for that contract. And hire, not loosey-goosey barter/swap.

I apologize if the above comes across as harsh. Your frustration comes through clearly.
 
Laura Emil
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to Sunny, thank you

to leila, i tried to pick through your issues to find the positive, what makes it work:
mutually beneficial situation, opportunity to live on land they don't have to purchase, build their own dwelling and run a business, with security in it for the person, an offer that smells like ... autonomy, respect and reciprocity... yep, that's my offer.

my struggle is the "thinking mostly people can be selfish jerks" part. Unfortunately, I have seen MY share of them, too, (I loaned my tent to, and paid for one guys PDC course, then he left - and left behind a full bucket of humanure at the tent site.) But I don't want to give up - the long haul is too important.

my mistake was thinking I could do everything (30 years ago) and locking into a mortgage when i had no farm skills. so I've worked off-farm to pay for the land and gradual improvements. I'm not farming, but still choose to put the majority of my 'discretionary' funds into those improvements - spring development/water trough for eventual livestock capacity, and am now embarking on replacing a barn roof so the barn lasts another 100 years. This isn't for me, this is for whoever stewards the land into the future. there is more work needed, this isn't a give away, but few of us start with 'everything', so I think my offer IS a great deal.

the challenge is finding the good people out there who share a concern for the direction our planet is headed, and who don't jump to the conclusion that I'm some selfish jerk that will kick them out. I've made a start here - and with HELP this can provide security for the future. I have never believed land is a commodity to be sold, so passing it forward is the goal. (although if I don't find someone, could I be forced to sell, to finance my retirement? I have nothing saved for that - I would rather share and live simply. If my health fails, and the land is in trust, they can't force me to re-mortgage to pay for health care, can they? if the land isn't mine, they can't take it away... security for myself AND the future stewards.)

to alex - you're in your own way (and good for you, you know it, as evidenced by your list) SO JUST DO IT. and don't wait for a companion - this is YOUR dream, pursue it! (my companion 30 years ago is why i had to buy the farm twice. companions aren't always what you expect...)

to the curious looking for more details - follow the link already provided in my earlier post; THEN introduce yourself and ask specific questions if you have more AFTER reading the details that are already covered.

to everyone here - thanks for sharing thoughts, challenges, encouragement. together, let's save this world! wherever you are, wherever you can.
 
Scott Strough
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Krystina Szabo wrote:I really feel this conundrum. I have 200+ acres in southern Virginia. Periodically, I have put up something on Permies. I have started phone conversations with some people, but they either are going in a different direction, or their lives seem to be in complete chaos, and they just won't respond after awhile. I have recently opened up a 2-bedroom house on the property, after trying a local person. THAT was awful. What to do? I basically will offer free rent (you pay electric) in exchange for some feeding, garden and general help to equal the amount of rent. You COULD also work part-time for me. Or you could work elsewhere. Or we could have a farm enterprise and share the profits, but I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR EVERY SINGLE THING, PAY YOU BY THE HOUR, AND PROFITS TOO. Some people think they should just dip their hands into every single pot. It is very frustrating. I have so very much to offer!! But I have been so incredibly burned, and by people who were well-known in the community, family and friend recommended. How does one prevent a complete stranger from running amok? It would be nice to have someone who has some kind of initiative, or someone who would share in the financial risk/up-front costs, or someone who understands that if you work for profit you only receive the profit, and anything else is just an advance on that profit. And that it requires them to do something independently. My problem is MARKETING. I just don't have "the knack." There are farmer's markets, local stores, etc. everywhere, but I just freeze up with the public. I am also unable to get a regular contract, such as with a restaurant or vendor, for the same reason. I can raise any kind of animal, in particular, very well. Gardening, I'm pretty good at, although I have a problem getting rid of certain pests because organic just doesn't seem to work on them. But it needs to be about more than just ME doing everything, thinking up everything, paying for everything, paying everyone, bankrolling every single nail and taking all the risks. I need more than "FARM HANDS." I need AGRICULTURALISTS. Business people. Under what rock do these people hide? Does anybody have any ideas? I have a beautiful house for someone to live in. I have a beautiful piece of property. I need Partners.
I have a long term plan. Part of my long term plan is to take internships here, then the best of the best find people who are in your exact situation and match them. Still a few years off and I have to get my own funding, either from others or from my sales and growing my project by itself. But either way we should keep in touch. Message me please.
 
Judy Bowman
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We have the issue of having what's evolving, after many years of work, into a lovely, productive homestead and no one to leave it to. Our children are idiots, not interested in the land or the lifestyle, and we won't allow them to profit from our work. I had a cousin in a similar circumstance who, in her older years, had a family that lived with her and helped her allowing her to stay on the farm. She left everything to them. The rest of our family got a little bent out of shape over this initially, but in thinking about it it seems like a logical plan. So, in 15 years or so, we'll have a wonderful deal for the right young family. 😉
 
Casie Becker
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Judy Bowman wrote:We have the issue of having what's evolving, after many years of work, into a lovely, productive homestead and no one to leave it to. Our children are idiots, not interested in the land or the lifestyle, and we won't allow them to profit from our work. I had a cousin in a similar circumstance who, in her older years, had a family that lived with her and helped her allowing her to stay on the farm. She left everything to them. The rest of our family got a little bent out of shape over this initially, but in thinking about it it seems like a logical plan. So, in 15 years or so, we'll have a wonderful deal for the right young family. 😉


I wish you every success in this effort. I'm hopeful that if my home every reaches that point one of my nieces will want to raise the next generation of our family here. I'm trying to start small by giving each child her own area to garden in, and helping her grow things that she takes interest and pride in. I think by the time this land is ready to be passed on, society will be at a point where they recognize the value of a productive garden with well established perennial crops. Planted my first olive trees today.
 
zachary welch
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Krystina Szabo wrote:I really feel this conundrum. I have 200+ acres in southern Virginia. Periodically, I have put up something on Permies. I have started phone conversations with some people, but they either are going in a different direction, or their lives seem to be in complete chaos, and they just won't respond after awhile. I have recently opened up a 2-bedroom house on the property, after trying a local person. THAT was awful. What to do? I basically will offer free rent (you pay electric) in exchange for some feeding, garden and general help to equal the amount of rent. You COULD also work part-time for me. Or you could work elsewhere. Or we could have a farm enterprise and share the profits, but I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR EVERY SINGLE THING, PAY YOU BY THE HOUR, AND PROFITS TOO. Some people think they should just dip their hands into every single pot. It is very frustrating. I have so very much to offer!! But I have been so incredibly burned, and by people who were well-known in the community, family and friend recommended. How does one prevent a complete stranger from running amok? It would be nice to have someone who has some kind of initiative, or someone who would share in the financial risk/up-front costs, or someone who understands that if you work for profit you only receive the profit, and anything else is just an advance on that profit. And that it requires them to do something independently. My problem is MARKETING. I just don't have "the knack." There are farmer's markets, local stores, etc. everywhere, but I just freeze up with the public. I am also unable to get a regular contract, such as with a restaurant or vendor, for the same reason. I can raise any kind of animal, in particular, very well. Gardening, I'm pretty good at, although I have a problem getting rid of certain pests because organic just doesn't seem to work on them. But it needs to be about more than just ME doing everything, thinking up everything, paying for everything, paying everyone, bankrolling every single nail and taking all the risks. I need more than "FARM HANDS." I need AGRICULTURALISTS. Business people. Under what rock do these people hide? Does anybody have any ideas? I have a beautiful house for someone to live in. I have a beautiful piece of property. I need Partners.


My name is Zachary Welch and I am very interested in this offer. I am a 27 year old male with a great work ethic looking for the opportunity to make a self sustaining life. I am willing and able to put in the hours and physical work needed to attain this like minded goal. I have no financial support to offer but in every other aspect you have described I can be that person if given the opportunity once established I can and will help with expenses. I currently live in ohio I hunt, fish, and forage wild mushrooms and other edibles as season permits.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The gov can force you to put put your farm up for sale. But you can make your farm very unattractive to buyers. How about a tenant with a 50yr lease that only pays $100/month. Nobody would want that and even if they did buy it they couldn't kick the person and their family+ friend (you) off until the end of the lease as log as they pay their rent/lease.
 
zinneken ikke
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From someone on the searching for land end, mid thirties with a family to feed, in Europe, caught in the ratrace mill of earn and spend by force of society ...

Everyone looks for the same features: water, land, closeness to infrastructure (schools, hospitals, shops, library, culture, closeness to people/market for produce to be sold). It is not that people do not like to live in small distant towns or out in the fields, it is that the infrastructure there is lacking. The only people who can "afford" to live there are people without kids, or whose kids have left the house. Why do young people, families, not go live in small towns and only old people end up there/stay?

By time the kids have left the house, people have set in their ways, their jobs, their neighbourhoods, their mortgages ... Their societal responsibilities, chosen years before. And while they always dreamt of living the good way, it would draw them away from closeness to friends, family, grandkids, etc. From emotions and feelings, from belonging with as many as possible other humans, which we've been trained at. So much so technology understands that market better then sustainable living does.

You have a kid that's brilliant at music, at dance, at math, at anything and as a "good" parent you are obliged to the potential and future of your kid (that is different from you) to be close to society. Every kid has something special, are you the parent that will not see to the best possibility of your child's development?

The families with kids we know who have chosen the self sustaining lifestyle, and to be able to afford it have moved further then bike-distance, have kids who long for being independently able to go out into the world with friends, go to a concert, a museum, a sports event, travel, etc. Not something you can do on a motorbike when you live 40 minutes by car away from "society" and go there maximum once a week for the "necessities" shopping. I remember being driven 40 minutes in the morning, and in the evening, just to go to a "better" school. So much boring, lost time.

We've never met anyone who drove more then 20 minutes to go to a u-pick, or a farmer market. We ourselves, living close tot he sea, drive once a week to the port to buy fresh fish, a 20 minute one-way drive. No one we know does that. When we tell people we do this so that we get the fish fresher and pay the fisherman direct, they consider us mad. After all, the supermarket has all-you-can-wish-for "fresh" fish that's been from the fishing boat to the auction, from the auction to the distributor, from the distributor shipped to a low salary place for processing, from the processing to the distribution centre, to the supermarket. Surely, everyone understands "you can't get fresher fish" ... We drive 20 minutes one-way, but we're the mad people.

CSA type ventures that are out of people's way need to organise picking, sorting and delivering of the goodies the land produce. If you live out of people's ways, try to compete with the organic labels mass produced and marketed. No one will pay your production cost. You'll be lucky if you earn more then the cost for you to drive your small-scale distant from society produce to society.

So, grow things close to society. Growing things close to "society" makes land "very expensive". As in, society is making the land expensive beyond any possibility of financial viability. After all, society makes people want to have a house and a garden, and so any land that is close enough is speculatively useful for building/living/industry.

It pains me, my grandparents have this piece of agricultural land, they keep it, do not want anyone to farm it, do not sell it. They wait, because it is close enough to society that within the next 10 years it will be built upon. So no one dare touch it, so it is immediately available as soon as city hall decides it can be built.

I've looked at so many financials of self sustainable, CSA, permaculture projects all around Europe. Unless you are famous (like the Holzer's, who I have great respect for the example they set for everyone) and get cash for consulting, and have some of the land from your ancestors or sufficiently cheap, it is impossible to send your kids to state paid university, or provide for braces, or ... whatever life needs or throws at you during that time in your life you're nurturing kids to adulthood.

And very often, when given/renting land, it only takes the owner a few letters to get you off the land for their well exploiting. You've put all the hard work in to plant trees, bushes, improve the soil, the fertility, the nature of the site, and then 3-4 years later when your first return could start trickling in from greens, you're thanked and can start again elsewhere. The bushes and fruit trees the land owner will benefit from ...

Lastly, the risk. When you're part of "society", you have "friends, family, society" that if anything happens to you can alleviate. When you're 40 minutes out, society invites people to the beach, the woods, concerts, ... but not to a u-pick or a self sustainable farm. Society will also not come to you if you're in unexpected need of help, and that 40 minutes will break you because in society you're never more then 15 minutes away from a structure that will provide assistance, but 40 minutes will not cater to you.

Ultimately, it is growing good, healthy, things we're going to put in people's mouths that is made unprofitable, risky, unnecessarily difficult while buying the last technological useless advance is made a dead easy must.

We'd love to find land in europe which we can live on, live from, earn from so we can send our kids to school not too far away, send them to uni, have comfort of medical and other support for the just in case... Alas, nowhere to be found. So we try to hold ourselves to industrially approved "organic" labels in our daily rat-race to earn cash and hopefully one day have enough to buy a piece of overly expensive land not too far away from society.

End of rant ...
 
Laura Emil
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instead of bemoaning unsuccessful outreach to 'find' the right persons, think i might try to reclaim this topic to use as an occasional 'blog' entry. if i can keep up with this even just once every month or two, it might be another way to help keep me on track (and give the curious or interested a better picture of what could be shared...)

so, yesterday: we don't often get great weather AND an 'uncommitted' day at the same time, but when we do, just watch us! we've bid out a barn roof replacement, but it might be too expensive, so the morning started with barn measurements and my guy roughing out an estimate of what it might cost to do it himself. waiting for bid results before he decides, but we've got a 'base' cost in mind now. Too chilly for me to venture out, i struggled instead with online stuff i hate - but in doing so, I actually LEARNED how to use ONE function of my 'smartphone' and downloaded my first "app", so i can UPLOAD pics to my smugmug account!

THEN the sun came out. He pruned the old pear tree (fire blight struck last year! we went to a workshop last weekend to learn about pruning...) while I fixed fence lines to let the horses into the 'side yard' paddock. (they're loving it, kicking up their heels this morning outside my office window as i type this!) we also re-fortified the blueberry patch fencing (dang deer AGAIN!), did some serious weeding around the huckleberries (i won't complain, but can't help but wonder- WHY do the deer leave the wild huckleberries alone, but love the blueberries?) Among the weeds, DAFFODILS in bloom - way more than I thought we had. A nice surprise.

This morning, while I'm back at the computer (today's MUST do task: find the photos of last fall's garlic planting. WHICH varieties did I plant WHERE? One bed has nothing coming up - hmmm, why?) he's making breakfast - banana pancakes! He called to me to share the view out the kitchen window - a flock of wild turkeys in the woods on the back mountain. We see them often, but never tire of the excitement of the wildlife close around us. Then a duck flew past - heading for our pond. (on the to-do list - pond has sediment accumulating, and the overflow eroded, so we've lost depth over the years, but we walked out there the other evening and found lots of turtles. And masses of frog eggs. Just plain FUN.)

The weather forecast suggests another good day after these morning clouds break up, so we may work on cold frames later. Broccoli and cauliflower are coming up in windowsill pots - and as mild as this weather has been, we could still get killing frosts, so i guess we shouldn't plant them outside unprotected... (but i don't know. this is the first year i'm actually trying to start from seed. it's been all garden market plants before, after the last frost...)

And so it goes. Happy Spring!
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Laura Emil
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very excited this morning! just as i sat at my desk to begin work, i heard the clattering of a ladder; looked out the window and there is the roofing crew!!! We got an affordable bid, signed it last week, and work has already begun!!! (Gutters and downspouts, too, so we can do rain capture)
 
Laura Emil
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technical difficulties with my computer, so no pics of the blueberry enclosure, but it is well under way! Deer got 6 of our 8 bushes (again and again and again), but there are new buds starting, so I can hope again. Other pics I do have of VERY exciting progress - roof work underway and a CAMPER! (at the top of the hill, with no water or elec hookup, but it's a start... )
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roof work underway
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a camper!
 
Laura Emil
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May 2016:
* blueberry enclosure 'completed' (deer proof only, we're not worried about birds yet...)
* chicks arrived, and moved outside by end of month
* smaller paddocks fenced, rotating horses every three days
* barn roof replaced, gutters and downspouts included!
* purchased a camper (a place for visitors! but we still need to sort out elec and water alternatives...)
* robins nested in tool shed, hatched and flew away...
* KITCHEN work is underway! (repurposing wood from the collapsed barn)
* after a relatively warm winter (and early blossoming!) spring was cold, and late to warmup, but we're finally enjoying early morning coffee on the back deck - and counting no less than ten different birds visible or heard each morning.
* forsythias (and sunflowers?) planted - for 'dust control' and ‘beautification’, hahaha
* thought about brushhogging, but after tractor gas pump repair, tire is flat! (of course! but just as well? while checking fence lines before cutting, a fawn startled me jumping out of the high grass just before I tripped on her! a good reminder before I do get on the tractor next...)
* maybe we'll go canoeing before this holiday weekend is over... (but will struggle to get the canoe out of barn past the DEAD ATV, grrrr. would LOVE a visit from a MECHANIC!!!)

(re: photos - my son is a navy pilot - and texted me in advance to let me know when he was 'visiting'! that's him flying at 1,000 feet, upper right corner of first pic...
also, lots of stuff in the barn - I should just have an auction, but I figure an eventual steward might have use for some of this, or THEY could sell stuff to help fund farm enterprises... )

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Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Key takeaway from this thread: If you're going to do landsharing [a noble goal from both ends when approached from the right perspective] draw up a mutually beneficial, ironclad contract and hold eachother to it.

Hope you find that person you're looking for Laura.
 
Anne Miller
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Laura, have you read about what Paul has done at Wheaton Lab? I feel what he is doing others could do. He has found at least 8 young men who are willing to lease an acre of land for an in-expensive rent and build a winter home to live in, doing what they love and have fun doing it. He has requirements that must be met before they can lease the land, requirement that must be fulfilled while living there, etc. I hope I have explained this correctly.

If you haven't read about it, please do as you will get some incite (sp?) into the kind of contract you might need.

People do not appreciate what they get for free, make they invest some of their own money.
 
Anne Miller
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Sorry I should have giving the link to the thread.

Ant Village
 
Devin Lavign
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Anne's post mentioning Paul doing the Ants reminds me of the experience I had at Arcosanti, an archetecture community built by Palo Solarii. Arcosanti does workshops, having people pay them to come and do 30 days of labor in exchange for housing (when I attended in 8X8 concrete cubes), meals, and education in what ever work you workshopped into in the community (ie construction, landscaping, gardening, maintenance, archives, etc). Even if your highly qualified to live in the community your required to have done a workshop before you can live there. Only after completing a workshop can you possibly get hired and live and work in the community.

Why do I bring this up? One reason is a workshop gives you and the person a chance to evaluate eachother. They pay room and board up front and you provide it as well as some basic education. This sort of arrangement could be a good way to offer low cost low hazard ways to get people to check your opportunity out. But short term enough if they are not a good fit they can't do a lot of harm.

But I also brought it up because Arcosanti and it's founder is a bit of a celebrity in certain circles. And like it or not so is our Duke of permaculture Paul. This "status" brings in a lot more people to approach to join in the community or rent land or what ever. But for Joe and Janie homesteader trying to attract attention to their land share, well a bit more difficult. There is some prestige in going to wheaton labs, or other "recognized" communities, just like attending the right college might gain you some marketability in the job market latter. But going to some random land share is like attending community college. Rarely someone's first choice, and often those opting for it are the ones who couldn't find a way to get to the more prestigous place.

Not saying you can't learn from Paul doing the ant village. But the term "results may vary" should be considered if you aren't a publicly known figure or community.

You can solve this by becoming famous so you will get more people interested. But that tends to be a bit fickle, and well time consuming. Only other suggestion is network, network lots. Go to your local schools (high schools and colleges) and see if there is a way you can make some sort of presentation for the kids, talk to high school guidance counselor to see if any current or past students would be good for your needs. Advertise at a local natural foods store. Find local clubs that might have farming or livestock interests and try and find people through those. Contact girl and boy scouts and see if they want to come out and learn about farm life, never know what contacts you might find there who often display skills and abilities not common these days in. If you belong to a church there is a large group who if not someone in the group might know someone who would be good for you, And yes of course advertise here, and other places for land share.
 
Anne Miller
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Another solution that I might throw out there is the "fulltime RVer". This solution is something that I would have liked to have seen 10 years ago. A place to park my RV for just lets say $1000 a year and I pay the cost to add Electric and sewer, while being able to have a garden and grow organic food to supplement my food bill. I could add a storage building to store some things and if I wanted to take a trip, but I would have someplace to come back to. Then if I decided to leave (per my contract) the RV site would be yours to rent to someone else. If I am not mistaken I saw a post on permies along those lines, without the option of a years lease. Your contract could also offer "candy" similar to what Paul offers for but for help around your place, such as "fix the fence for use of my lawn tractor to mow your lawn"

A place to learn more:

Day's End - Escapees Discussion Forum
 
Anne Miller
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Here is a post along those lines:

Private Land
 
Laura Emil
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thanks, all, for your positive thoughts and suggestions. I'm not using this forum anymore to 'look for' someone - I'm just trying to provide a snapshot (of progress?) at least once a month. Hopefully, that'll provide a little 'self-accountability', and secondly, maybe even an enticing picture to someone who's wondering...
It WILL take a very particular person/s to be the right match, and so I am putting out the word anywhere and everywhere I can think of (listed on PA Farmlink for years, an article on Greenhorns years ago, ongoing individual emails to folks here and to a few on RV and other work/vacation websites if they seem ecologically responsible, local conservation folks, 4-H groups, etc...) AND I tell them to learn more about me via a link to this page. Still a hard sell, though, since I work full time and can only make incremental improvements, without easy housing and essentials for visitors yet. And until only recently, I had been doing it completely on my own (waited too long to divorce, but managed to KEEP the farm, then found momentary (but still forever) happiness, then widowhood.) Well, not COMPLETELY on my own - I've been encouraged over the years since I found this site (by accident, looking for instruction on how to restore an old cast iron skillet. Thank you Jocelyn!)
And so now I continue to inch along, learn as I we go, (now with a 'sometimes' willing partner, who is building me a new sunflower garden box from a great old barnwood floor plank, AS I write this; thanks honey!); but can't TEACH others, so I sure can't do a Wheaton Lab kind of thing. Paul IS 'famous', AND brings a skill set I don't have. If a 'mini-Paul' were to show up here and turn this into a lab, that would be nice... But even a quiet, 'just want to live in balance and feed my family good food', or a prepper (who I HOPE is wrong, but no harm in being prepared?) or my PERSONAL wish: someone using horses to work, I'd love to see here in my lifetime.
But till then, the bottom line is - this land is my 'church', and eventually, the right person will find it. They'll know that when they get here, and I'll know that when I meet them. Meanwhile, I'll share what I have while I can, and pray that right person finds this place sooner rather than later.
Now, it's a beautiful day, I don't have to go to the office, so I'm heading back to cool of the barn to see what I can do next...
 
Anne Miller
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"eventually, the right person will find it. They'll know that when they get here, and I'll know that when I meet them."

That is a wonderful attitude, I wish you the best and enjoy every beautiful day!
 
Laura Emil
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what the heck - it's not a month yet, but it was a good day - i'm back inside, and not wanting to vegetate in front of the tv yet, so here's an update:
while doing responsible permie stuff is what NEEDS to be done, i need time to play without planning; and horses are MY personal favorite. SO, after the work of weeding (omg, the broccoli is doing GREAT!) and starting to turn the compost pile, (remember the other pumpkins that I set out too early? LOOK, there's a survivor IN the compost heap!!!) i moved quickly onto MY FUN stuff: repairing some fence lines and putting up temp lines for another paddock - in a cool breeze instead of in the heat! the horses liked it, too, when they found it.
then we thought we'd get the canoe out of the barn (didn't succeed last time), but i hung the laundry out first, and suddenly realized how windy it was - and TOO cool! not MY optimum for paddling.
instead, we went shopping for brushhog blades (they do NOT chop rocks, don't know HOW often I've told him that! why DON'T guys listen?!?)
home again, we went up the hill and started assessing the 'new' camper. stomping out ants and cleaning mouse poop is fun for only so long; we did some of that, then wandered onto the mountainside trying to pick a 'best' spot we might finally set it. it's okay just where it is (see pic), but anything "okay" could be better, so we explored. LOTS of great options. Hope the grandkids and/or eventual friends make some use of it!
back to office work tomorrow, but this weekend was fun!
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Sam Micheletti
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For Laura and others in the same situation:

I can't say how common my particular situation is, but it might become more common now that there are more disabled veterans in the system...I can't really manage a regular job, and have limited physical abilities, but I do have a small income from the VA, an some money saved which I would like to use to find a permanent place to live, as it looks like further diagnosis and treatment is not going to be happening. I can be self-supporting in the right environment, but don't have quite enough to pay high rents. Nor do I have enough saved for a usable piece of land AND the necessary infrastructure (electric, water, sewer/septic) for something like a yurt. My idea was to find a cheap chunk of land, and put up a yurt, set it up with the standard amenities...and then just live in it. But, after doing the research, it seems that finding an appropriate plot, working through all the zoning/planning/building codes, then adding/connecting utilities, paying for labor for a platform or poured foundation as well as setting up the yurt, takes me a bit beyond my savings. I and others in my situation probably wouldn't be reliable workers, but there is a huge variety of experience coming from the military...I was in law enforcement and worked with working dogs...as well as recruiting (marketing, advertising, interviewing, etc.), and finished an unrelated degree a few years ago. I cold probably afford to pay a little bit for a place to call home, and/or paying the costs of the infrastructure. While I definitely need peace and calm, I still would like to have someone nearby to keep an eye on me and look after my girls (two pugs) if something happened to me. I know you aren't really looking now, but I though it might be something to keep in mind as an alternative for those who might want someone nearby, have a potential for some small income, and possibly have fewer vetting troubles (and you might provide the perfect place for a struggling veteran). You may be able to connect with a local VA or Department of Labor office? I thought I would put this here, because I haven't seen any other forum anywhere that addresses my situation or needs (and I mean ANYWHERE), and while I'm not a great work/homestead fit for many, there might be another right behind me who has no idea where to look. Good luck with your beautiful place!
 
Laura Emil
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Sam, as I wrote in my PM to you last week, thanks for your good wishes; and although I cannot provide what you're looking for, I hope we all continue to strive to connect with and help each other however we can. 
 
Laura Emil
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the june update:
* set out more heirloom pumpkins, and found first blossoms on surviviving early plant in the compost heap!
* repaired tractor flat - then BROKE a mower blade.  replaced, THEN brushhogged upper paddocks (hopefully BEFORE weeds set seeds?)
* sunflower saga - WHAT ate them all?  more seeds started (thanks to a technique found on another thread), planted, and so far, so good...
* chickens raised, butchered, in our freezer (and a few already done on the grill!)
* harvesting, enjoying fresh broc, cauliflower, peas, scapes ...  (extra broc in the freezer)
* mowed around GROWING blueberry bushes - no more deer damage!!!
* visited CircleZ
* enjoyed a visit from a young urban farmer from Manhattan - what fun to see the farm through his eyes!
* dug the canoe out of the depths of the barn!  and got into the river at last!
and more... but too much else to do to stop longer than this!

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Jack Mundy
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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I am sympathetic to the cause, but I had two initial thoughts when I read through the posts.

1. My neighbor claims a 6 inch strip of land on my side of her fence as her property, and therefore wanted compensation for that 6 inches because I was using it as my own (so she says, although neither of us owned these properties when that fence was built).  Fortunately, she quickly found that her lack of access, coupled with adverse possession laws, mitigated her claim to said 6 inches and it went nowhere.  However, that experience would not make me interested in a loosely-defined property "sharing" arrangement. I would want ownership, or as has been discussed, an irrevocable trust that has actionable by-laws.  Per this example, even ownership can be problematic but at least there is a process (for better or worse). 

2. I see a parallel to the (hobby) farmers and homesteaders in the restaurant industry, where the owners invest a lot of money up front to buy and build out the infrastructure, only to be crushed under the debt pressure due to lack of cash flow.  The guy who benefits from this is the next guy that comes along, that is getting a steal from the fire sale and lack of the need for capital outlay.  There is also a similar element of people getting into the restaurant business that have never run a restaurant, similar to farming, but have romanticized the idea.  So experience will greatly impact the quality of the experience for both the owner and their family/employees/customers. 

So I have concluded that I would want some sort of defined property rights (preferably ownership) so that I'm not at the behest of the crazy lady next door (or your personal laundry list of can do's and can't do's).  Further, I believe that for these types of land-sharing arrangements to work optimally, there needs to be a mentor-mentee relationship between the land-holder and the people seeking that opportunity.  Specifically, the owner needs to have something to offer other than just the land in exchange for labor (because that sounds a lot like a job).  [This goes off-topic] - While there is something to be said for the Woofer-like arrangements, I shake my head at the pay-for-the-privledge setups of living on my farm, working your ass off, and at the end of the season get out.  I have done several internships while in undergrad and grad school and all were paid; so it's hard for me to understand why that's different in agriculture/permaculture. 

Maybe this is the kind of thinking that is the problem and people like me are just contributing to a system that continues to devolve.  I hope not, but I'm open to the possibility. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jack Mundy wrote:
So I have concluded that I would want some sort of defined property rights (preferably ownership) so that I'm not at the behest of the crazy lady next door (or your personal laundry list of can do's and can't do's).


Could not a land share contract be written up and signed and notarized like any other contract, stipulating what is expected from both parties? 

http://llaf.ca/agreements-contracts-2/
 
Jack Mundy
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Tyler, that is certainly an option and would fit into my definition of 'defined property rights'.  I like the checklist in that link.

Another option might be ownership vesting, which is something I have thought a lot about for my own business.  It could entail offering an initial small stake (e.g., 5%), and maybe there is a buy-in for that initial stake, that can grow to some set amount (say 20%) over time as that person hits certain milestones.  That way, there is skin in the game for both parties, sharing in the risks and benefits as the business evolves.  I'm not giving away the farm, but I'm also recognizing the benefits that the other person is bringing to the table (from which I am also benefiting) as they gradually become a larger part of the business. Should we decide to sell, they aren't left in the lurch and benefit from that transaction, even though they may not have any say in it.  I think that death clauses are important too, because I don't want my partner to suddenly find themselves in business with my mom/kids/wife.

Please keep in mind these are simply my thoughts based on my situation and experiences; I'm not here to say they will or won't work for others.  
 
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