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To start a food forest

 
Joseph Milleson
Posts: 6
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I am establishing a self sustained property/retreat/education center where people can feel at home with mother nature on the east coast. Using permaculture design and natural building methods. The ideal property I am looking for would be between 10-20 acres featuring a sloping topography for water harvesting systems. Initially, establishing a perennial system along with annual vegetables. Additionally, establishing a food forest using herbaceous and nitrogen fixing perennials. Pioneer and nitrogen fixing species including shrubs, small to medium and large sized trees, and food producing trees. I am trying to establish a network of friends who I can learn from and share our experience. I am looking for all the suggestions/pointers/advice and help that I can get. I am reading to put this into forward motion.

Thank you all.
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 240
Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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Hi Joseph,

As for network of friends, welcome to permies I'm not sure where on the east coast you're at, but there's a fair amount going on. Check out the regional forum for others in your precise location. Also, check out MeetUp- see if there's any groups there and also check out Facebook. Someone just clued me in that the food-not-lawns people, who also tend to be Permies in disguise, hang out there in some regions.

As for land: I'm into the urban side of permaculture, but there is plenty of land out there. If it is old farmland, then you may be able to work with the Farm Service Agency for a low-interest farm loan. Sometimes there are grants from Rural Development, ATTRA/NCAT used to have a book on grants and other free assistance. Though, consider when working with the government, you have to follow their rules exactly. The Natural Resources Conservation Service might be able to help out in some things too- advice, finances.

Also, I'm not sure where you are on the east coast....but I would have to say that where I am water harvesting for plant watering is not a big deal because of the natural high soil organic matter content and the frequency of rain and general atmospheric moisture. I do manipulate water, but a lot of it is actually holding back the water for the MAYBE two dry months that can happen (you know, where it only rains once a month, versus every week). or saving it for fish raising or filtering for potential other personal uses - not for plants. I am on flat ground. When I was on sloped sandy ground, I would have liked a few rain barrels, but the truth is, that had a lot to do with the lower-that-desirable organic matter content and my comfort than the actual potential loss. But, perhaps you are in a drier area.
 
Ellen Stewart
Posts: 12
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bee forest garden fungi
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Hey Joseph,

You should visit us at Heartwood. We are on the west coast, and the experience would be worth your while. We are a new-ish sustainable living center with permaculture, culinary and the arts as our focus. Also, we have the best of the best, Dave Jacke, coming in July to teach Forest Garden Design. The Course will give you knowledge on how to start your own Food Forest, and if you're learning at Heartwood you could get an idea of how we operate as an organization as well.

I'm very excited for you to start on this journey! I hope that you will be able to visit us, and let me know if you have any more questions!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Watch all of these videos! http://geofflawton.com/free-videos/
 
Timothy Wood
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If you haven't looked into it yet, I recommend conisidering hosting on wwoofing, workaway, and/or helpx. I have met several people from those help exchange programs. Everyone does it for various reasons.If you do decide to host, make sure to explain whether the helpers will have your guidance or if they are free to create. This is vital as I prefer the latter, where many people seem to want a professional who already knows how to do it.

Of course the level experience that your helper provides may or may not be what you are looking for. But then, you may want to look into becoming a helper yourself to learn from others and establishing a network that way. There are a lot of new people, but there are also people who are seasoned and would love to have their own farm, however do not want to be tied down or financially committed. It's worth investigating a bit for sure! Good luck
 
Joseph Milleson
Posts: 6
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Thank you all. The journey is underway and i am learning more and more everyday. God bless.
 
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