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How on earth does one acquire land?  RSS feed

 
insipidtoast McCoy
Posts: 38
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I've got so many great ideas. Let's start with my area: Santa Barbara. (Avg. 15in. rain annually).
I'd like to acquire land in Santa Barbara or in the surrounding area for agroforestry. How should one go about getting land other than having to pay for it out of one's pocket (land is extremely expensive here!!). I'd like to have demonstration gardens to showcase my ideas for a no-irrigation, sustainable, agroforestry, polyculture as well as land to make money selling plant goods.

A simple system that would work great in our area:

-Tipuana tipu overstory (works best as N-fixing pioneer, and can be heavily pollarded later on when crowding happens).
-Albizzia julibrissin (The best choice for a drought tolerant, winter-deciduous, N-fixing, permanent canopy tree).
-Cereus peruvianus (Drought-tolerant, Fast growing columnar cacti. Can grow taller than 15 feet. Produces edible fruit that rival dragonfruit. Stems are also edible.)
-Opuntia (these have practically naturalized in our area).
-Aloe vera (nice drought-tolerant, medicinal, that actually thrives in partial shade conditions.)
-Kudzu (Yes! Kudzu! This plant would grow well in our area and not become invasive!)
-Some sort of native pea or ceanothus groundcover for nitrogen fixation (These plants would probably die in a mature forest, but would be vital assets in the early years.)
-Butia capitata (A surprisingly drought tolerant, moderate-sized palm that grows well in partial shade and produces lots of very delicious orange fruits when the plant fruits.)

I'd also like to produce a modified version of this system in southern Baja with the addition of Moringa oleifera and perhaps a Echinocereus stramineus cactus as well.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9693
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Make friends with an extremely wealthy person!



 
                            
Posts: 5
Location: southern Ohio
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Have you checked with the local colleges or universities?  Maybe they have pilot programs or test areas that they would be interested in talking about?  My son worked for the center for applied ecology out of his univeristy after he graduated so I know they exist.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I think the options are to find somewhere far enough from a healthy economy that you can afford the land, or to work on land that you don't own.

Santa Barbara might be progressive enough to be interested in doing interesting things with their public land. Similarly, there might be someone with a lot of land and money, who wants to become self-sufficient in case TSHTF.

Land ownership seems like a harsh game to play, in an expensive area.
 
charles c. johnson
Posts: 369
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    Maybe you should make some grafts,charts , and Power Point couldn't hurt .
Then try to meet some of the land owners that you are interested in. 
Tell them you are doing research for book ect. 
It could still take a few 100 people before you find someone.
I think my Inlaws would let you use some land but there in MO.

P.s. Dress Smart
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
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what about offering to keep places tidy for people who can't be botherd to garden if they let you experiment a bit.
  I have heard charles johnsons, you might have to try a hundred peple advice before, if you have the confidence to go on trying though you are turned down again and again that turns you into a winner. It i s hard to go on trying somethign that some people have already turned you down on.
          My sister was working with people who were looking for jobs and they put them into pairs it is easier to encourage another person to try again than to persuade yourself to try again after a failure. mind you there are quite a lot of people who seem to enjoy downing other peoples confidence more than building it. Many psychiatrist talk more about the staying power and bravery of people related to their probably succes in life than their being or not a genious, can you bare to go on reading a paper that bores you and that you can't understand for instance. rose macaskie.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Kinds of land:
Private institutional - lots of campuses out there.  Think white collar lunch garden.
Private family - discussed above.
Public wasteland - street ends, right of way
Public Institutional - huge amount of land getting mowed out there.. schools, fire dept,
Public/NGO Institutional Ally - ag extension service project, college with allied program, food bank...

The bigger question is what do you want your stake to be??!!  Are you looking to build personal security from someone elses assets, or just do practice install? 

If the latter.. why wouldn't you be looking for a "client" rather then a "benefactor".  If the thing you are creating has value, maybe you should be paid to develop a site for someone else?
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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We found land by:

-forming a group who could pool enough resources to financially and physically support a farm. Some like myself had no money to give but lots of time and experience. Some only had money. Be sure that your groups ethics and goals are clear and close enough.

-looking for the land: Farm auctions, realestate listings, retiring farmers

***FarmLINK !!! There are websites in many regions of north america who link aspiring farmers with those who are retiring or moving.

-If you can't get a downpayment together or your credit is crap, try finding a farm that will hold the mortgage for you. Its not common but it is out there. We only had to look for a few months before we found a couple that was willing to play ball. Instead of like $70 000 downpayment we only had to put $10 000 down.


POSTITIVE THINKING AND VISUALIZATION!!!
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Santa Barbara has a very active permie group - http://sbpermaculture.org/

Maybe you could ask those folks about local opportunities for land sharing.
 
insipidtoast McCoy
Posts: 38
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
If the latter.. why wouldn't you be looking for a "client" rather then a "benefactor".  If the thing you are creating has value, maybe you should be paid to develop a site for someone else?


Bingo. I'm putting my intentions out there to find someone to pay for me to do these services. Landscaping is illegal in California without a license, so I'm looking into that. I also want to just do a guerrilla garden somewhere off the beaten path. I'd also like the city to fund my project so that we can have an example of an alternative, no-irrigation, agroforestry system that produces local produce (albeit very unusual produce) efficiently. That's kind of the direction Santa Barbara is leaning towards nowadays anyway.

I'm already propagating a lot of these plants with friends in order to have personal nursery stock, however, these plants are all readily available from local nurseries (within southern cali) in 15 gallon and up containers I could get them in bulk from local nurseries and have some productive systems up and running within the year.
 
C Shobe
Posts: 54
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insipidtoast wrote:
I also want to just do a guerrilla garden somewhere off the beaten path.


That's the first time I've heard somebody besides myself use the term "guerrilla garden".  I used to do guerrilla gardening when I lived in Berkeley, California - in abandoned house yards, hills outside of town, uncared-for spots between houses, and even medians and curbs sometimes.  Most ended up destroyed or not  kept up with, but it was a lot of fun to try!
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
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travis philip, how did you form a group? That seems just about as hard as finding land if you don't have money to pay for it. rose
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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Our group came together rather easily and effortlessly.

Two of our members (Cindy, and Kaileen) are the common link that brought us to eachother. Myself and my wife met her because my wife began trimming her horse a few years back. Cindy's ex-husband and his wife had a dream for awhile of getting a farm together (No, not in any kind of polygamy situation). Cindy's mom became a member and now lives with us here, as does Cindy. Cindy's brother and his wife wanted a stake in a farm so they help with the mortgage payments. And Cindy's neighbours at her last house are involved, helping with labour.

Kaileen brought me in, and her parents and possibly sister as well. Her father lives on the land with us.

We met a few times before the land purchase, made sure we were on the same basic page with what we wanted, and then the land search began. A few months later we had a deal worked out with a landowner. PRESTO!
 
insipidtoast McCoy
Posts: 38
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Wow it must be nice to have land where you can split the costs with some Canadian babes you can snuggle up with through the harsh winter!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Carol Deppe has an interesting take on this subject in her new book. I think I mostly agree:

Because of the way property taxes, easements, etc. work, and because you can't pack it up and bring it with you when you move, she doesn't think it's possible to fully own land in the way one owns other property. She finds all sorts of other arrangements, and sounds optimistic that the appropriate sort of arrangement will likely become easier to negotiate as the need arises.

http://www.caroldeppe.com/0-Resilient%20Gardener%20Contents%20&%20chapter%201.pdf
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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Sometimes thats little consolation when I'm out shovelling snow off our 400 foot driveway 
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
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I personally would always try to own the land alone or as a group. Look at all the community gardens. As soon as the land becomes valuable they are chased off. When TSHTF all land will be valuable and they will give you a warm handshake for building such a nice garden.

If you have to live in this place I would consider buying somewhere else, maybe with a railway connection and going there on the  weekends.

If you are a group of, say 5 people and each of you "only" owns an acre and you could share the transport costs too, that might be an idea.

 
                            
Posts: 16
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I would live as frugal as possible. Save every dime I could get my hands on. Then when I had enough go buy some land for cash. Oh that is what I'm doing. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Here's another way to get land:

1. go to one of the worst neighborhoods in one of the most violent cities in the US

2. rent an apartment next to to a scraggly lot with good soil & aspect

3. squat garden in that lot

4. watch as owner after owner is unable to build condos on the property and is forced to sell; stay on good terms with each of them

5. write an excellent book about your experiences

6. wait for an economic collapse of epic proportions

7. buy the land

Congratulations to Novella Carpenter for buying Ghost Town Farm!
 
                      
Posts: 11
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Move somewhere where land is cheap. 
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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You can't landscape with out a license but there is a chance you can find one of those yard guys who has a license who will let you work under his for a cut or just so that he can brag about how he is also involved in permaculture.

From what I gather the yard maintanence business is a lot like the farm business, they cover everything in a healthy layer of bullshit.
 
                
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My permaculture teacher used to say "If your not getting what you want, you're not being creative enough."

Easier said than done, I know!
I'll tell you how I did it- as a young, completely broke girl.
1. Look for land constantly. Tell people you are looking for land, as well as use the internet. Be friendly. Tell people what you want to do even if they don't give a rat's ass. Chances are if you make enough connections, someone, somewhere will know of land that could be ideal for you.
Landwatch.com, Lands of ___(put state's name here).com, United Country Realty are good internet sources if you end up wanting to buy.
2. Get land with a good group, or individually (individually is preferred tho, since you know you aren't going to flake out)
3. I would stick with rural land. Out in the sticks, you can do whatever you want and no one cares. No building codes, very very cheap property taxes. Of course, it is the country, and some people can't handle that. If you want to stay urban, as stated before, buy land no one wants for some reason and deal with the reason they don't want it
4. Do your homework. Thoroughly check out each potential property, and be really picky about what you want.
5. As someone said before, save EVERY PENNY. Don't spend a penny that you don't really, really need to. Housesitting is great if you want free rent. Ebay everything that you dont' REALLY need (I ebayed everything except permaculture books, farm clothes, my bicycle, car, and of course my seed collection)
The result- 3 acres, in a great growing zone, in a beautiful mountinous setting, no mortgage or expenses, deed in my hand.
It can be done. Don't give up.

 
Kathy McGowan
Posts: 37
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come and live in Bulgaria!
properties with around 3000sq metres cost around €5k plus agricultural land is really cheap - wonderful life in traditional Eastern European village - loads to learn and loads of opportunity - temperature range of -30 to +40degrees - wonderfully lush and challenging environment.
Kathy
 
                    
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There are some good ideas in the article that was linked to in another thread:

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/6235_0/farm-income/profitable-permaculture-look-no-further

The author of that article talks about some of the mechanisms available for people that are really committed to growing - he mentions some of the tax/legal aspects and various types of loans designed for farmers.
 
no wonder he is so sad, he hasn't seen this tiny ad:
paul's latest kickstarter
https://permies.com/t/65247/permaculture-design/permaculture-design-alternative-technology-live
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