Last July I left my job and apartment in NYC to WWOOF on permaculture farms. I am now almost out of savings and would like to know how to find any opportunities to continue my skill building that would pay money in exchange for my labor. Also, I've read posts on here that talk about finding an older person who needs help with their land and would be willing to teach someone new to farming. If anyone here knows of opportunities like that or ways to find them, I'd appreciate hearing about them (I realize some of these won't pay a salary but would still like to know).
I'm at a crossroads right now where I need financial security but hope there is a way to not have to give up on this journey and go back to working in an office. If anyone here can help with that, I would be most appreciative. Thanks.
Welcome! Finding financial security and skill sets is a hard endeavour, so I will speak from my experience as a 32 year old who has been in a similar route and is almost out of it.
One, I would challenge myself to reconsider what I actually consider a skill set. Hands on experience is, of course, great, but there are so many OTHER things I've found thatve added to my skill sets that have nothing to do with helping on a farm/gardening. For example, learning to budget effectively and teach myself how to fix problems by repurposing in my home are skill sets. The second in turn in particular teaches me to look at things in a new light.
Drawing up a plan of 1, 5 and 10 year goal life plan was another skill set that's been useful. So has been learning to cook whole vegetable style. They all have small skill sets that help pull other skill sets up.
I say this because if I had lots of experience in one area, I would challenge myself to try something only tangentially related. Why not become a paid farmhand on a farm? Something like that will be experience, and a firsthand view on problems you can problem solve for yourself. Or even getting a job and then volunteering in an unpaid spot for a permaculture group will get the both money and more experience. Urban permaculture has a lot of different problems, and are a great way to help.
Because I don't know much about your past, you might have done all of these, so I'm sorry if this is all things you've done. My roundabout point is that none of the choices you make will mean giving up on your dream if you utilise your time.
I would start with a 1-5-10 year plan. It doesn't mean it can't change. It just gives a great springboard to see if your actions are helping both short term and long term goals.
PS - we don't even know what your dream is, so it's hard to specify further!
If you are interested in central Georgia, I am looking for help and/or a business partner. Right now, I outright own one piece of property(Bartow county, close enough to walk to Lake Allatoona 8/10ths acre with doublewide), have almost paid off another(Bartow county 7.5 acres that is undeveloped) and have taken on the next door neighbor's yard(also on Lake Allatoona) of an acre to make money on. I have a pretty good starting foundation, but I am a 52 year old woman and looking to help anyone who wants to help themselves. I have been incorporated in Georgia since 1998 but I am in an industry that is fossil fuel dependent and I am looking to change that! I need a young like-minded soul who shares my philosophy of a balanced lifestyle and who wants a life with security and as stable as humanly possible! This is a very laid back household but we play as hard as we work...and we work hard. It has paid off for us.
Right now...I have chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and dogs...they are the love of my life! LOL! And, I am looking to add more animals as they can be accommodated. Apple, plum, pomegranate, cherry, lemon, avocado, almond, pineapple, raspberry, blueberry, fig, grape, muscadine...just a partial list of what is here. Plus, quite a bit of annual vegetable and flower seeds...I have been an avid collector for years. I have one hugel with asparagus...and another hugel that usually accommodates annuals, several more raised beds and now almost the whole yard is covered with mulch to help build the soil with the animals. The greenhouse is in the living room...the wind really took a toll on it this year and I will be thrilled to get my living room back!
I hope I have peaked an interest...I have big plans and I live out of a spirit of abundance! Not scarcity! There is always more than enough to go around and I believe more in actions than words. At this point in time...I am overwhelmed...I will admit...trying to get the infrastructure in place...we are retrofitting a 30+year old doublewide to be efficient...it has a new tin roof, but the water catchment still is not in place and solar is next. It still needs windows...but it is a beautiful piece of property and I have been here for over 25 years! I am also in the process of setting up the farming side of the business on the internet...that leaves me with more challenges...blog or vlog? Setting up a website with shopping cart...etc. Establishing a web presence...I have a limited customer base that I am looking to grow...but, I do not dare until I can accommodate the demand. I am a big believer in value adding...Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has been instrumental for my moving to a web presence...I like his "Metropolitan Buying Club" setup. And, that should work for all the customers I have now and plan on acquiring in the future.
It is nice to meet you and I do wish you all the luck in the world with your future endeavors! My biggest advice would have to be for you to realize that life comes at you with "seasons"...you will have a spring, fall, summer and the winters...just do your best to prepare for those winters, know that they too shall change and that ultimately you will reap what you sow!