Hi, I want to introduce myself to the group and hopefully receive some sage advice on my (current) plans. I have ambition to buy a plot of land in the Catskills that I will airbnb and also build (with the help of others) a permaculture food forest, mainly made up of perennials, as I will not be able to live permanently on the property. I want to design this from the beginning and have narrowed down to a few properties. If anyone is interested in a consulting gig, I place a high value of planning and designing and would be interested in finding someone or some group to collaborate with.
I am currently budgeted for 250-300k, 5-10 acres which usually consists of hilly, woodlands and fields. Avg rainfall and temperature attached.
Andrew, I live in the Catskills, my advice unless something prevents you from doing so, look further towards the western side, same nice mountains, and half the price with WAY more acreage. Those temps, maybe average, plan on planting zone 4, not 5, some of NY is five but not all. Can be pretty mild, 30s, 40s, maybe 20s...does get down to well below zero some years with 20-30 below zero windchill sometimes for months, happened three and four yrs ago so recent, last two yrs mild, well this yr so far. Snow fall can be more than you want to deal with extreme to barely any. Summer what few months we have of it can get 95+ brutal. Perennials, can't think of any as far as food, only fruit. Kale does well here even grows with snow on it, everything else grow and stockpile unless you have a heated greenhouse.
posted 2 years ago
Thank you for the quick reply. Right now I'm looking near Durham on the north side.
Do you find that you need to work on rain retention and management or are other issues more pressing?
What annuals have done well for you and what is your experience so far?
Hi Andrew. If you're just becoming familiar with the Catskill region I'd like to offer a couple of considerations. Watch for flood plains! Some of the valleys, especially where you find the Catskill Creek, can and do flood. The Schoharie, which runs primarily west of the Catskills, feeds the smaller creeks that wind their way through the valleys, like the one in Durham. If you see "creek side property" advertised, be sure you have a high enough elevation. Additionally, look for plans to claim your land for pipeline development. Imminent domain can spoil the best laid plans and this is possible for the northern side of the Catskills (Greenville/Westerlo) if the Iroquois Pipeline is allowed to reverse flow to Canada.
There are many perennials that do well in this region. Your place can be wildly attractive to your visitors and functional to boot by planting some medicinal herbs and plants. Many species will attract and support bees and hummingbirds and your guest can harvest a lovely take away gift like lavender, lemon balm and mints sprigs. We have wild ginger throughout the forests around here. It makes excellent ground cover and good tea! It's also helpful to identify the endangered species that may be growing on your land before you develop it. Some species, like Goldenseal, are particular threatened due to loss of habitat. I can offer assistance with your gardening needs. I harvest and propagate many native plants from the region. Not only are they already suited for this climate but they keep that authentic appeal and connection....a true sense of place. Let's all be be good stewards of the land! Harmony!
Upstate NY has the DEC and The Cooperative Extension to help people with all sorts of things like gardening, energy efficiency, and keeping wild creatures "wild" or more simply put keeping the bears from identifying your place as a food source! Yup. If you plan to have an Airbnb here it's best to familiarize yourself with bear protocol.
Hope these tips help!
And yes, the further away from the major ski centers the more bang for your buck!
Essential reading: Holistic Management by Allan Savory.
It is the best decision making and financial planning based on land use resource out there IMHO.
If you're looking to hire a consultant, Meghan Giroux of Vermont Edible Landscapes works with some of the best (most nerdy) folks in the world when it comes to the agroforestry bit. She's up in Essex NY. She's pretty dang busy but might be open to some consultation. She hosted the NY REX this summer and I was totally blown away. I'm looking forward to picking her brain as I start stewarding land in the Adirondacks.
posted 2 years ago
Just as follow up to the previous post. I'm getting closer to making a purchase but I am realizing that I am quite a bit over my head in terms of the intentional thinking that should really go into such a project. I want to make an economic return to myself, to the labor (whoever that is) and the designers/thinkers. Are there any people out there that would be interested in co-investing in capital or labor to put together a project that combines airbnb seaonsal rentals, returns of harvest to stakeholders and the community and surplus to feed back to the soil?
I'd like to find a partnership with someone where my capital can have a real impact on the earth and its future richness.
posted 2 years ago
Yes! Intentional thinking, plan plan plan!!! You will thank yourself later. "Take the time to do it right the first time." -Christian Shearer, founder of the Panya Project.
If you do bring in partners, think carefully about equity in the project. I haven't tried it myself, but found this video thru Gaia that makes so much sense to ensure clear, productive business partnerships and everyone getting out what they put in: