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Homesteading in Northern California or Oregon  RSS feed

 
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Hi,
We currently live in Oakland, California with 2 kids and are now looking for some land to turn into our homestead. From what we've read, buying raw land may be too complicated? We thought of just living in a yurt and slowly building an eco friendly, simple house but sounds like permits, etc make this tough.  Just wondering if anyone has any advice on raw land vs land with a home, and also possible locations.  We'd love to have neighbors, and want 2-20 acres.  Anywhere north of Monterey in California to anywhere in Oregon would be ideal. Any and all advice is appreciated! We are new to this but the urban setting is feeling more and more claustrophobic and toxic everyday.  Thanks!
Kristen
 
master steward
Posts: 4202
Location: Pacific Northwest
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cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
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We live in Washington, but when we bought our place four years ago, the most affordable way to go was to get a place with a manufactured home on it. That way, we didn't have to pay for septic, a driveway, drilling a well, &/or hooking up electricity/water/sewage. We put 20% of $200,000 for five acres and a livable manufactured home. In comparison, similar quality land cost in the same area cost 100,000, and still needed thousands to clear it out and get utilities. You can also look for old "fixer upper" houses on acrerage and check to see what shape their utilities/well/septic You can always tear down the old house, using it's viable remains to help build your own.

I don't know how your local regulations will view you living full time in a yurt....
 
Posts: 328
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
24
dog duck hugelkultur
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Del Norte County has the cheapest land in CA and has virtually no code enforcement.
 
Posts: 16
Location: Humboldt, California
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Hi - Kristen. I am looking for similar and would love to collaborate if you are open. I am currently up on the coast in Humboldt County. Ideally I am looking for others to invest with in property. Message me if you'd like to talk more. I have some permaculture experience to add to the mix. Northern California can be pricey except the most remote spots. Definitely good advice to seek something with a structure to save on down payment and permitting from what I've gathered too. I am looking for a decent balance between remote and community not too far from a small ish town.
 
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Buying land and building here in southern OR is not difficult and there are definitely advantages to living here if you want to homestead. I like the areas on the edge of Grants Pass; Plenty of 2 - 20 acre parcels, the Rogue River nearby, beautiful mountains and trees, like-minded people. Grants Pass is smallish (pop about 35,000) but is fun and very into organic farm-to-table lifestyles. Weather is usually pretty nice - a few inches of snow in winter and lots of rain (this year we've had lots of snow and LOTS of rain) and hot, dry summers. Recreational opportunities are outstanding - hiking, rafting, etc. - and you can go for miles without seeing another human being. Auto registration - hold on to your hat - is $89 for two years.
Now for the cons:  There's no sales tax but income and property tax are on the high side. Wages are low and jobs may be scarce. If you feel an occasional desire for the culture/fun/excitement of the big city you'll need to drive 4 hours to Portland. I moved here 17 years ago from soCal and was surprised how much I actually missed that! Land/housing prices are currently skyrocketing which may not be a problem if you're coming from the Bay Area and have a nice nest egg. Schools are not fabulous and you'll need to keep the kiddos occupied in some positive way. You will find ticks on you and your dogs, bears might get in your trash and there are places without internet. Yes, you read that right. I'm running a wi-fi hotspot through my phone right now and there is only one carrier (US Cellular) that actually works where I live. We have occasional forest fires and it's so smoky you spend half the summer inside. Flooding is very rare but it can be horrendous.
It's actually a very nice place, just getting a little too expensive for me as I near retirement. Good luck in your search
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 328
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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Hey Kristen and Peter, I am in Del Norte Co. and know it's Caltucky up here compared to Arcata but there is a huge vacuum for permaculture. The land is cheaper than Humboldt, the market for good local food is growing in Brookings and CC, and I have recently found a growing community of people I know who are of like mind to dive  into permaculture projects together. We also have just about the best zone 4-5 we could ask for in the 75% of the county which is public land and the largest redwoods and biomass on Earth. We can gather immense amount of renewable resources sustainably from these forests and coast but also need good people to fight for its protection and long term management. You can also find coastal to mountain climates with 7300ft Mt Preston  less than 40mi from the ocean and visible from the mouth of Lake Earl-Talowa, the largest coastal lagoon in CA. The fishing is the best in California as well. All we need is a critical mass of community to move beyond the mindset of extractive industry, which Humboldt did much better and has economically benefitted from doing so. That has also made land in HumCo up to 3x as expensive as comparable property in Del Norte. Curry County is also full of potential just across the OR border.
 
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I moved from southern CA to northwest OR almost 5 years ago and I love it in the pacific northwest. I am currently looking in WA for land to retire. The land in OR is more expensive and not having to pay sales tax doesn't make up for that difference at least not for what I can see. I am trying to find 5+ acres with a home because I want to invest in something that is already established. Being older and single I do have some limitations and my biggest concerns is having enough usable land to garden and build a green house. It certainly is a challenge, I would suggest to anyone wanting to look in this area to spend time here first to understand the land and most importantly the weather.
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 328
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
24
dog duck hugelkultur
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Just went to the public meeting for designating the North Fork of the Smith as "Outstanding Resource Waters." If the Smith isn't, what could be? I came up to testify right after the Del Norte County Agriculture advocate came up and said their members "unanimously oppose the protection." I responded, "as a small business owner and farmer from Del Norte County, she does not speak for all of us and I support protecting the entirety of the Smith River watershed in Oregon and California. If you are farming in a way that depends on polluting you are doing it wrong. If your business depends on polluting, I question it's viability and right to continue. I will boycott any and all businesses and fight to remove any officials opposing the protection of our region's greatest economic competitive advantage." I then went on to suggest that as we can't count on the government to do everything for us we could help keep the river clean on our own properties this "brush burning season" and instead of burning build hugelkulture beds. I went on to explain how and why, how it would be to their benefit, and that this was just an example of the potential self interest of practices protecting water.
 
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Does anyone know of good homesteading training classes being conducted in Northern California? I've just realized that I need to eventually live off-the-grid and there's a lot I need to learn. I live in the East Bay Area
 
Posts: 226
Location: SF Bay Area
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There is an Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland. I haven't taken anything from them, but they have been around for a while. If you could be more specific as to what areas you need training in, I could be more helpful. I'm also in the East Bay, and have been working towards the same thing. A mixed approach has worked best for me. I listen to a lot of podcasts, that has allowed me to narrow down what and how I want to do things. I need more experience with livestock, so I'm looking into WWOOFing next season. I'm a professional cook, so I haven't needn't anymore training in that area, but there are lot's of food preparation and preservation classes available. Meetups also has some foraging groups available. The author of the book Bay Area Forager does walks as well. I'm also planning to attend a cob building workshop further north next year.
 
Posts: 80
Location: Nomadic
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Ben, thank you for your voice to protect the North Fork of the Smith. And agriculture. I floated the North Fork when in college in 1985. What a gem. Magic! Long live the Klamath Knot! ( the name for that remnant of pre glacial botany and biology).
I would love to steward a permaculture homestead or wildland in N. Cal or S. Oregon. If anyone has the property please contact me. My goal is to be an exemplary caretaker. Teach me at  childscrick@yahoo.com
Thanks, Jeremy
 
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Del Norte is definitely nice, and if the cannabis economy collapses humboldt should be good and cheap again as well. I'd also add Siskyou and Trinity counties to the list, they are due east of Del Norte and Humboldt counties and are very rural. Land is cheap (other than the permitted cannabis grows in trinity) and there is little to no code enforcement. You will get more seasons, snow in the winter, hot hot heat in the summer, than the coastal counties and you are further from human things but you get to live amidst some of the most amazingly beautiful landscapes on earth.  Also, if you're coming from the bay, then land prices in Humboldt county shouldn't be that shocking really and it offers a bit more in the way of neighbors.
 
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I live in Oakland and am pondering the same questions that have been posted here.
I'd prefer not cal or Oregon.mostly for the rain.
 
pollinator
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stephen lowe wrote: if the cannabis economy collapses humboldt



When, not if. 

http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/cannabis-pricing-trends-explained/

https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/01/25/marijuana-prices-national-wholesale/97244/

Botanically pot is a lot like the hops that go in beer.   The hops that go in beer sell for about $20/ lb.

The current farms in Nor Cal, can barely compete with $1000 / lb.  let alone $50/lb after taxes.

Much of the economy of several counties in Nor Cal are dependant on the illicit trade.  There is going to be a great land opportunity in Nor Cal when that all crashes down. 

But as they say,  It's better to have planted a tree 30 years ago.  So waiting until the market bottoms out, might not be the best plan.


Any pointers to permaculture in nor cal will be appreciated.


 
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im moving to cali to be closer to my gf at some point, preferably sooner then later. looking for partners to homestead with in the hills outside of fresno. probably practice some evasion, find a nice lot with good privacy to do so, living under code for a while, as needed, and building out a coded house over the course of a couple years as money allows while working in the city. if your family (or if anyone else on this thread) is interested in something like that, its good to have extra hands. lets talk possible collaboration.
 
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Hello fellow permies!
I have just joined your site. I'm a single woman in my forties, a professional pastry chef/chef, and a wanna be farmer/homesteader. I lived and worked on a few farms in the U.K. and humboldt.
I don't have enough money to start a homestead on my own. I was hoping to find people who need some help.......rent/work trade kinda thing. I can be learning from time you also. I could have a (another) cottage food business or a part time job somewhere.
If you know of anyone who could use a serious, dedicated, hard-working, passionate helper, please let me know!
All my life I have wanted to homestead. I refuse to give up trying.
Namaste
Corrine
 
Bring me the box labeled "thinking cap" ... and then read this tiny ad:
Solar ovens, haybox cooker - What would you build to go with a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/89917/Solar-ovens-haybox-cooker-build
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