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Gauging interest in a Wyoming permaculture community.

 
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
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So there is this small town in south central Wyoming that put in a couple of subdivisions and a school in preparation for an influx of people from a new company coming to town. After ten years the company did not show up and the subdivisions, and the school, sit empty but for a few homes. In 2010 the censes said there were about 280 people living in the town. One of the subdivisions has curb and gutters with streets and all utilities in the streets. The lots are all a quarter of and acre and is Zoned for "stick built homes" . I need to get more information on whether or not that would include log cabins or tiny homes. The other subdivision was zoned for modular and trailer homes but the lady I talked to in the town offices said that alternative building has been talked about and would probably be allowed. Again I would need to go to a town meeting and get a clearer answer on what would be allowed. This subdivision has sewer and water , with fire hydrants, put in but the streets were never finished. The lady said that the town would put down road base for free if someone moved in.  The lots in this subdivision range from quarter acre to just over an acre and can be combined to form different sized lots. All of the lots are currently owned, some by investors, some by individuals. I have talked with one investor who is willing to sell 20 lots, cheap !

The temperature there can range from the 90's to 40 below. But the averages are between 75 and -10 , So it is a rough climate. Precipitation is about 11 inches per year.  The nearest towns with hospitals , stores, etc. are about an hour to two hours drive in three directions. They do have a local fire department with paramedics and Wyoming uses a life flight system in emergencies. So this is a pretty isolated place. There is only one "large" business in town which is a hotel and there are city and county jobs that I would bet do not come open very often. There are other jobs that a person could travel to but the drive might be to long for everyday, so a person would need to bring an income with them. The town sits on a state highway and Interstate 80 is about 30 miles away. The town has a small river running through it and is surrounded by cattle and sheep ranches that use irrigation to grow mostly hay.

My brother and his wife are currently taking Geoff Lawtons PDC and will be living on 8 acres in the middle of this subdivision. We have talked about buying some of these lots and starting a community. We have talked about having WOOFERS or having permie neighbors who would buy a lot and be part of a permaculture community. The opportunity seems to be wide open , with many options. I believe a person could get one of the smaller lots for between $500 bucks up to $2500. To tap into the utilities will be between $2000 and $3000  with a monthly fee of $20 bucks plus usage. I believe if enough folks bought into the subdivisions and went to the town meetings the zoning could be changed and we could show the residents there another way of living. A permaculture way. But it will be a challenge so one would have to have a true pioneering mentality.

So I have come here to start a discussion, to brainstorm, to see if there might be any interest in starting a community in the middle of nowhere.  Again , at this point we are just talking, trying to put all of the puzzle pieces together so I don't have all of the answers. My brother and his wife will be starting a Wyoming permaculture "institute" of some sort there, so they will be the core. I am just gauging any interest in others who might be willing to join them.

What do you all think?
 
gardener
Posts: 1813
Location: Zone 6b
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Good luck. I can tell you I live in a rural nowhere, and it sounds not unlike what you describe. Bring your own job. Good that it sounds like the local authorities and those that own the land seem to be willing to talk to you about it and get people in there. What's their water source, how is the water table, and will they let you drill wells in city limits? (here they won't but water is only 150-190 feet down)

Edit: what is the covenants or laws or zoning about animals in the city limits (here we had several blatant messes so they outlawed chickens unless you have so many feet to any other dwelling-I have a small patch that falls within legal so I know about this, and another mess that outlawed goats except for the two within limits goat farms that were there before the ordinance). Most permie lifestyles usually include some small animals...
 
Posts: 39
Location: Wyoming Zone 3b
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Well, if I weren't already well established on my little "138 inches of snow, desiccating winds and 48 below" piece of Wyoming paradise, I might be interested. It would be lovely to have permie minded neighbors. And if there are really adjacent lots for $500 or so, it might be fun to own a piece of the area and let someone else do some permie stuff on it…

Having some kind of income seems like the challenge, with few local jobs - how is the internet there?  I'm trying to develop an interweb based income, but not there yet. (We barely have internet where I'm at, so that adds to the challenge - I love sitting in front of the library in my car at -25 to get the only good wifi in town!   )  And of course i'm curious where this is at, but I'm thinking a have a pretty good guess….

I am very interested in what your brother and his wife come up with for Wyoming style permaculture.  I'm doing ok with chickins and rabbits and working on building soil with them, but otherwise haven't gotten beyond rhubarb, strawberries, and the crabapple trees that have been here for over 50 years…
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Kelly, The Town is Medicine Bow, we are still trying to gather information. I will have to ask my brother about the web access after he gets settled in. They will be moving in sometime at the end of the month.  What part of the state are you in now?
 
Kelly Ravner
Posts: 39
Location: Wyoming Zone 3b
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Miles, I kind of figured Medicine Bow was where you were talking about. I'm in Pinedale, and don't expect that I will even consider moving while my father is still alive (I live next door to him, and just once in awhile he needs a hand with something….) He's almost 80, but he comes from long-lived stock, so it could be awhile.    

But maybe between waves of bunnies and chicks I could get away for a few days sometime to see what they get going in Medicine Bow, once they're established.
 
Posts: 2
Location: Casper, Wyoming
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I was wondering what happened with your family and Medicine Bow? I live in Casper, an love that little town. We head out usually every year for The Battle of Old Wyoming. My bestie and I were considering 35 acres outside of Medicine Bow recently. I am curious about this!
 
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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Howdy, all!
We are the ones living in Medicine Bow. Love the friendliness of the people. The local Conservation District folks are very excited about what we are doing, and the town just approved our 72' geothermal greenhouse (see https://greenhouseinthesnow.com/). Most are unfamiliar with permaculture, but seem willing to learn.

The two unimproved subdivisions have water mains, (we have great water!) and one of the subdivisions has sewer mains. The electricity was removed years ago. I think if there was a presentation to the town with great scientific info about alternative sources of power, composting toilets, and other "permie" stuff, they might go for it. The owner of the 20 lots that Miles mentioned no longer will sell individual lots (drat!) and only sell all 20 at once. There is a monthly town fee for each lot. However, many of the lots are individually owned, and as far as I can tell, most are for sale (for cheap). Also, the town auctions off lots occasionally, and last year, there were lots that no one bid on, so they could be purchased from the town for zip. (well, at least a few bucks!).

Yes, you have to bring your own job, although for the next 2 years, we will be surrounded by wind farms being built. This is a community waiting for some entrepreneurs to come along. We will be growing in our greenhouse, and if all goes well, maybe expanding.

Our swales and snowfences seem to be working to trap and spread the much needed water.  We just ordered 1000 plants from the conservation district--anyone want to come and help dig holes!
 
Kelly Ravner
Posts: 39
Location: Wyoming Zone 3b
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Kani, a purple mooseage is ambling your way....
 
A timing clock, fuse wire, high explosives and a tiny ad:
skiddable shower
https://permies.com/t/39038/permaculture-projects/skiddable-shower
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