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renting my homestead for a year as an incubator of sorts?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 20
Location: NE Ohio
1
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I really am not sure where this question best belongs, so please feel free to move it as needed.

My family (DH, two kids) live on 2.75 acres in a suburb with a rural setting.  We've been here 7 years and have been developing it into a working homestead (garden, orchard, animals, solar, greenhouse, etc.).  For a couple reasons, I have been kicking around the idea of potentially renting it out for a year to someone/a family who would like to either give living on a homestead a try, or someone who doesn't own land but has a project that would fit within our vision for the place that they'd like to try (maybe playing around with forest gardening, or mushrooms, etc.).  The idea would be to find a way to share what we have here by providing a space at low cost on a temporary basis to someone who could benefit from the experience and then find a way to pass along that benefit by teaching others, or sharing some of the results of their work.

My questions would be:
1. has anyone done this or know of someone who has
2. do you think there would be a market for this
3. any idea if there might be grants out there/a way to create a nonprofit of sorts to help make the cost of rent minimal, so as to make it a possibility for folks who don't have lots of money

In the interest of trying to be brief, I'm sure there are lots of details I've left out and I'm happy to fill in the blanks. 

Thanks for helping me think this through!
 
steward
Posts: 1354
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Cool idea, Annie. An idea would be to setup a non-profit with the intention of making part of your land into the "permaculture incubator" you envision. The non-profit status helps for grants from some foundations and even sections of the .gov establishment (USDA, state and even county ag programs).
The flip side is to set up as an LLC as a for profit, as that opens up other grants from different entities, to include the .gov sections already mentioned - the same mission statement could be used for either venture.
Either venture can be set up for educational purposes with varying levels of flexibility regarding the amount of land in use and how it is run. A mix can even be done with for profit aspects of the operation covering the costs of non-profit activities where either grants don't reach or the funding is thin.
One of the real challenges is how to market it to stimulate interest in the area and beyond.

I figure others will chime in on this as it has some interesting potential.
 
Annie Gibbons
Posts: 20
Location: NE Ohio
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Thanks!

I hadn't thought about the possibility of an llc.  At one point, we did create a business entity, thinking we might pursue a farm business.  We've still got the name, so we could potentially resurrect that. 

Does anyone have any thoughts of a good place to learn more about the possible benefits/problems with taking it in a non-profit vs. for profit direction?  My main reasons for wanting to go one of these ways vs. simply renting straight out would be to be able to offer the opportunity at a cost significantly below the going rental rate in the area so that it would be affordable to those choosing to live a life not dependent on 9-5 work, but at the same time make it possible for my family to do the same.

As for stimulating interest, we live in an area that on one hand is very built-up suburban sprawl, but that on the other has a vibrant local food community and a few really good connections organization-wise that I think we could use to help get the word out.  I'm hoping?
 
pollinator
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A one year lease for agriculture purposes would be real tuff for the renter unless ground was ready to go. They would be limited to growing annuals.

As an example, My vision of asparagus, blackberries, fruit and nut trees (stuff that produce long term) could not be accomplished. It could be accomplished,  but someone else could get the benefits.
 
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