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ideas for buying a small parcel of land. Trees? Zone? Etc?  RSS feed

 
                                      
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If you were buying a small parcel of land today say 5-10 acres.  Would you prefer to start out with no trees and a clean slate?  Or a forested plot where you would have to make your own modifications for guilding, swales, water features etc? 

And if in buying this land what would be your ideal specs?  USDA cold hardiness zone?  Elevation? Precipitation?  I am looking for some food for thought and some exchange of ideas to help me decide some of the things I should be narrowing in on.  Right now I am gravitating toward TN, MO, AR region in my search in the hopes of buying a piece of land but I would love to hear what others would consider for their permaculture land purchase.

Longsnowsm
 
Paul Cereghino
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Here's my conceptual model (edited based on ideas below).

Since cost is usually an object, it often comes to an alternatives analysis.  I suspect you need to pay a premium for:

1. Opportunities for off-land work/easy markets (near existing economies/people)
2. Flat land - (good soil)
3. Land with timber - fuel and building materials
4. Debt-free (you can buy close to outright)
5. Size of parcel (privacy, area for production)
6. Living in home culture (as opposed to ex-patriot life for those born in developed nations).
7. Shoreline (creek, river or sea).
8. Moderate climate.

So you have to choose what you value.  To own a large parcel next to town, on a shoreline, with standing timber, in a moderate climate with good soils with running water, would put you in a lot of debt.

Living far from other people in the foothills means you could be debt-free and have either timber or a big parcel, but you are on your own.

I choose to continue fully engaging society, so I bought a small parcel with good soil close to town in my home culture.

Permaculture flows from setting and person.
 
George Lee
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I have 4 acres of 'forest garden' .. I like the fact I have established hardwoods (typical Southeastern US scneario, although millions of pines too) .. There's so many naturally occuring mounds of organic matter, rotting wood, mushrooms, acidic, and akaline environments depending on the tree species in a given area. I wouldn't trade it honestly. I don't like straight line, planed land for row crop scenarios. It's fun to make my way through and plant amongst trees, trimming here and there to allow more light to the understory ( I love climbing trees ).. I love the richness of soil in a forest garden zone...

Peace -
 
John Polk
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A big consideration is whether you will need a source of income.  The further out you settle, the cheaper the land.  But if every car that drives past your farm is another farmer, you will have little/no chance of selling any fruits, veggies, eggs, etc.

I would like a mixture of flat/slight rolling land for cropping, and some wooded areas for fuel wood and forest garden.  Zones 0 & 1 should be fairly level.  Zones 4 & 5 can be rough terrain, with zones 2 -3 falling in between.  For sustainability, I think a varied terrain offers more opportunities for a wider variety of products.
 
Jeff Hodgins
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The warmer the climate the more biodiversity you can have.
I have a farm I bought with wild trees and another with fruit trees and I tell you on a treed farm it is much easier to get your perrenials started especialy in warmer climates.
Plus smaller wild trees can support a vine crop this year.
You can still dig swales with little loss of trees, and you probably will have less run-off, more biomass, less frost and less evaporation on a treed lot.
 
                                              
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  In my area the forested land is pinons, and junipers and ponderosa pines. Pinons have a tasty and valuable nut. so hands down I prefer treed lots. I wouldnt even consider one not treed if I had a choice. these trees can be VERY slow to produce but are very productive once they do. So well established trees are worth their weight in gold.

 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally I have found 20 acres to be the  minimum size for privacy if you have neighbors.  This puts them far enough away so you tend to only hear them if they are talking loudly on their porch facing your direction, have barking dogs, or noisy kids. 

I like a warm climate, so my ideal would be Zone 8-9 with regular rain.  Sadly there aren't many parts of the planet like that, and they tend to be expensive! 

In an ideal world I would choose mostly wooded with some openings for gardens or pasture for animals.  Rolling land with different aspects, especially a south-facing aspect for passive solar house.  Springs, a creek, or other permanent water or provision to develop permanent water.
 
Jeff Hodgins
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I paid less than 10 cents per square meter in the yucatan
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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BDAFJeff wrote:
I paid less than 10 cents per square meter in the yucatan


That comes to approximately $405/acre -- that's not too bad!  Not sure it's where I'd choose to live, though....

I hope to be buying a small parcel of land either later this year or sometime next year (depends on finances, which depends on the sale of a couple of estates -- my budget will still be small, but better than zero, LOL!).  So I have been considering some of the same questions.  I haven't made any firm decisions yet, but I think that I'll probably be staying in this area.  The climate isn't ideal, and the property taxes are higher than I'd like, but I have a network of friends and contacts here which will be invaluable in the long run.  Our culture tends to view family and friends as temporary and somewhat disposable.  IMO that is a mistake -- permaculture ought not just be plants, it also needs to include people.  So, most likely, I will make some sacrifices as regards some things I would like to have (more rainfall, milder winters, lower property taxes) in order to keep the people I care about in my life.

Kathleen
 
Jeff Hodgins
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good point
 
Mariah Wallener
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All other things being equal, I'd choose the treed lot. Because it will have soil and it might just be pretty healthy soil, too. A bare lot is likely to have dead soil. The trees will have uses (in permaculture there is no waste, right?) whether as compost, hugulkulture bedding, leaf mulch supply, shade provider, etc etc...
 
Brenda Groth
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first and formost to me would be readily available water, even if it is just groundwater, that is very clean.

then I would prefer to have some trees growing, yes, as trees take forever..our property had very few and they weren't good trees when we moved here, and so first thing I did was plant trees.

I don't know much about higher elevations as we are barely above sea level here where we are at..and it is temperate climate with 6 mo of winter.

I am in Michigan and having my druthers or offered millions for my property, I wouldn't move..i LOVE it here..we are in the north central part..no hurricanes, no earthquakes, fairly mild tornado and storms, plenty of water, clean pure Michigan water.


I am zone 4/5 here, and can grow MOST zone 5 items ..some however need a little microclimate adjustements.

we also don't have poisonous snakes here, or bugs, except maybe a few spiders somewhere, I've never seen one..no poison ivy or oak, pretty tame area to live..and if we keep the pond stocked with fish the mosquito population is quite minimal
 
                          
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Having lived in the Pacific Northwest I would have trouble settling for anyplace else.  The temperate rainforest here is without equal anywhere else in the world.  I agree with others that a lot at least partially forested would be ideal, and luckily those are readily available here.  Since seeing what sepp holzer did with his alpine terrain and climate I wouldn't be afraid of being unable to grow what I wanted simply due to hills or moderately cold weather.  Plus, water here is never really a problem, since we get nine months of drizzle.  Bad for indoorseys who get seasonal affective disorder.  Fine for outdoorseys who don't mind damp hair.  Nature is still very much alive here.

Also, I appreciate the climate of the people in Washington State.  I'm comfortable with the liberal attitudes of the culture here, and would not be so comfortable in an area dominated by conservative religion or politics

In my particular area there is enough small-town culture (local plays, restaurants, and shopping) that I'm happy, especially knowing Seattle is within driving distance if I ever felt the need for more urban diversions.

The big downfall, of course, is that I can expect to pay $70,000 for an acre without a house on it, outside even my small town's city limits.  Still, it's home to me, and I can't imagine being so happy anywhere else.
 
                            
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Location: Ava, Mo, USA, Earth
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Cutting down or planting trees is easier than changing the lay of the land.  I love my property, but there isn't any place I can realisticly build an earth-bermed or below-grade house with a southern exposure.   If I was looking again, I'd probably look a bit harder.

Having said that, if you're going to heat or cook with wood, getting a place with some trees you can cut would probably get you on your feet quicker.  If you want to forest garden, existing trees will have the soil in tree-friendly fungus-rich mode.  Grasslands resist tree invasions to some extent.   

There are lots of old farms here in MO that have a mix of vegetation and aspect.

If you're only planning on growing enough to feed yourself and a small family, you can build your own soil fairly quickly, but having an existing garden spot would be a nice thing.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Brenda, are the mosquitoes bad in Michigan?

I agree about having trees.  This land I'm currently living on was completely void of trees, with a reasonably good cover of grasses on most of it (the lower portion of the lot is wet part of the year due to poor drainage, and the heavy clay is right at the surface there, so things don't grow so well there).  I WISH there had been at least a few mature trees on the place.

And water is absolutely essential.  There are many locations around here that don't have good water, or where the wells have to be so deep as to be unaffordable for most families (one subdivision about twenty or thirty miles east of Klamath Falls has a community well and everyone who lives there has to haul their water from that well).  This lot does have one thing going for it, and that is good water that would be accessible via hand pump (I have one) if that should become necessary.  When I'm looking for land to buy, I may not get trees, as treed land goes for a premium around here, but I WILL NOT compromise on the water. 

The land I buy also needs to slope to the south.  I don't care if it's a steep slope (although steep slopes around here probably have deep wells  -- the water table is closer to the surface in the flat valley floors), but it's got to face south.

Lastly, it needs to be within a reasonable commute of town.  That reasonable commute will probably be shrinking as the price of gas continues to go up!  I don't much like being in town; would cheerfully live way out in the boonies and seldom see anyone, but I have work in town; need to get there to attend church and to teach Good News Clubs (I'm just the opposite of you, CrunchyBread -- I wouldn't be comfortable living in the liberal bastions, but love the conservatism and the Christianity of the area I'm in); need to be able to do some shopping, although that could be a once-a-month trip; and may eventually need to get to town to market produce from my property.  I don't spend a lot of time with my friends, but want to be close enough to give, or get, a hand if needed.

Kathleen
 
Shawn Bell
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Here is what we are currently looking for in a small farm.

A house, a barn, a shed, a pond, a well, an established fruit orchard, woodlots, and pasture areas.
We would like anywhere from 10 to 40 acres near a productive customer base.
And we would like to find this with a lease to own agreement.

If we are going to dream, we might as well dream big!
 
George Lee
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The customer base is nice to have close (essential for some), but I goto a farmers market (Athens farmers market) where some travel 10-30 miles from the vicinity to sell their products/produce. That's an expense many will look forward to and account for. Some of the best land isn't always near the 'grid' per se. You've got to pay to play they say.

Peace -











 
tel jetson
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what was most important for me was a real connection to the land and community.  I understand that everyone's situation is different, but my family goes back five generations in my community (not much for some parts of the world, but a big deal here).  I knew that wherever I ended up living, I could do things in a way that would benefit ecology and community.  so I could have chosen roughly any place in the world (ignoring the very real issue of money).  rather than scouring the globe to find the very best place for me, I chose to eschew modern mobility and carry on my family's stewardship of this land and life in this community.  luckily, my family happens to be from the best place around, so the decision wasn't difficult.  Cascadia rulez!  regional pride is back!
 
Helen Deergrove
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Location: Ouachita Mts. - Ar.
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I'd want a good portion of the land to be mixed woods. I could deal with weeds in the open land would would be suspicious about low fertility, if there is much bare soil.
Having clean water available on site is important. I am willing to conserve water, but would rather not rely on public utilities for essential stuff.
30 - 50 inches of rain a year makes growing gardens and farms easier.
Hills provides lots of micro-climates for fruit trees, vineyards, and possibly grazing. Swales and terraces may be needed. Avoid very steep mountain areas for home sites.
Any flatter portion would make starting the veggie garden easier but totally flat land costs more and isn't needed.
A Southern facing slope helps passive solar design to keep your home or other buildings comfortable. North slopes could make a house cold but work for some trees.
A windbreak between you and the direction your storms usually come from, really helps.
Desirable elevation depends on where you are and your goals, but living close to sea level can also be a flood risk and wells might have salt water intrusion.

I grew up in Fla. zone 9,  but live in the Ouachitas of Ar. (USDA zone 7)  now and prefer it for more variety of stone fruits. Some parts of Arkansas are zone 8.
The Northern edge of Ar. seems to have more severe storms.
There are lots of small earthquakes in the Guy, Ar. to Greenbrier, Ar. area. 

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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LivingWind wrote:
The customer base is nice to have close (essential for some), but I goto a farmers market (Athens farmers market) where some travel 10-30 miles from the vicinity to sell their products/produce. That's an expense many will look forward to and account for. Some of the best land isn't always near the 'grid' per se. You've got to pay to play they say.

Peace -


What has been working with (relatively) cheap oil isn't going to work indefinitely, as oil prices continue climbing.  Eventually, most of us peons will have to go back to horse power, bicycles, foot power....People who live farther out than is practical to walk in a day (round trip) will have to consider carefully what they can grow for sale that isn't perishable, and that can be stored and sold in one or two trips to town per year.  Wool items manufactured from one's own sheep; high-quality wooden items; dried fruit...many other possibilities exist.  But it's going to require some thought.

Kathleen
 
                                              
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
What has been working with (relatively) cheap oil isn't going to work indefinitely, as oil prices continue climbing.  Eventually, most of us peons will have to go back to horse power, bicycles, foot power....People who live farther out than is practical to walk in a day (round trip) will have to consider carefully what they can grow for sale that isn't perishable, and that can be stored and sold in one or two trips to town per year.  Wool items manufactured from one's own sheep; high-quality wooden items; dried fruit...many other possibilities exist.  But it's going to require some thought.

Kathleen


Honestly i think we could easily adapt to all issues we face, well in advance of them being truly serious....

People as a whole just dont like to face the music. our dollar is pegged to be replaced as the reserve currency on top of these other issues....

So I think what your saying is rather likely actually.... and something all should consider. I purposely bought land far from town anyway though. Ive got a place in town to though.
 
Len Ovens
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
What has been working with (relatively) cheap oil isn't going to work indefinitely, as oil prices continue climbing.  Eventually, most of us peons will have to go back to horse power, bicycles, foot power....People who live farther out than is practical to walk in a day (round trip) will have to consider carefully what they can grow for sale that isn't perishable, and that can be stored and sold in one or two trips to town per year.  Wool items manufactured from one's own sheep; high-quality wooden items; dried fruit...many other possibilities exist.  But it's going to require some thought.


I agree... for the most part. What I also see though, is many population hubs being empty. I would not be surprised to see some of the small (unincorporated) towns grow and many cities empty. I see more than one phase... what I see happening first and is already, is many smaller cities and towns emptying as young people try to find work and go to the monster cities that are still hanging on. I am not sure how long that will last, but already there are places in big cities and small where there are lots of abandoned lots (means owned by the bank I guess) as people move around to find work. Once that fails (for some it already has) I would see a scattering towards empty land and homesteading and then the forming of new small communities or the expanding of small towns. This assumes no real sudden crash, but rather a "mush". The Roman empire faded more than fell. Something that happens over 100 years is slow to those living through it but very quick(instantaneous) as history goes. So being close to a social focal point of some sort may be something to look for rather than a city or large town.

It is very hard (perhaps unwise) to really see what the future may bring. I think the biggest preparation is an attitude of living with what the day presents. An earth quake here would be "interesting". If it took out the dam there would be no power... possibly for a very long time or rationed.... no heat for me. I am looking for land, but close by. I would be looking for stability and build for it too. Single story etc.
 
John Polk
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The main problem with the US economy (there is not enough room here to list them ALL) is that "we" are quickly becoming a "service" economy.  Few people earn a living providing a product (manufacturing is dead here).  As fewer and fewer people produce "a product", there will be less and less demand for "services".  Bartenders, waitresses, and shoe salesmen will need to find new ways to provide for their needs, as fewer and fewer people will be paying for their "services".  There will become a time that if YOU cannot produce a product, YOU will have to live without it.

The garden/food forest is looking better every day.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Len wrote:
Once that fails (for some it already has) I would see a scattering towards empty land and homesteading


Only a small percentage of the population would consider homesteading as a way to live, in my opinion.  In the US, most people don't have a clue about how to raise food and otherwise care for themselves. 
 
Len Ovens
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Only a small percentage of the population would consider homesteading as a way to live, in my opinion.  In the US, most people don't have a clue about how to raise food and otherwise care for themselves.   


I didn't really want to talk about those people too much... unless that changes, a lot of them will die. I really don't want wish that on anyone. I don't know what the welfare culture in the US is like, but in Canada there are families who have been on welfare for generations. The young adults who come out of these homes have only one skill... working the system. For the girls it means early pregnancy, and the boys, drug abuse. As more people grow their own food (or even some of it), use less services, stop going places... except on bikes... Less people have jobs and they pay less. The tax base that welfare is based on shrinks, welfare gets harder to to obtain, those who need it most, can't... those who know how still do... somethings gonna break.

People will learn to grow their own food even in the city if they have to. It may not be homesteading as we know it, but it will go in that direction. In Cuba, even people in apartments grow rabbits... and probably salads in the window.

 
                                              
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  Well we have that here in certain areas to len. More dominately though i think theres a general attitude by many americans that such things are below them....  the way things are going though, i think most of those will have to face the music someday though...

  we DO however have a fast growing local food movement, AND a fast growing (interconnected but separate arguably) organic movement, along with hordes of "preppers"..... we have had millions in our country begin gardening in just the last few years, although for many thats a few tomatoes on the porch.... very few even with the choice get into animals or their grains and staples....

  so all is not lost.... Lots of places like this one waiting to help guide the next wave to.....

  All I can say is find locally adapted varieties (or breed your own or make landraces of the best choices) of grains and other staples, even if yo just grow enough to save seeds. This could indeed become important, and it isnt always easy to track down the ideal cultivars for backyard production of staples....

    oh yeah, save extra seeds!!! because should this turn from a practical thing to a mandatory thing, there might not be enough seeds to go around...... If youve got seed to locally adapted plants, you will be miles ahead of those scrambling (I know many might not think this is likely but I do feel its possible) to garden/farm.....
 
                          
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Len wrote:
... families who have been on welfare for generations. The young adults who come out of these homes have only one skill... working the system. ...(as) the tax base that welfare is based on shrinks, welfare gets harder to to obtain, those who need it most, can't... those who know how still do... somethings gonna break.


I was raised middle-class, and worked for decades, then became homeless and poor due to a disability, broken relationships, and single motherhood.  I had to go on welfare and recieve food stamps, medical coupons, and housing assistance or my family would not have survived.  I learned an awful lot about being "in the system" that I never guessed when I was comfortably middle-class.  I also learned a lot about people who never had the advantage of being born middle-class, but had the added challenge of generational poverty. 

Mostly what I learned was that people don't "work the system" because they're lazy or have bad morals.  They are doing the only thing they know how to do to survive, and to keep their families alive.  The system is set up in ways that make it extremely difficult to break out of once you're in it.  People who are barely surviving have their assistance cut severely whenever they get a job and try to improve their lives. 

The encouraging thing, though, is that poor people are EXTREMELY open and willing to learn survival skills such as raising vegetables and keeping small animals for food.   Many are very willing to learn handcrafting skills like sewing, and long-term food storage skills like pressure canning.  It's just sad that so few people are available to teach them these skills.

As willing as they are to help themselves any way they can, it is often ironically the system itself that stops them.  In one low-income housing village I lived and volunteered at, it was against the rules to grow any vegetables on one's own property, and there were no venues open to selling home crafts or starting any sort of small business.  Keeping animals for food was out of the question, as that's against the law in my whole city.  Maybe guinea pigs could be an answer there, but there's a lot of cultural prejudice against eating cute things they'd have to overcome, and it could be another source of shame for them.

The system must change if poverty is to be eliminated.   I don't think most middle-class people have any idea how much things are stacked against poor people really improving their own lot.  I know I certainly didn't.  I'm ashamed now that I was so bigoted and judgemental and self-righteous when I had the luxury of working and supporting myself, looking down on families using food stamps, thinking they were just a drain on my hard-earned tax dollars. 

Nobody WANTS to be poor.  They just need an escape hatch.  People want a hand up much more than they want a handout.
 
Brenda Groth
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in SOME areas of Michigan the mosquites are bad but on our  property we have very few..but we also have fish in our ponds and thousands of birds on our land that eat them.

if you have a well develeped property with a lot of wildlife you pretty much can control just about any bugs, our only bug problem last year was squash bugs on my pumpkins..(devils)..even the birds wouldn't eat them.

there were problems a few years with tent/army worms but then some predatory flies began to multiply like wildfire (which were a nuisance to have around but they didn't bite)..and they laid eggs in the caterpillars and then the caterpillars and flies were gone..just gone !!
 
George Lee
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
What has been working with (relatively) cheap oil isn't going to work indefinitely, as oil prices continue climbing.  Eventually, most of us peons will have to go back to horse power, bicycles, foot power....People who live farther out than is practical to walk in a day (round trip) will have to consider carefully what they can grow for sale that isn't perishable, and that can be stored and sold in one or two trips to town per year.  Wool items manufactured from one's own sheep; high-quality wooden items; dried fruit...many other possibilities exist.  But it's going to require some thought.

Kathleen


Many folks around here have gone bio-diesel so tripping a few miles to sell produce is a little easier on their wallet and the air..Smells like french fries..I've even seen local farmers to our market ride in on their moped with a large pack full of radishes and other roots. haha.

Peace -
 
Tyler Ludens
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Seems like growing crops to produce biodiesel to drive to town would be a heck of a lot of work. 
 
George Lee
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Seems like growing crops to produce biodiesel to drive to town would be a heck of a lot of work.   
No, it's vegetable oil. I should've specified. Hence smelling like french fries.
: )
 
Tyler Ludens
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Seems like vegetable oil would be expensive unless you were getting it used from a restaurant, which isn't practical for most people...!   
 
George Lee
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CrunchyBread wrote:
Nobody WANTS to be poor.  They just need an escape hatch.  People want a hand up much more than they want a handout.
 



That's a hell of a story. Yeah, no one wants to be poor. I've had to explain to people that somtime people grow INTO proverty via the system contraints and/or generational poverty. It's silly when people tell me that the only reason people are poor is that they're lazy. The ones I've come across want a job bad, they want to be a part of the society they sit amongst. The thing is.. it's quite a tough thing to approach this because of how topical our persons of society as a whole have become. They won't hire a struggling person who can't afford clothes.
Thanks for ya story.
Peace-
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Thanks, Brenda -- I've thought of moving to Michigan (don't think there's much chance of that right now, though).  One of my brothers and his wife recently moved there from Alaska -- my sister-in-law was raised there, and they bought her grandmother's old house.  They are in the Mecosta area, though, and if I seriously considered Michigan, I'd be looking at the UP.

I've been poor most of my life, and there have been brief periods when we have gotten some form of public assistance, but our family has always been pretty self-reliant, gardening, hunting, sewing, and so on.  I've met plenty of other 'poor' people -- some were like us, some gladly learned what they could to improve their condition, and others, sadly, were perfectly happy to be dependent on others and in fact, bragged about how well they could work the system.  All people are not the same, no matter what class they come from.  

I think that probably the primary reason that most poor families stay poor is that they haven't learned to manage their money.  Few people in this country are so desperately poor that they couldn't manage somehow to save a few dollars each month (yes, there are a few, but not many), and those savings, and staying debt-free, would make a world of difference in their financial situation.  Even with as low an income as my daughter and I have, I manage to buy something each month that isn't absolutely necessary.  For me, it might be books or plants; for someone else it might be booze or cigarettes or parts for a hobby car; for someone else it might be nice clothes and eating out.  Most of us have something that we COULD cut out and save the money for emergencies first, and long-range plans, second.  I wish that I'd realized all this many years ago -- I would probably be in much better condition financially now than I am (I've been taking a Dave Ramsey seminar, if you haven't guessed, LOL!).  Actually, I sort of knew all this, but never really sat down and faced it until now.  

So, while I agree that it's a good thing to teach poor people how to raise some of their own food and how to be more self-sufficient, it's a better thing to teach them how to manage their money, and WHY they need to take control of it.  Better money management combined with self-sufficiency would be ideal.

Kathleen
 
George Lee
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Seems like vegetable oil would be expensive unless you were getting it used from a restaurant, which isn't practical for most people...!   
It's free. It's actually a hand-out. You can filter it on the spot. It's quite practical. I've driven across the country in a bio-vehicle. Anyway...
 
                          
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Location: Bremerton, Washington
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I've been poor most of my life, and there have been brief periods when we have gotten some form of public assistance, but our family has always been pretty self-reliant, gardening, hunting, sewing, and so on.  I've met plenty of other 'poor' people -- some were like us, some gladly learned what they could to improve their condition, and others, sadly, were perfectly happy to be dependent on others and in fact, bragged about how well they could work the system.  All people are not the same, no matter what class they come from. 

I think that probably the primary reason that most poor families stay poor is that they haven't learned to manage their money.  Few people in this country are so desperately poor that they couldn't manage somehow to save a few dollars each month (yes, there are a few, but not many), and those savings, and staying debt-free, would make a world of difference in their financial situation. 


I agree that there are as many variations of morals and motivation among the poor as there are in any class.  There are also many definitions of what it is to be "poor".  Allow me to share an example from my own family:

I remember growing up thinking we were "poor" because we could never afford to go on vacations anywhere, and I didn't have a rabbit-fur coat like my friends.  Meanwhile, we lived in a large new brick home with a large fenced yard, allways had new clothes, went to good schools, and had steak for dinner frequently.  My parents both worked full-time, and to this day they still consider themselves to be borderline poor, because they have so little disposable income they can only afford to fly my children for visits once a year.  They eat out at good restaurants ten times a week, and my mother fills her yard with colorful annuals every year.  But they are "poor", because they have a mortgage and very little savings.

I am "poor" because I live on a disability check.  I am penalized if I own more than $5000.  That's an improvement from when I was on welfare, and was only allowed to own $2000 (value for cars, other property, and cash combined).  I have no mortgage or any other debt, but then I also do not own a car and I live in an apartment.  I eat out at fast food restaurants with my kids as a once-a-month treat.  I patch my son's jeans when he wears through the knees, and give him the emotional tools he needs to deal with others who would make fun of him for that.

I fully agree that learning to manage money is key to avoiding pitfalls of poverty, though not the only key.  We eat well because I know how to cook real food instead of living on boxed mixes, though we almost never eat steak.  Yet my kids don't know that we are poor.  They know that we have a safe, loving home and they are never hungry, and they even have the luxury of owning some computer games.  But I learned how to manage money from being raised middle class, and from reading books by Robert Kiyosaki and G.S. Clason, and I studied good parenting practices very carefully.  Many poverty class families do not have any of those advantages.  Maslow's hierarchy: first you have to survive, then worry about actualizing your potential.

Currently, I feel the ache of poverty most in that I cannot save enough to own any property.  I would love to build a cob house with a humanure toilet and a compost-heated shower and a self-sufficient garden and sustainable food forest, but the chances of me getting there from here are slim.  The system I depend on for my existence is self-reinforcing.  It's difficult to get up enough speed to jump the gap between "just getting started", and the part where they take away your benefits because you are "well enough to work" even though you may not yet be able to fully support yourself.    I could do it in small increments, but so many things are not allowed.


I agree that education can help people better themselves.  Financial education can raise quality of life a lot.  Healthy, educated young people with good birth control can end the cycle of poverty.  My own daughter is attending college as a Running Start student, and will graduate High School this year with a good head start on her education.  I fully expect her to live a prosperous middle-class life.  But we had so many advantages a generationally-poor family doesn't have.  The values that help you survive in one class will get you KILLED in another class.  That was the biggest lesson.  To learn to survive where we are,  yet keep our eyes on the values needed to survive where we WANT to live.
 
Len Ovens
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Location: Vancouver Island
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CrunchyBread wrote:
Mostly what I learned was that people don't "work the system" because they're lazy or have bad morals.  They are doing the only thing they know how to do to survive, and to keep their families alive.  The system is set up in ways that make it extremely difficult to break out of once you're in it.  People who are barely surviving have their assistance cut severely whenever they get a job and try to improve their lives. 


I'm sorry if I gave the idea I thought they were "lazy or have bad morals". I have seen the ones who work the system... not only work hard at working the system, but also at raising the kids they have. I have personally known a number of welfare people (calling them poor when those on min wage often end up with less.... no) of both types, my wife was a single mom when I met her and I watched her spend most of her earnings on babysitting just so she could get off of welfare and work, but I have also seen the women who every time they get a child to kindergarten and would be able to work... head for the bar and get pregnant.... all their kids with different fathers. I have seen the guys so wacked out on drugs when they walk into the welfare office that they get termed "un-hireable". I don't know what they need for an escape, but I am sure there is one they would go for. I'm not commenting on their morals at all so much as saying these are a group of people who will have problems if the system they rely on is gone. They are certainly not the only people who "work the system". Many high paid upper management people who rely on money for everything (some middle and lower middle class people do this too) will have a rough time too... in fact they already are.... the suicide rate is rising in that sector.

A mind that is prepared for change, prepared to live in whatever way works.... any enjoy what life brings will probably make it through.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9693
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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LivingWind wrote:
It's free. It's actually a hand-out. You can filter it on the spot. It's quite practical. I've driven across the country in a bio-vehicle. Anyway...


Ok, it works for you, it would not work for me or anywhere there are few restaurants.  Like out in the country. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Len wrote:
A mind that is prepared for change, prepared to live in whatever way works.... any enjoy what life brings will probably make it through.


Yep, people who are adapted for change, don't have debilitating physical or mental illness, etc will probably do fine.  The lucky ones, in other words.

 
                                
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
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I would recommend Missouri, near the St. Louis area.  Land is cheap compared to the rest of the country, there are four decent seasons, although Spring and Fall can be a bit short, and very few insurmountable predators.  I hear the javelinas in AZ can be a beast.  Plus there is a burgeoning locavore culture that is especially big around St. Louis and a decent sized farmer's market.  Second would be in the Kansas City area.  Kansas City is definitely behind St. Louis regarding organics, local foods, and general progressiveness, but every year there are strides being made.
 
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