Marcus Hoff

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since May 26, 2013
Málaga, Spain
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Recent posts by Marcus Hoff

I just stumbled across this site
They use a flywheel as storage, it's priced comparable to lead acid batteries and claims in excess of 10 years operation, like NiFe batteries.

Obviously nobody has actual experience with these, since they don't ship until next year, but does anyone have any knowledge, opinion or comments on this?
4 years ago
Dear Ye,
It's frustrating not having the time we want. I'm seriously considering hiring a personal assistant - not to help me with any work related things, but just to deal with bureaucratic and government related stuff. I think 5h a week would be sufficient. Essentially what you describe is more or less the same thing as we propose. You can't do anything like this without working together in some way. I do understand the desire to have one's own piece of land, I think there is something primeval built into us about that.
Gathering from what I can read in this thread and from my own experience, getting land is the easy part, developing it is hard.
I find it interesting, that Paul Wheaton can have people stay, build on and develop his land, by his rules and have people pay for it. While we offer land without financial payment and even suggest, that we pay for permanent installations and get an unenthusiastic response. I guess that that, is called social capital, Paul has a lot and we don't.

If you come by our area, you're welcome to park your mobile home at our place.

@Joseph: Could you explain how that differs from what we describe here?

4 years ago
Well, maybe I have. I'm not sure. I think in that in medieval times everyone who had something, had their own workshop/land and a farm would consist of 10-15 people: The farmer, his wife and children, maybe some grandparents and whole lot of people working there. The farm would be an integrated enterprise, producing a wide range of products. Actually this is where I think most nostalgic modern homesteaders go wrong. They have a vision of this kind of life, where they produce everything themselves, like in the "good old days". They just tend to forget the additional 10 people they need. Our neighbor, who used to live in our house (he's over 80) remembers his father having 90+ women shelling almonds every summer. Since we're not keen on getting about 5 kids more to work the land an hiring an additional 8 people for the same purpose, we've come up with this model. It's still an integrated farm, but everyone would work on their own enterprise, which I think is much more rewarding than working for someone else.

More to the point, I've heard and read of a lot of people complaining, that they don't have access to land for various reasons, mainly financial. So I would really appreciate to hear if this is a model, that would work for them. It's virtually free access to land, no money up front, no monthly payments, no requirements of minimum income and help during the initial phases. IMO this is as low-risk a model for starting an agricultural business as it gets, so I'm a bit surprised that none of the people looking for land haven't commented on this yet.
4 years ago
The robots are coming...

You actually hit it right on, Landon.
I heard an interview with David Holmgren and realized why intentional communities are such an important part of permaculture. He and Bill realized that an integrated farm needs a lot of people specializing in different areas, because on person/family can't do all that alone. As opposed to the segregated monoculture farm model we have today. I admire their foresight, having figured that out when they "creating" permaculture.

Problem is, that my wife and I are not those kind of people who would live in intentional communities in the classic sense. We like being social and having people around, but some mornings/days I just want to walk around in my housecoat, drink my coffee and not have to relate to other people

We believe that the model we are proposing would be and "intentional community", since it solves the "problem" Bill and David foresaw. At the same time it does not involve the same kind of social interaction as would living together permanently.

That’s why we would want people to eventually find their own place. Initially people could put an RV, Yurt or whatever on our land to get going, but that wouldn’t be permanent.
4 years ago
Hi Charles,
thanks for the feedback.
I agree with you that there is paperwork involved and that can be big or small depending on where we are and what we need to cover, but I think it's doable.

It would be a "permanent" arrangement. In the sense, that we would make an agreement for several (5-10?) years, depending on the kind of business. There is no point in planting fruit trees, but not being able to pick the fruit.

I wrote in the beginning, that this might be the wrong forum and I think it is (although I don't know where else to put this). It's not a WOOFING thing.
It's like a lease except you don't pay for it, you return a small part of your produce to us. Or like SPIN farming where you farm someones garden, sell the produce and the garden owner gets a box veggies every week.

Here is an example:
You want to start a permaculture business, let's say a market garden. We make, let's say a 5 year agreement for that business, where you can use a certain part of the land for that purpose. You develop the market garden and find a customer base to sell to and run a business. We get, let's say 5% of your produce. As your customer base grows you earn more. If it takes a year to establish, where you are not producing, it doesn't cost you anything, since 5% of 0 is 0. No matter if you have a bad year or a good year, you sell/keep 95% of the produce. We might even buy some (additional) part of you produce for other purposes.
If your business hopefully grows, it should be possible for you to have put enough money aside to maybe get your own land or add other businesses onto their existing one.

Someone else might want to setup a bee/honey business, orchard, nuts, sheep/wool and so on. So the idea is to have several businesses running on the land similar to Joel Salatins Fiefdoms.
We have several ideas for what can be done on the land and what kind of markets exist, but we don't have the time.
4 years ago
I don't know if this is the correct forum to post this under, but I found it to be the most suitable.

My wife and I have been discussing a partner business model. We haven't come up with a fancy name for it yet, which seems to be a "thing" in permaculture, but it mixes parts from SPIN farming, Fiefdoms and Element partners. I would appreciate your feedback, before we actually launch it.

We have land (6 Ha), but between a full time job, kids and renovating the house, it's going to be a while before we get anything done with it. So we are proposing a model, where people can come and setup a permaculture business on our land. It's not a lease, it's the right to usage and access to the land to perform a certain business. There is no rent involved. The payment would be a percentage of the produce, either directly or in monetary form. This is not an communal living suggestion, although you might call it a form of intentional community. Partners would have to find their own place, although it will be possible to set up a mobile home of some kind on the land in the start up phase.

We have:
Local knowledge
Permaculture knowledge
Place to put a temporary home

Partner has:
Entrepreneur spirit
Business idea

We get:
Our land developed
Food from our own land
A sparring partner

Partner gets:
Access to land for "free"
Low risk start up oppertunity
A sparring partner

We think this model would help us get the land developed and at the same time provide an opportunity for people who don't have the means to buy land, to get their business going. Or for people how want to try out a business model, but don't want to be tied up in a lease, if things don't work out.

Please give me your feedback.
Would this model be attractive for you. Why/why not?
What needs to be clarified?
What would you be worried about in this model?
What should we be worried about in this model?

4 years ago
I've been thinking about getting some around our terasses in the hope that they will get rid of some of the flies and mosquitoes.
5 years ago
Hi Neal,
I've been following your videos and I'm very impressed. I imagine you must be a very patient man. Waiting years for rainfall, to see the results of your work.
I would love, if you could share with us, how you selected your tree species.
5 years ago
Once we get the slopes terraced we are going to put in permanent fencing in the terrace walls. But we just wanted to be able to move chickens around before that.
We have used drape netting before and it solves the slope problem at the bottom and rocks keep it down nicely. We just used the green garden/terrace netting and that worked fine. It's not very expensive as I imagine sports netting could be.
Our main problem is keeping the chickens in, not so much keeping the predators out. We have only had one attack, it was a falcon and the chickens defended them selves. The foxes don't come near them because of the dog.
5 years ago
Ahhh - that sounds promising!
I had been thinking about making posts with "cement feet", but that would still be a problem on the slopes.
His idea sounds like it could solve the slope problem. Do you know if it was normal car tires or more like wheelbarrow kind of tires? I imagine that car tires filled with cement are heavy to carry around.
5 years ago