lior dahan

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since Sep 14, 2017
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Recent posts by lior dahan

Thanks Timothy, I did not think about contacting contractors to see how they have gone about projects like this.

Thanks again I will add it to my list

1 year ago

So not sure what topic this should go under as I have very broad questions and would also like to hear you opinion as most or many of you have  been through it.

So here its:

I would like to start a small eco village in Santa Clara County, as of right now, Morgan Hill, Gilroy area but could be pushed further down in to Holster and into San Benito County. Primarily trying to stay with in a 40 mile radius of San Jose. I have finally got hold of the Santa Clara county and am preparing for an in person meeting where I can get some more information on the plausibility of a project like this and would like to hear from you questions that I should be asking and thinking about.

The issues:
 I am not an engineer, and I do not have a lot of money to put down, I just own a small landscaping business focusing on California natives and edible gardens.
 Santa Clara County building permits are out there, and its got me thinking its easier to purchase a run down house, rather than land
 Land loans are difficult to obtain

And here are the malleable logistics:

What the eco-village consists of:

The main purpose of this small eco-village would be a self-sufficient community that would grow most of its own food, use alternative energy, and live sustainably. The eco-village would consist of no more than four permanent residents.


·         3-4 Goats – for milk

·         4-5 Chickens – for eggs


·         Electricity from PG&E and/or  Solar

·         Water – Local well or the city

·         Compost toilets – wood shavings and hay to prevent smell as it composts (or septic if required)


               Three structures each about 500 square feet for living

·         Inside the home will be a kitchenette, compost toilet, sink, and living space

Two 400 Square Foot Structures

·         One for tourists with a kitchenette, compost toilet, sink and living space

·         One  community kitchen space with a an electric stove, sink, counter space and cabinets

Less than 250 square structures

·         One Greenhouse
·         One Tool shed
·         One Goat pen


·         All organic.

·         No pesticides.

·          Mixed use space will be at least a third of an acre that will grow a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables.

·         All food grown will be consumed by residents

Building code for cob

“The Cob Research Institute’s (CRI) proposed cob building code was approved at the International Code Council’s (ICC) Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas on Oct 26, 2019. Proposal RB299-19 for the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) - Appendix U: Cob Construction (Monolithic Adobe) - was approved by a 93-6 vote of attending ICC voting members (mostly building and fire officials), followed by more than the required 2/3 approval vote in the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV). This final approval was posted online by ICC on Dec 19, 2019.” (International Cob Institute)

So that is the plan in short and here are some questions I have already put together:

How can I get this approved in the Santa Clara building codes?

Here is the written code,

In your estimation, how long will it take to approve this code in Santa Clara county ?

Is there a “common Law” on this kind of land use?

·         Regulations

·         What zoning should the land or property have?

·         Is there a minimum lot size for something like this?

·         Are there some cities within Santa Clara county more equipped for this than others?

·         Rules regarding septic and compost toilets?

·         How to get the Cob building code approved by Santa Clara County?

·         Are there grants for this kind of project?

Sorry if this bad formatting but what do you guys think, is this nuts?
What are some of the most difficult things you have run into when purchasing land and wanting to do things a little different.
One last thing I would like to do this with county's approval, building too code and all that, as one thing I do know I do not want, is to get stuck with land that is non-buildable, I do want this to have some sellability at the end of all this.

Thank you,

1 year ago
Hi guys,

Honestly I had forget I had written this post, thank you Steve Mendez for replying after all this time, I am glad it brought me back here. Much less that it was only a year ago that I was having this dilemma and just want to say thank you for all your posts, it was great to hear all the different perspectives and experiences.

If it matters at all, I decided to obtain an AS in environmental horticulture at my local community college, and I am now just about done, and will have a paper that says I have a degree by the end of next year, something I thought I would never have. It has taken me these last few quarters to really appreciate it though, for most of the beginning I was questioning myself and the direction I decided to go. Its turned out to be a good idea, even though it is not exactly what I wanted,  I learned a lot.

To give some prospective I live in the bay area, probably one of the few places you can make a living as a gardener, I now call my self a fine gardener, (not sure if I deserve the title yet), that focuses on edibles and mostly CA natives, have a few clients, and know how to organize myself and the clients I have.

Thanks again for all your input!
2 years ago
Could a 3rd possibility be working together to create the funds needed? and anything left over could be split in the 5 ways, or put back into the farm? I know it could cause tension, but assuming everyone in the group is one with each other.
The most import thing is like minded folks, passionate people, those that have been wanting and looking for this. For those money hungry this just does not work.
3 years ago

I was wondering if anybody had attended Gaia College, for their online ecological landscape design, or there diploma program.
Thoughts about the program?
Compared to a community college that offers a landscape design certificate, is it worth it to attend Gaia College, to receive the diploma?
Or If any one knows of a good ecological landscape design program in CA, would prefer a hands on approach.

Thank You!
3 years ago
Hi guys,

I am having some struggles recently, to attend college or not. I am studying but just taking classes I want to take, permaculture, botany, soil science,  and a couple landscape designing, but currently no intention of attaining a degree. Besides the permaculture certificate. If I were to get a degree it would most likely be in the environmental studies department.

Do I go out into the boonies and lean everything I want, herbal medicines, permaculture, farm designing, would it be enough?
Do I just go out in the boonies and forget about society or do I try to be part of society?

I am really torn, as I am interning in a couple of community projects in the city, specifically an urban eco village,, and I am realizing I have the desire to be part of the larger decisions, and conversations. But as I am not technically educated, gained most of my experience while working on different farms, what I say is not respected or even thought about.

Not to sound egotistic but when it comes to sustainability, I know what needs be done, for me its very simple. We tend to just over complicate everything.

Sustainability is a word over played, and lost its meaning, we have only made things "better", progressed, but you look at the process, its exactly the same as the unsustainable product. Its not us, its the factories and the corporations producing all of our fridges, washers just everything. Therefore self-sufficiency is the answer.

But going back to the education is it necessary? Do I need a certification to label my knowledge? Is experience enough?

How have any of any guys gotten about, with or without a degree?
3 years ago
Hey Patrick,

I am a little late on this but I hope everything is running well, I am living in Santa Clara and have been looking to work on a permaculture farm. I have lived and worked on farms, mostly abroad, with experience in animal husbandry, orchard and garden care as well as general farm upkeep. I also know how to make cheese and yogurt. The farms I worked on were all self sufficient small and family owned. And am now currently at Veggilution, but am looking to get a head start in permaculture, as I am studying permaculture at Cabrillo College.
Would be great to hear on the progress as well if you need any help.
3 years ago
The future of farming is our backyard. To live a more communal lifestyle, where everyone has there own job, and mortgage, but share the produce between one another. We do not just produce for the need of ourselves but the needs for the community as a whole.
3 years ago