Win a copy of Bioshelter Market Garden this week in the Market Garden forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • James Freyr
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Dan Boone
  • Carla Burke
  • Kate Downham

Millennial Permies

 
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’m not sure how to go about phrasing this.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how rare it is for someone as young as me to be as settled as I am, or to be heavily involved in a farm or business. I’ve always had a hard time connecting with people my own age, and since moving out here it’s gotten worse. I love my life and my farm and I wouldn’t want things to be any different, but I would love to hear from other millennials regardless of what you’re up to--traveling, studying, working in a city, running a farm, interning, etc. :) We’re in this together, after all
 
Posts: 44
Location: Lexington, KY
13
kids forest garden food preservation
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi James, I am an old millennial. I was born in 1982, which I think is right on the cusp. I see very few millennials who are into farming, but that could just be the crowd I run with. I don't know anyone in my age group who is interested in agriculture, let alone permaculture, like I am. I meet people who like to talk about "chemicals in food is bad" and buy organic, which is a great start, but I don't know a single person who has heard of the soil food web (that I know of at least). There was a guy a year behind me in high school who now runs a successful no-till market garden and has a YouTube channel and podcast and all that jazz. He is the only person I am aware of from our age group living that kind of lifestyle. He says the biggest barrier that keeps young people from entering into an agrarian lifestyle is the cost of land. I would agree with that, but I also think that the lack of exposure to food production plays a huge role in keeping millennials from farming as well. You don't know what you don't know, right? If you've never seen a seed planted in the ground, if you have only seen food that appears in a shiny plastic container on a grocery store shelf, how would it ever occur to you to start growing food? And if you did decide to plant a little garden, surely you would first till it and then douse it with as much chemical fertilizer as you can because more equals better, and cover crops don't exactly pay for advertisements. I can't really blame millennials for their lack of participation in growing food, especially in a permaculture style way, if they have never been exposed to it.

I, personally, am still trying to escape the rat race and get into a permaculture based lifestyle. I went to college and grad school right after high school and have worked professional office jobs as a researcher and a college professor since then. This past year I couldn't take teaching anymore for a variety of reasons (I will not launch into a rant about the current state of education), so I went back to a research-based office job, even though all I have ever wanted to do is farm. I just assumed that farming was never an option for me. I felt huge pressure from many directions to "prove myself" in society through education and in holding a professional job, all of which occurred in an urban environment. I don't regret all that I've learned and the experiences that I've had, but after 12 years of being a "professional," I don't really give a shit anymore about society's opinion of me. I am putting a concrete plan in place to leave my full-time office job, transition to teaching part-time online for a reliable (albeit much smaller) income, and throw myself into growing as much of my family's food as I can. I live on a 1/3 acre plot in the city but have at least an acre available to me on my parents' property 30 minutes away. Their 10-acre property, by the way, is something I would never be able to afford. That goes back to the earlier point that the cost of land is a huge barrier for people who want to get involved with agriculture.

I have an insatiable desire to learn everything there is to know about the interconnected nature of soil, plants, and wildlife, and to develop skills to restore a biodiverse environment while growing nutrient dense food. My library of books on soil, compost, orchards, nutrition, herbs, etc., grows weekly. My software developer husband (lovingly) calls it my stack of crazy hippy books. To be honest with you, I have no idea where this passion comes from. I grew up in suburbia, although I am only one generation removed from an agrarian lifestyle. My parents both grew up in rural Appalachia growing most of their food, churning their own butter, slaughtering pigs on the kitchen table, etc. Perhaps my limited exposure to that lifestyle through their stories, and the fact that I see that way of life disappearing, is what drives me. I think other millennials are two or three generations removed from that style of living and thus lump it in with fairy tales and a vague notion of "back in the day." In my opinion many millennials have their heart in their right place but lack the tools, knowledge, and access to break away from modern society. They care about the environment, they don't want nasty pesticides on their food, they want workers to earn living wages, they want to buy responsibly sourced products, and they don't want to work for evil corporations. At the same time, they typically don't have any idea of how food is grown AND they like the comfort of a reliable paycheck AND they don't even see an agrarian lifestyle as being a possibility. It's just so foreign to modern culture. That's pure speculation from being a millennial and from my dealings with other millennials, though. Take it with a grain of salt.

Sorry for launching into an essay on millennials as if I am some sort of expert. I am not. I'm glad to see another millennial on here, and I'm happy that you're happy with way things are going in your life on your farm. I consider every story I hear from a young person who's making it in natural style farming to be breath of fresh air, so thank you for making your presence known!
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for responding Audrey :)

I agree that our generation has a lot less access. Prices have skyrocketed and our opportunities as a whole has been minimal. I wish there were a way I could make it more accessible to others. I had to buy “way out in the sticks”--and even since then (two years ago) prices have gone up a lot, even out here. If ever there’s another real estate market crash I might try to buy more land, for sharing. I’m hoping that this post will draw more attention and we can all learn of each other’s existence, and maybe find ways to support eachother in these various processes. I don’t have a ton of practical aid I can give right now (like money) but  I’m doing a lot of plant propagation and would be happy to share extra plants with anyone in the area, if this year’s cuttings take

I think that a lot of millennials have a fairly superficial appreciation of some of these things, like organic eating, but can’t afford to go all the way, as you were saying. I’ve met a lot of nomads from our generation who go from place to place learning what they can, hoping to be able to settle down someday.

I was in academia for what felt like a long time, but as a student. I’m really grateful to be out of it now.

Do you have any special plans for the acre or so that you have access to at your parents’ place?

 
master steward
Posts: 10370
Location: Pacific Northwest
4131
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm also a millennial on the upper end of the spectrum (born in 1985), and I do see quite a few people around my age homesteading or homesteading-lite. They're often mothers of elementary age or younger children. I think many, like myself, are staying home with their kids, and saved up and bought property so their kids would have a nice place to grow up. So, they've got the land and "time" to work on things, and can hope to save money by growing their own food.

I've met many of these type of homesteading/permaculture women through my local homesteading women group. I don't know any people who are fulltime homesteading--usually at least one spouse is still in the rat-race, if not both.

I know that, I too, never related to people my own age group. I was always interested in books and learning and old skills, and had no desire to party or do drugs or spend money at restaurants. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert? Maybe because I'm a bit of an aspie. I don't know.

I'm thinking that there's probably a lot of us millenial permies out there, but it's hard to find each other. It's kind of like in elementary school I didn't have any friends, but by Jr High and Highschool, there were so many more people, that within that huge population, there were more "weird" people like myself, and I was able to find and befriend them.

Which reminds me of when we went looking at a local "Parent Partnership" school for my kids (Parent Partnership schools are public schools that kids can either get additional classes while homeschooling, or they can be "public school" students who's parents do a lot of the teaching at home). Anyway, we went to this school, and the WHOLE SCHOOL was full of homestead/weird/nerdy parents and their kids. It was AMAZING. The millennial permies are out there...it's just hard to find them!
 
Posts: 121
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
26
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The following is an advertisement in the local Ag. Buyer's Guide:

" ATTENTION:  RETIRING FARMERS, did you know???  
There are more farmers over the age of 70 than under 35...  
Over 90% of farmers have no plans for who will take over when they retire..."

In these parts I have heard of older farmers "training" younger persons, acting as helpers over years, to ultimately take over the farm.  The years the young spend in training, they are investing towards the lease to own of the farm.  Not a bad deal in my opinion.  Yet, who am I?  I am what Millennials, and "Gen what ever" would call old.  I have always held a great appreciation of what my Agrarian Elders had to say, their stories were filled with wisdom and life long practical knowledge.  

Dear Millennials, and younger Gens, Elders have much to offers, please lend an ear to them.  There is a crisis of older farmers who have no one to pass there land onto.  Yes, there is a cost, but for the most part it is an investment of reliable elbow grease, being able to go beyond One's self to the nurturing of life forms other than ourselves; plant, animal, soils, with a further understanding of Seasons, climate, topography, and geology.

On this site, where permaculture is so prevalent, should we not being extending a hand on the human level, rather than the economic cost level.  Investing rather, in the continuation of a farmer's legacy through practical labor offered that their life long efforts should "live" on, rather than focusing of the monetary cost of buying the land.

A long shot, yes, I do agree, but so many farmers will in fact see their life long labors turn to a developers whim if No One takes a chance and extends the practical hand of being trained to take over the care of the Land.

Just saying, I see a huge gap, that needs a different solution away from Mainstream Capitalism.

Cheers!  K
 
gardener
Posts: 1788
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
726
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It does seem rare for people our age to be settled on land. I was born in the middle of 1985 so towards the start of the millennial generation. Most of the people I went to college with are still renting, living in big cities, and trying to pay down their college debt. I think I'm the only one out of my old friends that has land - a few have a house but those with a house tend to live in communities with lower cost of living.

I have seen a number of millennial's that are trying to grow their own food in backyards of places they are renting. Perhaps they will one day be able to get land of their own. But jobs are more common in the cities so I know a lot of them can't move out to get land. They don't want to be farmers - they want to grow their own food but still work. That balance can be hard to find unless you live near a city with jobs...

I did see this article back in December: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/17/young-farmers-millennials

Then there is this YouTube video from National Geographic.

 
pollinator
Posts: 2416
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
153
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What percentage of Millennial own a house/property. 36% about the same amount that have a college degree.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/26/millennial-homeownership-suddenly-drops-after-a-good-run.html
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/03/the-geography-of-millennial-talent/554915/

About 1.5 percent of Americans are farmers. If we include their partners (1.5%) and 2kids(3%), we can say that 6% of americans are farmers. I know a few urban millennial farmers and a good amount of permies.
 
Audrey Lewis
Posts: 44
Location: Lexington, KY
13
kids forest garden food preservation
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
James, you asked if I have plans for my 1/3 acre urban yard and the 1 acre I have access to use. The answer is yes!

I always grow basic vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, kale, and cucumbers in my raised bed in my backyard. This year I have added another raised bed and plan to invest a lot more energy into composting and developing healthy soil, growing more cool weather crops, seed saving, and using the space more efficiently. I am also learning how to care for the apple tree, grapes, gooseberries, and blueberries in my yard. I have haphazardly pruned all but the blueberries in the past and occasionally added some soil amendments, but all of that was done without much research. None of those plants are as healthy and productive as they should be. I want to change that. I'm also going to be grafting several other apple varieties onto my apple tree. I've never tried grafting before and I'm very excited to see if it works.

On the 1 acre of my parents' property, I will be planting a food forest. As soon as it warms up I will be adding some amendments to the soil, doing a one-time till, and planting a cover crop. I will spray compost tea on it periodically. I haven't completely worked out the summer and fall plans. In late fall I will lay down woodchips and plant the first trees, selected to be hardy and disease resistant and well acclimated to my growing zone. Over the coming years I will fill in the understory and ground covers with as many plant varieties as I can get my hands on.

My ultimate goal is to spend more time outside, in the moment, not rushing to the next deadline; to teach my children where food comes from and how to be a good steward of nature; to bring some biodiversity back to my tiny piece of earth; to grow the most nutrient dense food possible for my family; to share excess with people who need it; to infect my fellow suburbanites with a passion for (or at least awareness of) sustainable, regenerative growing methods; and last on the list is generate some revenue from all this, although that is not a requirement.

I have learned so much about permaculture from this website, among other resources, and am very thankful that older, more experienced people share their knowledge so willingly. The internet is rich with helpful people, although like you, I feel physically isolated from others who share similar goals or interests, especially in my age range.

So James, what plans do you have for your farm this year?
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kate Michaud wrote:

In these parts I have heard of older farmers "training" younger persons, acting as helpers over years, to ultimately take over the farm.  The years the young spend in training, they are investing towards the lease to own of the farm.  Not a bad deal in my opinion.  Yet, who am I?  I am what Millennials, and "Gen what ever" would call old.  I have always held a great appreciation of what my Agrarian Elders had to say, their stories were filled with wisdom and life long practical knowledge.  

Dear Millennials, and younger Gens, Elders have much to offers, please lend an ear to them.  There is a crisis of older farmers who have no one to pass there land onto.  Yes, there is a cost, but for the most part it is an investment of reliable elbow grease, being able to go beyond One's self to the nurturing of life forms other than ourselves; plant, animal, soils, with a further understanding of Seasons, climate, topography, and geology.

On this site, where permaculture is so prevalent, should we not being extending a hand on the human level, rather than the economic cost level.  Investing rather, in the continuation of a farmer's legacy through practical labor offered that their life long efforts should "live" on, rather than focusing of the monetary cost of buying the land.

A long shot, yes, I do agree, but so many farmers will in fact see their life long labors turn to a developers whim if No One takes a chance and extends the practical hand of being trained to take over the care of the Land.

Just saying, I see a huge gap, that needs a different solution away from Mainstream Capitalism.

Cheers!  K




Hi Kate,
I think that passing on skills and having apprenticeship is a great idea. But, I think that practical aid in the form of tangible resources--money, land, materials such as plants for getting started--is really important. We might not want to live in a destructive industrial capitalist economy, but at the end of the day we still do for now, and many things are still priced in dollars (or whatever the currency is in one’s respective location). I can and want to share skills and knowledge, but without land for people to practice on it’s of limited value, in my opinion. But I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of apprenticeships and mentoring, and I can see how what you're saying is important
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:I'm also a millennial on the upper end of the spectrum (born in 1985), and I do see quite a few people around my age homesteading or homesteading-lite. They're often mothers of elementary age or younger children. I think many, like myself, are staying home with their kids, and saved up and bought property so their kids would have a nice place to grow up. So, they've got the land and "time" to work on things, and can hope to save money by growing their own food.

I've met many of these type of homesteading/permaculture women through my local homesteading women group. I don't know any people who are fulltime homesteading--usually at least one spouse is still in the rat-race, if not both.

I know that, I too, never related to people my own age group. I was always interested in books and learning and old skills, and had no desire to party or do drugs or spend money at restaurants. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert? Maybe because I'm a bit of an aspie. I don't know.

I'm thinking that there's probably a lot of us millenial permies out there, but it's hard to find each other. It's kind of like in elementary school I didn't have any friends, but by Jr High and Highschool, there were so many more people, that within that huge population, there were more "weird" people like myself, and I was able to find and befriend them.

Which reminds me of when we went looking at a local "Parent Partnership" school for my kids (Parent Partnership schools are public schools that kids can either get additional classes while homeschooling, or they can be "public school" students who's parents do a lot of the teaching at home). Anyway, we went to this school, and the WHOLE SCHOOL was full of homestead/weird/nerdy parents and their kids. It was AMAZING. The millennial permies are out there...it's just hard to find them!



For the record, I was born in 1995, since everyone’s listing the year they were born (which is great for reference). I’m 23 years old at the time of writing this.

Thanks, Nicole, for sharing that! I have a similar impression down here, that there are a fair number of millennial parents who want to raise their kids naturally and to be as resilient as possible. I’m a little bit of an aspie too, so I appreciate you sharing that about yourself. I was always interested in the more “serious” stuff too--like reading the Encyclopedia of Country Living cover to cover, hah.

As to the part about it being hard to find millennial permies, I’m hoping that this post might help with that--help us keep track of each other a little and get to know each other.
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Audrey, it sounds like you’re really expanding in the right directions in your garden. I’m really happy to hear that. Gardening in “shoulder seasons” (fall and spring) has been a big step for me too in the last few years. Most gardening literature and culture in the US focuses on summer. I’m excited that you’re learning about grafting and pruning--so am I! I’ve only ever grown things from cuttings.

I’ve been planting a huge food forest and orchard on my property here over the past few years (it will probably be about 4-5 acres total by the end of this spring). So, watering will be a big chore for me this summer as I get the plants established. I plan on growing a fairly large garden this year (I share produce with my two sisters, both of whom have kids). My goal is to get a lot of things established and then propagate plants for trading, selling, and sharing. Maybe down the line I’ll have enough excess to sell. This region definitely needs it. I think a lot about transition, and I think that this project could definitely help bring back profitable, sustainable agriculture here.

My other goals are to build a lot of hollow log beehives, which I plan on making a post about at some point. They’re for honeybees, and they have a very high survival rate compared to other hives (including top bar). I want to get as many of them up and out there as I can.

Last, as I mentioned, I want to do more in education. A former pastor of mine might bring her youth group out here, so I’ll start with that. But that’s a big step for me.


 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Daron Williams wrote:It does seem rare for people our age to be settled on land. I was born in the middle of 1985 so towards the start of the millennial generation. Most of the people I went to college with are still renting, living in big cities, and trying to pay down their college debt. I think I'm the only one out of my old friends that has land - a few have a house but those with a house tend to live in communities with lower cost of living.

I have seen a number of millennial's that are trying to grow their own food in backyards of places they are renting. Perhaps they will one day be able to get land of their own. But jobs are more common in the cities so I know a lot of them can't move out to get land. They don't want to be farmers - they want to grow their own food but still work. That balance can be hard to find unless you live near a city with jobs...



It was a big challenge coming out of college for me. I graduated young (I seem to do everything young). I couldn't be away from the countryside anymore, so I went to live on an intentional community for a while. To make that work I had to work online. So I did, and I've managed to make that work ever since. But not everyone is that lucky. In a way, your blogging ties into this, Daron, in a good way. Blogs like yours make this lifestyle better known and more widely accessible. Maybe you can do a post on young/millennial homesteaders?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11461
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
772
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kate Michaud wrote:
On this site, where permaculture is so prevalent, should we not being extending a hand on the human level, rather than the economic cost level.  Investing rather, in the continuation of a farmer's legacy through practical labor offered that their life long efforts should "live" on, rather than focusing of the monetary cost of buying the land.



This is what I hope, ultimately, to do.  I have no children, so in my olditude I want to find some young people who will come live on the place and inherit it.  I'm not a farmer and our land is not farm land, it is for wildlife and native flora restoration, and I plan to eventually put a Conservation Easement on it, but a portion of it will be set aside for Permaculture homesteading.

 
gardener
Posts: 1382
Location: mountains of Tennessee
429
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Likes 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Intentionally waited a few days to reply because even my daughter is a little too old for millennial status. My grand kids are towards the young end. But I find all the replies so far right on the mark. It wasn't easy to get started a generation or two ago. Much harder now. Also more urgent. Go permies go!!! One day at a time. One step at a time. This old geezer is pulling for ya'll.
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Barkley wrote:Intentionally waited a few days to reply because even my daughter is a little too old for millennial status. My grand kids are towards the young end. But I find all the replies so far right on the mark. It wasn't easy to get started a generation or two ago. Much harder now. Also more urgent. Go permies go!!! One day at a time. One step at a time. This old geezer is pulling for ya'll.



Thanks Mike :) I really appreciate hearing that
 
Posts: 13
Location: Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
5
bike woodworking homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread has been very enjoyable so far- phenomenal insights and caring. Thank you guys.
I'm a late millennial, I guess, from 1999, and a recent homeschool highschool graduate. This spring my market garden is beginning it's second season, and I plan to install more swalework and help my dad with some orchard guilds on the homeplace this year as well.

Land acquisition has also been a problem for me- currently I am trading produce as rent for about a half acre from a family friend who had an empty barnyard. I highly recommend this arrangement, provided the landholder is someone you trust very well, or maybe if you have a strong contract (My family borrowed 3-ish acres for a family garden and got burned pretty bad).

I wholeheartedly agree that working with an older farmer is a great idea. I partnered with an older certified natural farmer around here last year- the thing that stands out to me the most is the incredible knowledge bank he is at about 65 years old, with no signs of slowing down on the farm yet :)

Like Y'all said, networking can be hard for us, and yes, most of my homeschool group buddies are planning to be computer developers, soldiers, anything but a farmer. I am blessed to have a supportive family. My parents grew up with gardens and stock, then entered the rat race, coming out of it when I was 16. Even so, we always had a garden, and sometimes chickens. I found out about permaculture only recently, but very quickly identified it as my "field of work" and a big passion.

Once again, Thank you.
 
Mike Barkley
gardener
Posts: 1382
Location: mountains of Tennessee
429
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe your generation will learn from this speech. Hope so.

 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 121
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
26
goat medical herbs wood heat homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know farmers up here who are having an awful time trying to make it on there own, the young people aren't interested, and debt is a big part of it.  So many commercial farmers are forced to observe industrial compliance, and the farmers know it not right, but with no youth willing to put the effort into the land, there isn't much hope to brake free.  A prime example is a farmer I know of in his 40's with a young family, he works alone, ergo; much machinery.  He has 300 acres, runs a You Pick berry operation, but no one is willing to pick (to much hard work they say), he can't do it all on his own, so he is thinking of chucking the works.  

I think he could go long term leases with Permies, say for 10/20 acre plots, run a cooperative market garden business, ditch the industrial tether altogether.  There is certainly an awareness among the general public here on the ill effects of an industrial diet, combined with the soaring costs of food.  

There is definitely a disconnect between aspiring farmers and the "older" established ones, they truly need each other.  With whom does the responsibility lay, and how to open this much needed dialogue?

Enough said for now, would like to see some brain storming on this.  Any ideas folks?

Cheers!  K
 
Posts: 7
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Regarding the high cost of land everywhere, I just don't get it when spending $10,000 to purchase 1 or 2 acres is considered out of reach, but many young urban folks spend $200/month on coffee, streaming and cell phones. It's really a matter of financial priorities, you have to SAVE to get there and that might mean giving up some small things over the course of some years. If you can find $200/month, you'll have your $10,000 in less than 5 years. It's such a shame that so much of our disposable income is now consumed by debt and mindless expenditures.

 
pollinator
Posts: 3207
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 9 Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry, I call bullshit.

I am also an old millenial, born in '83. It used to be that one income could keep a couple or a young family quite comfortably. Not so, now. My much better half and I are busy paying off debt rather than saving, because our debt costs more than our savings could net.

Saving is a luxury many of us can't afford. We need to eat, and to be able to buy gas and pay for insurance and maintenance on the car that gets us to the job that pays us not enough money. Oh, and heat and electricity is nice, too.

I was contributing regularly to a Tax-Free Savings Account-sheltered fund until recently. It was suggested to me that, due to what I lost on it last year and the upcoming, um, uncertainty, that I instead pay off my most expensive debt.

The only millenials I know that don't have degrees but are on the property ladder can owe their ascent to luck, pure and simple. Nobody gets there without help from family or by going further into debt, these days.

We are currently looking out of the city, near where my better half already has something approaching regular employment, to which she commutes, staying about a week per month. Rarely do we ever see a house with any land (an acre would do) for less than $200K. Land can be found, but just try getting a mortgage on an unimproved lot.

A five percent mortgage on stuff in that range is easily $12k to $20k. We pay almost $19k a year in rent.

Someone decided to try and park in our back seat a year ago this past November, while my better half was driving in stop-and-go on the highway. The cost to repair it was about $800 more than the insurance company was willing to pay, so we got $4200 back from that fiasco, and took out a $16k car loan just so that I could keep going to my job. And then I had to shell out for a set of winter tires, and then a set of all-weather tires, and a set of brakes, about $1800 all told.

It's not that millenials are unable to properly prioritise their finances. That suggestion is insulting. The job market is difficult, mostly because boomers don't want to retire, because they haven't saved sufficiently to support themselves afterwards. They've been so busy blowing their cashflow on luxuries, they forgot that they now have a couple of decades, rather than a couple of years, to pay for after they stop working.

Also, it used to be that a high school diploma would be enough to get you a well-paying job, or at least one where you could advance with time and effort. Now it's apparently an Undergraduate degree, or a Bachelor's, that you need to even be considered. So millenials need to shell out more for education that nets them less. We go into debt for education that is increasingly less-effective at helping us to land jobs to pay off the debt we incur just to stay competitive.

Permaculture, for me, is my chance to supplement whatever kind of retirement savings I can scrounge. I will start on that after I've paid off my debt, then gone into more debt to get a postage stamp in the country with a house too small for anyone my size, let alone the family we want to have.

And $10 000 for an acre or two? I wish. Not with anything on it that would qualify for a mortgage, and not anywhere near anything that would make it useful.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 2039
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
182
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting. My perception here is that it's all younger people getting into permaculture. My husband informs me I'm a millenial. Born in the 80s.

I think the land calls to us more because jobs suck so much. lol They aren't the stable thing they once were.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3207
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Incidentally, I neglected the trades. I don't know about anyone else, but I wish that, in the absence of anything else, I had picked up a skilled trade. It's the only exception to my earlier statement about property ownership.

A huge injustice was perpetrated against us, where I grew up, in that the expectation was, from the school I went to and all our parents, that we would all attend university. Trades were for menials.

I remember not five years out of university, I had found my current line of work at a print and bindery, working a blue-collar trade, and my electrician friend was driving a new jeep around as his primary work vehicle, living in a loft he'd been about to pay off, just married and talking about moving back home to New Brunswick with his pregnant wife.

I think that a lot of us university-educated fools would have been much happier in one of the trades. Not only would the work have been steadier, the skills gained would have applied on the homestead.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 538
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
56
fungi gear trees chicken bike building woodworking wood heat homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I give all of you credit for either locating to a rural area and building your life or experimenting in a city or suburban yard while planning to move out the the countryside somewhere some day.

My thought — that of someone older than yourselves who has been living the homestead way for many years — is that you’re starting with the advantage of theoretical knowledge of the soil food web.  You’re not starting from the concepts, convictions, and habits of “chemical farming”.  The obvious hurdle for most of you is raising capital and finding an affordable rural place with weather and other conditions you can accept.

The theme of a sort of loneliness within your generation is clear here.  To me, it seems there’s a reason why the number of millenials who imagine living in the country are rather few.  People are growing up as strangers to the land and to practicality.  There are unfamiliarities that, consciously or unconsciously, limit North Americans of today.  Learning to handle livestock, be it solely poultry or intended inclusion of rabbits, goats, or cattle, is one challenge.  But food (crops & animals) is just the most widely recognized aspect of homesteading.  When I read posts on internet forums from city/suburban people wanting to move out it’s seldom that there’s any mention of a working knowledge of plumbing, rural water supply/delivery systems, electrical systems & wiring, woodworking & carpentry (and/or “alternative building”), small-engine maintenance, wood-fired or other heating systems.

Paul Wheaton and Jocelyn Campbell are a couple of the people who have been setting up a system for people to actually put hands-on with some of these dimensions.  There are many other people who have done or are still doing something similar, scattered around the map.  Thank goodness for that!  Not to mention internet resource advantages that include Youtube, FarmHack, Make magazine, Instructables, and doityourself.com    One thing I often recommend to people in the city is that if you come across any opportunities to learn the basics of some of the technical knowledge/skills that I mentioned, do it!

Given current conditions of high cost of living, debt load, limited availability of affordable rural land in many regions, I’m sure there’s no general formula for proceeding.  So I admire those of you who have simply dived in and been acquiring the broad range of understandings and skills.

I suppose what I’m posting may just ‘state the obvious’  I got fascinated by the thread, and this stuff simply poured out (so please excuse).  Anyhow, I wish you venturesome people all the best.  
 
Ed Martinaise
Posts: 7
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:

And $10 000 for an acre or two? I wish. Not with anything on it that would qualify for a mortgage, and not anywhere near anything that would make it useful.

-CK



I sure didn't mean to insult you or anyone Chris, actually most of your post seems to justify my take on it all. I guess I didn't explain well. I believe the system is broken, and that's why saving $10,000 for an acre of land (I didn't mean an acre with a home on it, just land) before 30 may seem daunting or impossible. I just gave a few examples of things eating disposable income, you described a long list that we all recognize. As you described, our required financial inputs are way too high and we can't get ahead. Sounds like factory farming.....

What I believe is that a young person DOES have the ability to save early and actually pay cash for a piece of bare land that they can begin their permaculture dream upon sometime later in their life. I feel it's a shame that so many young people have so many immediate financial pressures that they feel the only way to pursue it is with a mortgage and all that comes with it. Spread over enough time, it's possible with cash. My take is that a great way to own land is to save money early early early (right out of school) a little bit all the time. In 10 years, take that cash and start looking. Take your time. Wait for a recession. Send letters directly to the parcels' tax addresses. Buy your raw land. Now you are ready to save for the next step............But if you are too far into today's debt and financial circus, I do understand. That's what I think is a shame, and is not a good reflection on our society. I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just encouraging young people to take a really long term view and save pennies all the way. Hard to do in America today.
 
pollinator
Posts: 581
Location: Denmark 57N
129
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just creep into the demographic (1981) I'm not American I come from the UK where house prices are even more insane, and the way I got land was moving country, and buying the cheapest most rundown (but standing and livable) property available. I bought 2.2 acres and a house and barns for $14k We've been here four years and on the saved rent are not buying a 5 acre property with much better land and a decent HUGE house. Most of my friends in the UK have their own houses now (they almost all have good degrees and masters), none have more than a postage stamp for a garden but several have allotments and do try to grow something at home. Over here in Denmark everyone has their own house (houses are cheap) many have large gardens, and none of them grow anything other than grass. I have offered people who were going on and on about wanting to grow vegetables areas of my land to do it on for free, and no one wanted to actually do the work to do it.
I know of one young person who wants to be a farmer, he has been educated in it and is helping his mother and her new husband at their place (which he cannot inherit as it has to be split 5 ways) Here inheritance is impossible unless it is direct and close family, for example my Aunt wants to leave me some money, but I will have to pay income tax on anything she leaves me (48%)

Even though houses are cheap here it is still not easy, cheap houses are a long way from work. you cannot buy just land unless you own a farm. so you can't just buy 2 acres for 10k (although that IS the price here) unless you already own a property which is registered as a farm OR that land is nextdoor to your existing house.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2416
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
153
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OMG $14,000 for 2.5 acres and a run down fixer upper house. I am not sure that exist in America. I hope that exist somewhere nearish to me.

Can you explain what you did to find this affordable 2.5acres home. I would like to share this info with my circle of people.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2039
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
182
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ed Martinaise wrote:

Chris Kott wrote:

And $10 000 for an acre or two? I wish. Not with anything on it that would qualify for a mortgage, and not anywhere near anything that would make it useful.

-CK



I sure didn't mean to insult you or anyone Chris, actually most of your post seems to justify my take on it all. I guess I didn't explain well. I believe the system is broken, and that's why saving $10,000 for an acre of land (I didn't mean an acre with a home on it, just land) before 30 may seem daunting or impossible. I just gave a few examples of things eating disposable income, you described a long list that we all recognize. As you described, our required financial inputs are way too high and we can't get ahead. Sounds like factory farming.....

What I believe is that a young person DOES have the ability to save early and actually pay cash for a piece of bare land that they can begin their permaculture dream upon sometime later in their life. I feel it's a shame that so many young people have so many immediate financial pressures that they feel the only way to pursue it is with a mortgage and all that comes with it. Spread over enough time, it's possible with cash. My take is that a great way to own land is to save money early early early (right out of school) a little bit all the time. In 10 years, take that cash and start looking. Take your time. Wait for a recession. Send letters directly to the parcels' tax addresses. Buy your raw land. Now you are ready to save for the next step............But if you are too far into today's debt and financial circus, I do understand. That's what I think is a shame, and is not a good reflection on our society. I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just encouraging young people to take a really long term view and save pennies all the way. Hard to do in America today.



The problem is what we've been fed since infancy. Credit cards are constantly shoved down our throats. The litany of "everyone has a car payment. Everyone has a mortgage. You HAVE to have a credit card for X, Y, Z"

We are taught to get debt early and often. We go 100's of thousands into debt for college.

Finance is NOT taught in school and I'm sure if it was it'd be teaching debt anyway.

A lot of people have a problem saving up $1000. $10000 would never happen.

Oh and social media making us want to show how awesome our lives are by buying crap doesn't help either.
 
Posts: 203
Location: NNSW Australia
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread has been a good read.

Many of my peers want nothing more than to grow their own food, for them the issue is partly cost of land, but also regulations about what crops they can grow, where they can put a shed, having to register bee hives etc. etc.
Further regulations make it more expensive to build a shelter, when we'd all be happy enough in small solar powered sheds.
Zoning laws make it illegal to break up rural blocks of land, when it is widely acknowledged that many small market gardens would be better than one giant livestock operation.
Whenever zoning laws are changed to break up farmland, the zone changes straight to urban and everything is highly developed and sold at ridiculous profits (though the houses are flimsy and flood prone).

My parents belong to a group called Spending Kids Inheritance that's all about squandering your savings and leaving your (numerous!) kids nothing. Of course they see all young people as entitled parasites while failing to acknowledge their own inheritance and the tax breaks, free university, cheap land, high interest savings environment they lived through.
 
pollinator
Posts: 93
Location: Ontario - zone 5b
60
forest garden foraging tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am a mid 90s millenial with a good job, and work lots of overtime. Its not going to be easy to get even a modest piece of property any time soon. At market price, a rented 1 bdrm modest apartment in the greater toronto area would take about half of my monthly take home pay. Luckily, my rent is half that.  Even saving more than half of my take home pay, ownership of land anywhere within 1.5 hrs drive of the gta would be 10 + years off. I keep waiting for the crash but... even a 30%crash  wouldn't make things much more affordable. And it's often easier/less upfront cost to buy a house, at least here, than raw land, because of the availability of mortgages. A small  lot a few hours from the big city might still be $150 000.

The only people I see getting ahead , even with good jobs, have their parents helping them with a downpayment  or  cosigning, or giving them free room and board for university and the first 3 to 4 years of work, paying for their school, or their car, often most of the above. My family wouldnt be able to afford to do that, and i am too proud to ask. Right now, I could buy something, with a mortgage 4-5 hrs from the city easily. I just couldn't find a job to pay for the mortgage payments. Or afford both rent in the city and mortgage payments elsewhere. So I spin my wheels and continue to save money unail something changes...

I have a lot of hope for my fellow millenials.  A surprising number of my friends/peers in the city are interested in sustainability and many of them, growing things. But most don't have the skills or experience to be successful, so they get frustrated, declare themselves to have a brown thumb, and quit.

I helped two friends go to my favourite local nursery this year and buy stuff.... one came away with cherry tomatos, strawberries, and herbs and flowers, the other watermelon seeds and a grape vine, and flowers. But they wouldnt have bought half as much if I wasn't there going, yeah, you can grow that! It's easy! No, that's not a great choice for that spot, how about this? They both had a lot of fun and really enjoyed their little gardens. I got another friend 'with a brown thumb' into indoor plants by giving her some easy care cuttings and helping her care for them and showing her how and when to water. She now takes better care of her plants than I do.  I was in a group of 5 people my age and I was the only one who had ever held a spade, let alone knew the proper name and how to step on the end of it to plant a tree. I volunteered a few years at a shared community garden, turning up the soil and incorporating compost. I could do one raised bed in the time it took 3 others -including  young muscular men- to do one bed. They would stop between each shovelful to rest. I think a lot of people my age have no endurance,  because they have never learned the rhythm of physical work.

These skills are not from me being a gardening prodigy. These are skills I picked up helping my parents garden, and refusing to be shown up at weeding or shoveling by my 80+ year old grandmother or 50 + year old mother. Gardening wasn't really a chore growing up, it was that fun thing i do with my parents where i get pretty flowers and tasty  food, so i researched a lot, and was given pretty much free rein to do stuff. Now, I teach others how to do stuff. Somehow the last few generations seem to have failed at passing on a lot of basic skills.  I had a community garden the  last two years. I have moved to a smaller city so I won't have one this year, and am quite depressed about it. All the community garden plots I know of have 2 + year waitlists, even though they are quite expensive. So yes, there is a desire to grow your own!

 
Audrey Lewis
Posts: 44
Location: Lexington, KY
13
kids forest garden food preservation
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joel, you bring up a very important point:

My thought — that of someone older than yourselves who has been living the homestead way for many years — is that you’re starting with the advantage of theoretical knowledge of the soil food web. You’re not starting from the concepts, convictions, and habits of “chemical farming”.



The abundance of wise, often ground-breaking information available now is an enormous advantage over toiling away in the soil blindly, or worse, with only knowledge of chemical farming. While it can feel like information overload at times, and it can make you feel like you'll never learn it all, it can also save you from having 80 apple trees die in their first year. It can guide you to create the right infrastructure for your property before you shell out your hard earned money on plants and animals, thus setting you up for success.

Millennials may struggle to scrounge up enough capital to get started, but a penny saved is a penny earned, and using what you learn from others on this website (or elsewhere) about permaculture can save you thousands of dollars and hours in losses. Thanks for the reminder!
 
pollinator
Posts: 235
Location: East tn
56
hugelkultur foraging homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Enjoying, but also sympathizing with this thread. My son is a millennial, born in 1995. He recently graduated college with a nursing degree where most pull 3 twelves a week for a reasonable starting income, still leaving 4 days for other work.

He lives with us on 6.5 acres with his four siblings on his days off. On days he works, he stays in town to shorten his work commute. This week during his time off he potted elderberry for spring planting, scattered wood chips, and researched how to convert an old concrete block out-building (on our property) with no roof into a tiny off grid house.

It is an unconventional path. But I am proud of him. In just 5 months, he has amassed significant savings and will soon put a roof on the building. He will have his own (nearby) place by mid spring.

I think it takes a bit of bold unconventional steps these days.

To those who are looking at a steep uphill climb to get your own place where you are...move.

There are places where it is affordable. Find the book strategic relocation by skousen. Consider Appalachia or the Ozarks. If you need work, move near a mid size town like knoxville, chattanooga, Spartanburg, or Huntsville , there are jobs. Drive 45 minutes in any direction from knox or nooga and you can buy a house and a few acres for 3 figures a month.  If you look on homepath.com you can find foreclosures.

Or, find your target area and take out an ad in the local paper (not online) offering to be an understudy for sweat equity. Older farmers want a legacy and their kids and grands wat city life. You may be their answered prayer.

You can do it, differently.
 
Skandi Rogers
pollinator
Posts: 581
Location: Denmark 57N
129
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

S Bengi wrote:OMG $14,000 for 2.5 acres and a run down fixer upper house. I am not sure that exist in America. I hope that exist somewhere nearish to me.

Can you explain what you did to find this affordable 2.5acres home. I would like to share this info with my circle of people.



This house is in Denmark, the land is an old lake so it is damp (though has been and is possible to drain, the neighbour downhill has a delightful acre+ lawn) It was advertised at 70k and had been on the market for nearly 3 years, and then a storm came through and took the chimney down and peeled part of the barn roof off. the house was reduced to 24k and we put in a speculative offer of 14k (expecting them to counter offer) but they accepted it so long as they didn't have to guarantee anything on the property.
We had to put a new roof on the house $5k all done ourselves, and a new front door as the bottom fell off the old one! The windows are double glazed but need new frames as they are totally rotten, we've done a bit of plumbing work and redone the gutters, but that is basically it. What you get for that money, is a house where the hot-water tap in the bathroom didn't work because someone had "fixed" it's drip by pushing leather and cloth down it, the plumbing to the kitchen sink came from an old gas furnace, where the toilet was missing, the washing machine emptied into a cupboard and the electrics are from the 50's. It also has wood heating so it is COLD if you are not home to fire it.
To find it was as simple as looking at the estate agent listings. I have some friends here who have bought 4.4 acres and a small poor quality house for $45k (or 31k maybe not sure) they are now waiting for the occupant to leave (he can live there as long as he likes/is able he's 93) They are planning on totally rebuilding but that wouldn't be totally necessary.
This house will be going up on the market in a month or so, and hopefully someone else can have a cheap house to save rent in, we did the roof, they will have to do the windows, and then it's good to go. we'll put it up for 40k and be happy to accept 30k.
 
Posts: 61
Location: nemo, 5a/b
14
kids fungi foraging trees cooking building
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi James, thanks for the interesting conversation. Just for a quick summary... I'm an '86er, and I moved onto this raw land in 2012 when I was 25. When I was 20 I dropped out of college after a year and a half (before I could accumulate any debt) and began wwoofing and travelling to different farms and communities. It didn't take long before I knew I wanted that sort of lifestyle, so I started looking for places to settle. For a variety of reasons I ended up in rural NE Missouri. The land prices and taxes are quite affordable and there are few laws preventing one from pursing an off-grid DIY path. But really the bigger reason was the other people in the area who shared similar interests and were committed to creating community. Even if I found cheaper land that was "better" or something somewhere else, I wouldn't be interested in doing what I'm doing without the context or support of an extended community. I met my partner within the context of this community, and we were able to acquire our land without any savings because of connections made through this community. We've had to work extremely hard in order to build what we want here, and for many years that meant spending up to half the year in the city working to save up money for our homestead. Since we were willing to live in a tent for extended periods of time and weren't in a huge rush to get infrastructure built, we were able to slowly acquire materials and build things as we could afford. Some of it could be credited to good luck or being in the right place at the right time, but it did not require having savings or inheritance or other things like that. (If you're interested in what we've built here, I documented most of the first few years in this thread)

We, as well as all our friends and neighbors, are still constantly trying to figure out how to pursue our dreams of community and homesteading and all this permie jazz while still making ends meet and not have to work in town full time. Everyone is for the most part within the millennial window. One thing I do notice in these circles is that there tends to be a thread of varying degrees of Luddite-ness in the people who choose this lifestyle. What that looks like is few people I know who are doing what I'm doing participate much in social media, including forums such as this. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but since that's a primary way most people connect and network these days, it does seem to make it harder to find each other. Even in my own community I'm not sure if anyone would know about permies.com if it wasn't for me talking about it, and even then I don't think any of them ever visit here. Going further, there even seems to be active judgement of many modern technologies including all types of screens and internet etc. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with any of those opinions, but it does seems to present another hurdle in responsibly utilizing those resources and technologies to build community and all that.

That being said, I don't know anyone who I grew up with, went to high school with, or went to college with who are doing anything remotely like what I'm doing.

Also if anyone is interested... we are in the final stages of going public with our Community Land Trust. It will be called Bear Creek CLT and hopefully within the next couple weeks we'll have a basic website with pictures and descriptions of who we are, what we're doing, and available openings for future leaseholds. I'll be making a larger post about it soon with more info somewhere in the community forums.

-WY
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for sharing, Mike. I wish I had that kind of community out here. What sort of stuff do you do at your place? Do you do any gardening, livestock, orchard/food forest?
 
Mike Patterson
Posts: 61
Location: nemo, 5a/b
14
kids fungi foraging trees cooking building
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

What sort of stuff do you do at your place? Do you do any gardening, livestock, orchard/food forest?



Well there are a number of different "homesteads" I guess you could call them and each one is implementing some sort of permaculture design. So yes, pretty much everyone has at least one annual garden. 100s if not 1000s of trees have been planted, some of which you could call an orchard of cultivar varieties, others in more of a food forest/polyculture setting, and lots of native species planted all over the place. A few of us keep chickens/ducks and often trade off chore duties if needed. We've raised weaner hogs in the past and would be open to doing that again. One community member has a dairy cow with two calves so there's always plenty of milk. There have been goats around in the past but none at the moment. There is a team of draft horses on the land that a few people work with. We're not quite to where we are farming with them, but they're certainly useful for mowing and hauling stuff around. Some stocked ponds were already here and a couple more have been added. There is a good mix of open pasture/prairie land and forest with very little tillable acreage.

Personally at our leasehold we have 2 large gardens, one hugel-swale food forest with around 15-20 cultivars, one decent sized pond with young fish stocked and aquatic plantings, plenty of wild fruit and nut trees and shrubs, mushroom cultivation, and random things planted all around. We also make syrup from black walnut and silver maple trees. And endless building projects everywhere. Essentially a little bit of everything.

What about at your farm?

-WY
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My big focus has been agroforestry. I'm planting out my six acre field into a polyculture orchard/food forest. I'm trying to include as much as I reasonably can that is useful for food, building materials (including things like timber bamboo and coppice trees), and medicine. My hope is that once I get the plants established I will have propagation materials (seeds and scionwood) for trade, selling, or sharing. I have a big garden including a lot of hugelbeds to help me get through the dry summers, and I'm hoping to dig a small pond. I've had birds in the past (chickens, ducks, geese, etc) but I've moved away from livestock while trying to get my orchard established. It makes more sense on livestock financially to hold off until I can feed them from my land. In the meantime I have rabbits for manure and buy my compost locally. I also bring in as much wood as I can for hugels.

There's a lot of need already for this kind of thing, and it's growing all the time. Lots of people are flooding into the region from areas hit by drought and severe weather (100,000 to Portland alone last year I'm told). This is driving up prices and crowding the towns and cities already. I figure it will only get worse as climate change proceeds, so I'm trying to be proactive about it all.

Like I mentioned above, I'm also trying to plant more for bees locally.
 
Posts: 14
2
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am really liking this thread! I am optimistic that permaculture will spread more and more, but slowly and quietly since it will not be endorsed by popular culture. Word of mouth is everything! I was born in '94 and thankfully I went to some hippy charter schools which helped with getting a connection to nature at a young age, and continually through the grades. Exposure is everything!

I did not go to college which has been considered some great tragedy in my family, although no one else went to college, and no one else seems to be chomping at the bit to pay for it...so why would I be so desperate to do so? If I decide to go, I have to accept the debt will be on my shoulders alone! So why, at young impressionable ages when you want to impress your family (and more importantly, everyone else) does your very same family encourage you to jump into debt, and something that does not teach real skills, nor does it guarantee a job, and we know it doesn't teach you basic finance. Shouldn't our parents know better than to take this wildly bad gamble with our future? So strange.

Anyway, I have been working for the past 5 years and it is not great, pretty soul sucking, actually. For the most part however, I am in a better financial situation than my friends who went to school and are now making it on their own, with debt hanging over them, and college appears to have been pretty soul sucking as well. I am more prepared to buy land, or a house, than I would have been if I had just graduated college two years ago. I also have more extensive work experience. How were we sold on the idea that college will make life easier better richer faster? If anything, people have an extended adolescence to wade through before reality finally hits them.. just strange! Also, my financial situation is really not that good! It is better than many, especially the homeless that surround me constantly, but just by not having debt I feel like I am in a much more free position...

Ironically, I am considering going to university for sustainable food systems, a B.S. Really this is my "reasonable" excuse to move somewhere moderately rural and to spend my time and money going to PDC's and anything else I can get my hands dirty doing, while I am gaining residency in the new state. I will have to be in an apartment to start in this new place where I know no one, but hopefully my BF and I will be in a flexible lease, and able to look at land/houses sooner rather than later.

What matters is following your heart and doing something purposeful. I have been wistfully observing the permaculture world through my computer screen, and I at least know that this is the purpose I want to fulfill. I constantly talk about permaculture to other people, and I am so excited to physically be involved at last. I will see if University really ends up happening, probably only if it is financially viable and doesn't interfere with getting some land. I still feel drawn to school for the social and networking possibilities more than anything else...and now I have a very clear idea of what I would want to study, at last. Part of me wonders how much I will really gain? Is it just to put my family at ease?

I feel ahead of my peers in certain ways, but I still feel so behind in every other way compared to adults of the past. By my age my grandmother had all three of her children years ago, their house was being built and expanded by my grandfather, and they were not rich by any means! Why do we think we much have x amount of dollars before starting our families and lives? The basics are so lost, and as I find that they are what I really want, and what I could have learned from my family instead of being indoctrinated my whole youth... by now I could be really established if passing down knowledge was a cultural thing. I am trying not to wallow in feeling unaccomplished, but I really am unaccomplished! Why are we waiting longer and longer to get life started? I feel like I should have had 20 children and a productive garden with a cob house by now! LOL! Really though, there are so many gov't mandated distractions that keep us from our true potential? because it is more profitable to have us controlled- is my guess.

Totally a wild long winded rant right now, but I wonder if people relate!

We are moving from stinky, expensive CA to mysterious (to us) Northern Idaho, soon. No exact dates set, but probably before the summer of 2019. I would love to meet anyone and everyone interested in permaculture and the like, I am SO yearning for like-minded folks. Or even not that like-minded, just genuine!

This post was not written very well so please, forgive me! Just blowing off steam from figuring out the logistics of our move, and also I am feeling excited to be finally moving toward a permaculture life, little by little. Many mixed emotions. A cycle of sad/elated to be moving away from family. Extremely excited to get out of this job. Nervous about getting another job I hate after moving, just to "make things work". Absolutely stoked to see another part of the country! Nervous about snow, and snow+gardening-experience=disaster? Cycles of stress/excitement/sadness/happiness everyday. What a life!

 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 722
Location: Western Washington
195
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree that for many college has been a questionable investment, especially compared to trade school (as mentioned) and land.

Why Idaho? Have you visited before?
 
Let's go to the waterfront with this tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://permies.com/w/better-world
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!