We are excited to introduce this homestead project located in Northern Michigan, and request the support of the Permies community. We have 80 acres of land in which we wish to continue Permaculture and Agroforestry research. The land includes rich soil and forests teaming with wildlife, pine stands and mixed hardwood stands, as well as natural building projects and dwellings.
This is an amazing opportunity for us at this time in our lives and for the homestead and forest farm research community as a whole.
This will be our first season working on site and are moving there full-time. Beginning projects on site include renovating existing dwellings for living year round, planting and designing gardens, shiitake mushroom cultivation, and raising rabbits. Long term projects include building lodging/dwellings, a cafe, community, education, and enterprise.
Due to the fact that it is our first year working on the project property, we are somewhat asking the same thing. But we got a chance to learn more about the land when we visited on Jan, 1 this year, giving us a better idea. No matter the snow
What I want to say is 'Come on down' if you are willing to camp and work. We will be exploring the possibilities of using resources on the land ex. soil, compost, wood, clay. And exploring surrounding territories (which should be pretty fun).
Work will depend on the weather, but there will be something to do everyday. Examples include all projects listed, with activities like, digging, shoveling, planting, designing, working with compost, trees, building, recording field notes, etc.
We will have 2-3 meals a day regularly, rustic style food and probably sandwiches.
Although this is currently on a volunteer basis, and you will have to pay for your portion of the food,
this is a great time to jump on board if you're interested in this type of work. We have also posted in the regional section of the Permies forum, on the midwest usa thread, inviting people to come and learn with us. Also when we find clients (or they find us), there will be an opportunity to be your very own employee helping people design and implement gardens and forest farms regionally.
For longer term goals there are many options, all of which are inspiring, and would be possible with resourceful minds.
Community is a big word, for us it is an important word. It's good to make the best conditions for the land to thrive. Let's take these 80 acres for example, and care for the land together, because we can't do it alone.
Care for the earth
Care for others
Return excess to earth
What this means is that there is room for people who are committed to spend the rest of their lives there, or at least help design the land for maximum functionality with these principles in mind. In fact it is possible to take care of the land, while at the same time design your life so that you don't have to be on site full time. But if you want to care for animals it requires more demand to be there full-time. Perhaps it would be beneficial for Community to care of animals allowing for everybody to spend some time off or traveling.
Have you ever held a job that you thought 'this is not what i want to be doing right now' and you have interest in building a new lifestyle, something you can be proud of? Then this might be the right volunteer opportunity for you. It could turn into a lifestyle, or you can just learn something to take with you on your way.
Others can help - those needed to cover all bases;
-Others willing to take care of administrative tasks for running the educational non-profit organization
-Science/math minded folks
-Those with resources or vehicle
-Those with experience
-Carpenter type skillset
-Those with skills/crafts/hobbies
What we want to do is build a hostel with a cafe, linking the local-regional-global Community and create a hotspot for ecotourism. This should benefit everybody, including local economy.
Another big factor in this long term project is providing education to children, for instance providing programs which are interesting for parents as well; this should draw many people and most importantly educate the youth.
Those interested in living onsite full-time would be willing to build a sustainable dwelling, along with taking care of a number of acres for gardening/forest farming (providing training to the best of our ability). They should be interested in participating in activities with others onsite regularly, and even brainstorm ways to make life more healthy and sustainable such as bartering or creating a currency system. Community meals would also be invloved.
At this point these are some things to mull over, but keep it in mind and if anything peaks your interest please contact us and give us a hand. We are so lucky to have this opportunity, and in the years to come we are planning to see;
-Vibrant gardens, trees, and wildlife.
-A buzzing of energy and stream of people.
-A haven for living and learning close to nature
Most impressive, Mr. Newton. Sounds like a place we would all like to be and/or should be building right now.
There are legions of folks out there now thoroughly in a state of spiritual divorce from BAU (business as usual). I can't tell you the number of college grads I've seen already throttled ... perhaps for the rest of their life ... with heavy debt. What a joke and scam we have all fallen into! How to get out? Bill Mollison would say the revolution begins by building gardens. Grow your own food and take care of your neighbors.
CARE OF THE LAND
CARE OF PEOPLE
SHARE YOUR SURPLUS
Whether any of us like this formula or not, the generations alive today will have to confront the reality that BAU can NOT continue. Big change ... big challenge is in store for all of us.
And I do a HALLELUJAH SALUTE when you help folks solve the "shelter" question by taking it too into their own hands. The quickest and surest way to freedom is to possess the ability to intelligently shelter yourself wherever you may find yourself. Make your own natural home/camp/shelter ... grow one's own gardens and swap with neighbors doing their gardens and swapping for diversity and health?
With "warm and dry" and access to real food and real nutrition for the brain and soul, you have essentially a "free agent" ... someone capable of taking care of themselves and unencumbered from wage slavery. That is revolutionary, Sir! And it is a revolution with a real chance. Maybe our only chance.
Build your own camp, and pay no housing cost. Gather your own firewood and pay no utilities. There are actually some folks who have found their way to this condition of freedom. You are among them and fostering others to find their way OUT too? Bravo, dear Sir, bravo indeed.
I admire your animal "sharing" idea.
Two milk goats for one small family is a serious commitment every day ... no days off. But two milk goats keeping FOUR FAMILIES happy in healthy dairy is no burden to anyone and a joy to all.
Its all pretty much common sense, isn't it?
Are you having any success in attracting others to work with you?
I see so many new projects pop up and then seemingly fade away.
Do you have any thoughts about the whole process about working with others? I've heard some who feel there is so little chance of finding common ground with other folks that they feel it is not really worth the effort and time.
Any others out there reading who have experience with attracting and aligning with other individuals and families?
It's really important to be able to work together, we all share common ground. For example, everyone inhabits the earth...
Ok but seriously, more than a few friends have expressed interest in coming to visit / help for a period of time. This doesn't cover the potential we are trying to reach though.
For the beginning, we are hoping to let things evolve naturally, like the start of our trip for instance. Having tried to kick it off with a ride from a friend that couldnt make it. We haven't left yet. Surprisingly we just got a good deal on a car to take us there, plus we can beat this nasty weather by waiting for it to blow over.
As for keeping this thread alive its all about posting, any new post bumps the thread to the top of the page. We would like to share updates as much as possible: it's a great way to get advice or ideas. Make a comment. We would love to hear from you.
Permies, Friends, Family, and anyone else who's listening...
We are having a wonderful summer. Yes, some things have pulled and tugged us in other directions, and some homestead projects have not gotten proper attention (isn't that always the case?). I worked in a kitchen at a fancy-shmancey restaurant for a couple months, etc. But we have fallen in love with the land, the trees, herbs, birds, and the bees ;o
It is tough starting a homestead from scratch, I can't imagine how the pioneers of old did it. Well, I can imagine it but it wouldn't be very fun. We are definitely a product of a different age. Yeah, maybe we are spoiled but I appreciate the fact that we are able to make it out here with a little help from our friends and maybe an unleaded gas generator to pump water...We have mostly been using hand tools - saws, shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, and that feels good. To know you can take care of stuff without the farm machinery that seems to always break down at the least opportune times (literally every farmer we've talked to who uses gas-powered machinery has experienced this, not even exaggerating). There was a point in the season where we wanted to put in a hand pumped 'shallow' well, but time and money was not necessarily available for that this year. Actually that is probably the reason we haven't built more of an infrastructure, in fact there's a point where we realized that if we had all the time and money in the world we would have an amazingly efficient self-sustainable homestead that could probably support 100 people or more. But we are just 2 people and we don't have any money.
However we are blessed with an excess of land and resources, and the food from our gardens and our neighbors gardens have been prolific to the point of excess in which we are currently scrambling to cook, and can food in jars, and where I'm wishing to throw a feast of veggies for everyone to attend.
Now we are really trying to finish key projects for the winter, so we have to go, but before that I want to post a short timeline with pics from earlier this season. (I have many more recent pics but haven't been able to upload those yet.)
Cold weather Shiitake greeted us when we arrived in May - the logs were innoculated over 7 years ago!
Little Ducklings have grown since the beginning of June
Chestnut Planting in July
I'm cutting a Red Pine log - We're making a table!
Hi Chris! Your site looks awesome! Surprised I haven't heard of it yet. How'd you come into stewardship of it? Who built the earthlodge? (also how does it hold up to the humidity?
Do you know Brad Kik? He just moved into your area and did a cistern building workshop with Peter Bane.
If you're looking for more people to help, we're having a Michigan Permaculture Convergence in November you might like to come to. The plan is to start moving it from site to site across the state each year to provide a "permablitz" at a large weekend scale. This year it's mostly getting people together to enhance the community. Website: http://www.michiganpermacultureconvergence.com/
Another thing I'm excited about is getting some collaborative growing/selling - working together so we can increase our growing time and decrease marketing time. Chestnut Growers Inc might be a coop you'd be interested in joining eventually if you don't know about them.
There's also a group up in Harbor Springs at Soul Springs Permaculture really cool folks there.
That's a very big dog. I think I want to go home now and hug this tiny ad: