Making Ends Meet

Discussion in 'General chat' started by Antennaria, May 7, 2019.

  1. Antennaria

    Antennaria New Member

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    Hello,
    Permaculture makes sense to me in biological terms, and I am currently in the market for a piece of land on which to practice sustainable agriculture. The body of information about how to do that is rich and diverse.

    However, I wonder how viable permaculture is for supporting my family. I know we could probably feed ourselves from our land, but I am not sure about producing and selling enough product to pay taxes, the mortgage, insurance, cell phones, internet, clothing, orthodontia, college savings, and all the other costs of family life.

    I am looking for land at about 40 degrees north latitude, at high altitude (1,600 to 2,700 meters (5,000 to 9,000 feet) above sea level), with a semi-arid climate (28 cm to 58 cm (11 inches to 23 inches) of precipitation annually. Temperatures range from -23 degrees celsius in the winter (-10 Fahrenheit) to 37 degrees (100 F) in the summer. I'm not worried about the climate. Techniques abound for dealing with the elements in a sustainable manner. The question is, how to create a situation that will financially sustain a family, as well?
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi Antennaria,
    Welcome to the forum.

    I dont know how you can 'financially sustain a family as well'.
    In all honesty, you will probably find that you will need to continue with your day job/s while you get the hang of growing your own vegetable, planting fruit trees etc...
    If you are able to buy a commercial sized farm, then yes, I can see you this will be possible, if you continue with how it has been run, while starting to incorporate the ethics and principles of permaculture.

    What you do will depend on where your new home is and what it is capable of doing for you.
    Some people seem to think that all they need to do is buy land and Hey Presto, we've got money and food on the table. Sorry, it doesnt work that way, no matter what country you live in or how kind your climate is.

    If you are new to gardening, this will take time to get the hang of.
    Same with planting an orchard- with your climate, what will you be able to grow...what do you like eating.....what would your future customers like to eat or..what can the property produce that they would like to buy from you?

    Alot of people start off by doing a course called a Permaculture design course and doing workshops to gain skills needed in growing food and other basic skills.
    Sorry if I seem like a Debbie Downer, but it is disappointing to watch people so keen to do well, but fail simply due to not really understanding that there is more to making a living through this organic method than they realize.

    If you have never gardened or farmed before, then I would suggest finding a property close to where your work is so you at least can support yourselves financially, while you learn how to grow healthy food for your family and then expand or take it further from there.
     
  3. Antennaria

    Antennaria New Member

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    Hello, Mischief! Thank you so much for your candid reply. You are far from being a Debbie Downer, your advice is hearteningly realistic. I'm glad to hear it from a senior member!

    So much of what I see and read seems to imply that with permaculture, all my problems (and all the world's problems) will be solved. Admittedly, the off-the-grid, completely-independent-homesteader myth is seductive. In the end, though, brass tacks are better. I am an avid gardener and ready to take it to the next level. The local agricultural cooperative extension agents are my buddies, and yes, I'm going to keep my day job.

    Thanks, again for your support!
     
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  4. Jason_H

    Jason_H Member

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    Follow the permaculture principles, start at the home (zone 0), work your way out starting with small achievable projects, diversify income streams to increase resilience. Have a look at Gabe Browns enterprise in North Dakota
     
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  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Whew! Thank you, I'm glad you werent offended.
    If you have the support of your family or at least your spouse, you will probably do well. Like most things trying to go it alone makes it very hard.

    I hope you do find that exact right location and if so would love to hear what you decide to do with it and how it goes.
    Being off the grid should be one of the easier things to get done, if you have the capital to do it right. I am on a 1/4 acre just inside a small rural town. At the moment, my hot water cylinder is turned off because my fire has a wetback that heats it up beautifully. At least half my meals are cooked on the top plate.
    While I'm not totally off grid, I try to lessen my power usage as much as possible, til I can get to that point. I have achieved a milestone this year, in that I have not had to buy any fruit this summer/autumn and still have fresh fruit going into winter.
     
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  6. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i live as simple a life as possible - i wish i could live an even more simple life than i am, but that isn't possible right now where i am at - but eventually it will change.

    zero mile food raised without any *cides is the best thing you can do if you can also increase the diversity and resilience of your area.
     
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