|co-farming in Pacific NW?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kay Spencer (oya.stockdoggmail.com)|
|Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2009 18:48:28 -0700 (PDT)|
Please excuse me if I am asking the wrong questions for this forum. I don't live in co-housing although I've been aware of it for about three decades, through my architect friend Dorit Fromm. Now my husband and I are looking at retirement ideas. We're in our fifties. We are not interested in a retirement community, though; we would like to put our country skills to work within the context of community. We plan to sell our house (almost certainly for a ridiculous amount of money, because of where it is located), and buy farmable land, in about three years time. Exactly where, is not at all decided. We will probably want to design and build our own small house there, possibly off-grid, probably load-bearing strawbale. We built our present house together, years ago, and generally do everything ourselves, from constructing solar panels to milking goats. The land we live on is too steep and small to do much with in an agrarian sense, and the wider community (Santa Cruz County, California) is far, far too urban for us, and far, far too expensive to consider buying more usable acreage nearby. My dream is to be able to live and work on a farm but in a community of like-minded people. That is, if I am the sheep lady, there is someone else who cares for the apple trees, and someone else who is managing the free range egg operation, and the vegetables. It doesn't have to be a real money maker, just supplying at least some of the food needs of the group, and paying for itself. Nor would a majority of the inhabitants need to farm, although it couldn't be just me! I want to explore grass-based sustainable livestock raising, in particular -- that requires enough grazing land to support a flock without buying in feed. I worry that the cohousing model wouldn't allow enough privacy and independence for a couple which, admittedly, isn't the worlds' most social, and which is used to being able to design and build whatever we feel like. But I also worry that we are no longer frisky enough to launch a whole farming venture on our own, or flexible and outgoing enough to make a whole new set of friends in a new location. Hence the idea of co-farming. When I search the CoHousing directory, it seems that almost all the communities which are actually farming in any sense other than 'big veggie garden' or 'we have a lot of land someone else farms for us' are in New England. Not sure we can relocate to such a different culture and climate (not saying never though). I always have found the Pacific Northwest congenial and always planned to move there someday, but I don't see much activity up there that approximates my dream. So, questions: Anybody have any advice for me? Anybody know of any possible useful contacts in the PNW for me to try? Anybody interested in pursuing this dream with me, even virtually? peace, Kay Spencer Soquel California
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