Re: Mini-cohousing
From: Jacqueline Freeman (
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2009 09:57:47 -0700 (PDT)
This is just what we're thinking about on our farm and we've got two ideas for how we might do it. One is cohousing for 3-4 participants on our current farm. The other is something we're making up called co-farming.

My husband and I own a biodynamic farm and some acreage that's in gardens, orchards and pasture for the animals. We're about a half hour outside Portland OR.

1. This is the idea for the mini-cohousing:

Our farmhouse has five bedrooms and my husband and I like living in the guest cottage which we have done the past few years, using the kitchen and living room for teaching farm-related classes and letting any of our students who have come a distance stay in the rooms. Also our farm interns stay in the bedrooms when they're here working on the farm. Bottom line is we have a very roomy farmhouse that we under-use.

This house could easily have private areas:
2 upstairs bedrooms with a bath, 2 upstairs bedrooms with a deck and we could install a bathroom in an available hallway/closet, and a downstairs 'mother-in-law' bedroom/bath that opens into a herb garden. The downstairs one might remain common use if the finances can bear it, giving room for guests, a library or just a common quiet room.

The large living room, kitchen, and mudroom / laundry would stay common areas. The 3 bay garage is a workshop that can be used by all and we've got other outbuildings that can fill other wishes, like art studio space or teaching areas, maybe even a commercial kitchen if we go that direction.

Are their guidelines for pricing something like this? We don't own it free and clear yet so how does it work when someone buys in and we do paperwork? How does it work with mortgages when the space is held by multiple parties?

We also own more abutting acreage. If we really like how the cohousing works out, we could build more cohousing and grow the community in a Phase Two plan.

2. Our other idea is that we sell our abutting land to someone who'd like to co-farm with us. Completely independent ownership of the respective land, but then share the use of buildings, add a big winter greenhouse, share farm machines and tools, milk the same cow and use eggs from the common flock. They buyer could even live in our big farmhouse while they build something eco-friendly to live in on their land so building costs stay low.

I don't know that this would be called co-housing, more like co-farming side by side.

Any and all ideas are welcome. Glad to be on this list!

Jacqueline Freeman
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
Battle Ground, WA

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