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Re: Permaculture market garden [PC class file under nutrient cycles, cr economic
If you are in the USA, which is probable from your email address, you can go
to the county seat and look up the owner of the land in tax records, which
are public documents. If you offer to lease the land for taxes, you may get
a taker. Possibly you can secure a long-term lease so you feel comfortable
planting nut trees.
You can also bid on tax default land. Apparently in Florida, where I live,
there are people who buy from the county the lien on tax delinquent land and
make a big profit when people try to clear the title to sell it. I'm not
recommending this, I'm warning you about it. In some states, particularly
New England, the towns levy property taxes and though the information is in
the county seat, you then have to go to the town to find out when they will
have tax auctions. Most New England towns also are reluctant to sieze land
for back taxes and will give the owner every possible opportunity to keep the
land. Of course, this is as it should be.
Finally, in Massachusetts we were successful in getting unused public lands
into community gardens and fruition projects. This was largely do to the
phenomenal efforts of Susan Redlich while she worked in the Divisioin of Land
Use of the the Food and Agriclture Department of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. Through Susan's influence and efforts (writing legislation)
we also passed the country's first Purchase of Development Rights
legislation, which bought development rights from farmers located near
population centers. The deal was that they got true value for the difference
in cash value between the selling price of the land restricted to
agricultural uses and the selling price of the land if it were to be
"developed" as housing, industrs (often done) or just salt away for
retirement in Florida. (Haven't met any down here yet.) This is
comparatively cheap land and very close to markets.
By the way, Susan was one of a kind. Usually people end up being worn down
and absorbed by the system when they try to accomplish things from within.
Usually, people get burned out at best, if they are really strong, or more
often erroded, corroded and coopted into the system they came to reform.
This is a law of permaculture almost never taught in the courses, though
always implied: Energy follows the patterns that have been laid down.
Hierachical systems burn egalatarians who join to reform for the heat.
Really good people end up on the take, rubberstamping, or just committing
suicide. Look at the history of the Green Movement.
In Susan's case, besides her unnatural integrity, a few other things were in
her favor. 1) A small support group within state government. I remember Ted
Live and Michaell Scully (in Rep. Mel King's office in the state house) and
also some women in Boston who were with county extension, all there to back
each other up. 2) Susan's boss, Fred Winthrop III, was a really good guy who,
though a believer in the capitalist model and commercial (chemical)
agriculture, would listen, cooperate, and compromise so long as we were all
working for a better food supply for the people of Massachusetts. Freddy
only kept $1 of his salary and gave the rest back to the Commonwealth.
There's something to be said for having rich people in public life--he was
there ONLY out of a sense of responsibility. 3) Freddy eventually fired
Susan for insubordination. (Long story--having heard both sides I think I'd
do the same thing if I were in either Susan's or Fred"s position). More
recently, Massachusetts has had a former director of the New Alchemy
Institute as Commissioner of DFA (Freddy"s old job). And the same state
hired the chief of the Wampaonag people as Director of Indian Affairs. And
there is still far more wrong than right with the state government.
I mention this because aside from maybe Maine and Vermont, I doubt that there
is any other place in the USA that we could make as much progress. And I
think the window of opportunity may be closing in Vermont.
This IS practical permaculture design, by the way, It isn't only on how you
grow your carrots. Like the question said, you first have to have a place to
grow your carrots.
Oh, also put up notices at the health food stores and the food co-ops that
you want to garden land and will share produce with the owners. You may get
a taker who, like my father, is too old to handle it himself. He'd be glad
to have someone use his plot and maybe rake the yard for mulch two or three
times a year. Extension service may know of community garden organizations
and similar groups that are plugged in to local resources, too. And don't
neglect the state organic growers association.
If none of these work, email me privately as we publish a directory that
includes names and addresses of specific resources. However I wouldn't start
there in your position. (Of course it is just where I'd start in my position
as it is already on my computer and I work with it daily anyway.)
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA YankeePerm@aol.com
We don't have time to rush.