Looking for off grid experience

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Herbbasket, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Herbbasket

    Herbbasket Monkey

    Hello all! I'm new to SM, but not back-to-the-basics.
    I'm currently living in CT and I'm finding that this whole city and college life thing is not for me (growing your own food and processing your own livestock is not a typical thing 19 yr old women do here. I've been thrown out of class several times for 'smelling too farm like')

    I've been working at a vegetable and beef farm where I keep my angora rabbits and sheep (also my dozens of citrus and exotic fruit trees). It's been a great experience but I think it's time for me to move on and be with more people who are like minded and have a basic understanding of...well...surviving. (I sware if I have to explain to one more person that we do not sell pizza plants I'm going to lose it. People seriously think that those foods grow on plants)

    I'm hoping I can find a group or community that I can work and learn with (live with too!). I'd prefer Ohio, PA, NY, or north east US, but if someone else in the US would let me bring my animals and plants we could see if that works. (Just saying there is no way anyone is going to seperate me from my coffee tree.)

    Maybe a group or community here can benefit from my skills as much as I hope to learn from them. I've been processing wool from shearing all the way to knitting on low water systems. Same thing with the livestock, I process my animals and cook (I make some pretty good pulled rabbit sandwichs.) Working on this vegetable farm I've had a lot of experience with greenhouses and field growing.

    I'm not going to jump at the first opportunity (you know stranger danger and folk online) but I'd love to learn more and be other like minded folk. If you're far from cities/towns, great. Low electricity, I'm alright with that (electricity here is expensive and I'm not rich). So who's community or group is looking for a new member?
  2. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Welcome to the Monkey, grab a branch and hold on tight!!
    sec_monkey likes this.
  3. Out in the woods

    Out in the woods off-grid in-the-forest beekeeper

    In this state there is a large network of Organic Farmers called MOFGA You can go to www.mofga.com to see their website.

    They operate many different programs, one of which is an 'Apprenticeship program'. Many of the farms are open to hiring farm-hands [apprentices]. While marketing veggies I have been approached by college students to see if I was hiring apprentices. These farms provide food, housing and a stipend to their apprentices.

    Apprentices work the farms as well as take produce to Farmer's Markets where they act as vendors selling produce to the public.

    We have been seeing new farms starting up every year, for a number of years now. Also we have been seeing new Farmer's Markets starting up every year, giving these farms greater market share.

    Since most of these farm Apprentices rub-shoulders at the Farmer's Markets, they all get to know each other. It is common for an Apprentice to work at one farm for 6-months to a year, and then move to a different farm for a while.

    After 2 years apprenticing, you can apply to be a 'Journeyman', and MOFGA will put you as a Farm Manager somewhere for a year.

    Some of these positions are on non-profit farms over-seen by MOFGA where you will be expected to earn enough to support yourself but there is no mortgage.

    Some of these farms are land-trusts with permanent groups of Apprentices & Journeymen operating them. Others are share-cropped land.

    After operating as a Journeyman for a year, the network tries to find a farm for you to purchase.

    There are also programs that match elderly farmers with young farmers, so the land can stay in production. You share-crop the land and when the elderly farmer dies the young farmer inherits the land.

    Also as a separate topic, some farms 'seed'.

    One friend of mine, Tom is on his fourth farm now. Tom started a farm, trained Apprentices, formed a LLC, made the Apprentices into partners, sold the farm to the partnership. Then Tom moved on and started a second farm.

    The second farm he did the same thing. The Farm Manager there is Mark [another friend of mine] and a group of partners. Once the second farm became sustainable, Tom moved on and started his third farm.

    Today Tom is on his fourth farm and is now trying to locate partners to take it over from him. Tom is an old hippy, he started doing this in the '70s. He forms organic / sustainable farms.

    Most of the people who apprentice for Tom only do so for a short while. But if any wish to stay they are made a partner, and after a while an agreement is made where the new partners buy 100% ownership from him. He then finds a new piece of land and starts a new farm.

    I host a monthly potluck, some of the people who attend started farming by working minimum-wage jobs while they share-crop land. When the share-cropping takes off, then they can drop the jobs and focus on the share-cropping. Sometimes they may need to go back and do seasonal jobs to help out.

    There are methods of becoming a farmer that do not require start-up money.

    A person who knows little about farming and who has no money, can get trained while earning cash, and can eventually purchase his own farm.

    Just to put my cards on the table, I am a military retiree. I have a pension roughly equal to flipping burgers. So I have a solid income, and I had no problem buying land and getting started here in farming. But again I have that pension. I did not need to share-crop, and I did not go through the Apprenticeship / Journeyman program.
  4. Herbbasket

    Herbbasket Monkey

    Thank you for the information! I'll look in to it as a possibility!
    hitchcock4 and Seepalaces like this.
  5. sourdough145

    sourdough145 Holder of the M1 thumb award...

    What a great way to help small farming to return to life!
    Farmers markets are a wonderful institution for so many reasons.
    (been a long time since mucking a stall but some people just can't
    handle the smell... Dairies can get pretty intense though ;-} )
    Wish I was around 50 yrs younger to take advantage of this kind of opportunity... Best of luck!
    Motomom34, chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  6. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Welcome. I think you need to be extremely cautious in general about internet relationships. The things that walk on two feet are the most vicious predators.
    Ganado, Dunerunner, Motomom34 and 5 others like this.
  7. sourdough145

    sourdough145 Holder of the M1 thumb award...

    Quite agree.... I've seen some of the best and worst. Some of the worst seemed so nice, at first.
    Was part of search and rescue before health issues and learned a lot. There are those who will risk their lives to help someone and there are those will reach out and take your wallet instead. May you only run into nice, real people.
  8. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus Site Supporter

    Motomom34, Seepalaces and sec_monkey like this.
  9. Legion489

    Legion489 Rev. 2:19 Banned

    Seepaaces is right. It all sounds good on paper until you walk in the door and reality hits you in the face. I did in-home health care for years and was offered permanent positions, including two weeks vacation in the Caribbean. The catch was, you were glued to the guy's side 24/7. He got sick, you sat by his bed. He went to the beach, you went to the beach. He went for a boat trip, you went for the boat trip. He went home early, you went home early. For 14 days you were within arms reach of him 24 hours a day. Literally. NOT my idea of a vacation!

    I'm not saying that the positions and ideas mentioned are not ideal for you, but look before you leap and ALWAYS have a way out!
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
    Motomom34, chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  10. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Only 19 years old? I'm impressed. I wish I had your brains when I was 19.

    Unfortunately, I can't help much with your situation, because I am half way around the World. But, I wish you well in your adventure and your future life.
  11. sourdough145

    sourdough145 Holder of the M1 thumb award...

    Wonder if there is anything similar west coast...
    Seepalaces likes this.
  12. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Wow, college has changed, I had hippies that hadn't bathed in months, one guy in physics class expounded on how not washing your hair let the natural oils take care of all the critters that lived in his curly red birds nest...

    Communities aren't what they may seem to be, most are cults, don't drink the lemonade. Look for a couple of like minded friends and then find a place, off-grid.

    sourdough145 and Motomom34 like this.
  13. Herbbasket

    Herbbasket Monkey

    I thank those who tell me to be weary. Like I had said I'm not jumping at the first opportunity (stranger danger and folks online), but it doesn't hurt to hear other folk and look into other options. And yeah college looked good on paper (so would a diploma, but it's not that great)
    After being screwed over with 3 different colleges (finally figured it out and I'm backing out of the 4th) I've learned to read in between the lines for the fine print. Life is too short to deal with their shenanigans and pay them for the rest of your life.
    hitchcock4, Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  14. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Hello @Herbbasket glad you joined. Sounds like you have a good plan. I would suggest workaway but you want to bring your critters so I m not sure if that would work, plus the assignments are only short term. Workaway.info the site for cultural exchange. Gap year volunteer for food and accommodation whilst travelling abroad.

    College is not for everyone. I really disliked college and was happy to finally get working full-time. You are smart that you realize it is not for you and that you have a direction/life you want to work towards.
  15. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Welcome to the Monkey from the Wet Coast. How are your growing Citrus and Exotics in CT.??? Congrats for seeing the light at such a young age! [winkthumb]
  16. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Did some body say pizza ???
    Yard Dart likes this.
  17. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Sorry for being the grammar nazi here but if you go to college, you need to be careful, not tired. (wary) :rolleyes:

    Ganado and TnAndy like this.
  18. Herbbasket

    Herbbasket Monkey

    I've stuffed them all into my bedroom as that's the only room that gets sunlight all day long. I bought a cheap greenhouse kit and anchored it to the ground, but the first windy day after I put it up, all the pannels and parts were ripped off.
    I started to collect old windows from the dump and CL and cinder blocks, but what's the point in making this wonderful greenhouse when I hope to be out of CT by next spring. Not a lot of people here would appreciate it.
    @Motomom34 , thanks for the suggestion.
    @azrancher I guess I missed that one before I hit post. Autocorrect changes most of what I type into another language (at least that's how I feel, because it doesn't look like English). Then again I'm deaf in one ear. In elementary school I always failed spelling and just made up words.
    Motomom34 and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  19. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    She's probably a bit of both.
  20. yeti695

    yeti695 Monkey+

    Welcome. I would say visit the local farmers market. You can usually find people that are subsistence farmers, that might need a helping hand around the farm. Might just be a shot in the dark, but its that time of the year for farmers markets. Never hurts to ask, worst they can do is say no, they can't turn you into a frog.

    Also when someone figures out how to grow a pizza plant, I want in on that.
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