Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Land Sharing

I meet people in my area who want to garden or have livestock but don't have the land for it. I suspect this occurs often on the mainland too, especially with young people wanting to start out. My solution is suggesting a land share scheme.

Our local community garden uses the land share scheme. They are using part of a farm owned by an absent landowner. In exchange the garden group maintains the appearance of an occupied farm so that the house will not be broken into and stripped clean. They act as caretakers.

A friend owns a horse but no pasture. He found a farm with excess pasture but who needed a maintenance man. So he fixes things around the farm and mows grass in exchange for pasture.

There are landowners around here who need to maintain their pasture tax exemption. Therefore they are willing to let livestock owners use their land. I use parts of two small farms nearby for pasturing my own livestock, in addition to my own pastures. This means I can maintain more livestock without having to buy or lease more land.

"Snowbirds " are common here, families who spend part of their time in Hawaii and part someplace else.. Their properties go unused for 6-9 months of the year. Often in exchange for maintaining their landscaping they will allow someone to use parts of their place for gardening.

For  wanna-be gardeners, I often suggest asking around their area to find someone who would be willing to let you use a piece of their land in exchange for some of what you produce. Or in the case of my horse friend, use it in exchange for some service of some sort. Many people own a bit of land but don't have the time to use it, or don't wish to put out the effort. So a deal could be made.

Traditionally, land is leased. Around here, that usually means big acreage, big bucks, and a long commitment. Small scale land sharing avoids all that.

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