Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

Discussion in 'Permaculture Groups, Contacts Activities Anounceme' started by 9anda1f, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm seeking information about the financial approaches to building a Permaculture-based "homestead". The business side of things. To incorporate or not, tax advantages, permit advantages, licensing advantages, etc.

    I've been wondering about attempting to become an "experimental" farm and how that might allow me to construct "experiments" with no or minimal "permits".

    Does anyone have any wisdom to share? I'm looking for insight, information, and advice. Geoff and Darren mentioned these things in the PDC, but my mind was engaged in processing other aspects 8)
     
  2. trishandpete

    trishandpete Junior Member

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    Re: Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

    That's a good question. There may be a government grant scheme you could apply for?
    My ultimate goal (about 3-4 years from now), is a bed and breakfast where people can come and see sustainable garden practices, permaculture even, in action, eat from it, gather the eggs and the yabbies for their own dinner, sleep in a strawbale dwelling and experience energy-neutral living (grid interactive, solar/wind generated power, slow combustion stove, wood off our own woodlot, all food sourced within 100miles, etc).
    My first step: design. Got to get all that right. Second step: talk to the accountant about how to set it up tax wise so that the accommodation, and all inputs into the construction of the garden/orchard/dam/woodlot etc and maintenance and care are tax deductable. After all this is a home business.
    Third step: realise the project, market it, work hard and enjoy it.

    I did a bed and breakfast course with CAE which was very, very useful. I have a good accountant, an architect experienced in sustainable dwellings, and an able-bodied husband to build....

    So, talk to an accountant, think about putting together a business plan and applying for a grant. Perhaps there might even be a university or college with students wanting to do practical research on a 'living' farm you could approach as a partnership?

    Cheers, Trish
     
  3. knibbZ

    knibbZ Junior Member

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  4. nicsan

    nicsan New Member

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    Re: Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

    Hello everyone! I have recently completed PDC. During the course, the group had some discussions about business development side of things in permaculture.

    Perhaps more can join in and share thoughts here....

    some of us fresh graduates of PDC are thinking of ways to eventually own land or a piece of investment in land. (to add another dimension to the 'permanent' aspect of agriculture - not only environmental aspect but economic/ownership aspect)

    REIT (corporatization and tax benefits) has come up and I wonder if there are more information and experiences out there with regards to REIT that is 'focussed' on permaculture/eco-village/eco-tourism development.

    For example, what challenges would we face to get some matured permacultured land to kick-off the formation of a REIT? How do we get sufficient motivation and/or viable business case?

    Matured permacultured land (especially large scale) has the potential to provide immediate cash flow to finance borrowings that would enable 'seed investment' in new lands. That way, new lands can be purchased (supported by cash flow from matured land) and new shareholders are recruited (ie. the fresh permaculture investor/enthusiasts who wish to own a piece of the investment trust fund) via small investment amounts to start with. They can gradually increase their investment in the REIT through wages or profit sharing of produce or some other sources of income over time.

    looking forward to reading your inputs!

    warm regards,
    nic
     
  5. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

    Its interesting to see that people are thinking of ways to make livings out of this - I'm really pleased.
    personally, I'm still trying to build my skills & get my home up to scratch, which I think will take me at least another year ... should think it will look pretty good by then.
    I don't think bill mollison would accept any limitations to your thinking when considering your options, and I sometimes think I should challenge myself to see if I can make money off a suburban block.
    Thoughts I've had so far:
    - growing seedlings for friends and family & selling these.
    - unusual mushrooms
    - quail, for eggs and meat...
    - aquaculture for aquarium fish or snails. ie. I remember in high school a 1cm golden mystery snail cost $1. That was a few years back:)

    In terms of answering the original question - I'm not sure about immediate income. It might depend on the quality of the site as to what is possible in terms of vegetation or animals in the first year. This leaves (I believe?) people, information, forward sold somethings... so education courses from scratch... websites with paid advertising... also, some grants may be available for certain types of work. Some companies, including Carbon Neutral will pay money for trees being established on your property. This could become a bush tucker section/ outer zones.

    Look forward to seeing the discussions.
     
  6. Tim Auld

    Tim Auld Junior Member

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    Re: Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

    Keep in mind that Australian real estate prices are near historic highs and will be coming down rapidly over the coming years. I think farmers tend to carry a lot of debt to farm their land and are just able to service that debt with their income. Any farmers care to comment? That could be particularly difficult for permaculture sites since it may take many years to develop significant cash flow, so you will find yourself subsidising the operation by some other source (like a day job). It doesn't seem to be profitable enough to climb out of debt for conventional farming, so it's not clear how permaculture will be, at least in the short term. Of course if you've got lots of capital already you may not have that problem, but it could still be wise to wait until prices come down to sane levels to spin it out further. https://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/ predicts that real estate prices will fall to 10-20% of their peak values. Conceptually, buying now will give an unreasonable amount of future or past yield to people who have by hook or by crook come to be in 'ownership' of the land.

    I'd also be careful of business models that depend on eco-tourism (well off green-thinking people visiting your homestead). It may not be popular as economic conditions decline, although I don't know for sure.

    Financially you may be better off running a business that does not require land ownership for some time, such as consultancy, teaching, or foreign aide. Land prices will eventually have to reflect the income of the population, which will decline as prosperity from fossil fuels fades and infrastructure decays. In recent decades, easy credit and land price speculation inflated prices, but it has become unsustainable. There may be other arrangements worth looking at, such as leasing land. SPIN-Farming uses urban blocks: https://www.spinfarming.com/

    To Noz - have you considered Aquaponics? You grow fish and plants in an almost closed system, it's a very productive and compact system. https://www.aquaponics.net.au/
     
  7. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    Re: Business approaches to a Permaculture Farm

    There are so many ways to make money, so many systems given over to this sole purpose.
    The business of permaculture is empowering people to live without 'business',,,food crops instead of cash crops.

    The money most available in permaculture is the money 'saved' .

    Sure there is/ was/ should be a quid in teaching designers. But this is an old model and an old product to a market 'past the novelty'.

    Using permaculture technique in money making is way different from making money out of permaculture.
    Stack your money making systems and employ perma design to your business from bottom to top. Track waste, audit energy consumption, connect with other systems. etc.

    Permaculture being relevant to the design of systems, any and all artificial constructs such as business's and other money making systems can benefit from a permaculture eye.

    But making money out of permaculture,,,mmm I reckon that it would be harder than making money with permaculture if you get the subtle difference. Any how,those are just my notions.
    regards,
    Kimbo
     
  8. Shellsta

    Shellsta New Member

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    Sourcing Straw bale to build a new home

    Hello my partner and I are looking to build a strawbale home at Gaeta near Gin Gin in queensland. I was wondering if anyone has any helpful hints re: where we can source the strawbale from around this area. We will be heading down from the Northern Territory in December. We are building a non-Loadbearing house. We have already put the shed structure up and our next step is to know where we can source the strawbale..Thanks if anyone out there can help
     

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