I could have sword I’d written a post before that at least touched on this topic. But if I did, I can’t find it. In any case, my friend Laura Oldanie (Rich & Resilient Living blog — see link below) just shared a good article on the nuts and bolts of looking for, buying, and owning a house with friends; see link below.
A friend who lives out on rural acreage wondered why I am content to live on such a small urban piece of land. Didn’t I want more space? And my answer is … No! My 1/10 acre is breaking my back as it is; why would I want more?
To put that in a more positive, permaculture way: I have not even begun to realize a fraction of the potential of my 1/10 acre. When I say haven’t even begun, I mean I have just barely started to build the soil to the point where anything planted there doesn’t instantly die. Progress has happened this year!
What excites me is how many people could live in a modest house on a small urban piece of land, in combination with neighborhood-shared plots for community food forests, communal meadows, and other collective wealth.
Now, most places in the USA aren’t there yet. Many will never be. Some people think that’s communism. Run!!! But, that is my ideal vision.
The Dervaes family cultivates 7,000 pounds of food on 1/10 acre in Pasadena, California! Wow. I don’t support everything they do (such as copyrighting the term “urban homestead” and actually going after other people who dare to use that term). But, I offer them as an example of how little acreage humans can get by on. (Ideally, we’d then leave as much of the remaining land as possible — from highway medians to mall parking lots to schools and churchyards — as possible for wildlife and native meadowlands, scrublands, forests.)
That’s my ideal if I were Queen Mayor of the world.
Back to my little 1/10 acre homestead … As I said, I have not even begun to fully realize its potential — yet, with just me managing it, the work is endless and exhausting (though I find joy and physical/mental invigoration in it too).
It has occurred to me to explore having co-owners of this house. I may do it someday. Certainly I don’t want to be an elderly person living alone in her house. There are so many people in that situation, and to me it’s just not a good thing in many ways. (Though I recognize that a lot of older people like living alone. At least they say they do.)
For the moment, I’m just happy to have housemates who respect the low-footprint theme of this household, and share it to a pretty high degree. Co-ownership is definitely an option I will bear in mind, though.
• “How To Buy a House with Your Friends” (RideFreeFearlessMoney). Practical tips on all the details from getting a mortgage to splitting expenses to providing for contingencies (so, for example, when one of you dies some crazy relative doesn’t come swooping in wreaking havoc), and more.
• Dervaes homestead (urbanhomestead.org): Family producing 7,000 pounds of food on 1/10 acre. (Of course, traditional cultures have been producing large amounts of food on small bits of land for centuries. I’ve seen many pictures of humble homesteads in Asia, Central & South America, Europe, Africa, where the “yard” is a fat dense green cube of food and shelter.)
• Rich and Resilient Living blog (Laura Oldanie): One of my go-to financial blogs, right up there with Vicki Robin‘s. Simple living, financial resilience, regenerative investment. A recent post of Laura’s that I want to share with you is “Are You Thinking in Sustainable Stores of Value?” . “As I progress in my wealth building journey, I find myself drawn more and more to resilient and tangible forms of wealth. Not only do many of them seem more sustainable to me, they also bring me more joy and meaning, while simultaneously helping me further distance myself from the extractive, life-depleting, soul-sucking economy within which so much human activity takes place. This has led me to focus on cultivating stores of value. … A store of value is an asset that retains its value over time and can be exchanged for money now or in the future. Savvy wealth builders often view them as an additional way to diversify their holdings. Consider them a form of risk management. …” (And yes, owning our own homes can be a store of value. So can cisterns and water-catchment systems. Wonderful post; read the rest to find out about some rich stores of value you may not have thought of!)