Communal Smallholding

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Communal Smallholding

Postby wigan pixie » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:22 pm

I've been wanting to do more to live off the land for many years and after getting sick of waiting for the right opportunity to come along, I've decided to bite the bullet and try to get something going myself. We've started up a facebook group to look into the possibility of getting something off the ground. If anyone has done this we would appreciate your advice on fundraising and whether to go as an intentional community or by becoming a community land initiative. We have members with the necessary skills to run a smallholding but we're not very au fait with actually getting a group up and running. Any advice would be more than welcome. :icon_smile:
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby merlin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:38 pm

Good luck with that, there are some really knowledgeable people on this forum by the looks of it.
I am sure you will get some help here.
I wonder if you have tried your local council, some councils offer all sorts of help for specialist groups, just a thought.
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby trinder » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:39 pm

I cannot help as I don't have any clue. But I wish you good luck
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby Thomzo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:35 pm

Hi
I would suggest, very early on, that you agree the money side of things between you. Who is going to pay for what and how will you share out any produce/income? You might assume that everyone will share the costs but others might think differently.

Get it in writing, maybe even a written charter that you all sign up to. Doesn't have to be hugely technical just a simple list of agreed rules.

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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby boboff » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:46 am

My feeling is try the phone book under farmer, give them a ring, ask for an Acre for a community project see where you get. Be nice, polite, farmers are funny buggers, stress the "borrow" not buy or rent aspect, don't appear at all high maintenance.

Personally I would avoid the council, Rural England, AONB, SSSI, National Trust etc etc as you will get hung up in planning and laws and paperwork.

There is the scheme that Hugh Effin the fires not till next week Wittingstall set up as well.

Really just make personal contact and keep it low key is my advice.
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby oldjerry » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:16 am

On a slightly grander scale,there's a place at Canons Frome(maybe Bishops Frome,can't remember,but google both) which is a very large old house with a walled garden,attached smallholding etc where the house has been divided into individual flats/appartments of differring size.There are large communal rooms for meeting etc,and the gardens/farm are run on a communal basis.(I've been there for a visit,and the gardens and stock are kept to the highest standard).As far as I can remember the individual appartments are bought and sold as you would any house,but I think the group as a whole have to approve of any new 'member'.That said the place was inhabited by old,young,families,single people etc.

Just a thought.

Wouldn't do for me,our nearest neighbour is 1/4 mile away,and he thinks that's too near.
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby wigan pixie » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:30 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. That's the sort of place we would like Oldjerry, we just have to sort out the finance to buy something like that. Quite a few of us own our homes outright, so that would raise the majority of the money but we would have to sell first. This creates the problem of where would we all live until the right communal property came along. The money aspect is discussed a lot Thomzo, we are thinking that the best way to proceed would be to make it a 'property holding ltd' sort of thing, where we pay a rent to the co-operative (ourselves) as we run the property on behalf of the holding company. That way if anything like unemployment rears it's ugly head, we should be entitled to housing benefit/poll tax, as we don't actually own the property, the holding company does. As long as we have enough people there, it should work out ok, and as we want to make sure that it is open to everyone, we want to keep rent and rates as low as possible. As I said it's still in the planning stage, as we want to get all anticipated problems ironed out first and get everyone happy with the charter we will write.
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby President Bartlet » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:45 pm

This http://www.diggersanddreamers.org.uk/ is the site for intentional communities/communes/co-operatives in the UK. There is info on how to set one up- legal/financial advice etc plus an area where you can advertise for members. Also all the existing communities are listed. Hope this helps.
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Re: Communal Smallholding

Postby cherami » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:09 pm

wigan pixie wrote:I've been wanting to do more to live off the land for many years and after getting sick of waiting for the right opportunity to come along, I've decided to bite the bullet and try to get something going myself. We've started up a facebook group to look into the possibility of getting something off the ground. If anyone has done this we would appreciate your advice on fundraising and whether to go as an intentional community or by becoming a community land initiative. We have members with the necessary skills to run a smallholding but we're not very au fait with actually getting a group up and running. Any advice would be more than welcome. :icon_smile:


Out of interest what progress have you made with your ambition?
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