So I'm thinking of going into farming and I definitely want to have my farm focused on all things paleo. I already have some ideas- livestock centric with hardy "wild-type" breeds, grazing fields, fruit and nut trees, perhaps some vegetables or mushrooms. The question is "where?"
I'm looking for a place 1. not over a 6hr drive from a major transit hub/city. Paleos could come to the farm for food and exercise workshops. 2. amendable to my family's other hobby, which is alternative energy- preferably wind, but geothermal or solar would work too. 3. I personally prefer hillier landscapes, but any will do.
Do you know of a good place to look into?
Willamette Valley. Folks didn't call it Eden and undertake the arduous Oregon Trail in a Conestoga Wagon for nothin'. How close you are to population centers would be entirely a function of your budget.
I'd say just about anywhere between the appalachians and the ocean - Va, NC, SC, GA
I'm farming in the midlands of South Carolina. It's gorgeous, good rainfall, history of small farming, friendly people, not too cold, mid way (roughly) between Charlotte and Atlanta. Land and houses can be dirt cheap - I live in a 140 year old Victorian farmhouse on 6 acres that we bought in 2004 for 140k.
South-East to Central Texas.
Depending on location Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and/or Dallas would be within 6 hours. Very ranch-friendly laws, very property-owner friendly laws. There are some good-sized wind-power providers in the state, though I'm no expert in that area.
Combination of forests and rolling hills depending on location, and a lot of rivers, lakes, and streams.
If you check EatWild.com's Texas Map you'll find quite a few farms. We like to support our local farms, and farmer's markets here.
Also it would be another farm I could visit! :)
Edit: I missed some stuff earlier!
We have no state taxes, we only deal with federal.
The Houston area has a small, but active and growing paleo meet-up group: http://www.meetup.com/Paleo-Eating-in-Houston-TX/
Lots of land available and a low cost of living compared to many areas of the country.
Texas smoked beef brisket! (this might be the most important point in my whole post)
The Shenandoah Valley would be a great place to start a farm. Virginia has a pretty big movement of grass farming and diversified family farms are growing here in the northern valley.
It's hemmed in by mountains, and as far as Ag. laws go, Virginia is pretty good. The climate is not too hot, not too snowy and not too cold, though it gets some of all those things.
The Valley has always been big on fruit trees (apples, peaches and cherries), and we have strawberries and blackberries too. Wineberries also grow here, and they are not available elsewhere, and I don't think anyone cultivates any variety of them. My yard is full of them, and they are fabulous! We have a burgeoning wine industry - lots of new, small wineries. A few of the area wineries are truly great.
We have black walnuts, and I suspect pecans would do all right here, but I'm not sure. My yard is mostly oak and hickory, with one persimmon tree. The fruit is...interesting.
We have a lot of heritage pork being raised here, and there's more heritage turkeys every year. There's a few family beef farming operations nearby too, and there's plenty of lamb around. We have a lot of big, commercial chicken farms, but there's no shortage of people with little flocks providing pastured eggs, and the farm where I buy mine also raises broilers as well as Jersey milk cows, beef and some lamb.
In short, this part of Virginia produces TONS of gorgeous green grass, but because of the rocks everywhere, no row-cropping to speak of. It's great for a grass farm!
DC is 60 miles away, and Philly would fit in your 6 hour window, if that's not enough for you.
We just bought a farm in the Madison area. It was pretty affordable and most of my family is in the Midwest, so even though I would love to live somewhere exotic, it's pretty nice. So....Midwesterners rejoice. Hopefully we can start some Movnat workshops, paleo workshops, meat shares, and whatnot for people in Madison/Chicago/Milwaukee.
Come to Arizona. Lots of great land available, lots of great farms. Judging by the wonderful grass-fed beef, pork and everything else we get here it could be ideal. Oh, and don't forget that you'd only be minutes from a major hub as requested and the land is still inexpensive.
I would think that almost anywhere east of the Mississippi River or the states just west of it could meet your criteria - six hours is a long haul!
Just a wild thought: Look for rural or semi-rural cohousing projects.
eastern pennsyvania. hilly. lancaster county and amish around. highly populated areas like nyc and all of nj right around the corner. my grandfather's family farm (since turn of century and very small) is just by luck located in a ritzy town (in nj). so my bros can make a go as farmers now after they both lost their jobs last year. they both have road stands and travel to local farmer's markets.
Please come to Tennessee!! Middle TN has an abundance of farmland with rolling hills. Recently, there has been local movement toward CSA's, ranging from fruit and veggie to meat and dairy. There are numerous farmer's markets around Nashville. There is also a large Weston A. Price chapter in Nashville. Tennessee has no income tax and the Nashville airport is very accessible. Plus, you are only 3.5 hours from Atlanta.