What to Look for When You're Buying Land for Permaculture

Video screen capture. Geoff Lawton

Some of the most popular posts I write feature people who have purchased land and transformed it into small-scale farms and permaculture small holdings. From chicken tractors to food forests, these stories tend to focus on what people have done once they have purchased the land.

But what about while you're still looking?

Permaculture legend Geoff Lawton has just put out another video, this time looking at the question of what to look for when you're on the hunt for suitable land. Points to look out for, says Geoff, include water holding capacity in the landscape, access routes, and how contours or other geographical features may impact maintenance. It's hardly a comprehensive guide, but it provides a useful starting point. And I get the sense it's probably a teaser for a longer, full length video. I would keep an eye on Geoff's website for future updates.

The other big topic, of course, which isn't discussed in this short video is finance. Every time I post about an idyllic smallholding, usually I receive comments from aggrieved would-be farmers complaining about ex-hedge funders who are now living the good life. So it would be interesting to see guidance, not just on what types of land to buy, but alternative financing models like the Slow Money movement. Similarly, I would imagine location—distance to any day jobs, likely markets for produce sales etc—would also be a major factor. (Don't forget that rural living brings a heavy transportation footprint!)

Still, this is a useful addition to the arsenal. I'd love to hear from folks on other things to look out for when thinking of buying land.