Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Land Sharing

Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them.  While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. landshare There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet!  I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it.  But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25.  Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community.  The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements.  There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole.  I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.

Reprinted Treehugger Bonnie Alter January 2009

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare“–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.

It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.

The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.

So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.

It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”

These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit

12 Comments
  1. I really like the idea. I would also like to see a post in one of these tiny house blogs about "The whole package" of sustainable living. My thoughts come to, just how much space does a person need to live.

    I've read elsewhere (memory escapes me where) than in our modern society, it takes 20 acres of land to support each human building. That is to support the food we eat, the materials for the products we use, the land we actually live on, the land we work on, and the space to connect them.

    I want to know really how much space is required, not just for living, as that is covered nicely by all of the tiny house community, but by all of a simply life style. How much space does a person really need to live (tiny house), eat (garden sizing, management, live stock, fish farms/aquaponics management), stay powered (wind, solar), and have a wood lot large enough to be capable of sustainable harvesting, and then how best to put them together for the perfect balance of privacy and community, as well as minimize need greater transportation.

    It's a tough question, and one which requires quite a bit of thought. I'm also sure the answer will be very much location specific.

  2. I had a conversation along this line with a good friend last year. I was telling him about my tiny house project and the fact that it's illegal in the UK to just park somewhere even if you own the land unless you have planning permission.

    Over a few beers that afternoon we came up with the idea of a website that would connect people with large gardens who'd like to rent out a section of it, with people who owned tiny houses and needed a place to stay.

    Sadly, the legalities are against it. You can't live in a caravan/tiny house in a garden unless you're taking a minimum of 1 meal a day in the house of the property you're parked in.

    Crazy but true.

  3. It's a problem for sure. One of the things I was contemplating was/is buying an RV/mobile home park and focusing on tiny homes. See this post:
    http://earlyretirementextreme.com/2009/07/my-drea
    The main problem here would be in gathering a sufficiently large number of interested tenants in the same place.

  4. I'm currently shopping for between 5 and 50 acres outside of the college town of Oxford, MS–an area that is predominantly poor, agricultural, and fairly void of building regulations. (So many people have pre-fab homes or cabins, et cetera.)I'm currently shopping for between 5 and 50 acres outside of the college town of Oxford, MS–an area that is predominantly poor, agricultural, and fairly void of building regulations. (So many people have pre-fab homes or cabins, et cetera.)

    I have ambitions visions of sustainable agriculture and CSA projects I would love to work on, but am worried about the time/money commitment as I will be a full time student.

    I thought providing a free space for people to park their tiny houses (off grid options, with perhaps a common bath house and kitchen) in exchange for work on the common property would be an option. Still looking into the specific legalities of this and such, but would love to brain storm with anyone that might be interested in a sustainable tiny house community. (MY own tiny house will be an old Airstream Trailer with a complete green overhaul!)

  5. Love the site, kept me up till 4am :)

    Jacob I've considered the same thing as well. Still haven't ruled it out – maybe we can bounce the pros and cons off each other…

    I'm interested in the notion of landsharing. I have 18 acres in the Green Mountain, NC area. I'm would love to do something with it, tiny (or smallish) housing, organic gardening, etc. The land is financed so I do have financial concerns to consider but if anyone is interested in discussing ways to make something work I'd be very interested. One idea would be a coop, perhaps building tiny houses while at the same time providing the local area with organic vegetables. I still have a small-ish nestegg, and would consider providing some financial support for something like that with the right folks.

    If anyone is interested in the idea feel free to contact me at john (at) isoftapps (dot) com – please mention landsharing in the subject as I have to wade through several lists worth of email to find anything worth reading :)

  6. I am a retired person with arthritis and 80 acres of bush and sandy grassland in Sask, about 30 minutes by mostly paved road from a fair sized town with lots of work, and 5 minutes from a very popular summer resort area. The arthritis makes it very difficult to do much and I would love to find people who were compatible to share the land and help develop a self sufficient type of lifestyle. The question is, how to find such people? And what sort of arrangement would be reasonable to organize? I am told at the county office there are no building restrictions on the land. There is a dugout but the water table is fairly high..there isn’t any swamp as such but I have been told a well would definitely hit water anywhere by about 30 feet down,neighbors to the east of me needed only to go about 18 feet. Still everything takes money and or a healthy and ambitious body, and both are restricted for me now. Any ideas?

    • I would check out the map on the localize section of my website to find some people. Also try craigs lists to see if anyone local is interested.

      Check out Earth Haven in Asheville NC. It is an intentional community, you might be able to draw some inspirations from them. Another one is the cottage company in Washington state, the layout and use of common areas is neat.

      As for your well, I have heard that the depth can vary wildly from even as little as a quarter mile, if you can infact get a well at 30 feet, that is awesome, would save money and is possible.

    • Where is Sask ? I am in Florida right now, but interested in what you are trying to do.

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