Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lawyers are ruining the world…

I’m still waiting to close on the property. I made the initial offer on farm and land around June 15, with my pre-approval letter from the mortgage company in hand. Since then, I’ve hired a HUD inspector to get an engineers report for the farmhouse, I’ve had the water tested to make sure I can farm, I’ve now got a commitment letter from the mortgage company, and I’ve got the insurance quote; I just need to sign the check. The survey is about a week from completion. Taxes are filed for past years. I’m ready to close.

My attorney can’t even agree to my signed contract. There’s some bad blood between my attorney and the sellers’ family, personal family squabbles dating back to the 1960s. So my attorney is digging his feet in, just like ~ well, a stubborn goat ~ just to BE a stubborn goat ~ and it took about 45 days of wrangling just to get a signed contract. Yes, I understand that attorneys are cautionary, in general, and must advise always on the side of caution. It’s just that I’m not risk averse, after all I’m buying a farm ~ HELLOO? It actually seems riskier now to keep listening to my attorney than to just go ahead with the deal.

This deal should be simple. I want to buy, the seller wants to sell. I’m not lying about anything. I have a bank to stand up and say I’m trustworthy.  The seller isn’t lying about anything. He’s disclosed the condition of the house. He’s disclosed the usage of the property for the past 40 years. I can SEE that the house needs work. The seller has all the documents in his possession which show he really and legitimately owns the land and can sell it. The house has tenants, so it’s habitable. So where’s the drama in all this?

Just another preview of whats in store. I know I’m buying a house in a county that I know very little about, from people who’ve known each other their whole lives and hated them the entire time. I just don’t want to get swept into the drama.

 

What is local?

Ever since I made an offer on the house, I’ve really been struggling with the following question:  If I grow food 219 miles away from NYC, is it really considered local?

It’s more of a hypothetical versus actual problem; after all the farm is very close to Albany and Cooperstown, and even if I’d wanted to buy land closer, there’s no way I could have afforded it. Plus there are plenty of people for whom to grow food who are very close to my land. But having been a city girl for the past 14 years, I’m quite loathe to cut my ties completely.  And since the Stubborn Boy is keeping his job and commuting up to the farm on weekends until I make enough money to hire him, there is no reason to NOT sell to the city.

In some ways it’s like a zero carbon footprint since I’ll be sending my product in a car already pre-destined for Brooklyn and I can blame the emmisions on the Stubborn Boy how has to work in the city, but I know deep down that’s a cheat.  Or is it? New York City has approximately 8 million residents *According to the 2010 USGOV census. That’s a lot of people to feed. And one must travel at minimum 50 miles just to find acreage that is available for organic farming. So for me on a flight attendant salary in a recessed economy, I’m not awash in dough. The choice is either go all the way up toward Albany or not farm.

So here’s easy to read math; I’d love to hear your voice on the matter. If I want to provide CSA boxes (Community Supported Agriculture produce box), I have to drive 219 miles one way  with a car that gets 28 miles to the gallon and has storage capacity to carry at least forty CSA boxes.  That’s about 16 gallons of gas round trip. Each box is designed for a family of two-four, so basic math averaging means I’ll be producing food for 120 people.  *According to Carbonfootprint.com, 16 gallons of gas (a return trip to my farm from Brooklyn) is equal to 320 kg, but divided by the 120 people I’m feeding it’s only 2.66kg per person per week. Whatever, I could get lost in the statistics, which as a non-mathy person are a bit boring. I just hope people can agree that eating organic lettuce from three hours away is more environmentally friendly than eating it from 3105 miles away. (According to google maps, this is the trucking mileage from a large mass producer “Organics farm” in California to Brooklyn).

Let me just wrap this up from one final statistic from cooltheworld.com

Did you know?

The average grown up has a carbon footprint of 14000kg (14 Tonnes) a year. By 2050 we need to cut that down to 2000 kg (2 Tonnes a year).