Another season of change is upon us. Five years ago, the ranch house was purchased as an investment property for my business partner and myself. I was fortunate enough to move in and live in this beautiful little dream house. The home had been vacant for a few years and was in disrepair. We worked on the property, built a large commercial aquaponics system, several small soil gardens and the creation of “chicken town”. The front pasture is filled with moringa trees which flourish in our hot Summer months and provide some of the finest nutrient dense food available in Arizona. Now this tiny oasis is a shining star in our county island.
The time has come to move on. Although my heart is sad at leaving this beautiful gem in the East Valley, we need to sell this investment. I found it a bit disturbing in speaking with several realtors, that all of my efforts in creating a money making mini farm actually have no “added” value to the sales price. What a crazy world we live in. Where we see no value in a sustainable home that “produces” more than it “consumes”. A place where the soil has been healed from years of abuse. A desert floor providing nutrient dense food to feed several families or supply a small business.
When the home was appraised, the polite young man walked around with a laser, measuring the square footage of the house, punched numbers in his iPad and took several pictures. The entire process took him 25 minutes. Not one question about the food produced, all of the newly planted fruit trees, chicken town, the pond, the aquaponics system, passive solar system; nothing. I asked him if he had any idea what he was looking at when he quickly walked through the back of the property. He said “No, not really”. He did though, compliment the gardens full of vegetables as he passed through, stating that "none of this makes any difference to a bank”. As he was leaving he said he would “run comps” in the area to give his appraisal. I asked, “how many of those comps will be mini farms”? He said “probably none”.
I have had countless sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to take down this farm and move it. I simply couldn’t leave it for no added value. So I have begun the task of taking down the Ranch house mini farm and I am searching for a new piece of land to heal. All of the fish tanks have been removed, the barn is cleaned out. In these next weeks, the aquaponics system will be torn down for storage and then I will be moving chicken town. It’s a race against the heat, for I do not want to endure it for such a daunting task. I can say with all honesty and sincerity, that I am leaving this beautiful piece of land in much better condition than when I arrived.
The next time you see these words, “No Farms, No Food” please stop to think about them…