The farm infrastructure represents the built elements of the farm – the buildings and the systems that it has in place. You’ll want to determine how well the site’s infrastructure contributes to the optimal use of resources and energy.

The poor orientation of a house, e.g. buildings that are too far apart, flawed wastewater management, and non-optimal heating systems are all signs that the infrastructure has inbuilt inefficiencies that will cost you money down the road.

You want to avoid putting yourself in a situation where, from the get-go, the core infrastructure is working against you. This won’t aid you in setting things up the permaculture way.

When assessing for the farm infrastructure you’ll need to look at:

  1. Infrastructure components: what’s there and in what condition
  2. Orientation and position of buildings
  3. Wastewater systems – septic/black water
  4. Energy systems

To perform the assessment, you’ll just have to make a few simple observations once you’re on the site and make a few inquiries about how everything is set up within the homestead area of the farm – zones 1 and 2.



    STEP 1. Identify the existing structures

    • Look at what buildings are already there, is there a barn, garage, toolshed, other useful buildings?]

    STEP 2. Check their condition

    • What’s the condition of the house and other buildings like?
    • Does the house need renovation or is it immediately liveable?
    • How well insulated are these structures?



    STEP 1. Check the orientation of the house

    • Use a simple smartphone compass app and determine at which direction is the house oriented? Is it N, S, W, E?

    STEP 2. Check the position of the buildings

    • If there is more than one building, how far apart are they? Are they spread out or close by?



    STEP 1. Check the septic system

    • Find out about the septic system and how the site is disposing of its wastewater.
    • If there is no septic system ask if there has been a pert test performed on the land. This will tell you what kind of septic system is required.



    STEP 1. Check the energy systems

    • Find out how the house is supplying its energy needs.
    • Is it connected to the grid, does it have supplemental off-grid power?
    • What is used to heat the house and water?

    Type #1 Risk Assessment:

    Whether the condition of the infrastructure is satisfying is a very subjective decision; with proper skills and a financial investment everything can be repaired, renovated or retrofitted.

    However, you’ll want to avoid properties that have widely dispersed buildings. If there are multiple buildings that are far apart of each other you need to be aware that there will probably be a great deal of lost time going back and forth between them.

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