Our family has dreams of starting a homestead…that much is clear, but where? Where do we settle down? We found some land out in the Parajito Mesa and we just fell in love with it. There’s a catch though. The property is landlocked! When we called the realtor back to tell her we were interested, she told me this:
“You can purchase the land, but you can’t live on it legally.” Huh? “Why?” I asked. She stated that the Parajito Mesa is a part of a land scam from many years ago, and the developer never mapped out the plots of land correctly or put in the necessary roads. Basically all of the Parajito land is private, and in order for us to purchase a plot of land, we would need to create access. But from where? There are no legal easements and no legal street address. We would have to plow a road right through someone’s property to access ours. Obviously that isn’t a great idea, nor is it good for having a decent relationship with our neighbors.
The Parajito Mesa is home to about 400 families. As I did some research on it, what I found was heartbreaking. It made me actually want to move there despite the fact that it is illegal. Would we put our family at risk by doing that? Nope. So I had to think of a different way. If we were to live out there, we wouldn’t be able to get mail, be able give a legal change of address, update information on drivers license or other important documents and my grand daughter wouldn’t be able to get her much needed Medicaid. So why do I want to be out there so bad? For me, it has to do with three things I see…the disenfranchised, social justice and environmental justice. These three things are huge, and as time goes by, dreams can become diminished and finally replaced with despair. Does it have to be that way though? It seems as though they are forgotten and left out there to just exist or die. I’m unsure why the burden in my heart is so heavy for these families, but it is there none the less. I guess my thought is that the people on Parajito Mesa have an opportunity to make their own homesteads if they wanted. I believe that any family that is willing to make their lives better should have access to the tools and knowledge that would make that life an actual reality.
What can we do? How can we help? I believe that if we were to purchase a house with some land near the Parajito Mesa, we could begin to open up our home to those who would seek something more for their families. As we build our homestead in that region, others who are interested could come along side of us, learning the principles of water harvesting, earthworks and permaculture and bring that back to their own land and begin incorporating those techniques and principles. I don’t have any visions of grandeur, just a simple desire to help those who want help.
Most of the families out there are on ten acres of land each. How much food can grow on ten acres? I say that rhetorically, because even an 1/8 of an acre can be intensely gardened to produce thousands of pounds of food per year. They each have way more than an 1/8 of an acre which makes it possible to grow many different kinds of fruit trees, acres to grow grains, agave, and so many other types of fruits and veggies. Is the lack of water the problem? If they are conventional farmers, yes. But I believe if they begin to understand how earthworks and water harvesting principles work, they will be able to actually cultivate their land, build their soil and create something absolutely stunning. They are worth it, don’t you think?
If there are any permaculturalists in the area looking for a worthy cause to donate your time and talent, you can contact me by filling out the form on my Contact page. I would love to hear from you.
Here is a video I found on youtube about the Parajito Mesa: