While looking out over one of America’s national parks, Teddy Roosevelt said, “It was here that the romance of my life began.” The parks can have that effect on people. And a sort of modern-day homesteading program in Ohio will actually let you find your own romance by living there full-time. The only catch: You have to join the local food movement in a serious way. The Countryside Conservancy will hand out three leases for land in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeastern Ohio this year—a lesser-known national park, to be sure, but breathtaking nonetheless. Don’t believe us? Check out the picture of Cuyahoga's Brandywine Falls and try not to be impressed.
In exchange for the leases, new park residents will have to rehab some old, existing farmhouses and work the land.
The program already brought in 10 farmers doing everything from raising turkeys to making wine, with some notable success. Last year, the farmers made more than $1 million at local markets and even more teaching classes and giving tours.
They won’t just hand over farmland to anyone who asks, though. The conservancy will collect applications in late May or early June with pitches for what would-be farmers will bring to the land. If you want to know what it takes, they posted some past proposals.
For anyone dreaming of a life far removed from the insanity of crowded subways and tiny apartments, this could be your opportunity. The rents don’t hurt, either. For a 32-acre plot with a three-bedroom farmhouse and 1,000-square-foot guest house, the conservancy is asking $464 a month. From where we sit in our Brooklyn one-bedroom, that looks pretty good.
The conservancy will make the announcement on their blog, so aspiring farmers stay tuned here.