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People often ask us “why Missouri” or even more specifically, “why Ava, MO”? This is something we’ve given a tremendous amount of thought to, but isn’t always easy to answer on the spot. Here are some of our motivations:
Why Ava, MO?
– Water availability and water laws – At least in this part of the state, water is abundant and water rules regarding collection, pond building, etc make sense. The water rules in CO pretty much guarantee a future of pain. The laws preventing the absorption of water into the landscape and collection of water are completely asinine and counter-productive.
– Land prices – Land prices in the Ozarks are quite reasonable overall. Certainly the prices are much lower than land in CO that will support growth (ie irrigated, water rights)
– Building rules and restrictions – Most areas in the Ozarks have either very unrestrictive building codes or none at all. This means buyer beware, but it also means that more unique structures are completely legal!
– Mineral rights to land – Mineral rights normally convey with the sale of land in MO (although it is optional). This is much nicer than in CO where mineral rights very rarely convey with land sales, leaving the possibility of disruptive mining in your future.
– Climate for growing – The humid climate of the area and warmer temperatures mean that many more species are available to grow in the area. The abundant rain and good soils (though rocky) means very lush growth. This climate also leads to negatives, namely bugs and high humidity. We feel this is a trade-off worth taking.
– Lack of industrial ag – The hills of the Ozark mountains as well as abundant rocks in the soil means that industrial ag really doesn’t fit into the area. There are very few crops of corn or soy to be found in the area. This means to us that there is much less pesticide and herbicide to worry about in the run off.
– Right mix of trees and open, hills – Our dream is a Permaculture landscape. That means a landscape with lots of trees. This area certainly has that already. It also has plenty of hills, leading to lots of interesting possibilities with collected water, nutrient flow, etc.
– Raw milk rules – MO has fairly lenient raw milk rules. It is actually legal in the state with no need for mucking about with “pet food” loopholes or herd shares. Instead, raw milk sales are perfectly legal when conducted either on farm or prearranged. We don’t drink a lot of milk, but feel this is a freedom that should be allowed. If I do drink milk, it’ll certainly be raw. Yum!
– Distance from oceans – With the more erratic weather we have been experiencing, we have no desire to be affected by hurricanes and flooding. We love being near the ocean, but just don’t feel it is worth the weather.
– Proximity to larger cities – MO has several large cities where one can get anything one needs. However, Ava is located far enough from these cities to have a more country feel. We do not particularly enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, so are glad to be able to escape yet visit when necessary. This also means that there are several markets for farm outputs that aren’t terribly distant.
– Health – We have found that we all feel better at lower altitude and with higher humidity. Even after 7 years in CO, we don’t feel entirely adjusted to the high desert climate.
– Fracking – The southwest part of Missouri has no fracking and current maps indicate no potential for fracking. While the industry says it is perfectly safe, we don’t come close to believing them. Evidence in CO certainly has shown that they are less than forthcoming.
– Mama Jeans – Ava, MO is home of Jean’s Healthway, started by (Mama) Jean. Mama Jean’s is a store in Springfield, MO that was started by Jean’s daughter. We are very blessed to have a really good health food store (Jean’s Healthway) in a town of 3000. Even better, Mama Jean’s is only about an hour away is is even better!
Now don’t get me wrong — we have certainly enjoyed Colorado. CO has many great things including the limited bugs, the mild weather, and the beautiful scenery. We have just found that as our interests have changed, there is a better environment to suit us.
Computer engineer turned full time farmer, grazier, builder, permaculturist and volunteer fire fighter. We left corporate America to live a simple, self-sufficient life in the Ozarks. Read more