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Old 06-07-2015, 08:55 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,011 times
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Please bear with me, I am not a lunatic. Read what you will into starting this with a disclaimer about my mental health.

My family lives in Florida. We currently live a semi rural self sufficient life. Gardening, canning, baking, raising livestock, etc. We would like to move somewhere more remote but maintaining the ability to be self-sufficient. Ideally, we would like to be completely off grid in a remote location with sufficient resources to support the family. Now you see why I felt the need for the disclaimer. It really does sound like we are antisocial crazies. Nothing of the sort.

The question is what part of AK would be best suited to this type of lifestyle? I do think in terms of worst case scenario. A couple other threads have discussed price of oil skyrocketing or some other situation. I am concerned about dependency on supply of an outside resource.

My next question regards cost of living. I can only get cost of living data for major cities. Are there any parts of the state which have significantly better or worse cost of living? I tend to assume that it is like most places where the bigger cities are more expensive but I hesitate to make any assumptions about an area I know so little about.

Generalizations are perfectly acceptable. I'm looking for a starting point. Right now all I have to go off of is internet research. Any information from a real live resident is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:59 PM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,525,851 times
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Northern California, Washington, or Oregon.

The farther north you get, the less the land is able to provide. There's a reason the interior tribes were nomadic.


In general, the farther you get from Alaska's population centers, the more expensive it is to live.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:18 PM
 
82 posts, read 63,772 times
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If you are self-sufficient, why the interest in COL? SE AK has a milder climate. Lots of rain though. Prince of Wales Island seems like a self-sufficient kind of place, but I haven't been there. In general rural AK has few jobs and high fuel cost. Guess you aren't worried about that though?

Larger cities in AK are generally cheaper. Better infrastructure to deliver goods.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:29 PM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,525,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Frankly View Post
If you are self-sufficient, why the interest in COL? SE AK has a milder climate. Lots of rain though. Prince of Wales Island seems like a self-sufficient kind of place, but I haven't been there. In general rural AK has few jobs and high fuel cost. Guess you aren't worried about that though?

Larger cities in AK are generally cheaper. Better infrastructure to deliver goods.
Hi George.

I'm from Prince of Wales Island. It's not farming country at all; the rainfall leached nutrients out of the soil pretty quickly. You can grow some things, but it involves amending the soil constantly. If you're going to have livestock, you have to be willing to import almost all their food -- coastal grasses don't have the necessary nutrition. Land is crazy expensive in SE.

By self-sufficient, I think the OP means that he and his family provide a lot of their own food. Maybe they've got an independent income, idk. With enough money, they could do it anywhere, but if they need jobs, off-grid Alaska isn't realistic.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:47 PM
 
82 posts, read 63,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
Hi George.

I'm from Prince of Wales Island. It's not farming country at all; the rainfall leached nutrients out of the soil pretty quickly. You can grow some things, but it involves amending the soil constantly. If you're going to have livestock, you have to be willing to import almost all their food -- coastal grasses don't have the necessary nutrition. Land is crazy expensive in SE.

By self-sufficient, I think the OP means that he and his family provide a lot of their own food. Maybe they've got an independent income, idk. With enough money, they could do it anywhere, but if they need jobs, off-grid Alaska isn't realistic.
Interesting. I took an ag class in college for gen ed credit. We harvested/processed several crops without modern tech, then calculated how much land and time would be needed to feed a family of four. It takes a LOT of work.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
15,695 posts, read 25,308,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Frankly View Post
If you are self-sufficient, why the interest in COL? SE AK has a milder climate. Lots of rain though. Prince of Wales Island seems like a self-sufficient kind of place, but I haven't been there. In general rural AK has few jobs and high fuel cost. Guess you aren't worried about that though?

Larger cities in AK are generally cheaper. Better infrastructure to deliver goods.
Met is right, and she knows that area. Besides that, it's very difficult to live in remote areas of Alaska unless you can work some sort of agreement to stay in Federal or Native lands. The Federal Government alone owns around 65% of Alaska. The State owns some lands, some of which are sold every now and then. But some of these lands require access to via water sometimes or trails (sometimes both), or on ice/snow during the winter months. Roads are possible if you buy some land near the major cities, but not far into the interior and other remote places. Some people end-up constructing their own roads.

The times where you could homestead in Alaska are long gone. Back then the State wanted people to move-in and offered free or very low cost parcels of land. Now we have lots of people, traffic, crime, and no land unless you have the cash for it. And if this land would be available, who do you think would be first in line?

Last edited by RayinAK; 06-07-2015 at 10:07 PM..
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:26 PM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,525,851 times
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I haven't ever lived in Florida, but I'm pretty sure that living that sort of lifestyle is far easier there than in Alaska.

I hesitate to say much because every time I try to tell anyone that playing Farmer in the Dell is unrealistic in Alaska, someone starts crying about how mean ol' Met just killed their zen or whatever.

What will work or won't work for you will depend on a lot of variables, none of which we know. It's my opinion that those who would survive a theoretical SHTF situation will be the ones who know the most about the old ways. Most parts of Alaska aren't places I'd want to be in that scenario.

If you've got money and want to find a place where you can grow some stuff, that's doable. If you don't have money and want to find a place where you can completely feed your family by gardening, hunting, and fishing, I don't think that exists anymore, least of all in an area where the land has always been hostile to human habitation. The closest you could come would be somewhere in the Alexander Archipelago, but your time would be better spent putting up berries and beach greens than trying to grow corn. You can grow some cool season stuff, but like I said, amending soils is essential. You might want to do a search of Grandma'sCabin's posts here for more info on living off the land in SE Alaska, or as close to it as is possible these days.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 06-08-2015 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:29 AM
 
1,532 posts, read 880,285 times
Reputation: 1124
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy_red View Post
Please bear with me, I am not a lunatic. Read what you will into starting this with a disclaimer about my mental health.

My family lives in Florida. We currently live a semi rural self sufficient life. Gardening, canning, baking, raising livestock, etc. We would like to move somewhere more remote but maintaining the ability to be self-sufficient. Ideally, we would like to be completely off grid in a remote location with sufficient resources to support the family. Now you see why I felt the need for the disclaimer. It really does sound like we are antisocial crazies. Nothing of the sort.

The question is what part of AK would be best suited to this type of lifestyle? I do think in terms of worst case scenario. A couple other threads have discussed price of oil skyrocketing or some other situation. I am concerned about dependency on supply of an outside resource.

My next question regards cost of living. I can only get cost of living data for major cities. Are there any parts of the state which have significantly better or worse cost of living? I tend to assume that it is like most places where the bigger cities are more expensive but I hesitate to make any assumptions about an area I know so little about.

Generalizations are perfectly acceptable. I'm looking for a starting point. Right now all I have to go off of is internet research. Any information from a real live resident is greatly appreciated.
I doubt what you want will happen here. The soils isn't exactly crop friendly. Land ain't exactly cheap if it's good soil land. Is there game? Sure. But not as easily accessible as you'd think. I live remotely. 350 miles from a paved road. Though the cost of living is fairly low (because housing is very affordable though non existent where I live) the cost for gas is around $7.50 a gallon. It's a $1k trip to anchorage. It costs about $1/lb to get any food here. Soil is very fertile in my village but growing season isn't long. Oh and uhh...you have to be native to own any land here where I'm at.

The deal with living remotely in Alaska or off grid is you will always have the beep end on outside source for survival. Oil. Gas. You have to have it. Or you will die.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:25 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,011 times
Reputation: 11
Default This is the type of feedback I am looking for

Thank you all for the very frank information. This is exactly what I need. Please don't worry about sparing my feelings. Life in Florida is extremely easy even on our mini-farm. If my garden doesn't do well, I just run to the grocery store. No big deal.

We would not choose to live in CA, WA, or OR for political reasons. The climate is what we are looking for but the politics are a deal breaker for us.

We do not need to be near a town for employment reasons. My husband is retired military and we both have the option to travel for work rather than work a traditional job. Remote locations are fine with the only sticking point being access to schools. I can work that piece out since I'm looking for a general region.

I should have specified that I can't grow much here due to the climate and terrible soil so I have switched to hydroponics. I intended to grow hydroponically in greenhouses wherever I move. The draw of AK is low population density, large tracts of protected lands, and the beauty. I do need soil that can support at least goats, chickens, turkeys, and maybe alpacas. Hunting and fishing are attractive ideas but I do not factor them in as reliable sources. Please don't misunderstand, we get most of our food from the grocery store. The gardening and livestock is a supplement. We would like to reverse the two but I'm not expecting that to happen. I just need to know that I can grow things in a greenhouse.

My instinct is to agree with Met on the lack of viability of living in AK in a situation where normal infrastructure is not available. I didn't want to make the assumption though. What I am getting from the group so far is either that it can't be done or if it can I should look in the SE, specifically Alexander Archipelago. Are there any other regions I should look into?
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:42 AM
 
702 posts, read 618,301 times
Reputation: 552
Not trying to dissuade you from Alaska, but have you considered the plains states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska)? They might be a better fit for what you're looking for. Maine may also be an option if you want to be somewhat near the ocean but not on it. They don't have the expense of transporting everything in by air or barge, so cost of living should be lower.

Best of luck to you, and thank your husband for his service
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