I want to restore farmland to prairie. It may be better to find some remnant prairie and preserve it, since those are turning into crops at a record pace the last few years. But either way, land in the farm belt is pricey--averaging $8,000-$10,000 an acre or thereabouts. So if a person wanted to restore 100 acres--a very very small prairie that could only support a fraction of the native wildlife--it'd cost one million buckaroos.
But here's the dream that's building, and how I hope to sustain it:
100-200 acres of land somewhat near a population center
House with solar, wind, geothermal, cistern (100% off the grid)
How to Make Money (this is all part time stuff):
Sell native prairie plants and veg at farmer's markets
Have a "dig your own" prairie plant plot
Have several small cabins for 1-2 week writing residencies on the prairie
Create a semi-manicured expanse or garden, with vista of prairie, for weddings
Have an annual music / writing / arts prairie festival
Open the prairie to school groups and other private tours
Hold workshops for sustainable prairie growing and management
It seems like a person would really have to know their stuff to do this (or be just enough insane to jump right in, full of vigor and faith). Choosing the right place seems critical for many reasons, not only the lay of the land, but the location of that land. Even on a prairie a person is not an island, though they may need inordinate amounts of time being lost out there on the ocean of grass.
What would you do? How would you do it? How much would you risk? Looking back on your life, do you wish you'd put in all your chips for just one big thing?