Earlwood Farm is a rental property in the Sydney suburb of Earlwood. We are most likely living on Bidjigal Country. It is an experiment in investing in place with love and labour, but without legal title. It is share house living beyond your early twenties. Share house living with babies, even. We grow some food, share the housework and host pizza parties, events and talks.
Getting attached to place while renting is not usually advised, simply because the house and land is not “yours”. Indeed, in the context of contemporary Australia, what right does a renter have to modify the house and land? You can’t just install solar panels or construct a underground grey water management system, and sometimes landlords or ladies don’t like you messing with the aesthetics of a property inside or out at all. It might be worth mentioning here that we sought and received permission to dig up lawn from the landlords when we moved in. Despite rights and permissions, there is also financial and temporal investment in gardening which comes to be seen as a form of risk in an context that values ownership so highly, the risk that you will “lose” time and money by be booted off the property if rent prices become too high or if the owner decides to sell. Not only that, what if your transformations of place ultimately add value that is capitalised upon by a landlord by sale on the property market? Despite all this, we are making a share home and working towards certain ideals that don’t require the perceived security of ownership. This is a living experiment and we shall see how it goes.
If you’d like to learn more about us email projects at earlwoodfarm dot com