Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
This is a guest post and entry in Round 1 of the Farm Dreams writing contest. The prizes for this round include: First Prize: A $300 gift certificate toward any purch
This is a guest post and entry in Round 1 of the Farm Dreams writing contest. The prizes for this round include:
First Prize: A $300 gift certificate toward any purchase of Featherman Poultry Processing Equipment, including pluckers, knives and more!
Second Prize: A 164' roll of electric poultry netting from Kencovevalued at $140!
Third Prize: A large heirloom pack of assorted seeds from Baker Creek (northern or southern region) plus a copy of Jere and Emilee Gettle's recently published book The Heirloom Life Gardener.Valued at $125!
Fourth Prize: A $55 gift certificate good toward any purchase at Lehman's!
Round 1 ends began January 15 and ends March 15 so GET BUSY WRITING and email your entry to us today!
The dream and the desire is there: You want your own farm. Some laugh at you, others ridicule, and many stare in puzzlement over your choice, but you don’t care. You want – no—you need you own land, and your own farm. What’s more is that you know that somehow, someday, you will do it.
“But how?” You can’t help but wonder that to yourself. How can I afford the lifestyle switch? How can I get my own land? How can I learn how to successfully run my own business? These were all questions that filled my mind as I got started in the agricultural world. I had no outside job (still don’t), I had less than $300 cash, and I didn’t even have my driver’s license (oh wait… I still don’t!). But the dream was there. A fire burning so hot that it didn’t matter to me that my personal situation seemed impossible. I knew in my heart that this was simply something that would come to pass. I would have my own farm someday.
This article is written in hopes that it will give you some ideas on how you can start getting closer to your farming dream, and hopefully be a springboard in helping you to get started. Time is ticking; you need to start NOW.
This is a big one. If you don’t have land of your own, then you obviously are looking to acquire some! There are a couple ways you can go about this: The first way (and this can actually be pretty fun) is simple. Take a drive through the country; look around you and see what land seems to be abandoned. Is there a house on a piece of property, but the property itself seems to be lying idle? Take note of that. Are there any vineyards or orchards in the area? Take note of that too. After a while, you should have an idea of what land is empty in the area. Now for the brave part: Walk up to the door of the house (if there is a house on the property), and introduce yourself. Politely tell the owners that you have been looking to rent a piece of property, and theirs caught your attention. Explain what your plans are, and be honest. This doesn’t have to be long-winded; just a simple, “Hi, my name’s Allison (or, my name’s Jim), and I was wondering if I could rent your property.” will suffice. You would be surprised at how often this technique works. I’ve found that elderly people are particularly interested in the possibility, and that’s where I get most of my offers. A lot of times, people will let you use their land for free, or you could always suggest trading your goods (whether it’s meat, milk, eggs, veggies, or all of the above) for free land rent. Folks are always open to suggestions. If you never ask, the answer will always be “No.” if you do ask the answer just might be “yes.” Try it.
Working with a vineyard or orchard can create a nice symbiosis that benefits all parties. A few farmers are beginning to tap into this in my area (which is the Pacific Northwest), and the results are worth looking into. Many people run poultry through the vineyard walkways, via chicken tractors, and others will put sheep in the orchards.
Option #2: There are many different websites that work to being beginning farmers in connection with folks who have land that they want to see put in use. You can peruse these and maybe you’ll find something! http://www.farmtransition.org/netwpart.html
The organization called “The Greenhorns” has put together a staggeringly detailed download concerning finding land, and renting it. I highly recommend reading through it and seeing what information you can glean! http://www.thegreenhorns.net/resources/GH_landtenureworkshop_minico...
Option #3: Some farmers will allow you to farm a piece of their land in trade for work. This is a good way to learn the ropes of farming, while still being able to put it all into practice on your own piece! You will however, have to be very careful about how you divvy up the agreement. You don’t want to find yourself overworking for a too-small piece of land, but you do want to be working enough that the owner of the land feels that the trade is worthwhile, and so that you are learning as much as possible.
Yet another biggie. ‘Money makes the world go ‘round’, so they say, and it does seem that it’s rather challenging to start up a farm without some of that stuff…. Time to get the creative juices flowing. If you already have a job, then you’re probably looking for a way to get some more cash without getting a second job. Or, if you’re like me and you just all around lack a job, then you need a way to get some start-up money as you prepare to take the leap.
The first thing that comes to mind is a money grant. The idea of a grant can take some getting used to sometimes; after all, who in the world just gives away money?! I’ve found grants to be a really good way to get a small farming enterprise from struggling along to a spot in which it is more financially stable. Every organization will have its strings attached, so look for those. And when I say strings, I don’t mean that they’re going to force you to do stuff later on, I just mean that most will only apply if you are in their state or county, if you grow what they want, if you grow it in the way they want, or if you are just beginning. It’s staggering just how many grants are available when you start looking for them… The website that has all of these grants in one spot can be found at: https://attra.ncat.org/calendar/funding.php
But what if you can’t find any grants that work for you or for some reason you are unable to apply for one? What then? This is when the creative juices need to start, and you need to put the thinking cap on! Here’s a random compilation of ideas just to get your own thoughts going:
What are some of your money making ideas?
Maybe you already have land to work on, or you have the startup capital needed to get the ball moving, but what if you simply wish for more information on how to start? Maybe you are lacking a vision for the land, and aren’t sure what you want to be doing with it? There are so many varying facets to the pool of education that I couldn’t begin to list them all, but I would like to offer some of the top choices I’ve found over the years, and what has helped me.
By now, you should have somewhere to start. Your brain should be feeling ideas germinating, and who knows what will happen next! You may lack land; you may lack money; you may lack anything! I don’t know your personal situation, but what I DO know is that you need to start TODAY. Even if it’s the simply act of ordering a free seed catalog. Each small action will turn into a ripple effect which will eventually slingshot you into where you want to be someday. That “someday” is coming; why not start preparing for it NOW? That being said, go do something today! Go bake bread! Clean the chicken coop! Apply for a grant! Anything! Just do something, and do it now.
Make a comment!