Hey y'all, I have noticed something: when I was looking for a healthy diet, it made lots of sense to go natural. Then I was looking for a good way to exercise and natural movement appeared. Then it was holistic herbal medicine. In every case the way of the hunter-gatherers is the path for me. Now I have a job that takes up a lot of time that I could be doing productive meaningful projects in the woods. I'm in high school (homeschooled) and trying to build a nest egg of about $10,000 to start an urban market garden business to pay for a piece of land. So I was wondering: in all my other pursuits, a hunter-gatherer method works well for me. Is there a natural, alternative way of producing income that could relate to hunter-gatherers?
Without trying to sound like a parent, I think you’re on the right track, especially for your age, having a job and pursuing your goal, even if it’s not your dream job. I’m in my forties, and in my experience I have done work and jobs I didn’t care to do to get where I’m at today. I think delayed/deferred gratification is healthy. I imagine that since you’re living at home still, I’ll go out on a limb and guess you may be able to put away and save almost 100% of each paycheck. I’ll also hazard a guess that you don’t have a car payment, car insurance, gas in that car, a mortgage, property taxes, utility bills, and a host of other expenses that can come with life. I think you’ll reach your $10,000 goal quickly, and you’ll be working outdoors in the woods and your growing your market garden, doing what you love, in no time. If you can own a piece of land to call your own before you’re 20, I think you’ll be well on your way to an incredible independent life.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Some form of contract work seems to be a good fit. You'd be able to apply yourself where demand is high and supply low, just like foragers move on to more abundant areas as the seasons change.
For example, I know one guy who loves to ski. He lives in the city nine months of the year, doing contract work. Then, for three months he lives in the mountains skiing every day. He'll take urgent phone calls in evenings to line up new work, but otherwise lives of of his surplus.
The issue would be finding a field that's in high demand, works with your skillset, and allows the necessary freedoms to complement your life goals.
I know a number of seed-keepers who gather their seeds from the wilderness. Classic hunter/gatherer behavior. One does the work on contract and all seed gathered is sold to one organization. Another sells individual packets of seeds.
I know a number of herbalists who gather their herbs from the wilderness. Again, a hunter/gatherer lifestyle.
Wildcrafting can bring in a bit of extra income. Make sure you're familiar with the plants in your area. Finding a buyer can be tricky. https://americanbotanicals.com/ is probably the easiest one to get in contact with of all the ones I've found, but there might be others that are local to you. There are also companies that focus on buying one thing from wildcrafters. For example, https://sustainablemonarch.org buys milkweed pods, while https://black-walnuts.com/ buys black walnuts.
If you have a good camera, you might also be able to get some wildlife photos to sell. I don't know enough about that industry to advise you, though.
I think I was able to find the ultimate hunter-gather experience, and that was in finding gold, silver, palladium and zinc on my land.
Without land having those resources it might be difficult to get into, but not impossible. Many people obtain mineral rights from BLM land out west, live on the land some of the year, and manage to make enough mining gold to make a go of it. With current prices, a person would have to mine an ounce of gold per week roughly to cover expenses, but it is possible as many people do it. For most of those people, it is not so much about getting wealthy off the minerals that they find, but rather using the minerals to live the life that they covet. Without a spouse or children, such a lifestyle is easier to do for sure.
But there are other ways to live as well. I am a farmer, but also log which is hunting and gathering of sorts too. Between farming, logging, and mining (gravel only at the current time) I am outside everyday, and making a living gathering off the land. It helps that I have land ownership, but with creativity, that is NOT required. With Mineral Rights, apprentership on a farm, and staying at logging camps for logging companies, it is all possible.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association