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Health requires a new career.

 
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hey fellow permies,
I'm in the process of figuring out some long-term chronic health problems, and if the problem is what the Dr thinks it is it will be made a lot worse by stress/toxins. this will of course necessitate a new line of work for me because I work in a high stress industry that deals with a lot of chemicals.
needless to say I want to get out of this line of work anyways. I really want to start a small diversified organic farm where I can plant a food forest, but I would also like to get into doing permaculture design.besides starting with a design course which I know I will need to take eventually, does anyone have any suggestions for the first step to starting a permaculture design business?my initial goal would be to replace my current income which is really not all that much.
 
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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NETWORK. You need to figure out who is doing any landscape (not permaculture) consulting in the area to mid/upper class. Find out if they are getting more requests for edible landscapes. When you are ready, you can work with several of them as a consultant--it would only be a couple hundred dollars for a design, but $200 for a half-day's work is not bad if you can get enough of them.
 
pollinator
Posts: 92
Location: Southeast MN (Zone 5b)
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It might be a good idea to set up some sort of online presence, like a blog and website. You can set them up for free and it can work for you while you are sleeping!
 
gardener
Posts: 948
Location: Ohio, USA
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Hi,

I know what you mean. High stress, high toxins, and low movement, low vitamin D, and perhaps low creativity and self expression too? That's where I'm at. I've seen business fail and succeed when it comes to ag. Start with a realistic farm plan. Go through everything you want, where you want it, how much it will cost, how much $ it will make (if any). Go through every step you will need to do, as best as you can - from buying the seed to selling it. See if you can pull together a budget that makes sense for you. Then, consider your estimates low and budget for that.

Most farms take 3-5 years to get self-sufficient. Why? You need to figure out how the crops grow, the soil and biology need to develope to what you are doing, trees need to mature, you need to connect to markets, and you need to make those stupid newbie errors.

Once you finish your plan, then go do it. Unless you have a lot of money saved up, you'll probably find it best to transition over several years. The forums here are very informative and permies has some nice youtubes too.

Good luck and nice to meet you!
 
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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Vitamin C helps get rid of toxins. Start exercising your whole body right away. When we moved to the farm I thought I was in reasonable shape, but for the first 4 or more months I was sore all the time, and had to stop often to rest because I just didn't have the stamina of a "real" farmer. Plus, exercising moves the lymph and that will clear a lot of toxins.

Figure out your priorities and find sources for the things you want to buy (like trees!). The regular catalogs like Henry Fields, etc. often mix up varieties (we ordered 3 kinds of grapes and got all concords, not even seedless!) and don't have the best deal money-wise or quality - but their sales are good because of their massive mailings. Oikos, Musser Forests, etc. have way cheaper prices and better quality also. For my farm, getting some of the major trees in was a first priority because they take so long to mature and start to bear.

Geoff Lawton has some really good advice in one of his videos on how to pick a good piece of land - like where the driveway is, the house location, the amount of slope, etc.

I guess none of that has too much to do with finance, but getting your priorities right and not wasting time can save you money. I'd say expect to have a part-time job at least, to pay the bills until you get the whole farming thing settled. Unless you'd be ok with being the property manager for some elderly farmer who wants to see the land well-cared for but also wants to continue living there until he/she can't any more. I've heard of a few deals like that - you get to use the land and in return just give them a share of the produce, which they may be very happy with.
 
John Brownlee
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Amit and Renate,
Exercise is really not a problem since i work for one of those evil Lawncare spray companies.
In fact, part of my problem is that i work an average of 11 hours a day, so i don't have much left at the end of the day to work on my projects.
However, i think i may have come up with an idea that could make enough extra cash that i could take a lower paying job with more normal hours.
What is your opinion of a small plant wholesale nursery? Propagate nothing but small cuttings of perennial plants focusing on edibles and beneficial insect and bird attractors. these could be sold to one of the many other nurseries in the area wholesale or we could sell them directly to the end consumer at farmers markets or off of my property here.I think that the plants could be propagated for less than 50 cents and sell for between four and five dollars apiece. Stock would be cycled out every 6 to 8 weeks as the cuttings are rooted, and I think it would cost less than $1000 to get everything started up.
Decent plan? what do you think?
 
Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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Glad your not stuck in a cube like me I'd check out your markets - what works in one area, won't work in another. Call the places you hope to sell to and ask if they would buy if you had stock. Ask what types they are looking for/missing too. All else sounds good, as far as I can tell.
 
Try 100 things. 2 will work out, but you will never know in advance which 2. This tiny ad might be one:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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