We are currently forming a co-op to purchase an existing organic farm in pricey CT suburbia.
While we are comfortable we can feed ourselves (15 head of humans) on the 10 acres (four or so as field and pasture), we are looking to find numbers for income streams we might recognize out of the farm. We are already counting some on CSA shares as one source of revenue, and noodling on others, but I thought throwing this out to the forum would get us some boots on the ground perspective. We are trying to keep this as self sustaining as possible, and want to maintain an educational side to this for other off-grid minded folks.
How much food can we grow in a permie fashion? (I can find numbers for row cropping but we aren't really interested in that). We are looking at a limited amount of animals, but not right away. We are also looking to dovetail this with an existing raw/vegan restaurant, so we have to set aside some produce for there, but we are looking at fermented foods, herbs and infusions, pay to stay classes, WOOFing, and more. Anything that's worked for you we would love to hear about...
Thanks in advance, Scott
Connecticut Accredited Nurseryperson Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (NOFA)
what about planting a nice fruit orchard, if it is large enough and varied enough you should not only have enough for your 15 heads and freezer or canning and drying, but also enough to sell eventually ..esp if you deal in highly perishables, like raspberries, as they go higher for sale, can be sold by the bags full, and are through the roof in the stores
i have never had a problem selling off raspberries on this property..and all you have to do to get more raspberries, is lay a plant down and peg it to the ground..it will send up new runners so you don't have to start out with a lot of plants.
here i'm planting apples, pears, plums, paw paw, elderberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, cherries (sweet and sour), grapes..etc..and i'm sure that i'll soon have extras of all of the above to sell..also i have put in a variety of nut trees, that when they bear should bear more than we can use..hazelnuts (6), sweet chestnut (2), black walnut, carpathian walnut, butternut, 2 hickory nuts, almond, pecan,
herbs are also big sellers and teas, even catnip for cat toys and tea..dried flower arrangements, cut flowers, etc.
Bloom where you are planted.
If you have something you could teach on video related to organic gardening, setting up a CSA operation, starting a farm, permaculture, etc. over on our online organic growing education platform http://organiclifeguru.com that could create another recurring passive income stream for you in alignment with your values.
Contact Samantha at 207.232.2447 if you want to discuss.
Regarding animals: I figure that I can sustainably raise ten pigs per acre per year on our steep, stony, stumpy, sandy mountain soil. With better land you could probably do better. That is without using commercial feed / corn/soy / grain but it does require buying in winter hay (~400 lbs/pig/winter). We do managed intensive rotational grazing. There are actually more animals on each acre than that because we have a support staff of livestock guardian herding dogs, chickens (pest patrol & eggs), ducks (grub, pest patrol & eggs), geese (they have not informed me what they do to contribute but it must be essential, right?) and sheep who co-graze with the pigs. We don't sell anything from the support staff, they just help get the pigs to market. It is the pigs who bring home the bacon. We farm full time raising about 400 pigs on 40 acres. We have more land than that but that is what is used for that.
I would suggest figuring half that number, about five pigs per acre, your first year while you learn the ropes and then increase as you improve. There are a LOT of little details to learn.
In our winter paddocks we grow a lot of pumpkins, squash, turnips, beets, radishes, sunflowers, sunchokes, mangels and other things that. These become late fall and winter fodder for our livestock along with hay which we buy in from down valley. Our land is not the best for haying so we focus on pasturing which our land is good for.
Pasture is not just grass. It is a wide mix of forages including soft grasses, legumes, brassicas, chicory, plantains, millet and other forages. It takes time to learn and plant the pastures and to learn how to do managed rotational grazing which is key to sustainable pasturing.
We don't sell any vegetables or fruit although we grow a great deal and we produce tens of thousands of eggs. These are for the consumption of our pigs. The regulations for selling eggs, fruit and veggies are too complicated and just got worse with the FDA's new Food Safety Modernization Act. Now that FSMA is in place I would not sell produce. Government's gone insane. I would rather build a slaughterhouse and butcher shop. Oh, wait, that's what I'm doing!
Heather Staas wrote:Agritourism is something to maybe consider too.. school field trips, tours, etc. Especially in the fall, you could do a pumpkin patch as part of the visit...
Be aware that agritourism can raise your taxes (happened to a farm near us), put you at a liability risk raising your insurance rates (you do have insurance don't you?!?) and make your farm into a public space with ensuing government regulations for handicapped parking, bathrooms, larger septic, etc. Eyes open and all that...