Hi everybody, just wanted to introduce myself for this set of threads. In addition to being a plant geek and author of various permaculturebooks, I have some farm business experience which is the main focus of this permies.com event. I ran a seed company for several years. Today I am a self-employed permaculture writer/presenter/consultant. I've also had several day jobs that related to farm business. At the New England Small Farm Institute I worked for many years with beginning farmers on all the non-sexy parts of farm start-up: financing, budgeting, researching legal requirements, market research, enterprise selection, and so on. Later I ran a farm incubator site for Nuestras Raices, where we provided training and rented small farm parcels to beginning farmers, mostly from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. As part of that effort I took 30 abandoned acres and turned them into a reasonably viable farm, sub-leased to 22 new farmers.
Permaculture has mostly been about the backyard scale until recently, at least in the US and Canada. Meeting the challenges of this century means we need a lot more permies on a lot more land. Many farmers are already well into this process in the US and Canada (many more in Australia). To do this we have to learn how to play the game and succeed in business - or we won't get a chance to stay on the land for long. Regenerative enterprise planning and management are critical survival tools for us in this period - and few people came to permaculture because they are excited about bookkeeping and marketingplans. Time to skill each other up!
Thank you taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I am wondering how much insurance is suggested if I start sharing my land with others in exchange for them helping with some of the land development projects. To start with I want to offer to let folks use space in my 30 x 48 foot greenhouse to get their plants started in the spring in exchange for helping me finish building and covering it. Is there a difference between that and paid employees for insurance? Thanks in advance.
I met you at your home earlier this Summer along with a group of apprentices from Ben Falk's farm in VT, I just wanted to say hey and thank you again for the great day and your generosity with plant tastings. We all had a great time and I hope to see you this October (Hopefully I'll win the drawing!!), my stay in Vermont is done next week and I'll be heading back to my home in Virginia to figure out how to get my own regenerative farm enterprise going. I look forward to the discussion on this forum.
Eric, I am currently saving for land. I will start our permie farm within the next year to two years. I'll have a minimum of 25 acres. BUT.......I was wondering about location. Right now I am trying to figure out a good location within proximity of Louisville KY or Lexington KY. Location will play a big part in profits. So, how close to the cityshould I be? The closer I am the more expensive land gets. So there seems to be some balance somewhere with location, profit, cost of land, transporting produce to farmers markets, land use zoning, building restrictions, etc etc. Any advice on running the gaunlet of figuring out a proper location?
Also, should I incorporate immediately? I plan on working my current job for another 10 years to help transition financially into doing full time permaculture. So is incorporating as soon as I am selling anything at all really necessary?
I think the biggest hurdles for people starting farms is getting over the financial hurdles of purchasing land in the proper location.
The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan