This is my idea. I would love some feedback and wisdom on this and if it sounds mad please let me know that also. I plan on buying 5 acres of land which you need to get farm tax subsidies in NJ or so done all in a permaculture way. I also plan to grow a bunch of "legal" herbs such as mints etc to create a tisane/herbal tea company. I have researched and found no places close by that do anything like this let alone in a permaculture style. I have also found some other tea type plants such as New Jersey Tea and others which are a native here which I never see utilized. I was thinking about starting with just a few products like just a few mint varieties and then move on to including other things that I will be growing such as ashitaba, strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, sea buckthorn, and the list will go on and on. I think this would be a great way to help promote permaculture which would be included on the packaging as well as the website with of course Permies.com.
Have list. (Positives)
1. Ambition and willingness to take a risk
2. Knowledge of herbs, trees, bushes, and permaculture techniques that work in South Jersey
3. Graphic and web creation (example http://www.millvillecommunitygarden.org )
4. I have been collecting and trying like products (studying the competition and learning the trade)
5. Full time job for a source of income with the city of Vineland till things come to fruition
Have not list. (Negatives)
1. Land with house (currently renting apartment with no land)
2. Some kind of business loan perhaps go green type
3. Have a kid so risk cannot be so crazy that it would put us on the streets
We offer teas from our farm from time to time, mainly depending on our available time to gather, dry & package. You may want to consider starting small before you leap into a 5 acre undertaking. With a young one and other employment, I promise that juggling all of those moving parts may keep you going in too many directions. You also should keep in mind the necessary time factor as you learn the market, packaging and opportunities available for your teas. Since you want to begin mainly with mints, why not start them @ your apartment? Lord knows you cannot kill mint and personally, I keep mint in pots since it's one big wanderer when planted directly in soil. The amount of mint that you could grow on windowsills and in front of windows or even in a corner somewhere @ your apartment complex would be more than enough to test your idea before your invest a lot of time and money.
I wish you great success either way!
Love your idea, since my husband and I are doing the same thing on our urban farm (.15 acres).
Some ways to make this work include attending and networking at Urban Farm Conferences in your area (state Extension colleges host these during late fall and winter); Setting aside a certain amount or percentage of each paycheck in a no-touch FFF (Future Farm Fund); start farming other people's back yards - you can pay them in custom tea blends AND get feed back; find out who's doing CSA's in your area to network and have a partner in marketing your blends; get in touch with SCORE and the SBA (online) to start business training (most people are trained to work a job - not to be entrpreneurs); remember that farming is a family business, so get everyone involved especially youngsters, and make it fun! Holidays and birthdays are a great time to get and give new seeds, plants and tools (and they are a tax write off).
Do you know about the new food safety regulations coming out of Washington, and the cottage food laws in your area? Have you started pricing insurance (general liability and product liability)? Have you started experimenting with your own blends from wholesale herbs? Have you heard of Legalees - attorney who helps small business owner protect their assets - he used to have a free DVD, but he may have it on youtube now, (family trusts that own farm and rent to your Herb Company LLC, kids own equipment and rent to the farm). Just some things for you to think about and investigate.
Also study study study herbs - each one can have profound effects on people and animals, both good and not so good. Such as lemon balm is great for adding a lemony taste to a tea, but adversely effects the thyroid for people with hypothyroidism (approx. 20 million Americans have a thyroid conition with 60% unaware of it). Remember it's a food until you start making health claims, then it could be called a food supplement or a drug, in which case you just left the USDA and entered the FDA level.
Don't mean to overwhelm you - just remember, no one expects a baby to run a marathon. Start small so mistakes are easily corrected without costing a ton of money.