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paul wheaton
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This forum is for micro-businesses that you would do on your permaculture property.

I would think that half of the things that are suggested on this forum would go well with an honor system farm stand.

A few quick thoughts:

honey
pork
chicken
beef
quilts
furniture
lumber
nuts
veggies
fruits
plants
trees
plant starts
dried flowers
 
Dan Boone
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Herbs: fresh, dried, or processed (tinctures and salves)
 
Dan Boone
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A subset of "lumber" is specialty hardwoods. I've seen people on eBay selling billets of wood that were cut with a bandsaw to just fit inside the standard sized Priority Mail shipping boxes. Species on my property that might have enough value to cover shipping when sold like that include (based on the eBay listings I've seen) honey locust, persimmon, and osage orange.
 
William Bronson
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Tyler Ludens
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Craft materials, basketry materials, basketry, wool, wool crafts, wool clothing, gourds, gourd crafts, tanned hides, leather, leather crafts, shoes, paper, paper crafts, bird houses.
 
John Polk
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Bird houses
bat houses

 
Chadwick Holmes
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Amish here have Saturday donut stands that do very very well. Big donuts fresh for a good price. They are so good they hurt
 
Zach Muller
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I think a shop type business will be possible as an extention of a permaculture system. It could be started with some tools and knowledge of bicycles and motors and a need for service of course. If a business like this did well i could imagine it building into getting power generation to use power tools, machining parts, welding stuff, tapping pine trees to make terpentine and fuel. Experimenting with using animal greases and whatnot, building bicycle farm equipment.
I plan on doing this to some degree, at least to have the skills to get more into it later.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Not that it would lend itself to a self service honor system farm stand, but I am doing well with dairy products, yogurt kefir cheese for share holders and am working on a way to make that easier on the share holders. With only milking 2 goats in the 2015 season, I think it is "cottage" industry.

Handmade soap,

If someone did not already say it, hand woven rugs, hand spun yarn, felted slippers, other fiber arts
 
Mike Cantrell
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Dan Boone wrote:A subset of "lumber" is specialty hardwoods. I've seen people on eBay selling billets of wood that were cut with a bandsaw to just fit inside the standard sized Priority Mail shipping boxes. Species on my property that might have enough value to cover shipping when sold like that include (based on the eBay listings I've seen) honey locust, persimmon, and osage orange.


Dan, I've probably thrown this at you in the past, but even if so, it bears repeating. Osage orange (horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, maclura pomifera) brings big, big bucks from bowyers. They'll gladly give you $70 for a 4" x 4" x 60" piece if it's straight-grained. That straight grain, of course, is the catch.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Knitting and crocheting sweaters (and other items), that's what I do (and some other textile crafts). I like to use yarns of local/regional permaculture origin (wool of sheep and other animals, flax linen, nettle, hemp). That's why I started a group here in the Netherlands, which became a little 'wider' and also include wood crafts a.a.. It's called Permanet (NL). Still only a FB group, but we're working on the website with forum.
Link to the Facebook group (in Dutch): https://www.facebook.com/groups/967749426622027/
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Mike Cantrell wrote:
Dan Boone wrote:A subset of "lumber" is specialty hardwoods. I've seen people on eBay selling billets of wood that were cut with a bandsaw to just fit inside the standard sized Priority Mail shipping boxes. Species on my property that might have enough value to cover shipping when sold like that include (based on the eBay listings I've seen) honey locust, persimmon, and osage orange.


Dan, I've probably thrown this at you in the past, but even if so, it bears repeating. Osage orange (horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, maclura pomifera) brings big, big bucks from bowyers. They'll gladly give you $70 for a 4" x 4" x 60" piece if it's straight-grained. That straight grain, of course, is the catch.


Actually if you can find the more skilled bowyers, they like the wavy stuff they make snake bows now, it's a sign of skill to get a bow out of the harder billet....
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Dan Boone
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Mike Cantrell wrote:Dan, I've probably thrown this at you in the past, but even if so, it bears repeating. Osage orange (horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, maclura pomifera) brings big, big bucks from bowyers. They'll gladly give you $70 for a 4" x 4" x 60" piece if it's straight-grained. That straight grain, of course, is the catch.


I didn't know pricing but I was aware that the wood is prized. This is Indian land in Indian country, and the Creek owner (my wife's mother) has periodically allowed various bowyers from the Creek and Seminole nations to harvest Osage Orange wood here to meet their needs. They never even dented the supply, and they have mostly passed away, being more near her generation than ours.

We're in no hurry to harvest the wood for sale to random strangers, but when I cull the smaller curved saplings I'm careful to protect and nurture the straighter and larger trees. We also don't really have good tools for cutting and processing the wood. I suspect I could sell carefully chosen round logs, but for now I've just kept them standing and growing.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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It is one of the most expensive domestic woods, other than burls and such that aren't normal wood.
 
Linda Listing
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Craft materials, basketry materials, basketry, wool, wool crafts, wool clothing, gourds, gourd crafts, tanned hides, leather, leather crafts, shoes, paper, paper crafts, bird houses.


Not just wool, but growing natural dyes, flax/linen, and hemp if its legal in your state. As a purveyor of fiber art supplies, it is very hard to get decent stricks of linen right now.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Linda Listing wrote: Not just wool, but growing natural dyes, flax/linen, and hemp if its legal in your state. As a purveyor of fiber art supplies, it is very hard to get decent stricks of linen right now.
That's why we are organising ourselves, like Fibershed in the USA, we try to get together both the permaculture growers and all others who (like to) use those materials in the Netherlands.
 
Patrick Roehrman
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Mike Cantrell wrote:
Dan Boone wrote:A subset of "lumber" is specialty hardwoods. I've seen people on eBay selling billets of wood that were cut with a bandsaw to just fit inside the standard sized Priority Mail shipping boxes. Species on my property that might have enough value to cover shipping when sold like that include (based on the eBay listings I've seen) honey locust, persimmon, and osage orange.


Dan, I've probably thrown this at you in the past, but even if so, it bears repeating. Osage orange (horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, maclura pomifera) brings big, big bucks from bowyers. They'll gladly give you $70 for a 4" x 4" x 60" piece if it's straight-grained. That straight grain, of course, is the catch.


I have a friend who knows more about it but I believe it is preferable to find a larger piece and cut it like a pie getting 4-8 pieces out of one log giving them not only the straight grains but large growth rings.
 
Patrick Roehrman
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Sharpening service: I have several people come by to have their knives sharpened, in fact the Sherif Deputies come out often to have knives sharpened. The first time they had my wife a little worried when they asked for me
 
r ranson
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Great idea for a forum topic.


Another one with a yarn based cottage industry.

I use the wool and fibre from my farm to create yarn which I sell on etsy... So tempted to put a link in here, but no, I'll be a good girl...

My sheep are my main source of income. The best fleeces are sold to a local shop who washes them and sells them by the oz. The next best I wash and process myself or take to the local fibre mill to have carded (made ready to spin).

Sometimes I will sell the fibre that is ready to spin, but mostly I like to sell yarn. It's my passion and I get the best return for my effort.

Other sources of fibre include my rescue alpacas and llamas. Also flax ready to spin. Seeds for textiles like dye plants and such.

One of the biggest problems is the border. There are a lot of things not allowed to send to other countries like unwashed wool, plant materials (even dry for dye), and so on. Yarn is the easiest thing to clear customs.

There are a lot of farmers near by that don't know what to do with their fiber. I'll buy it from them, then spin it up into yarn.

Sometimes I team up with local dyers to create beautiful colours in the yarn.


I'm hoping soon to start teaching classes as well. Does this count as a cottage industry?
 
Faye Corbett
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Sell the aged apple wood prunings to people for smoking meat.
 
Jen Gira
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Though it would take quite a bit of pre-planning, funds, and infrastructure, what about small innkeeping the permaculture way. I know it depends on resources, space, and location-But depending on those factors, I considered it when looking at properties, as I moved to a pretty "picturesque", and at certain parts of the year, very tourist filled place (Northern New Mexico), so, I think in my mind's eye looking down the road, I considered the idea of installing tiny house/or yurts/tipis, the whole "glamping route" /B&B/but, the goal would be to offer something in that vein with a permaculture slant-to even someone who had no idea about the movement, but was progressive enough to want to stay in a B&B/glamping situation with an independent on their vacation/etc.... to provide a positive and pleasant example of permaculture in action, as it was happening, not even a demonstration or education, but they'd be on a working or developing site- I'm naming the consumer, who may be a more casual "consumer" of some things that are second nature to many of us folks. A person who, likes organic foods/is curious about other sustainable practice, but isn't necessarily someone who is involved with it on a daily basis.

my feelings of this being a good income stream (though it would require significant investment/time/energy) as I've come to know that many organic farms/craftsmen/artists in my area, have jumped on the airBNB train-partially due our location, maybe they have the "casitas" (some have airstreams, some have yurts), but for those who have even a nicer tent-it seems to be a godsend financially.
I myself, stayed with a legendary NM farmer/activist in Dixon, NM while I was looking for my own land (for almost a month)- it was a mighty cool experience waking up steps from the fields, (and being allowed to forage greens and veggies nearby as much as I wanted) (concerning that-on the part of the property owners, I noticed a true, almost blind, sense of confidence in the behavior of the guests-but I was told there had never been any sort of problem with a guest, and I saw the guestbook in the casita-there were hundreds of guests, all really inspired by what they saw, and they were really glad they stayed there-versus a comparable $89 chain hotel/motel on the highway. It's something to think about, as most folks seemed to stay a few days, and if you have that Yurt, or glamp-ing tent, or RV, marketed correctly and reaching to folks who have similar ideals (or in the ballpark) it seemed like a great way to make $500 or more a month (while you did your other stuff)

It is important to note, that, I think the place I was staying in, was some kind of temporary rammed earth cottage that was set up as a small studio space for the owner years ago-Since many folks are in the process of setting up their properties, maybe they have this space, or that yurt, or the RV, and now have moved into the permanent structure on their land. I think, depending on where you are located, even something rather humble could be a resource for you that you didn't imagine. The farmer I stayed with was quite open about how much the 75-120 a night they were getting in this small rammed earth guesthouse (which had all you needed, toilet, etc- but wasn't "luxury" by any means) helped his overall income stream in keeping his farm going and moving forward other projects on the land.


Also concerning "cottage industries" - Consequently, I was staying at this farm during the "Dixon Studio Tour" which is a internationally/nationally known "event" that occurs at the end of the farming "season" (in November) and a group of about 45 farms/cottage industries/artists (like many things mentioned in this thread, there were vineyards, dairy farms, herbalists, individuals who did woodworking etc) had this small "tour"in the area, and hosted folks for a few hours during the day, as they drove from farm to farm, studio to studio.... of the farms being a significant distance from each other) they published a free little map (nothing fancy), and other than that-the farms/artist studios had signs on the highways (or on their little rural, dirt roads-sometimes miles from their actual farms) that helped guide people who weren't familiar with the areas-
Despite all these things, that one might think would not "work" or lessen the flow of interested parties-it was pleasantly busy and bustling almost the entire 8 hours the two days the events took place.....
these individuals were able to summon every forum of 'cottage industry' they could muster, (from farm produce, to selling eggs (even if they don't normally do that) to dried flowers, or books/music they created, etc) and people were enthusiastic and buying-it all. Even if the little fruit pies or beeswax candles they sold in tandem to their produce was something they just did at home, and didn't sell usually....it all seemed to do very well, and I could tell, just from watching as a spectator, and visiting several of the participants' properties myself-everyone was getting a nice little injection of funds, as well as positive vibes-mostly from people who were not from their area-so they were reaching a new customer base too for their CSAs or products.


Note: There wasn't one "permaculture" farm on the tour (as far as I know) -which is a shame! although I am very new to Northern New Mexico- I know there are several sites/organizations/individuals who have property in the area that could have participated-and they should have!

I'm just kind of getting my journey going, but I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who has a property (or has a congenial, loose organization of like minds in their 50 mile radius) to explore coordinating something like this- especially in the fall when people, (even people who don't know what "permaculture" is, and don't always eat organic, I mean, pretty much everyone-with the only caveat being they are open) has gifts to buy and holiday parties on their minds. (think honey, handmade goods, woolen items, native cloth, nuts, gift baskets of some sort, gift certificates to a CSA share etc)

Also-it did not seem other than for a few meetings with the fellow people on "the tour" (and I think those were a matter of a couple hours, a couple times before the event, and there's no reason why those couldn't be done virtually too) and sharing the cost of printing the little map, and running an ad or two in the local paper/green fire times expense shared by all)- What the participants gained monetarily for this time/money investment, seemed to far outweigh those few hours, or the fee.

The nice part about, perhaps having this sort of "festival"/event surrounding the cottage industrie(s), it seemed to allow folks a small intro effort into seeing if the buying public in their area was interested (i.e. would buy) their dried flowers, or berry pies (made from their berries), and that works well if you don't have tons of money to invest. I visited a small organic vineyard who has made some food items with produce they also grew on the farm, and a few items sold so well, the owner was planning on bringing them to the local farmers market for the season, as a new value added product to offer and diversify. I say bring on the streams! I guess the reason why I am encouraging the communal effort, is that, I did glean and could kind of gather, that all of the folks I met, were in the same boat as many here- they are putting in 14 hour days trying to carve out their little piece of the pie, and don't have the time, or in some cases the savvy-the photoshop skills (to make a little map), or even the mojo (or perhaps they aren't terribly social, or find the idea of placing an ad in the greenfiretimes and coming up with networking ideas intimidating- but maybe that person is a whiz at making goat cheese. combine their talent, with someone 10 miles away who makes herbal tinctures, and just so happened to do some graphic design prior to "goin permie full time" and you have the makings of an interesting offering to the public-that will help everyone.

I suppose my post kind of combines ALL of the proposed cottage industries one could have- and I hope it isn't too broad....at a very small, humble homestead, with just the produce they sell, and a few "cottage" items-I witnessed five figure sales for two days.. and I know that financial boost was helpful, if not crucial for some(especially at the 'end' of the growing season) was stabilizing as people prepared their properties for the winter.

I realize that some folks might think their properties are too far apart, but from what I could gather, there was at times, at least 20 miles in some cases in between properties, and it seemed like those who took the map, and did the rounds, enjoyed the scenery and their own little adventure "over the river and through the woods"-

I am admittedly super enthusiastic about people making things from what they grow, and homesteading, etc but as some people say "show me the money", and simply by being in the place, during the time, I saw lots of money and lots of people buying this and that, and smiles.

though seeing this cottage industry sell-a-thon success when I was in NM looking at land- was a complete coincidence, from living a decade in the lower Hudson Valley in NY, I knew already, that a lot of people like to take "weekends away" from the city, and that is a market that could greatly help the permaculture folk- even if this "customer base" is just dabbling in organic or permaculture "stuff" for the weekend (apologies for the broadness) this demographic has money to spend, are usually genuinely interested and curious, and though I could be speaking as person who spent the majority of their life on "the coasts", and I understand if someone who has spent their life elsewhere disagrees, or has not seen such curiosity, and often support, of organic, sustainable practice, products, and people- I personally find most people in my age demographic (20s-40s) WILL buy something homemade, organic, sustainable, etc-if it is accessible, understandable even slightly (to them), and even more so- if it is wrapped in a hemp ribbon and they can give it as a housewarming gift when they get back to their urban jungle....



I have followed the posts by Paul on getting cabins done/"the glamping" etc, and income streams etc to help others get where they want to go....etc. and seeing this, stimulated my former life. Prior to becoming a permaculture goofball (in the 5 years or less stages) I worked in areas of business where this type of marketing and finding the "right" consumer/audience was key to success (especially independent, ::insert your passion/project/product/ideology here:: ) I think that not only offering experiences for those already "into it"- (which rules, and I am currently coordinating a "dog babysitter" so I can come to the PDC in may/june and rent the tipi) but from my past career/consulting work,
I cannot stress enough the power to infuse the stability/nice bonus, or in some cases, the survival of projects/farms/artisans, is to reach further into the "mainstream"- with your cottage industrie(s), glamping, wool, honey, etc etc. I was involved in, and very active in artisans markets throughout the NYC area for the past 10 years. A small artist collective, (of a bunch of neat people doing al sorts of DIY things-including urban farming) that I was involved in was the first to do small collaborating weekend "markets" with a little known company (at the time) called..... Etsy, who back in the mid aughts, had a zany thought people might really want to buy homemade goods from passionate people doing their own thing, and maybe embrace that passion they had full time, and well you know, ... the rest is history)

I think the same thing could be done with people doing Permaculture (and other sustainable concepts) and it is much easier than people think. As this forum is doing for the community, bringing people together-I think, even in respects to these income streams for people on their permaculture properties (at varying degrees of development) a key to success would be the coordination/unified front in the real world, at some scale. It works. Especially if people are willing to promote a group concept (even loosely aligned) and are on a similar wavelength. I saw it work firsthand with that little aforementioned craftsy company (now a behemoth,) and there is NO reason why any person who does something cool on their permie property couldn't enjoy some of that extra income...all the time. But I guess where I have seen it work the best, is if those offering their product, found a few folks who also did something, and especially with reaching those outside of your regular social/interest scheme/universe, it is better to have a few folks who do something, and give those people some extra motivation to visit your farmstead. I suppose this is in essence part of the success of a farmers market-more stuff, there is a hub- but I cannot stress enough, if you already have an "honor system" produce system, and do have some type of value added product that is the fruit of lots of labors- you may think that your humble abode/property isn't "exciting" enough-but I saw myself, folks are really interested in seeing someone living their dream, (even if it is in progress), and even better, if they can see the sheep that you make that amazing soap from.


Ending my rant, even if you do "totally out in the middle of nowhere" (like I know many folks do on here) if there was even sense of collaboration (and a sharing of some resources) in which you could coordinate your collective cottage talents in some respect- it might be a great way to share yourself, and your progress, promote your lifestyle, etc. Doing a small 4 times a year little tour, or event, what have you, might be a nice little boost financially, and not take you away every weekend from where you are, or the labor that might keep you from trying to make a go of such a task, on top of all the other farm chores and sweating you do every day.

I'm still designing my zones, and have been less than 2 months on my land, but I do believe in putting my money with people who have like minds, and I would certainly patronize all sorts of cool folks with products to offer from their land- I just need to know they exist, and even better if it is a road trip-it would be cool to visit a few places to get more goodies/inspiration. Perhaps, (and I apologize if I missed some sort of master listing here or elsewhere) it would be cool to have a listing of individuals and their respective cottage industries-by region. I will hedge a bet that there are more people like me, and even though you can search forums, and there is always "the google", it would be cool, and convenient to have some sort of master listing in one place. If there isn't anything like this, maybe I should it. I guess until I start my fantasy honeycomb candle company (when I get the bees, which looks like next spring)-this could be my contribution to this forum.
 
Deb Stephens
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Mike Cantrell wrote:
Dan Boone wrote:A subset of "lumber" is specialty hardwoods. I've seen people on eBay selling billets of wood that were cut with a bandsaw to just fit inside the standard sized Priority Mail shipping boxes. Species on my property that might have enough value to cover shipping when sold like that include (based on the eBay listings I've seen) honey locust, persimmon, and osage orange.


Dan, I've probably thrown this at you in the past, but even if so, it bears repeating. Osage orange (horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, maclura pomifera) brings big, big bucks from bowyers. They'll gladly give you $70 for a 4" x 4" x 60" piece if it's straight-grained. That straight grain, of course, is the catch.


The other "catch" is that a 5' log is not really shippable, so you would pretty much have to sell where you are, and where I live -- in the SW Missouri boonies -- anyone who wants a log of any sort just goes out and cuts one of their own. We have tons of osage orange in these parts (though not on our land, specifically - more's the pity) but what makes for a major industry here is eastern red cedar. There are mills everywhere that take logs and posts both. Some go for fence posts and fence boards since cedar is naturally rot resistant, but most get nicely planed into tongue-n-groove boards and shipped out across country for closet linings, saunas, cedar chests and so forth. And of course there are always cedar Hillbilly souvenirs in the Branson area. I've seen more joke miniature cedar outhouses in my day to last two or three lifetimes -- seriously.

Aside from using the billets for carving bows, knife handles, flutes, etc. does anyone sell wood for smoking? We've considered making charcoal or just selling bags of well-seasoned chunks of some woods like hickory for the serious grilling and smoking crowd. Anyone know what woods are best for that (besides hickory, I mean)? I've heard that apple is good, but we don't have any (not that we would cut them down for that, anyway!!!) What would, say a 5 lb. bag, of smoking wood chunks go for anyway? As vegetarians, we don't smoke (meat ... or anything else, actually) so I don't know.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Deb Stephens wrote: What would, say a 5 lb. bag, of smoking wood chunks go for anyway?


If you google "smoking wood chunks" you'll get quite a range of prices, but some are so painfully low, it would be difficult to compete.

http://www.amazon.com/Weber-17005-Apple-Chunks-5-Pound/dp/B002Y0KA1S

http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=13361873&KPID=6976771&pla=pla_6976771

http://www.bbqislandinc.com/peach-wood-chunks.html
 
Teri Beri
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I have not done this yet, but a fellow organic gardener friend of mine offers " field trips" to home school groups to visit her organic garden, where she teaches the basics of organic gardening, including alternatives to herbicides, pesticides, and commercially made fertilizers. Botany, entomology... such a deal!
 
Jason Machin
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Whilst my property would be doing MANY things.

My personal thing would be Pottery. Oh my sweet word the amazing things I could do with some decent clay.
I can build the kiln myself. Fire it for free. Clay though... that requires effort.
Being in a rental though, a little too much effort.
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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everything that can be dried in a solar drier...

another idea would be greens. people could self pick them from self seeding beds and perennials. you could sell the seeds. you could sell a mini-booklet and counseling on how to produce greens in your own garden. selling starts/cuttings of edible perennials.
maybe even a mini-landscaping business could come out of that. people see how it works on your homestead. then you help them to transform their gardens into something more permie... edible landscape, perennials, mini-food-forest etc.

this thread might contain some good ideas: http://www.permies.com/t/55708/financial-strategy/month-acre (How would you make $500 a month on 1 acre? )
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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bike dog forest garden urban
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Tobias Ber wrote:.... you could sell a mini-booklet and counseling on how to produce greens in your own garden. ....
maybe even a mini-landscaping business could come out of that. people see how it works on your homestead. then you help them to transform their gardens into something more permie... edible landscape, perennials, mini-food-forest etc. ....


The Mini-booklet is an idea I like Tobias. I can write and illustrate (drawings). The 'landscaping business' will be difficult here in the Netherlands. Rules for starting a business here are very strict, making mini-businesses difficult
 
Jason Machin
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
The Mini-booklet is an idea I like Tobias. I can write and illustrate (drawings). The 'landscaping business' will be difficult here in the Netherlands. Rules for starting a business here are very strict, making mini-businesses difficult


independant contractor. see an accountant
 
He's dead Jim. Grab his tricorder. I'll get his wallet and this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards
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