One option would be to grow herbs.
A 4inch pot of thyme, rosemary, sage, etc can be sold for $5+.
Check the price for a tiny spring herbs at your usual superchain supermarket.
So with just 1000sqft you could be looking at 4pots per sqft and $5 per pot for a total of $20,000 in revenue. $5 *4 *1000.
And you could do at least 3 sets of harvest spaced 2 months apart so more like $120,000 assuming you had the market and you didn't need walkway.
you can even buy the potted hers in 4inch pots 1/2 ready for about $2 each. Easily giving you 7 harvest a year at 4,000 plants per harvest at $3 gross profit.
Unlike cut/picked harvest, the potted herbs can last for a few weeks/months if needed or cant be sold
Roasted garlic can also generate similar amount of revenue, but they are more prepared product so the red tape and paperwork might be more. And the marker would be less.
A couple bee hives that you sell raw honey from would also be wonderful.
And if you could somehow get a market (maybe online) to sell composting worms at $20/lbs that would also be good.
I've seen others market to restaurants, particular veggies or something, generally high end, that want organic and particular sizes and quality and such.
Make good money from what they say.
"What would be a reasonable amount of land to start with if I only grew the veggies, berries and fruit? "......... That depends. Where in the world is that land located? What sort of climate? How is the soil fertility? What are the available resources? Where one person could produce an abundance of food on one acre, another person somewhere else could need 20 acres or more to do the same. Where one person may have great soil, great "in place" fertility, plenty of warmth and rain, another person may have none of that. So, it all depends.
By a bit of experience, what do you mean? My own wwoofer feels he has a bit of experience, but honestly, he'd starve if he tried to independently grow all his own food. He only has experience of growing in a good location where everything is already developed. He hasn't seen mass diseases, crop destruction due to insects, nor severe drought yet. Nor has he had to start up his own farm.
I'm not trying to discourage you, but on the contrary, I'm trying to encourage you to be realistic so that you may succeed. That said.....having no land and no money will make things more challenging. In my area, no land isn't a major obstacle as long as you have transportation. I've helped a few young people get introduced to landowners who are willing to allow others to temporarily use their land. One family has been very, very successful farming small plots here and there. After a few years they have already saved enough money to have a down payment on their own 20 acres. Another couple are also farming multiple little pieces of land and are doing quite well.
The lack on money will be more challenging. It means that you may be spending a lot more time working than if you had some cash to buy things like a truckload of manure or compost, water for irrigation, piping or hoses, etc. Having to make do without a pick up truck, without small equipment, will take time away from actually working your crops. Lack of money also means that buying enough seeds may be difficult. And buying fruit trees may need budgeting.
Starting out with nothing can be done, but it takes a willingness to work long and hard, be resourceful, and live a simplistic lifestyle. Many a person in my area started out living in a tent or garden shed for one or several years while struggling to get started. They often started out with a small bit of land, made improvements, sold it and bought something better. I know several small farmers who bought & sold several pieces of land before finally getting their current farms. Those that were determined and disciplined generally succeeded.
If this is something you really want to do, I would suggest that you read and learn as much as possible. Then start out small, gradually getting bigger as you gain experience. It an be an exciting and grand experience!
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
You've had several thoughtful and respectful replies to your post so far.
As for me, I need to know more about You before I can offer advice on how You can have a successful farm/business. I understand the "no land" part of your query but I don't understand the "no money" and "bit if experience" parts.
Please provide specifics about yourself and your goals, so that I and others can address your situation.
Perhaps cut an agreement with a nearby landowner where you assume responsibility for a section of land, let’s say an acre, and agree to keep it clear and improve the soil while developing a market garden. Perhaps a modest rental fee and a sharing of any eventual profits or produce. I know a young couple who rented a couple of acres near me (land has the same soil type as mine, a silty/sandy loam) and they managed to grow a brand and a thriving CSA operation. This allowed them to purchase their own farm farther away that they transitioned their CSA members to and continue their success.
posted 5 months ago
I agree with James. You don't need to own land to be farmer.
There is bound to be someone in your area that has land that is a burden to them. Find that person and make a deal and "prove up" on their property. It will be an opportunity to start a farm business and to see if you really have the "fire in the belly" to be a farmer.
Better get started - spring is well underway in the Carolinas.