Joe Black wrote: So much potential! I feel we can pretty much move in and be self-sufficient in terms of food within a few months. ... Anyway, just thought I'd share my story and see what comments folks have.
Chris Kott wrote:
Where are you situated, and how far from the nearest city or large town that would have a farmers' market?
Chris Kott wrote:Also, what is available in your area in terms of raw organic resources for things like compost?
Chris Kott wrote:I am assuming that the two chicken houses are important to you for egg or meat reasons, or both. If it were possible to either contact the local grocers to see if you could take their expired produce or dumpster-dive for it, you could feed your chooks for free. If this worked well, you could also keep rabbits, for meat and fur or for fibre. They do have high feed to meat conversion rates.
Chris Kott wrote:I would look at the aquaponics setup. I would get the fish part of that system working really well, and while I was doing that, I would be checking out the farmers markets I would have access to, seeing what microgreens sell for, or if that market was already saturated. I would choose something that sells well but is underrepresented, and I would see how best to fit it into an aquaponic system.
Chris Kott wrote:I would also look into getting bees, but that isn't for everyone. Every person I have ever talked to, though, that keeps bees and produces honey for sale tells me that they have had waiting lists for $20+/kilo jars of honey since they first started telling people about it.
Chris Kott wrote:With the blueberries, I would slowly augment the plantings with an herbaceous supportive understory, and then I would add to the diversity of the space by introducing raspberries and blackberries, several different types of each, such that the bloomings and fruitings would be staggered, providing both constant pollinator food and a spread-out source of income through berries, whether you do a U-pick model, or whether you are in a position to harvest them yourself and add/or value through preservation or baking.
Chris Kott wrote:I would also add mulberries, because they bloom over a three-month period, feeding the bees. Incidentally, mulberries are apparently preferred by winged pests over other berries and fruit, and so are popular in some areas as trap crops for migratory welfare fowl. Also, the fresh leaves and the fallen fruit can and will be devoured by most chooks, and rabbits love fresh mulberry twigs, as well as to chew on thicker pieces of branch.
Chris Kott wrote:I don't know what the blueberry space looks like, but you could start converting it to a food forest simply by filling in the trophic niches. I would look to cane berries, as some species will bear fruit after one growing season, meaning that you could get a return on those in your second season. I would also keep strawberries and currants in mind.
Chris Kott wrote:It depends largely on what you want to do. I think that if you look at it on its face without brainstorming a lot of permacultural ways to generate income streams, you might be hard-pressed to make it work. If you can make the land work for you, though, you could end up with it paying your rent for you and then some. It sounds daunting, but I suggest you start brainstorming all the things you could do on that five acres. Cost out the options most within your reach and that of reality, and decide which options use the existing infrastructure best, require the least effort and money to get going, and do those.
Chris Kott wrote:I think that you could make this work, but it will only work for you if you figure out how to derive income streams off of the land and infrastructure you're paying for.
Joe Black wrote:...The owner had bought another bigger 50 acre farm because he is a pig farmer at heart and this place was not big enough to keep pigs...He has been looking for the right people for quite a long time to rent the smaller place and he seems to think we fit his requirements.