Jain Anderson wrote:Allazandrea Cottonwood I am glad you are the 'exception to the rule' I only wish there were many more like you! (and even ONE in my area!) Following your passion is a wonderful way to live and enriches all that is around you too.
A neighbor here tells me of her 'story' - even as a very young girl she wanted to live on a 'ranch/farm'. Her ranching aunt smiled and said Yeah, sure' but she DID find a man who likewise enjoyed gardening, raising stock and living a la natural. She is now in her late 70s and lives on acreage with some hens & fruit trees only wishing they could find a young couple who wanted to co-habitat their land and carry on this passion.
Hi @Jain Anderson
I find it very hard to be the exception to the rule. You have to take a lot of risks and do things that many people see as 'irresponsible'. As a 'millennial' I get FOMO and I wondering if all my efforts will be worth it in the long run when all my friends are ski bums that aren't interested in staring families or owning property.
So some personal background. I live in a small mountain town. I grew up in this town, i left to go to school, but even with my travels I never found I place I loved more than my home town. Lucky for me to grow up in such a special place!
For the town and surrounding area you either work for the coal mines or the tourism industry. The tourism industry is 'fun' but pays peanuts. The mining industry pays well but is soul crushing. It's a very expensive place to live. I would estimate the cost of living at $20/hour CAD. Anything job in the tourism industry will pay you minimum wage or close to despite being a skilled worker. My boyfriend is a ski patroller and throws explosives, manages avalanche terrain, and evacuates injured people out of crazy exposed places... he makes $16/hour with no benefits. He is one of the more experienced members on staff. Minimum wage here is about $15/hour for reference (since the new minimum wage increase).
I've watched the housing prices nearly double in the last 5 years because of the increased tourism. I moved 20 minutes out of town to be able to afford a small chunk of land (under a half acre) in an "undesirable area". The same property in town would be worth easily $500,000. I live in a glorified mobile home...
. People told me I was insane moving here. I was scared I was making a stupid investment. I adore where I live now! Mostly because I can have chickens here. Totally different zoning and type of people. People here are more relaxed. No need for perfectly manicured lawns and million dollar homes. You can park as many dilapidate vehicles on your property as you want and no one will say a peep. I have noisy chickens, you have yappy dogs, but we're all good!
That being said, in town there are so many people with acreages that can't manage them. They have to work a 60/hour week just to pay their mortgage so the are lot's off people would would welcome help in this area. They want to have the dream life but had no idea how hard it is to keep a chicken alive in bear, fox, coyote, eagle, hawk, skunk country.
The market is wide open.There are very few people in this area growing food, for a few reasons:
- Climate (Our snow pack is about 15 feet with annual snowfall of near 30ft)
- Cost of Living
- Market: People are just starting to learn the value of real food. Before the word 'Organic' was pretentious rich people shit. Not anymore! The rednecks are being converted to 'rippies' (redneck + hippy) and the foodies are coming in full force!
The problem where I live is that people value recreation over anything else. Although there is a strong sense of connection to nature, in order to be able to afford the recreational activities people have an odd sense of values. People will pay $7,000 for a mountain bike and eat Kraft dinner every night to afford it. Most people only started to care about the logging in the area after it took out their trail network. When I'm stressed out about my business or my homesteading pursuits they ask my "have I been kayaking enough?" or "have I been biking recently?". Apparently I work too hard on reducing food scarcity and not enough on making enough money to take rad adventure vacations.
It's a split community these days. Wealthy newcomers and old school locals; the lower income families getting continuously marginalized.
To live here and invest in my business I've had to be creative for income. I kid you not, that's how people confirm my identity.
Doctor: Is you daughter so-and-so?
My Dad: She sure is!
Doctor: Oh, so you're the Father of the 'Girl with 5 jobs'.
This year I've work as a ski coach, retail staff, project manager, white water photographer, outdoor educator, cleaning staff, book keeper, social media aid, seed collector ... all on top of running my small business essentially solo. I hope to earn enough this winter that I can work on just my market garden and composting services next year.
I've put so much money and time into the business without making anything back... but this season I will break even (Not including my time yet). I'm pretty stocked about that so I'm going full force for next summer.
This being said I feel like I had it easy. I came from a middle class family, escaped university without student debt, and my friends, family, and community have been SUPER supportive of my initiates. I lucked out as there is now a demand of local, organic food where before the farmer's markets where for plastic trinkets and mini donuts. That and the surge in tourism has also increased the demand for restaurants to seek out local suppliers. My status as a 'local girl' has been endlessly helpful. My community WANTS me to succeed.
I'll have to make a thread about how my business runs (or aims to). I'd love to hear people's feedback and maybe it will inspire someone else. What do you think?