Clare Marmalejo wrote:
@Kelly I am very curious about quail. I have never eaten quail before. Is the processing worth the small bird?
Clare Marmalejo wrote:@Tyler: We are not producing even 1% of our food right now.
Clare Marmalejo wrote:
@Miranda- I really love that idea! Hatching baby chicks and ducks even sounds right up my alley. The only concern I have is space. I have a porch that could work in warmer months but my house is tiny for the cooler months. We are planning on a greenhouse that could maybe be agreat spot to hatch chicks/ducks. Plus I see there is a demand out here!
Dale Hodgins wrote:If you get into doing deliveries, pick a small area and become the dominant guy there. This is more efficient than a willy-nilly approach that makes you spend half of your life in the car. If you have deliveries that are spread over a wide area, it will not be economic to deal with those in the outlying areas. Here in Victoria, my furthest customer was less than 2 km. from home. Still, I only delivered there if I was going to be in that part of town anyway.
R Scott wrote:
People want kitchen herbs year round. Pot them in nice looking pots to sit in the kitchen window.
Clare Marmalejo wrote:
@Miranda- Thank you for the info! Do you have a specific incubator that you use? We do have a sealed. Woodshop/garage that would work depending on the space.
R Ranson wrote:The first part of this post is discouraging. But stick with me, the second half has some ideas on how to make money.
Growing animals or vegetables is easy. Selling them his hard. If you live somewhere with a strong local food supply, then it may be difficult to find your niche.
When we first moved to this farm, my grandfather's idea was to grow tomatoes and cucumbers for sale - what a laugh. We already have a huge tomato and cucumber industry that sell 'perfect' produce for less than it would cost us to grow them. Same with all the standard crops. The only way to sell something was to create a food fad, which takes a lot of customer education and ends up about $1 per hour of labour. The next year, growing the same crop on our small scale is useless because the mid-size farms grew it and undersold us - despite guarantees that people would buy our crop if we grew it.
Growing animals for sale creates a much larger range of difficulties. If your animal has an illness, it infects your customer's farm... in some parts of the world you're liable to pay for all the damage. The thing about selling animals live that really breaks my heart, is the phone call 6 months to a year later. Learning about how the animal has been neglected and/or mistreated because the customer didn't understand that goats eat fruit trees (which is the absolutely most fundamental and essential quality that makes a goat a goat! It's so obvious that it doesn't even need mentioning because that's the first thing that one learns when learning about goats - they eat fruit trees, and beating the animal isn't going to make them stop - what it does do is make the animal a danger to humans and then the poor critter, for no fault of it's own, has to die, and it breaks my heart because this kind of thing is totally unnecessary) or that ducks need to be protected from predators. I very seldom sell live livestock anymore. It's just too heartbreaking. If you get into livestock, it pays to understand their basic nature before you bring hope the critter - pretty please, I'm begging you. Chickens dig up things and get eaten by no end of predators - the human is responsible for understanding this.
Basically selling anything perishable can be far more difficult than the books make out. For it to work, one needs to be good at both growing and more importantly, good at selling.
Now, we 'make' most of our money by saving money. Growing our own food (about 50 to 90% depending on the season) has saved a huge amount. At least $500 a month. Not eating out is another. Eating seasonally means what we do buy is on special in the shops. By this way, what we do spend money on is high quality, fair trade or local, and organic.
Cooking from scratch is a money saver. Instead of $2 to $4 for a can of beans, spend 4 to 10 cents on dry beans. With a little practice, you can eat healthy, home cooked, ecologically sound, time-saving, meals for under a dollar a plate.
Perhaps the one area we save the most money is taxes. Because we sell a few eggs to friends (we have really good eggs, so there's a high demand for them - we can pick and choose our customers), excess fruit and veg, we qualify for farm status. It cuts our property taxes down from several thousand a year, to $100. Although, it looks like it may go up to $120 this year... sigh.
As you're new to growing, start small. If I was starting on a new plot of land, I would probably grow a keyhole garden for the first year - the rest of the time I would spend observing the land and seeing what resources it naturally offers up. Wild harvesting is becoming quite popular. This weekend I made about $50 with pick-your-own fiddlehead ferns - which is about half what they cost in the grocery store right now, and twice what I would get wholesaling them. Your property might have a resource on it which could bring you money, but would be destroyed with too much human action.
Now, ways to actually make money:
grow non-perishable foods - like pulses which are super-easy. Artisan dry bean and peas are gaining momentum. What you don't grow, you can eat. Pulses also improve your soil for free - win, win win! Find a craft that can be made with local materials (like basketry), get good at it, sell it on etsy. Start small. If it's successful, then scale up. If you start large and it fails, then it can cost a lot of money. Start with the size you can do for $20 or less. Get a library card - no really, this made lots of money. From learning how to make/grow things (both books and free workshops), to meeting new customers, to borrowing seeds from the seed library which I grew, 'returned'. The seeds I kept, I sell or grow plants for sale. good quality seeds - another non-perishable item Build a reputation for quality - I have a wait list as long as my arm for my eggs because they are better quality than any other free range, organic blablablawords in town. But I'm really good at keeping chickens happy, so they make good eggs. Quality is worth more than certification or anything else. Be it seeds that thrive in local weather or the sweetest berries, being good quality is often enough to bring people to your door - instead of the neighbour's door who sells the same thing Be a little bit unique - If you are growing seeds, maybe grow landrace seeds dry herbs textiles - fibre plants like linen or flax, or dye plants that can be dried then shipped all over the world. teach - become good at something interesting and teach it consult - become amazing at something and people will pay you to give them your opinion write - books, magazines, blog, even writing posts on this forum can bring income residual income streams cottage industry cut flowers - organic, locally grown flowers are very popular with the smaller florist - but it takes skill to do it right. Consult with a local florists about what flowers they wish they could get, they will have a list, grow these, then get the florist to teach you the 'right' way to harvest them. Cultivate this relationship and bobs your uncle. if you're close to town, set up allotment gardens and rent them out
Finding the right thing for you will make things easier. If growing garlic is too painful, maybe fava beans would be better, or perhaps recovering pallets and building furniture is more your thing.