What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

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Every kid hears the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Like we’re all supposed to know, magically, what’s going to be really interesting to us in the next 10-15 years that’s going to stay interesting for the following 30-40 years. And let’s face it, it seems like most adults don’t know what they want to be when they grow up!

Neither did I. In college, I had been in the following majors (in order): genetics, biological resources engineering, aerospace engineering, astronomy, physics, and psychology. I’ve worked in retail, at a horse barn, in an office (hated it!), and in child care. I have been all over the map, but I’ve found out some things about myself along the way.

I’ve found out that I can think more clearly while working outside. I found out that I hate being pinned down to a desk. I found out that I really don’t mind retail horribly. Yes, some people are jerks, but you just roll along. They’re just passing through anyway. I found out that I like to build things. I found out that I like teaching. I found out that I like learning about plants. I found out that I like to see food grow in my backyard.

So how could I combine these things: outside, building stuff, gardening, teaching (at least teaching my own child, at first), and maybe a little retail? A friend of mine sent me a YouTube video called “How to Make $100,000 Farming 1/2 Acre You Don’t Own” by Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens where he interviews Curtis Stone about urban farming. Viola! An idea was born.

I have 4 acres. Sure the goats need a lot of it, but they don’t need all of it! Marketing gardening will theurbanfarmerdefinitely get me outside, gardening, and a little bit of retail. And Curtis Stone talked about making $100,000 from his small plots? Sold! I ordered his book, “The Urban Farmer“,”The Market Gardener” by Jean-Martin Fortier, “Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” by Brett L. Markham, and “Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs” by Tammi Hartung.

I know there’s a farmer’s market about 20 minutes from us. My plan going forward is to go to the farmer’s market a few times before they close for the season to see what kind of things are there and then learn the heck out growing food for others!

In a country where only about 2% of the population farms and the average age of farmers is roughly 60 years old (and about 1/3 of farmers are over 65 while only 16% are under 45), seems to me there’s plenty of space for noobs in this field! Anyone else consider going into small-acreage farming? I’d love to hear of your experience!

Comments

  1. Hi,

    Have you been making anything close to that with the farming you have been doing already?
    When you have some spare time in the winter, it may pay to pass along the information you have learned. There may be more money to be made in selling your own books.

    How long is the growing season where you live? Will all of your money have to be made in those few months?

    Blessings for success in your new venture.

    • The farming will be a new thing. Previously, I’ve only gardened for our family. I expect a pretty decent learning curve in starting this!

      Our frost-free time is about seven months. I think we could get more time on either side by using row covers, hoop houses, or even adding a greenhouse, though the greenhouse will be a future purchase. We have a little one that we’ll be using to transition starts outside.

      Thanks for the well-wishes! I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it’s going!

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