I don't know if this was covered by the food security work, but it might help to have a realistic idea of what produce people on the coast are eating and buying (and from where). This might be enable us to see what sort of potential market we have. If we have some sort of index for what the organic (or not) produce prices are we can easily calculate the return we will get for our sweat. I don't mind putting a few (hundred ;) hours of labour in the garden, but if it just results in a truckload of rotten tomatoes... or netting $0.25/hour, I would be sorely disappointed.
I would be a new person attending a microfarmer forum, and what stops me from even contemplating growing commercially, is that I don't even know (I am learning) how to grow everything we eat. My goal is self sufficiency, and it would be amazing to grow enough to share, but we ate everything that came out of our garden that the deer didn't poach - so next year it has to be even bigger.
You could probably sell out several forums if you titled it "Growing bananas and coffee beans on the Sunshine Coast." If we could grow our own coffee and cocoa what would we need the ferries for ;) ?
Somewhat off-topic:I would also like to see some farmers and/or their vendors posting what they have on hand to avoid any disappointments. I know that farmers are busy - but they could probably make an extra $50 a month out of our family if they posted info about random "sales." Even something simple posted on onestraw like, "Got too many Blue Moon Bananas over here at Lunar farm, so we are letting them go at $1 a kilo... let us know how many you want" Ideally there would be a few RSS feeds that produce consumers could subscribe to that show what sort of inventory is available.
On Nov 24, 2007, at 11:27, Robin Wheeler wrote:
Hello, all -I am planning the next Microfarm Forum for late February. This might be something that only new people will want to come to, or something the last gang might still benefit from. I would like to call this Forum - "Increasing Capacity". If we are growing nothing now, how can we begin? If we are growing "some", how can we grow more? I am inviting speakers from the Non Forest Timber Product division of Royal Roads University to speak to us about the fringe markets for items like this, and they will be talking about Value Added components and marketing. I would like to set aside time to talk about food plant aspects of increasing capacity. We have hundreds of acres of grass and partially used veggie garden on the coast. What are the mental and physical walls that are keeping us from turning this land into highly productive food growing area? What, as any of you stepped out into your gardens to begin growing commercially on even a tiny scale, occurred to you as problems or barriers to getting going? If we could think-tank that a little bit here, it would help me design something useful for this Forum.Thanks for tossing and turning on that problem - Robin