[microfarmer] microFarm forum ideas

  • From: Dawn <dawn.said@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: microfarmer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 17:05:07 -0800

I have the same hunch as David, that solutions will happen from small-scale
projects scaling up. I am going to mention my own situation only because I
think it is probably pretty common. I have wanted to farm for many years.
Personal circumstances have prevented it but now I find myself driven and am
determined to find a way. Financially it is impossible for me to purchase
land on my own, and even if I rented land to set myself up to produce on a
reasonable scale it is beyond my means at this time. I came across the SPIN
method (www.spinfarming.com for anybody who is unfamiliar with the concept)
and though I find the claims that with this model you will be able to make
$50,000/yr from 1/2 acre unrealistic, I do appreciate the methodology of
using other people's land  and using minimal equipment. It is, in my mind, a
feasible way to get started in farming if you don't have the means to pursue
a more traditional option. In an ideal world I would have my own land base
and the means to get started growing, so for me this as a stepping stone, a
first step to at least get started. Who knows what could develop from these
first steps! What I like too is that with this method I am feeding fresh
organic produce to the people who let me grow on their land, people who may
never go to a farmer's market or buy organic vegetables from a store. Maybe
there are other people out there who would find a similar model workable and
an option for them?

Beside the physical barriers of money and land I think that a big mental
barrier is a general pessimism around farming itself. We hear stories
constantly about how difficult farming is and how farmers don't make any
money.  There is no doubt that these things are true, and that land is
disappearing at an alarming rate and that many farms do not survive, however
there are many who do survive and in fact thrive - many of these are people
who have thought outside the box and have found a unique niche. Read Michael
Ableman's book, Fields of Plenty for inspiration! I would like to see
positive stories about local farmers/growers/gardeners etc in our community.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a regular page in the local paper where a
different person is highlighted each week who has achieved success in some
measure, not just financial success?

Moral support is a huge way of breaking down barriers. Going this route
alone is tough (there are MANY naysayers out there!), but a community of
farmers who support each other and encourage each other (even if just by
email) would be invaluable. I think there was talk of a mentor program, that
is a great idea too, how wonderful it would be to have somebody help me
learn shortcuts or avoid some of the mishaps that I know will happen along
the way.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts, I look forward very much to the forum
and to other peoples ideas/comments.


Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be
~ Guillaume Apollinaire ~

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