Farm: (noun) a piece of land for growing crops or raising animals. (Merriam-Webster’s Learning Dictionary)
When you are going to farm a small area, you have to be organized and creative. You don’t need to be rich, just innovative. You also have to have the right positive mind frame. If you look at yourself as a farmer, you will take it seriously. If you don’t, crops will die, animals will die, and you may end up with some angry neighbors as well!!
So you think you may be ready to farm, but you think “how do I get started”? Here are the first 5 things to get yourself ready…..
1. A PLAN: Or an idea of what it is you want to produce on your farm. For us, we wanted to grow organic food for our growing and very hungry family. It’s amazing what kids can pack away, and mine aren’t even teenagers yet! We also wanted to raise our own meat. That didn’t happen until this past year. Again, ultimately we want to own acreage and more livestock, etc, but for right now we are doing what we are able to do.
2. READ: You will always be reading when you farm. Whether it be on how to get started, or you have a sick chicken, you will always be learning something new. If you have a local library, check out books. If they don’t have it, they can always get the book in for you. You can buy the books too, but if you are not sure this is something you definitely want to do, you might want to check out the books so you don’t spend all this money if you decide you want to check out of farming.Also, check out your local ordinances to make sure you can have a garden, chickens, compost, etc on your property. I will be posting a list of books I feel have been helpful to our family on our journey.
3. START SMALL: When we first started out we had the mentality “go big or go home”. We had an enormous garden and sometimes I think more weeds than produce. Plus, we were building our family and I was either pregnant or nursing a small infant. We were overwhelmed and exhausted and almost gave up. If you have no clue about gardening or raising animals, start small. You can always add as you go. Start out growing in pots with plants from a local grower or home store. You don’t need to have it all to be a farmer. Remember it’s all about the mind frame.
4. LEARN FROM MISTAKES: Understand you are going to fail at some things. But learning what went wrong is key, and you dust yourself and try again next year. That’s the great thing about years, there is always a new one right around the corner and a fresh start. We scaled our garden back the following year and learned about mulching our garden. Now, we barely water and weed and I have more time with my family and doing other things I love as well.
5. TEACH: Even if it’s your first year and you grew tomatoes in a pot, started composting, or raising chicks, everything is a teachable moment. Whether it’s your kids or a neighbor, teach them. It’s doesn’t need to be the slap on the wrist if they get it wrong. But we as farmers need to show others the greatness and beauty of it. But most importantly, the sustainability of it. My children have been brought up knowing all about compost, gardens, good bugs vs. bad bugs, etc. It was just a part of our lives. Now chickens have become a part of that as well. It’s sad how far removed we have become from our food when a child cannot even identify broccoli in a garden or someone thinks you need a rooster to get eggs (which you don’t)!!😊 Teach them so we can have future farmers.
Remember you can farm anywhere your roots may be planted!!