I’ve been pretty hush hush about what our plans will be in the future. Well the future is coming quick and it’s time to spill the beans I suppose because things are about to get C-R-A-Z-Y.
Urban farming in our city is great if you’re doing it for your family but we still don’t have an ordinance that allows us to sell the excess food that we grow to our neighbors and friends. Although, in all honesty, we really don’t have any excess food because we eat pretty much all that we produce and preserve that which we can’t eat fresh. Selling what we produce probably isn’t the best plan for us even if it was legal. Why produce food to sell and just turn around and use that money to replace the food that we sold?
In September 2011 I began a dialogue with our city’s Planning Manager about what I could legally do. Selling food, of course, was a no-go. To sell food, even raw agricultural products, I would have to be zoned for commercial. We’re zoned low-density residential so that wouldn’t work.
All was not lost though because I had a Plan B. I can get a home occupation permit to sell plants as long as I grow them from seed on my property rather than bring in wholesale plants to resell. That’s easy to do considering Plan B was to only sell heirloom vegetable plants from saved seed of varieties I’ve grown that I know do well in our climate.
Of course when we figured out Plan B is legal here it was a bit too late to get started for the 2012 season. We still needed to get together stuff for our greenhouse project. But now the greenhouse is almost up and should be finished in the next month so I’ll have starts to sell this coming Spring! Stay tuned for the list of plants and varieties I’ll have available.
But that’s not all we’ve got in the works! Our big Big BIG plan is to become full scale farmers. That’s right, we’re going to take this to the next level. It’s not going to happen overnight as we’ve got a lot of things we need to do first before going all the way. My first task is to start taking ag courses, particularly in ag business, marketing, and sustainability this winter. Then we’re going to need to develop a business plan and research market conditions and figure out what we want to produce. And all of this before we start looking for land. Looking for land will involve checking soils, local climate, water access, flooding, site history (and any contamination that my have occurred in the past), and various other issues. We’ll most likely do fruits, vegetables, and eggs. We’ll have other animals like our goats, probably a pig or two and a cow but only for personal use. We’re also considering some draft animals as well sometime in the future. There’s a lot to think about and to research because one of us will be quitting our job to make this a full time endeavor. The other one will have to remain at work to bring in a second income because if there’s one thing we’ve learned (well, there’s lots of things we’ve learned) from all the farmers that we’ve interviewed, that second income is crucial for the survival of a farm unless you’re the most famous farmer in America (Mr. Salatin).
20 thoughts on “Big Plans and Bigger Plans”
I’m excited for you and I’m excited to follow along with you! How about a third income: writing, speaking, teaching.
I’m sooooo excited for you. What a momentous decision! My daughter and I try and try to come up with scenarios where we could also become farmers, but haven’t found a viable solution so far.
I’m looking forward to learning alongside of you both.
Ohhh, I am BEYOND excited for you guys, on all levels. You’re gonna rock the HELL out of this thing. GO!!! <3
This is wonderful news! Can’t wait to see how you impact more people in your community and inspire others! Keep up the good work.
Awesome! It is a slippery slope, isn’t it? We started with six hens, and thought this might be our forever home (until retirement). That plan’s changed already though. We’ve been casually looking for property for the last year, something flatter, with more elbow room, as we have plans to move forward too, but are restricted by our terrain. I can’t wait to see how things develop for you, and where you end up. Are you aiming to stay in California, or considering moving further afield? Good luck!
How exciting for you too! We would like to stay in California but with property prices, who knows. We would have to be somewhere that at least one of us could make a decent off-farm salary though.
Awesome:) That is Great news!
I’m so happy for you. Often when I read your blog, I think how great it would be for you to do this. I’ve missed my chance – too old and settled to start over at 66, but believe me I would if I was 20 years younger. For now, I cultivate my urban yard and read farm blogs and dream. So happy you are going to go far it.
Wonderful news. My process has been sort of the reverse of yours…I have been longing for a little farm for several years. Last year I finally accepted the fact that my situation will not allow it for at lease three more years. SO…I decided to start in my backyard here in Vallejo…Just a small flock of chooks and a modest garden. But I also have plans for expansion this coming year. Two more veggie beds and beekeeping. I can’t wait to see your heirloom starts for my little garden. Please check out my FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/FeatherbedFarm?ref=stream
PS I’ve been casually looking in Western North Carolina around Asheville…it’s awesome land, decent climate, and politically progressive…lots of off-the-grid folks, organic farmers, crafters, artists, music scene…
Ann, Thanks for the FB page and I’ve liked your page! Have we met before? If not, we need to!
Thanks for liking my little page! I don’t think we’ve met and would love to connect. 🙂
Congrats to both of you! That’s a big step. We’ll definitely be knocking on your door this spring for some starts.
As you ponder different locations, you might want to contact the county Farm Bureau. They can be useful for networking and other info. (And yes, I know the politics at the state and national levels can be, uh, distasteful. But I had some contact with the Marin and Sonoma farm bureaus in the past and there are some great people there.)
Wow. Just Wow! Nothing like (not) dipping your big toe in. You guys will do great. Please forgive me for tl;dr, which of you will you keep your “day” job? I’m with @Christina. You (either one of you!) could mos def subsidize your income by speaking and teaching. You are *that* awesome! And so nice to boot. Congrats!
That’s so exciting!! I can’t wait to hear more updates and follow this journey! Woo hoo!!!!!
That good writing. And all these comments so full of good energy. Good luck with everything. Greetings from Colombia and if you know nothing of agriculture here, I leave the link to see the good things we produce. You are invited! http://www.agronet.gov.co
Congratulations. On both endeavours! Very exciting. And a ton of hard work. But it’s absolutely your passion and you will be most likely to succeed at something you love.
In case you are not aware of it, UC Davis has a Small Farm Program which should have some good resources. http://sfp.ucdavis.edu/
Best of luck!
Thanks for the link! And of course the encouragement!
You have one very proud Mom. Fantastic idea and I know you will be incredibly successful – love you
I know this is an older post, I just found your site from your Year Without Groceries article in MEN. For a draft animal, I would suggest an ox. As you have mentioned having a cow, you’ll have to have her bred. The result of one of those breedings must be a male. Oxen are the best of draft animals. They do everything better except get you to church on Sunday. That is because they will get you to church on Monday! (slow! animals) Be glad to talk animal power with you anytime!
Thanks for the info! We’re still a ways off from this but it’s nice to know I have people I can talk to about them. 🙂
Comments are closed.