Have you always wanted to be a farmer but you think you can’t because you live in the city? Have you ever thought you would like to grow your own food but you think your backyard is too small? Well, think again! Urban farmers are showing every day that you can produce a lot of food to not only put on your own table, but also support full-time, thriving businesses! And whether you call it an urban farm or a backyard garden, there’s something very satisfying about growing your own food. Here’s some simple advice from seasoned vegetable growers to help you get started with your own farming adventures:
Do Your Market Research
Before you break into a vegetable farming market, it’s critical to understand who your competition will be and figure out what gaps you can fill. In a larger community, you may simply be able to show up at a Farmers’ Market week-to-week without having to make a season long commitment, although you’ll likely have to pay a table fee). In smaller communities you might be able to rely on word of mouth recommendations. Ask around town to find existing growers - they are usually pretty friendly and willing to share information. They might even be willing to share their space at market, or sell your vegetables for you until you can get your Farmers Market stand up and running.
This is one of the reasons you should start small. Vegetable farming can be risky and you want to know what you are doing before you invest multiple thousands of dollars on something you haven’t yet tried. Once you’ve begun with just a couple of vegetables (paying for seeds and other equipment up front), then you can feel confident to move forward and expand, reinvesting the money you made on your first crops.
Consult the Experts
Don’t forget that an expert is anyone who knows something you don’t! As mentioned earlier, growers are often very friendly people who love what they do and are willing to share their knowledge. In fact a very successful urban farmer named Wally Satzewich, who developed SPIN-Farming which is a system that has already been used by thousands of gardeners to create and operate backyard farms, has come up with an easy way to calculate how much money a garden space is worth. Check it out here.