Sunday, November 14, 2010

How Big?

How big does a farm have to be in order to call it a farm? One day at work I casually called what I do farming and received several condescending smiles. Around here "farms" are big; 2000, 3000 acres. They have lots of big equipment that need lots of petroleum products. They grow one crop and they do it darned well, if your goal is yield per acre. I have several goals for this little farm (yes, I'm calling it a farm). First, the food must be the highest quality possible; fresh, organic, picked at the last possible moment before delivery. Second, the varieties I grow are open pollinated, ensuring maximum nutritional value. Third, this labor of love will provide my family with an honest living.
I grow in raised beds to extend my season and outsmart the bermuda grass. I make my own compost. The trees supply leaves, the garden and the kitchen give "greens", the rabbits and chickens provide manures. This may not look like a farm to most folks but I feed myself and my teenager in addition to sharing the harvest with 8 CSA subscribers. I feel as if I've barely begun to tap the potential of this little 1/3 acre. There are so many imaginative ways to get more produce out of a small space and I've tried just a few of them.

I need a new name for this kind of agriculture. We need a name, because there are quite a few folks doing this kind of small-scale farming. I know there are Urban Farms but I can't really use that term when in live in a town of 720. Its kind of like Backyard Agriculture but its also a commercial enterprise so I don't know if that fits, either.

If you can think of what to call this "thing" we do, please post it. I'd love to hear your ideas.