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.


  1. I've seen the term "homesteading" used a lot lately--although I'm not sure that it describes the commercial side of things for you. We are just now attempting to start somehting similar on our one acre--very small, just for ourselves for the time being, but I'm hopeful that it could 'grow' to more!

  2. No offense Charlene, but the term "homesteading" is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I don't know what it is, but I can't stand that word esp. when people say they are "urban homesteading."

    If you're producing food you're farming regardless of the size and regardless of whether you are commercial or not.

  3. postage stamp or micro-mini farm

  4. I've decided. I'm calling it The Not-So-Urban Farm. Works for me.

  5. Hi Amy, I found you through Cold Antler Farm. I too, am a single farmer. I raised my 2 children by myself on a little less than 5 acres, we grew and raised our food. I did it out of necessity, and I wanted my kids to know how to work hard and be able to feed themselves a healthy diet. But to hear my daughter tell it-she had a traumatic childhood! My son loved it. I work as an artist and travel into town for an 8-6 job with insurance just like Jenna does. I have ran off every man I dated-I worked them too hard...

  6. Thanks pleintexasgirl. I seem to run most of them off when the learn that I process my own chickens. I've decided its a good way to weed out the squeamish.