It’s difficult for small farms and gardens to be profitable, especially in their first few years.
A few reasons why small farms tend to generate less income, proportionately, than large farms include:
- Limited purchasing power: small farms purchase materials in small quantities and therefore don’t receive as much of a discount from retailers as large farms.
- Low volumes of product = less efficient.
- Small fields: on urban farms, a “field” might be no bigger than a narrow city lot.
- Limited farm knowledge and experience: many urban farmers and gardeners are relatively new to agriculture and therefore haven’t yet learned how to maximize income from their farm.
At this weekend’s Real Food Farm workshop, I attended another interesting session called “Fully Utilizing a Small Plot.” Aliza Ess of Baltimore’s Boone Street Garden shared a few ideas for value-added products, which her farm/garden is selling this year in order to generate more income:
- Houseplants, packaged in attractive containers.
- Baked goods.
- Prepared foods, such as pickles, jams, spice mixes, and sauces.
So, legally, here’s where things get tricky. Continue reading