There are small farms and mega farms out in the country. We have urban farms growing gorgeous fresh produce smack dab in the center of big cities. Then there are micro farms or nano farms. Not the game – people located in the suburbs with smaller than micro farms, and some of them are creating an income growing in containers.
How much space do you really need to grow a crop for market? Not as much as you might assume given the methods of growing we have today. Here’s a couple who started out with 6 EarthBoxes just a couple years ago and now have expanded to the point that their harvest yield is 5 pounds of basil a week, 600 pounds of tomatoes and oodles of lettuce, eggplant and peppers. They sell at their local farmer’s market, which is obviously presenting them with enough customers to keep their growing frenzy… growing.
Who says you need a big plot of ground to be a farmer? All you need is good food growing and people who want to buy it. Obviously, you’ll need enough square footage to make it past feeding yourself to having a yield you will want to sell. The nano farm concept is something that could happen just about anywhere and growing in containers is far less work than working the land, especially with the GrowBox concept. You’ll have absolutely no weeding to worry about using paper mulch as the EarthBox system employs.
Do you need to run out and buy EarthBox containers? No. You can create them with heavy duty Rubbermaid tubs and the paper mulch is readily available by the roll from farm and nursery supply vendors like Growers Supply, Farm Tek and AM Leonard.
The owners of Heritage Cottage Nano Farm employ row covers to get their nano farm going early. Their backyard has solid wood privacy fencing that cuts the wind and provides some insulation against early season chill. Granted, they are in a rather warm climate compared to some locations being in Mississippi, but like anything else, where there’s a will there is a way. In the north, it is possible to grow in-ground in unheated greenhouses and harvest year around. It’s been done in Michigan. The guy sells to local restaurants around Ann Arbor and has been doing so for several years. No room for greenhouses? Utilizing cold frames, cool season crops are still possible as far north as Nova Scotia.
No matter where you live, there is a big demand for fresh, locally grown food. You start small and build as you go, just like Katie and Gary Bachman, who grow not in the suburbs – but in an urban backyard. If you’re in the suburbs, you can obviously get an even larger nano farm going. Heck, you can likely grow chickens and sell fresh eggs or perhaps pan out into dairy goats and sell cheeses in addition to your produce.
The thing is, its time to get growing. People are clamoring for good food, fresh food… organic food that hasn’t traveled hundreds to thousands of miles. Finding real food hasn’t been easy for years. You can help to change that for people in your community.
If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.