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Day 11 – So You Want to be a Farmer?

I am not in a position to give advice on how to farm. But one thing I have learned from from my farmer friends and the inspiring farmers I have interviewed for our PBS TV show (Joel Salatin, Farmer D and others) is that there are some great resources out there that people can tap into.

See…Many of us dream of just owning a little piece of land where we can grow on a much larger scale. And others among us, want to farm…really farm…with acreage, CSAs and whole deal. Fun right?

Well yes, farming can sound very romantic and satisfying. But the reality is that Farming is also hard work. And unless you have at least some knowledge to back up your hard work, you probably won’t make it.

It’s a Journey!

But that does not mean you give up. It means you embrace the idea of gaining knowledge. And really, the process of gaining that knowledge can be a sweet ride for ALL of us. It doesn’t matter how large or small our little plot of land is, gaining knowledge is a journey. And it is a smart journey to start if you are even remotely considering going into farming.

Where to start:

Well luckily for us, the interest in sustainable agriculture and backyard hobby farming has grown and so too have the resources grown. Today, it doesn’t matter if you are thinking of plowing the back 40 acres or just the back forty feet of your property. There is some great information here for everyone.

If you want to learn everything from planting and maintaining a tractor to keeping the books, The Farm School is a place to start. Here you live and work as a farmer before actually doing it on your own land. It is basically a Farm Academy but they also have workshops and classes for those who cannot commit to the 1 year curriculum.

And if you research in your area, there are many places that offer farm apprenticeship programs and some universities have complete sustainable agriculture programs for both farmers and homesteaders. HERE is a listing of University Academic Programs all over the country. The University of Davis CA even has a student farm.

 

Another great resource is the Greenhorns website. They are a grassroots organization made up of young farmers. They post information about farming news, workshops, apprenticeships, and more. There is even a Greenhorns Movie and a Book.

Young Farmers Coalition is focused on the supporting America’s next generation of sustainable farmers and rangers. They use the term “young” to mean “newbie” farmer.

There is so much more out there. This is just a starting point. What an awesome adventure for some of you to take.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Living Homegrown. Sign up for my newsletter (weekly or monthly) so you don’t miss any of the inspiration and resources I will be sharing for living local, fresh and homegrown! 

 

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.

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