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Author Topic: Microfarming  (Read 2956 times)

R.R. Book

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Microfarming
« on: January 14, 2019, 06:30:17 PM »
This topic is about small-scale farming, for those who have a little more land than an urban lot, but not a full size farm.

Will begin the topic with a worthwhile book for winter reading: Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less by Josh Volk.

While it is more difficult to grow grains or raise a herd of large livestock on a farmette of this size, there's a huge amount of food that can be grown; enough in fact to have surplus cash crops. 

The book includes detailed crop planting schematics for each farm, as well as information on how to prep the harvest of each crop for market.  There are sections on tools, outbuildings, animals, soil preparation, and winter care where applicable.



R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 04:58:35 PM »
The pastor of a church in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood one day realized that his congregation members were suffering from numerous degenerative illnesses caused by poor nutrition.  They were lacking in access to fresh foods.

So he started a garden on 1,500 square feet, producing over half a ton of fresh vegetables a year.  And then his congregants became interested in microfarming as well, causing the community to morph into a vibrant farm-to-table network in which the price was right for everyone involved...

That 1,500 square foot garden, by the way, amounts to .03 acre!







http://www.blackchurchfoodsecurity.net/locations.html

https://wtop.com/living/2019/02/i-wanted-to-do-more-for-people-than-just-pray-pastor-blends-faith-farms-to-end-food-insecurity-in-black-churches/

Referred by:
Ice Age Farmer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P9peSvVLjM

ilinda

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2019, 12:59:51 PM »
Isn't that a totally mouth-watering array of greens in that first pic?  And good on that pastor for starting it all.

R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2019, 01:18:53 PM »
Totally agreed.

R.R. Book

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R.R. Book

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Microfarming: Does smaller equate with more resilient?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 01:21:45 PM »
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-01/boon-times-auction-houses-american-farmers-go-bankrupt

ZeroHedge posted this article with insights into why farmers are giving up, besides the weather, which seems to suggest within it the seeds for preventing or overcoming family farm obsolescence:

Quote
Mid-sized farmers, those with annual sales under $5 million, are increasingly failing as the trade war sends the global economy into a synchronized slowdown.

This suggests three broad categories of farms, including two other farming classes: Big Agra with sales over $5 million annually, and small farms which net a significantly smaller, but potentially more than adequate income.

Ten thoughts of my own on how small farms may succeed where larger family-owned farms fail:

1. Keeping the land in the family.  If the farm is passed down to the next generation, then the initial purchase of the farm will only impact the first generation.  Subsequent generations can focus upon improving and expanding the farm if they chose.

2. Keeping the land in the community.  If there is no one left in a particular bloodline to pass a farm on to, then successful farm families in the area can follow the lead of the Amish and attend land auctions in entire trading blocs or church districts, arranging the necessary finances amongst themselves in order to ensure that one or more of them holds onto the land.

3. Placing the land in a land trust, thereby lowering property taxes and preventing zoning alterations which would permit developers and speculators to carve it up.

4. Keeping the farm small enough that it can be managed all or partially by hand or equine-labor, avoiding one of the biggest downfalls of modern farming: indebtedness in order to purchase large machinery.

5. Where machinery is needed, keeping it simple, so that it can be repaired right on the farm by those using it, rather than by an external mechanic using parts likely made overseas.


This simple corn-harvester is as complicated as it gets in the Amish community.  Its design is so basic that the farmer is able to repair it himself, perhaps with a little help from the blacksmith in his own congregation, who is likely a relative and neighbor as well.

6. Making the primary purpose of living on the land self-sufficiency, rather than heavily depending upon competition with agri-business beyond participation in the local co-op. 

7. Not considering it a poor compromise to have a part-time job doing something else.  Diversification of skills is healthy, but the farm is always at the center of the heart. 

8. Saving at least a tenth of earnings into an emergency account throughout one's entire life, and teaching children to do so from a very young age with separate jars for spending, saving, and sharing.  Emergencies can be extrapolated to include securing and preserving local farm land which ends up at auction (see #2).

9. If a large machine would be very useful, collaborating with other farmers to purchase it as a group, but only if it can be locally repaired.

10.  Keeping the size to scale: Under 100 acres where some mechanization will be used, including equine-drawn machinery.  Under 10 acres for hand labor.  One rarely sees an Amish farm over 100 acres in Pennsylvania, and one never hears of an Amishman going bankrupt.

Other thoughts?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 05:56:25 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 01:48:06 PM »
Here's an aerial view of Charles Dowding's stunning microfarm on a 3/4 acre plot, of which only a quarter acre of it is planted, mostly with seeded succession-planting crops.  This is not only his home, but his livelihood as a market gardener:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDjgJ6NroVE


« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 02:13:17 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2019, 08:27:27 PM »
Isn't it beautiful?  Seeing the pic makes one want to jump on in and start walking around.

R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2019, 03:57:54 AM »
I always envy such perfect garden rows.  Gardening in the woods here, I have to just grab every little patch of sunlight that I can find, so the gardens end up being little blobs here and there!

Part of my problem is woodlot management...I just don't like to cut down trees  ::)

Socrates

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 07:59:06 AM »
I went to this thread thinking it must be about people growing sprouts in their kitchen or living room... That's what i'd call micro farming.
We have culturally divorced ourselves from sustainable farming practices and now commonly call agrobusiness operations "farming"; this is devolution. The above examples are actually examples of successful "farming", i.e. nothing 'micro' about them, except from a 'modern' viewpoint.

Romans and other ancient cultures [which i refuse to call "civlizations" since there was little 'civilized' about them] destroyed their habitats and saw themselves forced to become belligerent/expansive/imperialistic in order to sustain their self-destructive ways. Our own modern cultures are a continuation of this trend.
We disservice ourselves by acting and talking as if this is not so. Though popular culture and politics talk and act as if "agriculture" is about mining soils for all they're worth and then discarding them [hence 30% of agricultural lands being desertified, i.e. rendered useless], this is actually insane and not something sane people should refer to as "farming".

---

90% of folks used to farm in one way or another. In the USA today this number is 2 or 3%. That's crazy.
Stats like illustrated above help make clear just how crazy this is since everyone can and should be 'farming'.
We should stop talking reactively, i.e. in reaction to insane practices as if something insane might ever become sane.
Today we know much better than our ancestors but also much better than conventional professionals what works and is sustainable. It should now be clear that none of this is about idealism or something; people need to get farming, period. Individually and culturally, we have no choice. To not do so is outright insane. Only insane cultural biases against farming suggest otherwise.

If you've no land, practice guerilla farming. And if you've no energy or health to go out and plant plants and trees for good quality food, that just means you need such produce to begin with.
There are no viable excuses for supermarket shopping. Complacency will cost you dearly in the end, especially if TSHTF and you are physically and psychologically weak, have no good food stores [i.e. talking quality food] and no seeds or knowledge of how to start from scratch.


It's not "microfarming", it's "farming"; and what popular culture considers "farming" is an abomination that should be allowed to die and wither away as the terrible millennia-old failed experiment it is, always was and was always going to be.
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R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 08:29:54 AM »
Absolutely agreed Soc, and it seems to me that the word "microfarming" only came into existence recently.  It almost seems like a belittling word, as compared up against big agribusiness.

A better term might be "Homesteading," which you've correctly suggested at one time involved just about everyone, even in what once passed for "cities."  I love looking at early illustrations of Philadelphia, which once had a law that no building could be taller than 4 stories high.  Every "city" lot had a big kitchen garden, and farmers pulled carts up and down the unpaved streets selling their produce, grown very nearby.

"Guerilla Gardening" would make a neat topic for the boards, BTW  :)

Socrates

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Re: local farming
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 11:57:01 AM »
farmers pulled carts up and down the unpaved streets selling their produce, grown very nearby.
This is something one experiences to this day, even in cities, in Morocco. And similar to 'ancient Philadelphia', the produce is of wonderful quality because the soils it's grown in still have life to them.
It's crazy; you either go out to larger streets full of people selling produce out of vehicles or they actually come through just about all streets and you just have to wait until you hear them hollering, hawking their wares, then go outside to buy fresh produce. I find it much more civilized than supermarkets...
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R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 12:05:58 PM »
The only thing comparable in present time is the popsicle truck - children still wait at the curb for it to come around, though not quite this far out in the sticks  ;)

Morocco sounds like an exciting place!

ilinda

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 08:30:13 PM »
Absolutely agreed Soc, and it seems to me that the word "microfarming" only came into existence recently.  It almost seems like a belittling word, as compared up against big agribusiness.
Agree.  Don't think I ever heard of microfarming until a few years ago.  And, yes, it seems to be a put-down.

R.R. Book

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Re: Microfarming
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2019, 04:44:22 AM »
Oppenheimer Ranch Project featured a discussion with permaculturist Matt Powers on Rudolph Steiner's biodynamic agriculture methods in a recent video, including a retrospective of changes in agricultural practice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk1RhMTC9Tw

Steiner had presented a series of lectures that were then documented and bound into a book (by one of his students?) called Agriculture or The Agriculture Course.  I found a free .pdf of the book here:

http://www.growingempowered.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Rudolph-Steiner-Agriculture-Course.pdf



« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 10:42:36 AM by R.R. Book »

 

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