Growing a Profitable Vegetable Garden
Turning a profit from your garden without selling a thing is possible, and something you may want to consider. After all, gardening is a great way to save money, but there are costs involved. If you can subsidize those costs, your garden becomes more profitable.
How, you ask, does one make a profit without selling a thing? It’s a give and take situation. We cannot legally sell any of the food we grow on our property. City ordinances, regulations, and the lack of a grower’s certificate make it illegal for us to sell our food. We grow food for our own food security and to fight hunger in our community. We give to and take from the community in order to keep doing what means so much to us.
Our first form of “income” is a tax deduction for the fair market value of the garden produce we donate to local food pantries and food assistance programs. I’m not a tax expert, and you should consult with a professional about whether or not your donations are deductible before assuming they are. Garden produce donated from our gardens is a non-cash contribution. These contributions add up through the growing season, which where we live, is nearly year-round. We determine the fair market value of our donations based on current prices for organic produce at the local supermarkets.
Our second form of “income” is from donations. As I’ve already said, we cannot sell anything. Instead, we solicit donations from our community and offer fresh, organically-grown garden produce as our way of saying thank you for helping us grow to fight hunger. Keep in mind, we have a very small area to grow on, and two large dogs that limit that space even more. There isn’t always a lot to offer, so this is not a huge source of income, but every little bit helps.
We are also planning to offer garden tours and tastings to help raise money to expand our gardens. Of course, they will be offered in kind for donations. And we hope that when people take a stroll through our gardens and taste some of the food we’re growing they will get inspired to start growing more of their own food.
The food we grow and eat ourselves cannot be overlooked as a form of income either. Our gardens save us money, our freezers are full and we have food stored for later in the year. Although we have a year round growing season, not all crops grow all year long. Saving food is definitely a huge money saver.
We consider our gardens, after the cost of water and the few things we have to buy for it, a huge success. In the last two weeks we have harvested, eaten fresh and put away at least $300 worth of food. We have also donated nearly $200 of food to a local church food pantry and shared with family, friends and neighbors. That is just the last two weeks; it doesn’t take into consideration the harvests we’ve enjoyed throughout the year.
We don’t consider our gardens a business. We are a family, like any other, trying to get by and do our part for the community. While we don’t have a business, our gardens are generating a profit. More importantly, they are feeding people who need food.
You can learn more about what is growing on in our gardens and how you can help fight hunger in your community at our blog, Wood Streets Gardens.
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