How to Become a City Farmer: The Importance of Urban Farms
How to become a city farmer
More and more people are moving into cities and towns to find work. The problem is that most food producers are situated outside major population centers and food produce is often transported to the city.
Becoming an urban homesteader may not only have personal and financial advantages,
but also advantages to the community as a whole. Urban homesteads often benefit local wildlife, and many scientists now believe small urban farms are vital for many species.
How do you become an urban homesteader, and how much work is involved?
How to Become A City Farmer
If you are thinking about becoming an urban homesteader it is important to make plans, and find out what is involved. There are different types of urban homesteads:
· Fruit and vegetable production is very popular
· Live stock farming
Ask yourself how much time you have available and if you would like to grow and produce food just for yourself or the wider community? Producing food and having a small farm shop may even pay the bills and let you make a profit from your urban homestead.
Don’t think for one moment that becoming an urban farmer is going to be easy. It means you need to be prepared for lots of hard work but with a bit of planning you can make the task easier.
Keeping Life Stock in the City
Goats are Great!
There are some really good reasons why you should consider keeping goats:
- They produce manure
- Milk can be used for cheese, milk and even goat's milk soap
- Take up less space than cows
- Quite hardy animals
- Many different breeds available
Suitable Livestock for the City Farmer
Livestock can be a problem in a city. There might be some smells, and the local authorities may require you to take out special licenses to keep livestock.
There are some livestock which might be easier accepted than others. Poultry of different kinds is one example. Chickens are great because they produce eggs but they are also useful when it comes to picking unwanted pests from plants. They are sort of a natural pest control. Ducks are great as well but you may want to consider adding a small pond to your homestead. They produce highly sought after eggs which are often appreciated by local restaurants. Geese are an alternative great but may be too noisy for the city.
When you plan your urban homestead is important to look at both sides of the coin. Make sure that if you plan to invest in livestock there are more than one advantage to keeping that animal. A donkey for instance could be great for pulling a cart, and at the same time provide valuable manure for growing fruit and vegetables.
Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a must for the urban homesteader. Not only are they the basis for any healthy diet, but also a great product to sell. Most people like to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and there is nothing better than locally sourced produce. Try to find out which crops could possible grow well in the local area, and also try to grow fruit and vegetables which produce more than you need. You may want to focus on organic vegetables and fruit, so it is important to find out which crops produce the most. Popular crops are often potatoes, tomatoes and carrots but there are many more worth considering.
Water is Essential !
Water will be very important. If you are lucky you might just have a local water source, but if you don't water can be expensive. Contact the local water company, and find out if there are any special rates available for smaller farms, and homesteads.
Spitalfields City Farm
Start a Farm Shop
Farms Shops Do Well
Once your homestead is producing crops, and your chickens are laying their eggs, you may want to open a small farm shop. Farm shops are becoming very popular, and people are delighted when they can buy their food from source.
Not only will you be able to supply many of the daily essentials, but you may also want to consider making your jams, bread and cakes. Flour can be purchased at commercial rates directly from flour mills. Homemade bread makes a popular addition to any homestead shop. Bread is also becoming one of the best selling urban cottage industry products.
Don't forget to promote your farm shop. Local advertising does very well and you may even want to set up your own web site. Farming is seasonable so set up a page and promote what you have available at the time.
Online ordering is another idea, and goods can be collected directly from your farm.
Supermarket vs Farm Shops - which one do you prefer?
Setting Up a Farm Shop
Produce bought in farm shops is often much fresher and most of the time it has also been grown organically without pesticides. Before you set up shop it is important to remember a couple of things.
- Opening Hours
- Shop Staff
- Produce Available
The range of produce which can be sold is rather limitless and is up to you. Try to make sure you have a varied product range.
it is also important to deliver a personal service. People buy people, and once your customers realize how important your farm is to you, they are more likely to return again. A regular clientele is very important.
So what are you going to sell in your farm shop. Here are some ideas for you:
- Home made crafts
The list is rather endless and it all depends on how much you can produce.
There may initially seem like there are many things to consider, but perhaps the best idea is to grow your urban or city farm one day at a time.