Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

From Cooking Up A Story

A simple idea led two women into a thriving new enterprise. Creating backyard mini-farms for homeowners who want to start growing their own fresh herbs and vegetables, but lack the time or resources to do it themselves. A considerable amount of food can be grown in a small area of land, and depending on one’s geographic location, the food can be grown outdoors throughout much of the year. As food prices rise, these types of mini-farms take on new economic meaning!

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Comment by Christa Nelson on August 30, 2010 at 1:28pm
nice viddy.......it brings up an issue that i've been thinking about a great deal since i've moved out of the city, and that's the cost of land...........after living in progressive magnet cities for the past 20 years (Portland, Austin, DC) and seeing all the gentrification that comes from the high cost of real estate, and now with me living in a rural area for the past year, i feel that the next step is to move out of the city and begin to "gentrify" small towns and rural areas throughout the USA........the cost of living and land in rural areas is significantly less and the amount of available land is much greater........i also think this would help to bring a positive cultural and addition to rural communities, and perhaps even start to re-shape the progressive political demographic beyond metro areas, which sometimes felt like an isolated progressive "ghetto" to me when living in these places
Comment by Cornelia on August 30, 2010 at 2:09pm
It's an interesting issue...thanks for starting the discussion. Rural communities are suffering and sure can use an infusion of activity, economy and vitality. The tough part about "moving to the country" is that there are few to no jobs to sustain people. Not everyone can sell their wares online or write for a living, and a beginning farmer is often still reliant on off-farm income in order to survive. Chicken and egg scenario (so to speak!)
You are a pioneer, Christa, and your skills allow you to be largely self-sufficient (from what I've seen of your posts here). I'd be interested to hear more about how you do it!
Comment by Cornelia on August 30, 2010 at 2:10pm
By the way, have you read Radical Homemakers?
Comment by Christa Nelson on August 30, 2010 at 2:52pm
Cornelia, you're totally right about the job situation in rural areas, and much of the time you have to be willing to travel if you're not going to work from home (heck, you have to travel to get to anything out in the country, anyhow). My professional background is within social service nonprofits, and that kinda stuff is few and far between around here (secular social services, that is). Now there is plenty of well-paying, union, blue collar work around here with all of the truck terminals in the area (there's a major N/S/E/W interstate hub nearby) not to mention contracting work and such, as well as the work in the medical field, etc.

As far as what I've been doing personally, I was fortunate to inherit the house and land that is paid off after my father passed on last fall. I keep my overhead low and I'm very frugal after a lifetime of being a poor bohemian, and I'm single with no kids which helps too. I haven't found any meaningful nonprofit work yet, so I've been carefully living off savings. Soon I will have to find some work, but i've been busy making the homestead and my life in general as self-sufficient as possible with the resources I have so I'll only have to pick up a part time pay the bills job if it comes to that.

There is also a great deal of possibility in the small towns around rural areas to create neat little restaurants, galleries, shops, services, etc. if people have to gumption to get started. I keep thinking about all the unused, old barns around here and how they could be turned into cool performance venues. It just takes some vision and a few folks willing to get started. Renting out housing is another way to generate income. You can often find nice mobile homes for sale for $5,000 and rent it out to folks who don't have the credit or want to buy.

And I haven't read Radical Homemakers yet but it sounds great!


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