Growing Your Own Food with Micro-Farming

garden with wheelbarrow in micro-farming
Beginnings of a garden

Have you ever dreamed of growing your own food? If the answer is yes, then micro-farming might be the perfect way to make that dream a reality. Your small farm or even an urban backyard are great places to start.

Micro-farms are smaller, sustainable agriculture operations that can provide you and your family with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, honey, and other products–all from your own farm. These “small farms” are often family-owned businesses and provide an excellent opportunity to break into the farming industry without having to invest in large amounts of land or equipment.

On this website, Profitable Small Farm, we are a big proponent of making your land pay you. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do.

What is Micro-Farming?

child walking through a garden

Micro-farming is an alternative to traditional farm models that prioritize small-scale production over large-scale industrial farming. This small-scale farming operation involves using sustainable practices to grow a variety of crops on a fraction of the land used for industrial agriculture.

The idea behind micro-farming is that by focusing on smaller-scale food production, farmers are able to produce higher quality food in less time and with fewer resources than larger farms.

How Much Land Do You Need?

large basket of tomatoes

To produce food for an average family of 4 (not vegetarians), you only need a piece of land 20 feet by 40 feet (800 square foot). That amount of land has the potential to give you fresh food throughout the season and enough bounty to preserve for the winter.  

Many of the experts define micro-farming as 5 acres or less, which fits in with the definition of a small farm which can be 4-20 acres. Bee farms or even a small dairy farm (goats or milk cows) can fit into a small farming business structure.

Advantages of Micro-Farming

There are many advantages to micro-farming when compared to traditional farming methods. For starters, it requires much less land than traditional farms, meaning it’s easier for farmers to find land suitable for their needs without having to purchase or lease large tracts of land. By farming small or even using your back and side yards will give you enough space to plant.

Feast for Your Table

One of the biggest advantages of utilizing your land is that it allows you to grow much of what you eat. You can choose what you want to grow and when, so you can customize your production schedule to fit your lifestyle.

You could raise chickens and make your place a small poultry farm. You can raise fruits and vegetables in your own market garden and sell extras to the local market. Even a vineyard can work within this system.

big head of cabbage

Plus, by growing your own produce, you know exactly where it comes from and what kind of conditions it was grown in. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the food you are eating is safe and healthy for consumption.

The Environmental Benefits of Micro-Farming

Environmental benefits are another great reason to start a micro-farm. A well-managed micro-farm can actually help improve soil quality, which will have positive effects on water quality and air pollution levels as well. This is due to the increased organic matter in the soil, reduced erosion caused by tilling, and greater biodiversity from using crop rotation techniques.

Organic Techniques are Possible

Watering the plants

Additionally, micro-farmers often use organic techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting which help keep pests away while also enriching the soil with organic matter like compost or manure. It is easier with this more contained space to be able to do

different techniques which are better for the soil as well as our environment.

Market Garden Offers Real Benefit

Farmer’s markets offer an alternative to buying from large corporate grocery stores where much of the produce is shipped from far away places—which leads to further environmental degradation caused by transportation emissions. Your small farm can provide this service.

Customer Service Can Excel

Finally, since most micro-farms are owned and operated by individuals rather than corporations, they often have more direct contact with their customers which can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The Health Benefits of Micro-Farming

man and child gardening

Micro-farming has several health benefits that can’t be overlooked. When you grow produce yourself, you know exactly what kind of fertilizer or pesticide was used (or not used) on it. You also know when it was harvested, meaning fresher food with more nutrients in it than store-bought options.

Gardening also requires that you are outside and active–both good for your health.

Having access to fresh fruits and vegetables grown in your own backyard can also reduce trips to the store and save money on groceries in the long run.

Income Opportunities From Micro-Farms

Stack of different kinds of goat cheese
Different types of goat cheese that you can make.

Micro-farming is another of our more profitable small farm ideas. You can make money! A micro-farm can provide an additional source of income if you choose to sell any excess produce or products made from them (fresh veggies, jams, pickles, etc.). You can sell honey or other specialty crops, such as herbs. With today’s focus on local foods, farmers’ markets are becoming increasingly popular as people seek out fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown nearby rather than shipped across the country (or the world).

As with any business, you need to write a business plan and develop a marketing action plan. By doing this, you have a much greater chance of success.

Specialization Might Be One of Many Profitable Small Farm Ideas

Many small farmers can’t make enough profit with simply fruits and vegetables because the profit margins are too thin for the quantity that they can produce. As a result, other farmers specialize in profitable crops, such as mushrooms, microgreens, or herbs. You are working toward the maximum yield of other crops from a tiny piece of your farm. Analyze your market and see if you should specialize. Meet the local demand.

multiple bouquets of flowers
Flowers can be grown.

If you really want to get into selling your produce more seriously, you could even set up shop at stores, local restaurants, or grocery stores so that they can purchase locally grown food, flowers, or animal products directly from you.

Online Store

Shopify home page
Click here to learn more.

There are a number of really good reasons to have an online store. Your products will be presented to people throughout the world. You aren’t limited to just your local market. In addition, your store can be selling 24/7 without you in attendance. Granted, you will have to go in, get orders, and proceed from there, but you don’t have to be present to sell anything. Your store will do that.

You have the option of a really cool online store by setting up on Shopify. Shopify is a great way to market your products to the world, and they have a terrific special for new stores getting started. You can start for 3 days free, then $1 a month for 3 months. After that, you can decide which plan would be best for you. Shopify is one of the most reasonable online store platforms available as well as the best, so you can’t go wrong here. Success tells: there are over 6 million Shopify merchants as of 2022.

We’ve already talked about building your own website – essential for any small farm business. Shopify is the platform that will serve you well. Make sure that your product will work for an online store. Have GREAT pictures of everything you want to sell. Best products can include anything in the health and lifestyle category, pet products, kitchen items, personal care, fashion–anything that has a shelf-life and can be packaged and shipped easily.

Shopify can do your dropshipping. It can print on demand. It has 24/7 support to help you start and grow an online business. Shopify does everything you need as a business owner. I highly recommend it.

Local Routes of Customers

five eggs in someone's hand

Through this small farm business, you can also market your produce to individual customers in your area and provide free delivery. If you are raising chickens and have excess eggs, there is a real demand for those eggs and you can charge less than the grocery stores and still make a profit.

Supporting Your Community

table at farmer's market
Table at Farmer’s Market

Finally, you are helping to support your local community by providing access to fresh and nutritious food options. This helps boost local economies as well as encourages people to eat healthier diets overall. You can become a very popular market gardener.

Plus, this small farm business is also an eco-friendly way of producing food since it reduces the need for transport and packaging compared to grocery stores or larger farms that ship their goods over long distances.                 

How Can I Get Started With Micro-Farming?

If you’re interested in starting your own micro-farm, there are several things you’ll need to consider before getting started.

Access to Land

First and foremost, you will need access to land suitable for your needs. Ideally, this should be a plot of land that receives ample sunlight and has good drainage. A small farm or an urban backyard will work. As stated before, if you are only doing this for your own benefit, you only need a scrap of land. If you need more, you may even be able to lease or rent farmland from another farmer.

What Will You Grow?

Goat's milk being poured from pitcher into a glass
Goat’s milk

You should also consider what types of crops or animals you plan on growing—will you focus on vegetables or herbs? Will you growing fruits, such as raspberries? What about fruit trees? Will you raise chickens or goats and promote their products?

How will you grow everything? A market garden or a kitchen garden? Specialize in animal products?

chicken coop with a chicken going down the ladder
Chicken coop in the backyard

If you also want to raise animals such as chickens or goats, you will need a bit more space. The beauty of raising both chickens and goats is that all of them eat kitchen scraps, so you can recycle your garden waste (not tomato plants, though) by feeding them to your animals (plus their regular feed). Your place becomes a true working farm, as your animals and land work for you.

You have a number of choices to make. You can grow food for your family, or you can expand that to grow for the public. Once you decide how you are going to proceed, it’s time to start planting!     

Saving the Family Budget Also Saves the Environment

Starting a micro-farm business can be an exciting endeavor for anyone looking for an alternative way of producing fresh fruits and vegetables and other products while also being conscious about preserving natural resources at the same time. You can make this into a farming business or simply an “urban farm.” While there are some startup costs associated with starting a micro-farm (such as purchasing seeds and tools), the rewards far outweigh any initial financial investments required in order to get started.

Micro-Farming Offers Many Benefits

little boy watering plants

There are many profitable small farm ideas, but if you are good at gardening or raising animals, this would be ideal for you. If you are doing micro-farming as a farm business, you need to develop a business plan and a marketing plan to help you on the road to success.

Small farming operations can be quite profitable. Here is a way to have a supplemental income or even support your family. With careful planning, hard work, and dedication, anyone can turn their dreams into reality through the power of micro-farming on small farms or even urban farming!

Want More Information? Here are some links.

9 Steps to Market Gardens

9 Steps to a Permaculture Farm

Grow Microgreens for Profit

Composted Manure

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