I picked Fred’s brain today, as we planted peppers. How much money to start a farm? How much is a tractor ? How long before a farm starts to run well? How are your knees? Are you making money? Do you have health insurance?
It’s obvious you need a nest egg (ostrich-sized) to comfortably start a farm. From visiting and talking to farmers, most started with money from a previous career, or an inheritance. Fred mentions that there are other options. One farmer at the Berkeley Farmer’s market took out loans, and progressed to larger and larger plots until he arrived at his 4 acre farm. Four acres? Four acres, Fred tells me, is possible if you farm intensively. Fred needs eight however, because tomatoes require rotation. I am not quite so sure if intensive farming is the way to go. My ideal would be something that is best for the earth.
I have my ears pricked up to see what opportunities avail itself. I hear whisperings of people desirous of starting farms. Meanwhile, I attempt to build a nest egg. Anyway, there is much to learn before I could feel confident about becoming a farmer, so I’ll continue down the row, planting.
I’m slower than Fred, but I don’t let it bother me much. The soil this time around isn’t so clayey. Fred had grown cover crops here for two years before he began this first planting of the area. Padron, tangerine pimentos, and some of Rommel’s purple peppers. I walk on my knees down the row. I’m covered in dust, in the end.