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Small Farm Diversification Means Survival – Thursday Market

August 14, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany people long for what is perceived as the good old days. We want modern convenience, and it’s easy to forget that modern agriculture, like other businesses, evolved to sell to that want.

Decades ago the quest for lower prices, more volume, get big or get out. Today, modern agriculture is just as likely to be an urban garden as an aquaculture system or 500 acres with cattle or 3,000 acres of crops. It’s diverse. Specialized equipment, such as autosteer combines and sprayers that can spray one part of the field heavier than another, coordinated by need and GPS information – those things are expensive. Efficient but expensive.

Some look at our page and doubt we really do what we say – oh we do, but it’s small scale for small scale customers. As it has been clear, we’re in an area that it’s difficult to sell local. The idea and the reality don’t meet – indeed not even in the same zip code.

Where we have a chance of survival is diversity. It means picking peppers by hand. Less automation, more labor, more time. Being creative for income is not just rabbit meat, wool, fur, crafts, compost and veggies but beyond in to what we know that others want. It’s all a part of piecing together income needed to pay bills.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s constantly looking for new ways to present what we do, as well as new things to present. Sometimes that is a big project, sometimes not so much. As a long time free lance writer, dozens of articles have been online, and in a quest to once again diversify, some of those have been collected into convenient ebooks. I hope our friends, readers and customers will help spread the news of these and buy them. It pays for projects that need to be done, materials and activities needed that may not happen otherwise.

The best part is these are cheap – $5 and under – to get them into more hands by keeping the price low and affordable. Early feedback is good. Topics are varied and what’s done and ready so far is as follows:

A Look at Agriculture – just $3 – for the person with questions about agriculture and food production. Basic overview, with sources to get more information on an as needed basis.

150 Things to do Before Graduation – As kids head back to school, time passes all too quickly. This informal guide helps provide a map, a list of suggestions of things to do that teach life skills and more. It builds memories and educations…and costs less than a fast food meal!

Dog Tails & Tales – Part stories, part sharing lessons from some incredible dogs. What kind of dog to pick, how to handle training challenges and other issues. Best $3 you’ll spend on your dog.

Basic Horse Sense – When this grew to over 100 pages, and the WorkWith Horses one hit 50, and both had much material still to add, a split was made to focus and keep the price lower. At just over 150 pages there’s a lot of information here.

So You Want to Work With Horses – Many think they can make a few extra bucks boarding horses, or perhaps want to go to working professionally. Shares the good and bad of such decisions, saving money and heartache. Worth the $3.

Racing Stories – the famous and not so famous in the racing world from Secretariat to Zenyatta and Seattle Slew to archived notes on Breeder’s Cup races and what makes some horses special. Just $3 – an easy read.

Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past. Family history from the Depression brought forward to present day. It’s a few years old, but much still relevant. $5

 

All of these are set in pdf format to be easily read. Original photos throughout.

There are some that don’t see how $3 helps. Think about how many $3 items WalMart or Target or others sell in an hour. Many of our projects are $200-600 projects – from raised beds to the greenhouse hoop. A few hundred ebooks can help tremendously, but also helps those reading. Better understand your horse and add a greenhouse? Deal with a dog issue and put up dog pens? Help equip a teen for life and build a raised bed? Yes, win win situations are possible. It’s a new view of diversification.

It leads to additional turkey breeds, duck and goose rare breed conservation and one more rare rabbit herd. It leads to expanding rare rabbits and pepper varieties that are beyond the store. It allows for rosemary, stevia and mints being expanded. Right now we could sure use it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan we get some help? WE don’t have a marketing team but do have thousands of contacts online. A hundred ebooks sold would be a huge leap forward right now, and a lot of breathing room. Labor and time are given, but supplies cost. Help a friend with a referral to our ebook. Before another “if we could afford it” chance passes by.

Want to know how to deal with food aggression in your dog? It’s in the Dog Tails & Tales book. Thinking about a rescue horse and not sure? Check out advice in Basic Horse Sense (as well as understanding the horse’s mind if you do get him!). Thinking about boarding horses? Check out setting barn rules before you do (So You Want to Work With Horses).

Thanks for spreading the word.

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