Entering Farmer 20160
I'm looking to buy or lease farmland in order to start a career in farming and turn it into my main source of income. Looking for 5-20 acres depending on the situation.
My vision is for an organic and sustainable operation with a special focus on marketable plants that are native to the Americas (sunflower, beans, corn, zucchini, pumpkin, marigolds, blueberries, strawberries, bell peppers, etc), but other marketable crops will still play a role. Free-range poultry could be added to the operation, but my main focus would be the crops. If I receive training, I'm open to other livestock/dairy as well, as long as they're free-range and pasture-fed.
Instead of artificial fertilizer, I will rely on sustainable farming practices (three sisters). Instead of pesticides, I'll get help from my neighbors (ladybugs, praying mantises, and wasps). By avoiding monoculture at all costs, I believe I can save myself a lot of headache later on.
There is a huge market for sustainable, local food grown by small farmers. I will focus my marketing efforts on those niche restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers' markets in the nearby urban areas. I think that current events across the nation will only increase the demand for locally-produced food at least through to the end of this decade.
I've been successfully gardening most of my life (starting in childhood), but have been severely limited by the amount of space available in the city. I've never added artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc, and I don't ever intend to. Most of my urban backyard experience is in vegetables, fruits, herbs, but I also have limited experience with poultry. I think that rotating well-diversified crops with free-range pasture is key to a successful, "chemical-free", sustainable farm which won't deplete the soil in the long-term. I'm not afraid to get dirty, to work hard, to wake up early, of getting bit by mosquitoes, or of cold or hot temperatures. Hard work and working through the elements is worth it when I see my final product.
Housing with land is a plus but I am flexible.