Real Self Reliance: A Model for Profitable Micro-Farming (On Just 1.5 Acres)

Editor’s Note: One of the key tenets of living a sustainable lifestyle is the ability to produce one’s own food. Traditionally, accomplishing such a goal required would-be farmers or ranchers to first find land, come up with a ton of start-up money, and then move the entire family out to rural America. But what if there were a way that you could produce enough food for yourself, while also feeding up to 200 families without the typical start up requirements for farming? In the following interview with Adam Taggert of Peak Prosperity and The Market Gardener author Jean-Martin Fortier, you can learn just how to do it yourself. Moreover, not only will you be well on your way towards self reliance, but you can turn it into a profitable business while you’re at it. Jean-Martin Fornier did and he did it using just 1.5 acres – an incredible feat considering most farms requires acres upon acres of land to be successful. Don’t miss this one – it could well change your life (and if enough individuals and families start their own micro-farms, it could even change how our entire society works from top to bottom).


micro-farm-modelAs we awaken to the realities in store for us in a future defined by declining net energy, concerns about food security, adequate nutrition, community resilience, and reliable income commonly arise.

Small-scale farming usually quickly surfaces as a pursuit that could help address all of these. Yet most dismiss the idea of becoming farmers themselves; mainly because of lack of prior experience, coupled with lack of capital. It simply feels too risky.

The refrain we most frequently hear is: I think I’d love doing it, but I don’t know how I’d make a living.

Enter Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife, Maude-Hélène. They are a thirtysomething couple who have been farming successfully for the past decade. In fact, they’ve been micro-farming: their entire growing operations happen on just an acre and half of land.

And with this small plot, they feed over 200 families. And do so profitably.

The Fortiers are pioneers of the type of new models we’re in such need of for the coming future. Fortunately, they realize this, and are being as transparent about their operations as they can — in order to educate, encourage and inspire people to join the emerging new generation of small-scale farmers.

They have published a book, The Market Gardener, which is nothing short of an operating manual for their entire business. In it, they reveal exactly what they grow, how they grow it, what tools and farming practices they use, who their customers are, what they charge them, and how much profit they take home at the end of the day.

A quick summary of the numbers from their 1.5 acre operation:

  • 2013 revenue: $ 140,000
  • Customer sales breakdown:
    • CSA operations (140 members): 60%
    • Farmer’s markets (2): 30%
    • Restaurants/grocery stores: 10%
  • Staff: 2 paid employees + the Fortiers
  • 2013 Expenses: $ 75,000
  • 2013 Profit: $ 65,000 (~45% profit margin)

Their initial start up costs were in the $ 40,000 range. Not peanuts; but fairly low by most new business standards.

Did I mention they’re doing this in Quebec? (translation: colder, and shorter natural growing season vs most of North America)

Learning to do more with less, and doing it sustainably, will be a key operating principle for future prosperity. Here’s a model that shows it’s possible to do both, and have good quality of life, to boot.

We need more of these.

(Hat tip to PP.com reader Bill12 who brought the Fortiers onto our radar)

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Jean-Martin Fortier (34m:16s):

You can also view this video at Youtube

Full transcript available at Peak Prosperity.

Get the book: The Market Gardener


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Victory for Self Defense as Judge Rules Students Can Keep Guns on College Campuses

selfdefenseAll over America local and state governments are attempting to restrict the individual’s ability to protect themselves from harm by banning the ownership, possession, and carrying of firearms for self defense. So much so that even businesses and quasi-government entities are jumping aboard the bandwagon.

But every time they try to pass legislation or regulations contrary to the spirit and letter of the Second Amendment, advocates for gun rights step in to fight the good fight.

The latest victory comes from Florida, where 24-year old college student and mother Alexandria Lainez was threatened with expulsion and arrest for her decision to keep a firearm in her car while attending class.

Florida Carry Inc. and  Alexandria Lainez vs. the University of North Florida centered around Lainez’s ability to store a gun in her vehicle while attending classes at UNF so she would have available for self-defense while traveling to and from campus.

Lainez is a young mother, Friday said, “and she takes seriously her responsibility to protect herself and her child.”

Lainez, who’s 24 and has had a concealed weapons permit for three years, said she takes firearms safety and training pretty seriously, too. A Jacksonville resident with a half-hour one-way commute to school, she said she’s working to get students at other schools interested in gun training, too.

“I think it’s pretty important to be able to protect myself and my son, especially with that long commute to and from school.”

And making that commute armed means storing the gun on UNF property.

UNF regulations prohibit weapons on campus. According to the student handbook printed in 2011 when the case was filed, expressly threatened that violators could be arrested.

“No college or university has the authority” to make such a regulation, Friday said.

Lainez, a member of Florida Carry, sued UNF to change the regulation, but lost at trial to UNF’s argument that it could ban weapons because state law allowed school districts to do so. UNF argued that since it’s a school, it should be considered like a public school district.

In Tuesday’s decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.

“From the beginning, the argument was an absurdity in my mind,” Friday said.

But the broader issue, Friday said, involved the powers of local governments – such as counties and cities – to violate gun rights through control ordinances that in effect in one part of the state but not another, putting gun owners at risk of arrest depending on the jurisdiction.

It’s a gun rights battle being fought in other states – where officials in places like libraries and bus companies try to make petty authority grounds for violating constitutional rights.

BizPacReview

It’s simple:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If Alexandria Lainez was getting into her car after dark and was attacked, how long would it take campus security to arrive?

And if they did arrive, by what legal statutes do they have to act in Lainez’s defense?

There are none.

If the perpetrator of a crime was armed, and campus security chose not to get involved, there would be no one there to save her. This has been upheld by the courts. A police officer, and by extension a private security employee, is not required to get involved if they feel their life is in danger.

Thus, as any responsible individual and parent should do, Ms. Lainez has taken it upon herself to protect her and her child’s life by arming herself.

She is not going to go out and murder a schoolroom full of children, or theater goers, or anyone else. She is intent on defending herself if the situation calls for it.

And according to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the law of the land says she has every right to do so.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You