For centuries women have tended the home and the family and on the side sold things made by their hands to help support their family. It seems to be an innate instinct in us. Many homesteaders are entrepreneurs. In this economy it can be scary out there. What can we do to make sure we can put food on the table? What can we craft, make, sell excess of, teach? There are many opportunities to start a homestead business. I have always told my homeschooled children that I would rather them make a smaller amount of money and work their own hours taking pride in making things from their own hands then to be cooped up in a cubicle day in and day out unappreciated!
Over here, we are trying to reinvent our business. (Doug and I will be doing markets as well.) Trying to be resourceful to appeal to the public and the community so that we can put food on our table while helping those around us. Nancy is looking for the same thing. We absorbed everything Joel Salatin told us in an intimate gathering and farm to table dinner last summer. We have read books. I have actually exhausted every single farming book available to me in the library system. (Can someone please publish another one? I need something to read!) We feel the need pulsing through our blood streams to become farmers. There are no books specific to us. We are not in our early twenties. We do not qualify for the term “Greenhorns”. Pity, it is such a fun name! Most of the farmers are older and are retiring. There are only names signifying possible craziness when two middle aged women want to become farmers. But boy do we look cute out in the garden! What we do have is collective business experience, a youthful exuberance and tons of energy and ideas, and two daughters willing to tag along and help! We have computer savvy husbands with two sets of extra strong hands. We have support. We have creativity and a great collection of cute farmgirl clothes and aprons. Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to wear my bonnet at markets! Somewhere it will fit in!
Many great businesses have been started by resourceful women…and men. The local businesses on your street need their community in order to survive. What you can do is support these businesses. The same people you see at the bank, at the grocery store, in your church. These people need your help. I wish I could tell people, even people that shop at my store, that every time they go purchase herbal medicines and salves at the big health food store, they put me that much closer to going out of business. Every time one goes to Cost Cutters instead of the single mom cutting hair, she can’t pay one of her bills. Big corporations pay their bills just fine. We small businesses are often cheaper, you get more, you get more quality, and yet we are forgotten in the shadow of a big store. Granted if no one in my neighborhood is crafting shovels and I need one, I go to Walmart. I won’t lie. But there are so many shops on our quiet Main street that could supply a wealth of what people are looking for. Farmer’s markets help bring the people together. I don’t know about all the tents of people selling stuff they bought. Packaged pancake mixes and magical weight loss mixtures, but those that make and craft and grow. Those are my heroes, the ones I want to help.
Nancy and I are making rich soaps, all organic ingredients. Made from her goat’s milk. We have made them beautiful, simple, clean. I am making my famous lotion, renaming it Farmgirl Face and Body Cream for the markets. I have made soy wax candles in darling coffee cups. I have made aprons, double stitched and darling, a staple for any farm girl. I have planted rows and rows of greens. Nancy has planted even more rows and rows…and rows of greens! We have herbs growing. My dining room is overflowing with over-wintered herbs for cooking. Our spoiled rotten (but adorable) chickens are all laying and we will sell our combined rations of fresh eggs with their beautiful orange yolks. Nancy and Faleena will be busy baking muffins, breads, pies, and other goodies. Emily is hand roasting organic coffee beans and designing the packaging. She is also selling cups of coffee at the market with fresh goat’s milk and sugar. Emily and I spent an afternoon developing many medicinal tea blends and packaging them. We have organic green and black teas to offer as well. Medicinal honeys add a sweet touch to administering medicine and our collection of extracts that have been our staple for years will be there as well. We have fresh preserves, jams, beets, zucchini and more that we have sat in hot kitchens canning. Emily is making organic baby food. Faleena is spreading the word about us in the media world. Doug has made us a darling logo and is making our labels and banners. Steve tilled up the soil for Nancy. We are set! We are ready! Come out and say hello to us at markets! (And you can certainly go “like” our page on Facebook.. https://www.facebook.com/5Farmgirls?ref=hl ) Farm to table dinners….classes….the ideas are endless.
What homestead business could you start? What is your skill and passion? And what business could you support to keep your local economy, nay your neighbors, strong?