Friday, August 2, 2013

What Makes A Farm?

Before we decided to officially name this place,we wondered,"Can we legally and honestly call this place a farm?"  Is there a definition?  

Most folks think of a farm as this......

......a large expanse of land,large crops,silos,big John Deere or International Harvester equipment,and roomy old barns.

This is not usually what comes to mind:

Case in point:when we had some loam delivered,the delivery guy noticed our strawberry bed,herb bed,and trellised raspberries and blackberries.Rick told him we had a farm, then showed him our garden and chickens,and mentioned that we were going to get goats and sheep,and we had to build a barn.

"You have a farm?" the driver asked,surprised."How many acres do you have?" he started looking around,thinking he missed some large parcel. " Less than 3/4 of an acre," was Rick's reply. The driver guy was amazed. "You are going to  all this on less than an acre? You can do that?" he asked. Rick explained that we live in a small business/ agricultural zone,and we could have anything we wanted,really,as long as it fit and the animals had enough space. He had spoken to the town inspector about what we had to do,and the inspector was easy. We just had submit a plan for the barn and pay a fee,which was dependent on how big the barn was. Fees started at $25. He told Rick we could get whatever we wanted- a cow,even. "Wow,that's awesome,good luck!" Driver guy was clearly impressed.

I looked up the NH definition of a farm. Long story short,any place that grows produce,sells produce,has animals,the production and storage of compost,etc, is classified as a farm.  I simplified it quite a bit,as there is much more to their definition,but here is the link if you want to know the whole scoop: Definitions probably vary from state to state,so you may want to read up on it if you want to sell items,or just to know that you are,legally, indeed a farm. 

Since we had a garden,herbs,fruit,chickens,sold eggs,and had compost we certainly could call ourselves a farm,albeit a small one. Next year,we will have goats and sheep,and will sell raw milk,cheese,goat milk soap,and homespun yarn. That will put us even further into the farming category.

Here in NH,96% of all the farms are considered small farms,meaning they earn less than $250,000 a year. Considering that we could never earn that amount,our place could be thought of as a "tiny farm"!

If you don't live the country,you can still grow some veggies-if you have a deck,balcony,or even a fire escape,you can put tomatoes,green peppers,herbs, etc in a container. Don't let your lack of space discourage you! It didn't discourage us!

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