“How To Earn A Green Living
On A Micro-Farm”
What the heck is
“Micro-Farming”? Our definition ...
Micro-Farming: the profitable and
ecologically sustainable harvest of mixed livestock and plant crops on a tiny land area … ranging from
urban/suburban plots up to about 4 acres.
Land over 4 acres typically requires a tractor to manage and may (by our definition) be a hobby-farm, mini-farm,
or small farm … but is too BIG to be a micro-farm!
Micro-farming requires small “livestock”. (One cow or beef steer requires 2 acres of
pasture and 2 years to grow to suitable harvest size, which is obviously not a profit-making sustainable practice
on a 2 acre micro-farm.) Such candidate “livestock” include fish, rabbits,
chickens, and perhaps a few geese, ducks, or
quail. These render inedible plant parts and farm wastes into at least 5 valuable products:
meat, eggs, down/pelts, fertilizing manures, and more
“livestock” for selling to other micro-farmers and interested parties.
Another – and the most important – small “livestock” not usually considered as such are worms,
which are high quality waste processors (vermicompost) and high nutrition feed for fish and fowl. Also
bees – to provide honey, beeswax, and especially to
pollinate your micro-farm’s garden.
Mushrooms and a full selection of green groceries,
berries and fruits can be integrated with the livestock to coexist on
micro-plots for perpetual sustainability (both economically and ecologically) with surprisingly little active
maintenance by a couple of microfarm workers for year-round productivity.
Micro-Farming uses (nearly) closed-loop interconnected food-web ecological cycles which produce all the crops,
“livestock”, fertilizers, and other requirements through on-site biological processes.
Some of these direct (or indirect) food-webs have been mentioned above:
Other major Micro-Farm (mostly non-food) webs NOT previously mentioned include:
l Arts &
l and so on
To get started micro-farming, each system (web) above that you wish to deploy must be planned, acquired, and
implemented, typically over a period of a few years to minimized cost impact. A micro-farmer should save the money
and not go into debt to build these systems.
While a microfarm requires some initial systems “infrastructure”, it is mostly a low-tech operation. No
mechanization – other than human labor – is needed once the “infrastructure” is in place. But without the necessary
systems in place, one cannot have the benefit of highest yields and the labor savings of harmonious interconnected
A Story …
The fictional character of "Crocodile Dundee" in the second movie has to admit that he has a small farm of
10,000 acres. By the standards of the Australian outback, anything less than 100,000 acres is considered a
In America, Amish farms of 80 acres are called small farms, and on some forums anything less than $250,000 a
year is called a small farm.
Micro-farming is, well, microscopic by comparison, being at most a 4 acre spread … usually much LESS.
Just as the mighty agribusiness corporation farm managers cannot understand how anyone could want to survive on
the earnings produced on a "small farm" or "hobby farm", so also those who believe in the concept of "small farms"
cannot conceive of a livelihood from a paltry 2 acres of land.
Micro-farming, by being compact, means that the area of one standard lot to 2 city blocks is cared for, and
commuting is a short pleasant walk to any place on the micro-farm. Having compactness means that everything is
monitored and nothing is neglected for too long.
Eliminating heavy equipment controls the land size, which can still be highly productive and efficiently managed
in roughly 40-hour work weeks by 1 or 2 farm workers. Not only does this limit size, it dictates a lot of the
management practices of micro-farming.
4 to 12 Times MORE
Even though there are a lot of great growing system ideas out there (and occasionally new ones becoming
available), right now Micro-Farming is four to twelve times as productive as the second-best agriculture technique
Micro-farming represents a fair and equitable earnings solution for millions of unhappily low-wage employed, and
the ecological solution for the demands that burgeoning human population has placed on the biosphere. It is the
happiest compromise possible for the co-existence of biodiversity and high standards of living for humans.
It takes a great deal of cleverness to manage over 3,200 chickens, 3,200 rabbits, and 3,200 fish each year on
87,000 square feet of land, while putting in and harvesting out tomatoes, lettuce, celery, peppers, etc. to supply
a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project of 60 subscribers. Especially if one wants to keep the workload
down to a 40 – 50 hour work-week for one or 2 farm workers.
Micro-farming has no fallow, or down-time. The beds are producing mushrooms, worms (poultry/fish feeds), or
green groceries. Months are not spent growing a green cover crop just to till under. An acre of land is not under
cultivation for the purpose of selling the crop to buy the necessities to cultivate another acre of land.
The Interconnections Of
It starts with the Micro-Farmer, who already has (or plans to newly acquire) the proper land. The ideal layout
will be different for each individual, primarily limited by existing funds. The Micro-Farmer conceives the idea of
their Micro-Farm, then begins researching and planning.
On the Micro-Farm itself, it starts with the soil. You’ll want a place for many raised growing beds. If you have
ground rodents (squirrels, gophers, moles, groundhogs, prairie dogs, etc.), you’ll need screening under your beds.
You want land with lots of sunlight (not too many big trees shading the area).
The beds are built using raised-bed techniques (described later).
The beds start with a sterilized straw and/or wood-chip base for mushroom spawn, and crops of mushrooms are
harvested until the base is spent. Then waste products from the microfarm (manure from the livestock, malm [bottom
gunk from the fish pond], kitchen & butcher scraps, cardboard/paper-towels/tissue/paper and junk mail envelopes
[without plastic windows, tape, brass closures, staples, or other hazardous items] shreds, piles of leaves and
grass cuttings [provided no toxic chemicals were sprayed on these], rotting hay or spoiled groceries you can freely
collect from nearby, other easily biodegradable products, together with some compost and small amount of soil/grit
– all can be piled into the beds and mixed as a start for the worms.
Rabbits are raised over the worm beds and their manure feed the worms. Rabbit meat feeds people. The worms till
the soil so you don’t have to, and no green cover crops are required to be tilled in for soil fertility. As the
worms grow and become harvestable, they feed the fish and poultry. They also make a great soil base for the garden
crops planted after the worms are harvested and moved to other beds.
Garden crops grow and feed people, rabbits, fish and fowl. The leftovers feed the worms. The garden gives
produce and seeds. The bees pollinate the garden, fruit trees, berry patch, your flowers and the neighbors’ – and
give you delicious honey, which feeds people. You take the garden seeds and at the correct time, get them started
in the Seed & Propagation System, and later transplant them into the Greenhouse, or directly into the garden
growing beds, or into pots for selling in the retail plant Nursery, or just sell the seed to other growers or
The poultry feed people, and butcher scraps feed fish and worms. The poultry also provide eggs, which feed
people. Most poultry can be fed the worms.
Isn’t it GRAND how natural systems are interconnected! And these systems perform much of the work on your
Micro-Farm so mostly all you have to do is MANAGE it!
Do you have a little better idea of how to micro-farm? There is much more to learn.
We have yet to discuss: How much work is it? And how much can be earned?
“Our Microfarm Story Continues” … Click HERE.