Wow! We did it! After four years of scraping, saving, and putting hundreds of hours of sweat equity into our first home, we can finally say it.
We bought a farm!
No, this is not your conventional farm. Instead, this 2.5 acre micro-farm will be a place for us to raise our family and build our business/life around small-scale, sustainable farming.
How We Did It
I am a member of a Facebook group called Small Farm, Sustainability & Homesteading. It's a great resource for those who want to learn how to "live off the land", homeschool their children or simply make a few homemade products. Many of these individuals do not live on farms - rather, they are on a quest to become more self-sufficient.
One of the most common questions that I see within the group is "How were you able to purchase a farm/farmette/acreage? I want more space but it seems impossible!"
I'm here to tell you that you CAN buy a farm or even a large lot (in our case) that will allow you to pursue at least most of your small-scale farming dreams! Here's how we did it...
1) Outline Farm Dreams - If you're living within the city limits as we were, you're usually very restricted on the types of livestock you can raise and available gardening space. We outlined our "farm dreams" two years before we purchased our property. This helps ensure that the property you purchase in the future will fit your needs. We wanted a place where we could have at least one acre under cultivation and ample room for chickens/hogs/goats and other small livestock. If we had wanted to raise beef or dairy, our current property would not be a good fit.
2) Set Goals - You may not be in a position to purchase a farm or land today, or even in the coming year(s), but that doesn't mean you can't work out a financial plan to get there. I bought a foreclosed home back in 2011, anticipating that a flip would help me secure the funds to purchase a rural property down the road. Thankfully, we were able to sell our city home during the summer of 2015. This gave us a nice down payment for our farm.
3) Spending Habits - If your long-term goal is to buy a farm, analyze your current spending habits. We scraped and saved every penny we could by not dining out, eliminating cable and minimizing any other "recreational" spending. That money was used to buy drywall, light fixtures, paint and a zillion other items necessary to flip our house.
4) Work Hard - no matter where you are at in your life, dreams are attainable through hard work. Make relationships with the right people, take a free course, join discussions in online forums and on social media to learn how other people were able to pursue their farming endeavors.
We also had a little bit of luck in the fact that a farmer friend of ours bought the entire farm and split off the home/buildings/acreage for us to purchase. But without the work we put into our previous home and plan, we would have not been in a position to buy the farm. Everyone's story is a bit different - start working on your story today.
Wishing you all the best, Cam