5 Ways to Farm If You're Not a Farmer

You can experience the farm life without actually living on a farm.

By Leah Zerbe


5 ways to feel like a farmer# 3. Join a CSA. Community-supported agriculture involves buying a share of the season's harvest, and it's a great way to ensure a variety of healthy food during the growing season. Some CSA programs even offer meat, cheese, and eggs. But if you want a more hands-on experience, ask your CSA farmers if you can lend a hand. Some programs even let you pay a lower fee if you provide a weekend of volunteer time during the growing season, and some farmers may welcome your help on packing and distribution days. It's a great way to get your hands dirty and become friends with your local farmer. Find hundreds of CSA programs at LocalHarvest.org.

# 4. Grow a farm crop. Even if you only have a small patch of land, you can still grow a farm crop, and what could taste better than sweet corn grown in your own backyard? Contrary to what you're used to seeing on farms, you don't need to plant rows of the starchy vegetable. For growing sweet corn at home, opt for a square plot in lieu of rows, to maximize use of space. According to Organic Gardening magazine, you can use a Zuni Native American trick and plant the corn in hills in the square patch. For details on growing sweet corn, visit OrganicGardening.com. For other ideas, check out our story, Grow Your Own Farm on Less Than an Acre.

# 5. Invite chickens into your home. Chickens are easier to raise than you think. In fact, you can even make them part of the family and allow them to live indoors. (There are such things as chicken diapers.) For people with little yard space, Eglu chicken coops are popular choices, or, usually, you can hire a local sustainable farmer to build a coop that fits your needs. Once mature, chickens lay about an egg a day, so three chicks is usually a good number to provide a small family with fresh eggs (share extras with the neighbors). Just don't get a single hen—they get lonely! Read Raising Chickens: Do You Have What it Takes? for more info on raising chickens.

And of course, for those who would rather farm without getting dirty, there's always FarmVille on Facebook. If you go that route, at least start growing some vegetables for real, too.