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Health and Fitness

Organic Gardening As Home Business

By Sue

I moved to a farm six years ago when my children were two yrs. and five months. Since that time I had another child and have built up a business of selling certified organic vegetables to area restaurants, health food grocery stores and individuals. I have always loved gardening so I just expanded on what I already enjoyed doing. I contacted the certifying agency for my state (Ohio) which happens to be Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). There are an annual fee and inspection of my farm to verify that I abide by the standards set by the certifying agency. The fee varies from state to state but it has been my experience that the cost of the fee is offset by the increased marketing opportunities available to me because my produce is certified organic.

My business is seasonal at this point because I don't have a greenhouse. I am busy in the spring planting. I spend June weeding and I do the bulk of my harvesting in July and Aug. My kids are right there with me either helping or playing. My kids ages are 7, 5 and 2 ½.. We are out in the garden in the morning but in the heat of the day we come in and cool off. We go back out in the evening after dinner. I pack up the vegetables and make deliveries with the kids with me. I make deliveries 2 or 3x a week in the peak season. I have people who come to me to buy off the farm and if I had more frontage or drive by traffic I could set up a farm stand. I also have the option of selling excess produce at farmers' markets. So far I haven't needed to sell at farmers markets.

To get started you should have some gardening experience and space of course. A rot tiller is handy but this can also be rented or hired out. In order to be certified in my state I must be able to show that I have not used any chemicals on my land for 3 yrs. prior to being certified. I started out small and have increased each year. I have added herbs and fresh eggs to what I offer for sale. My husband raises grass-fed beef and free-range poultry which I also help direct market for him. I have never had any advertising costs and sell mostly by word of mouth. As an added bonus we drastically cut our food costs and eat better ourselves! I home school my kids and this fits in well with the school year because I am free thru the winter. My children participate in the planting and harvesting. This is hard physical work but very rewarding. Last spring while I planted onion sets I listened to the birds sing and watched my kids play and felt there was no better place I could be!

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