An Insurmountable Marketing Hurdle

July 17, 2020

How am I going to get rich and famous on a suburban homestead?  Not from the small bills dropped into the jar at our weekly farm stand.  Not from giving a farm tour three times a month in the summer.  Definitely not from inviting local kids to graze on our raspberries.


I'm coming to terms with being a subsistence farmer in a commodity world.  I have taken farm marketing classes.  I have done the enterprise budgets for selling squash at the farmer's market, for starting a goat dairy, for running full-time kids' programs.  None of it pencils out into a modern salary, or sounds very fun to do all the time.  If I think about giving 8 tours a week to tramping bands of tourists, the joy goes out of it for me--and for the land, I suspect.  Well-meaning entrepreneurs and oodles of internet ads offer ways to "reach my target audience."  But all the marketing efforts in the world are wasted when I have nothing I can sell in quantity.


As I look around the farm, there is more to give away than to sell.  I get far more satisfaction from leaving fresh cucumbers on a neighbor's doorstep than from the $3 those cukes would bring at market.  Yes, I know modern food is grossly underpriced, and I am not advocating for ignoring financial necessities.  I do keep an eye on the farm and garden balance sheet.  And that's exactly why it's clear to me that the point of diminishing returns comes quickly when I try to monetize my love for the land and my people.  


This is quite a marketing hurdle.  On a small, diversified, resilient homestead such as ours, there is no one product to focus on.  Except perhaps stories, though even these arise as naturally from the rich soil of life as a squash seed pokes out of the garden.  You're reading one of those stories now!


Yearly goat budget: $2,000.  Goat squeezing: Priceless


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Woodinville, WA 98072, USA

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