Episode-1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead

Homesteading is a dream for a lot of people, a some day idea.  Generally it is usually this way.  I need a job, so I need to be close to work, so we can’t afford a  huge place close enough, so ONE DAY I will have enough saved to make the move.

This can and does work, but one day has a way of becoming a moving target, a carrot before the horse that keeps the cart moving yet never is tasted for many.  So my view is for some at least, the homestead can at least in time become a significant income source.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Our basic plan and why it might not be right for you
    • Start with eggs, build a customer base
    • Sell other nice items, meal worms, candles, etc.
    • Begin selling plants, cuttings, fertilizers
    • Sell produce as it comes into production
    • Possibly at some point sell poultry
  • What I think you can learn from our plan and how you should build your design
    • Specialize in something that builds a customer base
    • Expand slowly over time
    • Develop DEEP relationships with your customers
    • Let them guide your development
  • What I would look for in a property
    • Close to a reasonable population center
    • Decent internet access
    • Good drive buy traffic
    • No restrictions (unincorporated if possible)
    • Deep soils with pond sites
    • Flat to relatively flat
    • As always it comes down to water, access, structure
  • Thoughts on different revenue elements
    • Paddock shift silvopasture poultry (eggs, meat)
    • Market gardening
      • raised beds of fixed length
      • heavy weed blocking
      • designed to the sun or shade by climate
      • Develop a CSA around it fast
    • Small nurseries
    • Small “orchards” for produce
    • Specialty craft products
    • Bees and bee products
    • Dairy
    • Other stock, cattle, sheep, goats, etc
    • Focus on value added products
  • Some final thoughts
    • It takes time, how much is based on how much you have
    • You can’t do everything so don’t even try to, do one thing then another
    • It isn’t for everyone, that is great!
    • It isn’t easy, but in reality it is simple
    • It is hard to do on your own, a multi family approach has a lot to offer
    • Making a living is better than working for a living

Resources for today’s show…

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49 Responses to Episode-1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead

  1. I love what you said about wealth…I remember reading an article about J.P. Morgan dying, he had a net worth was I believe it was 60 million dollars and John Rockefeller was quoted as saying imagine that a man with all the power and he wasn’t even rich LOL…it’s all depends on point of view I guess LOL!

  2. I wonder if that apple grower makes Apple Butter? I used to love that stuff as a kid but haven’t seen it in years

    • MichiganNimrod


      We can 2-3 gallons of pure apple sauce evyer year. And prolly a gallon of apple butter from an old recipe that came from my wifes family in northern Michigan. Last year we got bushels of a few varieties for 8 or 9 bucks a bushel for the “seconds” Good, local family run place.

      Anyway if you email me (alleganbowhunter @ gmail.com. minus the spaces) I should be able to get you some apple butter

      • MichiganNimrod

        Darn phone… we have a few small jars left. Kids won’t notice if I steal one!

    • Emailing you now..whiteknight9…Thanks brother that is Awesome!

      • When I lived in Peru with the Shipbo people, The Shaman told me we are all one…there is no beginning and no end…this is who we are…we are are in this together ..Thank you Brother!

  3. Jack,

    Consider asking MSB Vendor Victory Seed to be a distributor for the Tal-Ya IrriPan. They make one for trees and vegetables it seems like a great idea.

  4. MtHomesteaded

    Jack, you said the USA isn’t number 1 in anything anymore. We are still number 1 in military spending, GMO production, and % of population that’s obese!

    • Don’t forget Debt!

    • We’re not even number one as the fattest nation anymore. Mexico took over last year. We can’t do nothin right.

      • Modern Survival

        We are number one for percentage of citizens incarcerated. That one is true!

        By the way the next time someone says paleo doesn’t work, I am going to point to tortillas and this new fattest nation statistic!

  5. Great small business ideas, particularly the mushrooms! Please do more episodes like this. A series breaking down each major step, from scouting land to making it attractive to customers, would be a wonderful follow-up.

    • Hi Jack, Thank you for the “AHA” moment which was episode 1379.
      I might as well get a vanity plate that simply says 1379 so I see it every day & it keeps me on track. I’m 50 & my wife & I want to retire to being innkeepers. It’s a dream we both share, me especially. I’ve Always wanted to give working for myself a try… at least a shot. Being a prepper & soon to be Innkeeper will allow me that opportunity to run it as a “division” within a diversified homestead described in ep 1379. The lightbulb moment was when you described rental properties. In our case those will be the rooms in the Inn. There is a popular farmers market in the area where we are doing market research so that will play into much of the byproducts produced at the homestead / Inn. Anyways Thank you again!
      Mike aka John Doe on the forum 🙂

  6. to those that came too my place on June 21st to see Nick Ferguson know that you can do this any place. from the rain garden I have made to the small bee yard I have in the back yard. We are growing to sale honey, eggs, quail, and plants from the green house. I have shown that you can use windows from apartment building remodels for your home and green houses, to residing your home when the company’s build hotels.

    I had two people come that have started company’s out of there home. that good products at a good price sale every time.

    people ask me how do you get away with all that you do here…I give it my community and community gives me not flack.

    one thing to look into is zoning laws…do not be afraid to change your homes zoning.

    see you soon

    Bee Whisperer

  7. This may be mentioned in the episode (haven’t finished yet).. but if you’re interested in the 1-2 acre market garden idea, this book is fantastic:

    The authors website is here:
    http://lagrelinette.com/ (bring your Google translator) =)

    • Agreed, Insidious, it has a fabulous chart showing $39,000 complete start-up costs and another chart with an idiot-proof crop rotation schedule. I reviewed it here, and included a video of the author: http://wp.me/p3TkW3-Cp

    • He was recently interviewed on the Permaculture Voices podcast and it was very good.

      • Ahmishwannabe, I was really encouraged when Fortier said in that Permaculture Voices podcast that:

        1.) Their 1.5-acre farm was profitable its first year.
        2.) He and his wife work 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the growing season and only require one or two paid hands.
        3.) They take off the entire winter to go skiing with their two kids.

        Fortier makes market gardening sound like less drudgery than year-round office jobs. I wonder if Jack thinks Fortier’s results are reasonable expectations for most homesteaders, or if much longer hours are required for start-ups? If anybody is interested, here is the link to Fortier’s podcast interview: http://www.permaculturevoices.com/podcast/grow-better-not-bigger-the-market-gardener-selling-140000-on-1-5-acres-pvp051/

        • Modern Survival

          I very much do, I had heard of his results and it was at least a factor in my statement that “if you need to make a profit right away a one acre market garden based on fixed raised beds and selling via a CSA is probably the best way to do that”. While I have not heard the podcast you mention from my knowledge of what Fortier is doing, it is precisely that, isn’t it?

    • Thanks for the suggestion, bought it immediately. I definitely work best with seeing a very specific example or formula, then hearing the rationale, then in my mind I apply that explanation to the formula, then I explain it to my wife, who is definitely tired of me talking about gardening, then I try and do it!

  8. MichiganNimrod

    Another great show Jack.

    I really enjoy the shows on any aspect of busisness.

  9. minutes 13 to 27 had me singing hallelujah
    listened to it twice with a tear in my eye, and then immediately sent link to 30 friends, imploring them to listen to at least that segment.
    if i could just convince my wife of the control and programming that is aimed at us.

  10. Hey Jack, these fence posts might work for your shallow soil, they are pretty neat.


  11. Kern Lunde

    Loved this episode! We were just in the Dallas area (rural) last week house hunting in prep for our move from Indiana at the end of July. We found a great 7.5 acre property near Scurry, TX. Pretty everything you covered made us even more excited to get back to Texas to close on the property in about 5 weeks. This place has so much going for it. Texas, here we come!

  12. Brian in Brazil

    Another gem from Jack. This reminded me of your Permaculture Voices presentation. I learn so much from these business/marketing shows, information I would never have found elsewhere. I can’t wait to visit Dorthy’s store front on my next stateside visit. cheers, Brian

  13. On the need for solitude (especially in a group situation)..

    ‘A Pattern Language’
    Pattern 141 : A Room Of One’s Own
    ‘No one can be close to others, without also having frequent opportunities to be alone.

    A person in a household without a room of his own will always be confronted with a problem: he wants to participate in family life and to be recognized as an important member of the group; but he cannot individualize himself because no part of the house is totally in his control. It is rather like expecting one drowning man to save another. Only a person who has a well-developed strong personal self, can venture out to participate in communal life.

    Give each member of the family a room of his own, especially adults. A minimum room of one’s own is an alcove with desk, shelves, and curtain. The maximum is a cottage – like a TEENAGER’S COTTAGE (154), or an OLD AGE COTTAGE (155). In all cases, especially the adult ones, place these rooms at the far ends of the intimacy gradient – far from the common rooms.’

    • My notes on this:

      ‘A place of one’s own’ can be many things. For my mother, it was her greenhouse. For a child it might be a closet, a fort, or a special hidden wild place. For a man, his workshop.

      The only requirement is that there’s a strong tribal rule that the space BELONGS to the person, and that others are not to enter it, or mess with it, without permission. In the case of adults, this can extend to ‘..when Mom’s in her room.. don’t bother her unless its an absolute emergency.’

      In other words.. its a haven.

      • That’s good stuff! For the first time I am thinking that inviting a few families to my farm might be kinda cool as long as they have their own tiny house…

        Just gotta get past that one dwelling rule with the county.

      • There is an exemption for housing migrant farm workers….

        • Modern Survival

          There is always a way. You can also do the house on wheels thing, it is camping most places as long as it moves every 90 days. Personally I feel that every farmstead needs to be ringed in a two deep “wind block” of trees and shrubs at least 10 feet high, if you know what I mean.

    • Modern Survival

      Is that in the PDM?

  14. Thanks a bunch for making this Jack. I’m in a very high stress technology position at the moment, and while it provides great income, it is quickly eating my soul. I describe it as a grinder, you insert time and sanity into one side, and money flies out the other.

    What you described really typifies my dream – scale my life way down, and work on something that matters at a much more leisurely pace.

    One specific example is I never knew what you would do with a food forest if you didn’t have livestock to eat 95% of the produce. Sell it… Duhhh!

  15. James Smith

    Hey Jack, I wanted to say that your advice is spot on. We’ve been at it for 3 years, following the same rough outline you put out in this show. We’ve built our customer base with egg sales while our main produce is chicken. We’re expanding slowly as we develop our skills, adding pasture raised pork this year and hopefully grass fed beef next year. We are running into a lot of the problems you mentioned about rural areas. We don’t have traffic going by our farm and we live 30-40 minutes away from cities with more than 1,000 people in them. Oh well, great podcast!

  16. Jack,
    My wife and I listened all the way to Lindale from Oklahoma today. We don’t get to listen together often. Great show. She read the notes she took from the fedge show on the way. Guys at Bob Wells are awesome. My stuff for the fall is setting by yours for shipment in a few months. Thanks for everything!

  17. I have 12 acres that I will be building on within the next month. I have planning my gardens and chicken coop and runs and rabbit hutches for over a year now. The info from this episode is going to be VERY helpful.
    I finally have in sight relief for my Barnheart!
    Thanks, Jack!

  18. Hey Jack,

    From now on I am going to link to the TSP episode that I was on instead of my website if that is alright with you.

    Apparently Google has decided to penalize websites who have a lot of easy to get inbound links.

    I’ve heard that this can be avoided by putting in “no follow tags” but I am not sure how to do that.

    • Modern Survival

      Ya know what, don’t sweat this google thing, too many people are. Unless you have thousands of links on forums and stuff, it won’t effect you.

  19. Hey Jack!
    When ever you guys get stuff ready to sell I’d love to take picture for you! Also if your wife or you ever need a hand with anything I’d love to hang out and help. No rush, whenever the time is good.

  20. I saw this article and it reminded me of this podcast and about how Jack mentioned building up the customers in your area, finding the things that they like and such. This article compares communities to networks. Its lengthy, but a pretty good article to read all of the way through.

    Communities Vs. Networks: To Which Do You Belong?

  21. Brent Eamer

    Not sure if you touched on Vermicompost. I got about 500 red wigglers yesterday and made a bin out of two rubbermaid containers, and judging what a bag of castings cost, this might be a good source of revenue as well.

  22. There are just so many ways to make money off the land between selling fresh produce, preserved (canned/frozen/dried) produce, livestock (selling babies, breeding skills, meat for food, feathers for businesses), seeds, seedlings, cut flowers, herbs, dried herbs, herbal medicines, herbal crafts, mushrooms, mushroom tinctures, craft items (grape vines for basket weaving, etc.), timber, wood crafts, compost, composting worms, compost tea, agritourism (where people pay just to be on your property!) and so much more….there are just so many things to do and not enough time!

  23. One thing I was surprised that wasn’t covered in the show, which I’ve thought of several times, is setting some room aside on the frontage of your property, and then set up a nice playground. Set up the rest of your property as a you-pick operation, possibly put the nicest of your animals up as a petting zoo. I know when my kids were little, I was always looking for family friendly things to do. If I could have done my weekly grocery shopping/ CSA pickup/ pick some ripe, lovely food, and they would look forward with it because of the playground, I would have been SO HAPPY.

    • Modern Survival

      I love the concept, I shudder at the business implications. Liability with such things is huge.

    • I like the idea of this too, but I would NEVER do it. For everyone like you who would come and do actual shopping, there would be 10 families who would come and buy 1 pity apple and let their kids play with your stuff. Not to mention the damage that can be done to all of your plants with the pick your own idea.

      • Modern Survival

        Well no that isn’t a problem. Abusers are told to get the F out! I think people have worked for others so long they don’t know how to be in charge of their own thing any longer. If you were doing a CSA it would be for members only.

        • Good point. I just see a general decline into not knowing what to say…I think of Barnes and Noble…sitting there reading for 4 hours and ordering 1 coffee, I am not good to that business, but I sure do like it 🙂