Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Little Farm Is Not A Hobby!!!

Yesterday I was checking out various websites trying to glean more ideas about establishing little farms,when I saw a term that made me remember a conversation I had had with a friend of ours about 4 months ago. The term was "hobby farm." The conversation was about what we are trying to do here,at our place,which we have affectionately dubbed "The Little Yellow Farm." He had asked how much land we have,and I told him .63 acres,with trees all along the border. No field,just grassy lawn-your basic yard. He then asked how big our garden was,and if we had any animals. I replied that we were getting chickens and turkeys,and that to date we had 9 square foot boxes,but we wanted to expand as time went on. We don't make money off anything,at least,not yet. "Oh,"he said,"You have a hobby farm." This friend has quite a few acres,and has different kinds of farm animals,which he uses to make money,whether through selling them or butchering them and selling the meat. I believe he also sells veggies. At any rate,he makes part of his living from his farm,if not more than half of his living. My first reaction was that of being greatly insulted. I don't really think he was trying to belittle what we are trying to do,but that was my gut reaction. Was he saying that because we don't have acres of land,and by not making a living off it,our little farm was not as good as his? Did this mean it wasn't legitimate if money was not trading hands? Since when did the main goal of feeding our family good,healthy food we grow ourselves be considered a "hobby"? I thought it was a way of life!

I decided to look up what farm,hobby,and hobby farm meant.From Merriman-Webster Dictionary online:
Farm:a tract of land devoted to agricultural purposes
Hobby: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation

From Wikipedia ( Hobby Farm was not in Merriman-Webster):
Hobby Farm:a small holding or small farm that is maintained without expectation of being a primary source of income

We do have land set aside for agricultural purposes,so it can be called a farm. Our main source of income is Rick's disability,and getting big enough to get any type of sustainable income from the land is highly unlikely. A bit of pocket money or enough to pay for feed,seed or extras seems more like it. And as far as being a hobby....well, to me reading is a hobby. Blogging is a hobby. Trying to create the type of life we want is not a hobby. It's gratifying WORK! me the term Hobby Farm doesn't quite work when you look at the meaning of the word hobby. Don't get me wrong,I know people who garden for a hobby,and I think that's great! They work all day and get out there and grow their veggies,and can the extras. Our home is our work.
We can,make laundry soap,hand soap,candles,compost,have rain barrels,garden,have chickens and turkeys.Next year we hope to double our garden boxes,and maybe get a couple of goats (that is still in the discussion stage,it depends on a few factors).The goats would be for meat,milk,and cheese.I will be trying dish washing soap next. We are always looking to improve and do more.

Maybe we ( Rick finds it insulting as well) are being too sensitive here. How do you all feel about the term Hobby Farm? If you have a small farm,which does not generate sustainable or any income,do you think of it as a Hobby Farm,or do you feel that term sells all your hard work short?


  1. I completely agree. I've always thought the term "hobby farm" was a bit...belittling? I dunno. I just imagine people looking down their noses when they say it. What I do here is not a hobby. What I do here, while I enjoy it, is hard work, with tangible benefits. I also don't like it when people refer to it as a "lifestyle choice"...which may be more appropriate than "hobby farm" but still a tad insulting ;)

  2. Sounds like a case of snobbery there! We have 8 acres, we are surrounded by two dairy farms that are hundreds of acres and another neighbour that has over a 1000, but he seems to enjoy growing gorse(a pain in ass shrub that takes over) So there we are in the middle on what I jokingly call our 'play' farm. Here these small blocks of land are called Lifestlyeblocks, probably because people want to live a certain type of rural lifestyle but not full on farming. We live this lifstyle because we want to be fairly self reliant. We are not on any kind of journey as such and just want to be in a position to enjoy it. I breed goats, they are my hobby and sometimes generate some income. Joe grows hos own veggies, he considers that his hobby and ie feeds us too. It's just a word Donna really, BUT it's the way in which people say it I often have the problem with, ie snobbery. There is one word that does get my back up, and that's 'Lucky' Oh you are so Lucky to have what you have! Luck has nothing to do with it, some hard decisions, some life changing decisions and a bottomless pit in which to throw our money at, is what this is lol! No luck involved at all I reckon.
    Don't worry about his commment, what you are achieving is something you should be proud of.

  3. Thanks for the feedback,ladies! I suppose it doesn't really matter what anyone calls what we do,or are trying to do.It works for us,we are proud of what we have accomplished so far,and that is all that matters,right? We consider it a regular farm,albeit a very small one. :) I guess it's just the implication of the word "hobby"...makes us feel like we do this on our spare time,or just for fun.Neither of us work,so this is our job! With Rick having had so much pain in the past,if it was just for "fun" or "relaxation" we would've found something else to do so he wasn't in agnoy all the time. It's interesting to hear other folks feedback on this subject.Thanks for responding... I hope to hear from others as well.Have a great day!!!!