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!
So...to 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?