is micro farming... the kind that regenerates the earth and communities? Here at the Center for Micro
Eco-Farming, we describe what makes these types of farms more valuable,
enjoyable and even more powerful than one might imagine.
Eco-Farms (MEFs) most often range from backyard garden home businesses
to small acreage farms of one to five acres. But urban balconies and
rural acreages of up to 20 or so sometimes operate as MEFs.
that grow food crops explore the 20,000 food plants currently forgotten
by the world, including the 1000s of heirlooms on the brink of
extinction. They progress with new offerings faster than their larger
farm cousins with financial intelligence and stability. Each season,
they plant a few beds of something brand new, and educate their current
and potential customers on the new items. Those that gain enough
popularity in the farmer’s community are continued, others are released.
example of this method of graceful progression is a farmer described
in Micro Eco-Farming: Prospering from Backyard to Small Acreage in
Partnership with the Earth, who grows many unusual peppers on his small
farm. He keeps his customers in supply of their established favorites.
However, each season, he offers three or four new varieties. He keeps
growing the ones that win a new following, and drops any that don't sell
well (along with past staple varieties that are dwindling in
popularity). He estimates that over ten years, he now grows a completely
new group of peppers, but he remained secure with an established market
while at the same time being the first to introduce new crops.
micro farming taps into the earth's systems and learns to allow the
earth to do more and more of the work of creating and maintaining
abundant life. Earthworms, for example, do much of the farmers' work
once permanent garden beds are established.
Preservation of the culture and flavor of the world's unique bio-regions.
larger eco-cousins. Micros and larger eco-farms of 30 to 200 acres or
so produce different products for different reasons, using different
operating systems, complementing rather than competing with each other
Micro eco-farms operate financially in several ways, including: as second streams of
household income, as partners to another eco- home cottage business, or
as full-time businesses whether selling to local community, online to
the world, or both.
also partner with larger establishments such as destination eco-spas,
spiritual retreats, gourmet restaurants, schools and wilderness
Sustainable micro farms produce anywhere in the world humans inhabit, they aren't limited to
pockets of pre-existing superior topsoil, because they tap earth systems
to accelerate the creation of new topsoil.
MEFs grow well-known food crops, such as tomatoes, they produce and
sell garden-varieties that are too tender for shipment, and extremely
fresh versions of these well-known products, giving them a secured local
market of familiar items. Communities and visitors to the farm's region
begin to count on them to offer local heirlooms picked hours before
micro farming collectively helps communities, regions and their own
countries reach food independence. Historically, the Incans fed 15
million with a three to seven-year surplus. The Chinese once fed one
billion on less than 10% of their land base. Russia lifted itself out of
ecomonic disaster in 1997 by having its citizens 'farm' 0.6 acre plots
attached to the houses in Russian villages. 18 million of these plots
totaled 15.3 million acres, and they became the most productive 'farms'
in the country. More recently, 2011 data from the Russian Statistics
Service reported that Russian dacha communities or peasant farmers
produced more than 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, more than 66%
of its vegetables, nearly 80% of its potatoes, and almost 50% of its
milk, much of which is consumed raw.
France, "potagers," or tiny home gardens or gardens allotted to
villages, are everywhere. The French government estimates about a
quarter of all fruits and vegetables eaten in France are home-grown. In
America, today, LocalHarvest.org keeps statistics on successful eco-farm
members, 45% of its member farms are less than 15 acres. Also in the
US, there are 7864 local Farmers Markets yet only 4100 Walmarts.
are design-your-own. Each micro farm is highly unique and personal to
the location and to each farmer who designs his or hers, and they adapt
and change with the times ahead of their larger but just as important
eco-farming cousins. Unlike corporate and larger formula farming, they
are strengthened even more by progress, new discoveries, and restored
ancient wisdom. They are meant for those with small business sense and
creative spirit rather than those who must operate as a component within
a generic, copycat, static formula. The possibilities are endless. When
asking the question, what is micro farming, know that they are not just
market gardens. They range from micro dairies to angora rabbits in an
apartment to pressed backyard-grown flowers for handcrafted greeting
cards to old-fashioned rural u-picks growing heirloom beans and