Homestead Series -Farm Tourism

Homestead Series shares Farm Tourism. The opportunities for Homesteaders.

When we purchased our farm 7 years ago there was really no plan in the early stages.  We were new to the area and almost everybody we met told us we couldn’t do anything worthwhile with 4 acres.

This was frustrating at first because we were excited.

That negativity inspired us to read about small acreage farming which also led us to income opportunities that many overlook like farm tourism.

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We discovered quickly there were many things you could do with 4 acres and a lot of different things seemed to be the best option the more we continued reading.  We weren’t really sure if turning this property into income producing is what we wanted so we set a lot of those ideas aside.

We focused on the original plan, teaching our kids how to farm for self reliance. We got to work that first spring setting this place up one project after the other.

I began a blog to track our progress and share the journey with others as inspiration.  This was all way before Garden Up Green.

During those projects the idea of Farm tourism started to sound like fun.  This was shortly after a family photo shoot, it had been years since we had a portrait so we decided to hire a gal to come to the farm; this sparked photo opportunities.

Farm Photo Opportunities

Farm Photo Opportunities is when a photographer rents your space and brings clients to a scheduled photo shoot. This was popular during Easter when we had bunnies and baby chicks. Some of the kids were priceless and had the best time discovering a glimpse of country living.

My favorite was a little boy who was fascinated with chickens and referred to them as peeps and big peeps.

The only downside to this opportunity is you need to assist and make sure the rest of the farm remains undisturbed as people come and go.

The ideal situation would be to rent the farm to several photographers at the same time and have additional spaces for their photo shoot.  That could include a lot of upfront expense and not overly profitable because outdoor photography is all based on lighting.

When I look back it was neat to have others come to the farm.   My husband remembers the lady who got so excited when she discovered she was at the “West Family Farm.”

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Field Trip Tours

We did expand ideas and opened our farm for field trips.  This was offered free to homeschool and Boy Scout groups.  We did this in the fall and it finally fizzled as our kids got tired of these events.

However because we did homeschool it was an awesome opportunity for our teens to lead through public speaking.  They shared their farm projects from raising chickens and training ponies from our daughter and raising rabbits and caring for our emu was our son’s responsibility.

These field trips were neat and we included friendly competitions like making scarecrows and rolling pumpkin races requiring kids to work together and discover a little competition is a good thing.

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Luffa Field Trips

When we grew Luffa sponges we also offered tours that included a journey through the fields and how to grow and harvest a crop.  It was another opportunity to teach something new to others.

Incorporating tours for income begins with offering a welcoming space where people want to stay and have lunch.

Create a package opportunity with a few additional perks because marketing is everything!

  • Charging admission
  • Having products to sell
  • Selling bags of feed for the animals, etc.

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Both of our kids were a huge help and inspiration to the younger children during these events and our son amazed me at his level of patience.

It was neat to sit back and watch both share what we were doing because you could see the impact it was having on their lives.

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With farm photos, field trips and tours people started asking us to do other things.  At times I have to admit it was a little exhausting because no matter how much we gave it was never enough.

This led us to offering birthday parties per request.

Farm Birthday Parties

Every child loves animals and the idea of farm birthday parties was something we wanted to do but it just really never worked out the way we had planned.

We did a few for some co-workers of Robert’s but to do it right involved more funds that we didn’t have available.  After those two parties I said no more, I wanted an overall break from sharing our farm.

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To this day when we look back at the farm my husband lights up when he talks about these events.

The opportunity to share what we’ve done brought us all a lot of joy but especially him.  Robert simply enjoys sharing with others.

Farm tourism is a neat way to add income to your homestead.  This can be done by the events I’ve shared or expand ideas by teaching classes, offering u- pick crops, weddings, and possible hands on workshops.

It may not be a huge income stream but with a plan it’s possible and might be something that’s perfect for your homestead.

Offering Income opportunities with your homestead that are often overlooked by others. Farm Tourism is a real thing. #Homestead, #HomesteadIncome, #FarmTourism

15 comments

  1. Patti says:

    Wow. What an adventure, and how great was it to be part of the community. I never knew you could do so much with a small farm. What a great experience for your kids too.

    1. Carole says:

      You just have to think outside the box I guess and unfortunately few take the time to do that. It was a great experience for all of us and the best part was being able to inspire others to get back to the land.

  2. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,
    I had no idea that you had opened up your farm like this with so much enthusiasm and can-do mindset.
    You and Robert really and truly are entrepreneurs! I found this so interesting and inspiring.
    By the way I love this adorable shed.

    1. Carole says:

      Good Morning Jemma,
      We did in the early days it was fun. That shed is the original pump house we tried to get that well back up and running for irrigation but it collapsed in the process so it now just sits there and has a tendency to attract uninvited guests. Have to clean it out again… Sigh…

  3. Jane says:

    Hi Carole, I need to go back and read your Homestead Series. I love this post and can’t believe all that you did as a family! There always seems to be someone that says it can’t be done…look at all the ideas you came up with! Inspiring!

    1. Carole says:

      It’s a neat series and I’m glad I decided to write it. I wrote them in sequence so they’re easy to follow and implement. I hear you on the Can’t do Folks I call them negative nellies and keep walking when they start talking. LOL

  4. I have to say that you and your husband were pretty brilliant in your thinking! We have such fond memories of farm birthday parties and a pumpkin patch that actually grew the pumpkins when our kids were little. You have been making a living but also providing a place for families to make wonderful memories. I love this!

    Thanks for your sweet comments at Poofing the Pillows. Your emails come to me as No Reply so I may not always respond but please know that I appreciate them.

    Have you moved yet? We need to get together.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you! Today when the rain finally stops I will have this farm listed online because it’s officially ready to sell. Still living here and will until it’s sold which at the moment just makes life a little easier. The next step is to get an acre fenced in for our animals at the new place.. The work never ends -LOL. Not sure why the emails hit no reply – I guess I forgot to check a box somewhere. Will do that next time so many little details in this blogging world isn’t there? Yes we do need to get together and I’m so excited for you to build your forever home. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a forever home… LOL -I’m finding I have a soul that likes to wander thankfully the farm life has help ground that soul some. So yes lets get together!!

  5. krishna says:

    It is amazing!! It is totally a different and exciting life. I live in city. I would love to visit your farm

    Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

    1. Carole says:

      This farm has blessed many others and great news it’s currently up for sale. Get away from the city and take a weekend to the country. It will refresh the heart and soul.. Have a great day!!

  6. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Just finished reading this blog…..You and your family have done an amazing job of carving out a lifestyle for yourselves. I’m so happy that you share it with all of us. My fondest memories are from my childhood on the farm. I now take grandkids to petting farms so really enjoyed reading about all of the stuff you came up with to share your lifestyle with everyone. Can’t wait to read your next blog. SMILES FOR YOU!!!

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you for your kind words Mickie – this farm has been a blessing to many and I’m glad that we used it to inspire and also bless others. This series has been wonderful to share and still amazed we did all this in 7 years.

  7. Susan M. says:

    How wonderful that you offered these experiences to both your kids and to guests coming to visit/participate in events. Everyone learned something and it sounds like a creative and fun way to earn a little income. What fun memories for many people!

    1. Carole says:

      It is a creative way to earn a little income, for my husband and I, it was really about inspiring others because I guess that’s what we do. Set the example and work like crazy. Thanks for stopping by Susan hope you enjoy a great day!

  8. Maria says:

    These are great ideas!!

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