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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.