Nine reasons to… start a hobby farm

Many people might be unfamiliar with the term ‘hobby farm’. Actually, it has several definitions. The basic concept of a hobby farm is a small-scale farm operation primarily maintained for personal use and pleasure, as opposed to a major business venture that exists purely for profit.

Their owners usually have a primary source of income outside that generated by the farm, typically a retirement, pension or trust fund. Hobby farms don’t usually make that much money and are literally considered to be a hobby for those that own them.

For people lacking that all-important green thumb, starting a hobby farm may seem like a lot of work without much payoff. However, there are several benefits to starting a hobby farm. Here are just a few of them.

1. Avoid contaminated food

In 2018, the big scare was with contaminated romaine lettuce. But when you have control over your own produce, you’re able to monitor all of your plants to ensure no contamination occurs. If it does, you have the ability to remove the plant and start over again fairly quickly. This is highly beneficial for you and your family’s health.

2. Building a business

If you decide to sell your crops at a local farmers’ market or to local chefs, you can create a sustainable family business to pass onto future generations. Your next of kin can learn the ropes about hobby farming and take the business to the next level. Learning the process of growing crops is a good skill to have.

3. Community growth

Further, selling crops at a farmers’ market helps you become more connected to your community and enables you to provide your neighbours and friends – as well as local restaurants – with high-quality, hand-harvested produce. In turn, this promotes a healthy lifestyle for the greater good of the surrounding area. It also opens you up to a new network of people.

4. Escape the daily stresses of life

The story of people starting a hobby farm for the stress-relieving qualities it offers is common. Many who do so tend to lead joyless 9-5 jobs and are burnt out. Through hobby farming, they’re able to relieve the daily stress of work or commuting and see tangible results for their efforts.

It also allows for setting achievable goals, reaching those goals and literally devouring them at dinner! This can boost overall morale and promote mental health.

5. Fill your time productively

Similarly, many people start hobby farms for the mere fact that they’re bored. Some are retired with nothing to do during the day. Others may be bored at work and in need of a hobby to break up the monotony.

A farm will certainly keep you busy; laying soil, planting seeds, watering and maintaining each plant, and finally harvesting the crop. And if you get bored with eating one type of plant, you can always experiment with different crops.

6. Promote a healthy lifestyle

Health is one of the biggest reasons to start farming your own vegetables. A hobby farm can grow organic produce that you harvest on your own so you can always be sure the entire process is healthy. Also, since you’ll literally be bearing the fruits of your labour, you’ll be motivated to eat more fruit and vegetables as they’ll be coming from your own soil.

7. Save money

One of the top reasons people start hobby farms is to save money on produce. While some produce is inexpensive, others can be costly. With a few inexpensive seeds and a little love and care, you can grow some of the expensive produce you love but might not be able to afford at the supermarket.

8. Sustainability

Another reason people are starting hobby farms is for the sustainability aspect of produce production. Students at Upstart University have found that a hobby garden is a great way to produce healthy food in a sustainable manner and even make money on the side by selling their goods locally. When well maintained, a hobby farm should produce good quality crops for years to come.

9. Small farm tax breaks

An additional huge advantage to consider are hobby farm tax deductions. According to Sapling.com, you can deduct many costs associated with your farming activities, including equipment costs, soil, sheds, garden supplies, nutrients, fertiliser, seeds, plants and garden beds. Also, if you sell your produce at local farmers’ markets, you can deduct your travel expenses and even your advertising costs.

To take advantage of tax breaks, it’s important to save your receipts and maintain all documentation so if necessary, you’ll be able to substantiate your expenses. One easy way to do this is by keeping a credit card that’s dedicated strictly to hobby farm purchases.

For the reasons just mentioned, hobby farms are becoming an increasingly popular and sustainable way for people to stay healthy, connect with their communities, and save money on food. The entrance barriers are low, so anyone with access to a plot of land can get start hobby farming right away.