One of the struggles of a new farmer, apart from the initial challenge of finding suitable land to grow on and then having affordable access to that land, is the continual dance of trying to strike a work/work/life balance. As new farmers, we have many upfront costs to save and budget for; compost, seeds, trays, a variety of tools, fencing and irrigation. This means we both need ‘off farm’ work to finance our budding enterprise.
We were extremely lucky and grateful to receive a $1000 donation from very special local supporters who believe in what we are trying to create. This money has allowed us to buy enough fencing materials to keep the roos, rabbits and dogs out (so far) and a few essential tools to get us started. Without that, our beginning would have been much slower. Before we received the donation we were making do with what we could cobble together, week to week saving enough to buy one more tool, or one more length of wire.
This is what we are now finding the biggest challenge: time. On the one hand, right now we both need to work multiple jobs in order to cover the basics of rent, food, bills, petrol and a little over to save up for the necessities of the farm. On the other hand we can’t work so much that we have no time to work on the farm which we hope one day will be abundant enough to actually be our main income and joy.
So far its all one big experiment. As we slowly work out what the land likes to grow out there, in what kind of quantities and qualities and what our local eaters want to eat we are inching towards having a greater sense of work/life balance. But until we’ve got at least a few seasons under our belts and some secure markets to sell our produce to, we will probably still be walking the tightrope balance of work/work/life. We love it, we believe in what we’re doing and we are passionate about growing food and feeding our local community, but getting started sure is a juggle!
Cheers, Sas & Mel