Market Gardening Tips

Making money is, of course, not the be all and end all. Permaculture food production can add value in many, more important ways. When trying to work out the value a permaculture scheme can add, it is important not to only think about money. It is also important to consider the environmental and social value such a scheme can add.

Since we live in a capitalist system, however, there will be times when it can make sense to turn a successful food producing garden into a financially sound, even profitable business. So how can you make a market garden pay?

It is relatively easy to get to the point where a market garden can pay for itself and be self-sustaining. But it can be more of a challenge to turn it into a business from which you can actually make a living. It can be difficult, but I know of a number of market gardeners who make a decent living, and even profit rather nicely from their efforts in financial terms. If you want to achieve this goal for a sustainable food producing business, here are a few tips that may help you:

  • Maximise the yield you can achieve from your space. (Consider space saving ideas, fertility, water, successional planting, supplemental/ side yields, year-round growing etc..)
  • Do your research – make sure you know your market. Who will buy what you offer? What will your sales outlets be?
  • Focus growing efforts on crops that grow well in your market garden, and offer the best returns and sell best where you live.
  • Diversify. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Find a few key areas of focus rather than just one to maximise your chances of success and make your business more resilient.
  • Consider ways to process produce before sale to maximise profit margins. Rather than just selling fresh produce, think about making preserves, drinks, baked goods etc..

Market gardening can be a great way to make a living. But if you are trying to make money from your garden, you do need to treat it like any other business. Make sure you have a good plan in place – for your land and for your business as a whole.

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