Regarding barriers to entry, the big buckets that act as barriers to becoming a farmer include equipment costs, land costs, transportation costs, knowledge, and passion. I met with Emily Oakley of Three Springs Farm yesterday. Emily acknowledged the equipment and transportation barriers and went further stating two barriers often overlooked.
Need for Knowledge
Emily acknowledged that equipment costs and transportation needs can be challenging. In her experience, beginning farmers often underestimate the knowledge requirement. While it seems intuitive, Emily said she was often surprised by the number of well-educated people who didn’t intuitively grasp the need for knowledge. In reflection, a common theme is that some people just wanted out of the “corporate” life without thinking through requirements to be sustainable. Emily provided an analogy to demonstrate there is no shortcut to experience. If a person studies three years before becoming an attorney, or a person studies eight years to be a doctor, why would one think becoming a farmer doesn’t require knowledge and training? She has witnessed some beginning farmers start out thinking they will just start a new lifestyle without the necessary preparation to ensure the farm will be sustainable. Her point; knowledge is critical to a farmer’s success. The below generic diagram I pulled from the internet provides a visual of areas of knowledge. Think of areas of knowledge around farming.
Stay tuned for Part 4: Lessons from a Farmer: Passion for the Lifestyle. If you want to learn more on what it takes to place an urban farm in your yard, call me. I look forward to helping you!