Several years ago, we dreamed of our future hobby farm. We knew that was our goal– to be able to raise as much of our food as possible. We are budget people so springing for the organic chicken at Whole Foods wasn’t what we did. But we also had a desire to know that our food was being raised humanely and sustainably and that it was happy before it became… ya know… our dinner.
After our first year, I would tell you it is probably cheaper to buy the organic chicken at Whole Foods…. raising your own food is no joke, yo! Details on that later… First, you need to find a hobby farm and thats not easy. Or affordable in most cases.
We started out by renting. I know, I know, “throwing our money away”. But the acreage we were renting was valued around $350,000 and we definitely didn’t have a down payment saved for that! This is by far the most affordable way to get your hobby farm going if you don’t have a lot of cash for the actual purchase of the farm.
And, SPOILER ALERT! Even if you do have some cash laying around, your hobby farm will ALWAYS cost you more than you think it will (think broken fences, vet care, feed costs, waterers, water heaters, electricity for those water heaters, etc). Now, choosing the acreage is the next step.
Now, I mentioned that the acreage we were renting was worth around $350k. But the rent was DIRT CHEAP! That high value on the acreage was because of the land (woods, river, wildlife, 30+ acres). The house was a dump so the rent was low. But we were there for the land. We lived in that house, started our little hobby farm and saved our pennies (and paid off all our debt, but thats a story for another day).
If we had chosen to rent an acreage with a beautiful new house, we would have had no room left in our budget to save for our own place someday. We made a pretty serious sacrifice in order to get ahead.
Today we are living at our own acreage that we purchased with 20% down and is worth about $50k more than we bought it for just a few years ago. We raise chickens, pigs, meat rabbits and are working towards a cow…. but one thing at a time!