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Co-op Farming

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Co-op Farming

Postby SF Trooper » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:22 pm

Hello, all!

I've been thinking about something lately that seems common-sense to me, but would appreciate your comments. Some of us, my family included, live rurally and either farm or homestead. There are, however, many preppers who live in urban or suburban areas for various (usually job-related!) reasons. As for us, well, I can tell you that there is no comparison between our fruit, berries, and vegetables and those of the grocery store variety. Once you eat fresh, the grocery store fruit and veggies are just flavorless substitutes. But, it comes with a price: lots of hard work!

I would be interested in learning how many urban and suburbanites would be interested in cooperative farming/gardening arrangements with farmers. Conversely, how many farmers out there would be interested in having folks come out to their farms to raise food of their own? I imagine that there are a broad variety of bartering mechanisms that would make it beneficial to both parties. As a homesteader, I can always use an extra pair hands to help with fences, weeding, and other chores. I would like to think that there are town or city dwellers who might enjoy spending their weekends in the fresh air and sunshine, learning farming and animal husbandry, and growing their own food.

What are your thoughts?

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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby Illini Warrior » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:03 pm

talk to your insurance agent for the coverage necessary for something like that - you'll change your mind ....
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby SF Trooper » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:40 pm

Hi, Ilini Warrior!

Thanks for the input. Probably very true in most locations! A great point to consider.

Luckily, here in Tennessee, we have the Tennessee Agritourism Liability Act and several others that protect farmers and ranchers. It allows people to offer things like horse riding, farm experiences, farm animal petting zoos, and the like to operate without constant fear of being sued.

Under Tennessee law, there is no liability for an injury to or death of a participant in an agritourism activity conducted at an agritourism location. Inherent risks of agritourism activities include among others, risks of injury inherent to lands, equipment, and animals, as well as the potential for you to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to your injury or death. Basically, a visitor to a farm or ranch assumes the risk of participating.

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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby ForwardPreppers » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:09 pm

This sounds very good in theory, however, I don't know that it is doable. People's values are so different these days. Somehow it would be turned around on you.

We once were in a group where one person owned the property and the others were going to use it as a BOL. Some people in the group worked hard even without ownership, knowing that the work was for the greater good and could possibly save their families lives one day. Others wouldn't hardly do any work. They wanted to socialize and have endless meeting/discussions.

Everyone's idea of what's "fair" is different and often leads to hard feelings.

Then there's the OPSEC issue of having strangers on your homestead, seeing what you have and either telling others or showing up during a crisis.

Just some thoughts,
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby John Galt 1 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:29 pm

Hardship feelings will develop,,, and that's assuming they the city slicker doesn't tear out the corner of your barn with the scrape blade. Seen that and worse before. Even worse with a set of forks on the front of the tractor.

I still cringe when my boy gets close to a building or fence with the tractor; I always make him flip the forks up if he doesn't need them. My neighbor does the tractor work close to the fence line before allowing his boy to finish the rest of the field. We're not farmers but we do need a medium sized tractor to maintain the property.

We love and trust our boys but pulling 6' of siding off a pole barn or 150' of fence wire is a lot of work to repair. Taking in someone without usefull skills would be difficiult.

A common sense doctor would be useful assuming they could help in other ways around the place.
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby sageprice » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:16 pm

Once again the two sides argue the same truths from a different angle. Any non-serious and clumsy clod can destroy a farm but serious conscientious farm hand is a valuable person to know. Some one you trained, who is willing to lend a hand when SHTF. I'm not talking about some Joy Riding Punk. Any person who is serious about Gardening and farming will respect your equipment and your knowledge. It doesn't matter if he is paid in crops or dollars.
Still, I would love to see farmers take in local gardeners extra produce in to their control and trade or sell it as their own. When I have to many tomatoes I wish I could trade for corn or even potatoes. Trade eggs for peeps or help is butchering you get the drift.
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby oldasrocks » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:58 pm

The main problem I see is if SHTF they would show up with their 42 friends.

We've let a few people pick some of our extra veggies and berries. They do some much damage to the plants and land we had to quit being nice guys. Sure they appreciate planing their own stuff but use your equipt without knowing how to care for it. Use your fertilizer wrong and screw up the ground for a year or more.

Then there is the neighbor who offered to buy some tomato plants and let me grow them for him. I never see this guy unless he needs something and always busy drinking beer or something when I need help.
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby NJMike » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:14 pm

In NJ, the CSA model seems to be more common for farms, and often around the areas where affluent suburbanites can pay into a farming operation for a share of the harvest. This has been picking up popularity in recent years with more and more people interested in local and/or organic produce. Some community run gardens require group work day commitments, making them closer to a co-op arrangement but on a smaller scale. I assume insurance liability is covered by the sponsoring town in that case, and they're generally not using tractors or other heavy equipment. This is my view for the top half of the state where farms are generally far separated from each other with suburban sprawl. However, I can't say that in other parts of the state that adjoining farms aren't sharing equipment or work activities as it would make sense.

Personally, I have participated in direct and wholesale type purchasing but I haven't participated in a CSA or Co-Op yet, as I do garden. I used to give away excess tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggs too when I had chickens. I'd look to trade/barter in the future depending on what I'm producing.
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby anita » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:09 pm

Since I moved last fall, I'm probably going to participate in a CSA this year, while I get my garden set up, as I think it will be too late for me to plant much but a fall crop by the time I get the raised beds in, soil in, fence around, and so forth.

There is a trendy thing called a Agrihood, I posted about it a few months ago, where a community is set up around a CSA farm, and there can be a community plot for people who want to grow some of their own food. I looked into it before I moved, as I thought that it might be a possibility for me, since I'm alone.

However, from the ones I found, it was more of a gimmick than serious. In one I looked at, you were permitted to have your own bees and chickens (that's not so common in small lot developments,) but the lots were so small as to make it impractical.
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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby SF Trooper » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:12 pm

Great comments!

I asked about this here in this forum because I was wondering if committed preppers would be more, less, or have about the same level of interest in getting involved in this kind of arrangement as non-preppers. What I'm learning is that the problems - OPSEC not the least - are tremendous. I was also curious if any others out there had managed to build a prepper community around this kind of arrangement. I am no doubt biased on the whole "grow your own" concept. It would seem to me to be second only to water on a prepper's to-do list. I would think that it would also be a great way to bring a group together.

The comment about the difficulty finding partners for the group who give fair effort and labor has me pondering. Does it mean that it's a good vetting process before the SHTF, or does it mean that a better vetting process is required before having someone on your homestead? The potential that group members show up with a herd of friends and neighbors when the time comes is chilling. I think that many of us plan for a few extra family to show up who didn't contribute during the good times, but there is a limit to how far food stocks can stretch before you doom your own by taking in others.

Knowing that I homestead (but not that I'm a prepper), I've had more than a few friends and co-workers jokingly tell me that if everything goes wrong, they are headed to my place. I'm always clear that they are welcome NOW to help out if they want to come around to eat then. Otherwise, no. Moreover, I won't lose any sleep over it if it comes to that. When they were taking that cruise, I was building a chicken coop. And, I did offer to let them help!

Has anyone here experienced a successful system of cooperative homesteading at a group base camp? Even with modern equipment, farming is really hard work. Sure, it can be done quickly and efficiently with the proper tractor, attachments, and combines. But, if the SHTF, or you simply don't want pesticides or herbicides on your food, it's 100 times harder. That's not an exaggeration.

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Re: Co-op Farming

Postby ForwardPreppers » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:59 pm

It was an interesting vetting process as these folks went on to buy their own BOL. We laugh, knowing that they eventually had to do some work!

We have met folks in our community and formed new relationships. We feel (as many others do) that groups will actually form AFTER an event or SHTF. We have chosen to put our time and energy into this activity - helping others, getting involved/joining a local church and working our homestead. This is after years of prepping, having meetings with like minded folks when we lived in SC and giving it a go with a group.

Whenever I see folks post "looking for like minded folks in my area" I think that they may not actually really want that :rofl: people are crazy! I want to say, just prep, just get yourself ready, wherever that may be and you will come across like minded folks. And you may be able to share your knowledge with someone that gets them to thinking about preparedness. If not, you just keep on keepin' on.

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