Many people get into homesteading because they want to cut their carbon footprint and live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Others want to experience the independence of living off the grid — and the satisfaction that comes with it. Still others just need some wide open space to call their own.
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No matter what your initial incentive was to begin homesteading, the longer you do it, the more skills you’ll develop. This, in turn, can bring you some extra income. Even if you never thought you’d make a living from any of your homesteading skills, you can almost certainly enjoy some extra cash from the things you’d be doing around your place anyway. Here are a few easy ways to leverage your homestead into some extra income:
Become a Beekeeper
If you don’t already have a beehive or two, it’s a great investment. Adding honeybees to your homestead will increase your fruit and vegetable yields thanks to their ace pollination work, and you’ll be able to sell raw honey and/or beeswax for a tidy profit, since bees take care of themselves once established. If you’re crafty, you can also make beeswax candles or cosmetics for a fun side business as well.
If you have a flock of chickens, you already know springtime means being inundated with more eggs than you can possibly eat. There’s always a market for farm-fresh eggs, especially when you point out that your chickens are happy, healthy and free range. You might even be able to charge more for cartons full of multicolored eggs if you have a varied flock.
If you have a fair amount of pastureland on your property, you could turn it into a money maker by planting and harvesting hay. Growing grain requires some additional farm equipment, but this is a good investment in a full self-sufficient lifestyle for years to come. You can sell your grain for cash to other farmers in addition to feeding your own livestock.
Let Some of Your Crop Go to Seed
If you plant heirloom vegetables — or at least varieties that are open pollinated instead of hybridized — you can let a section of your crop go to seed. Gather these at the end of the season and package them for resale. This is a great way to take advantage of nearly passive income, and you can charge a premium for the seed if you use organic growing methods.
Lease Garden Plots
If you have land to spare, put it to work by offering vegetable garden plots for neighbors who want fresh food but don’t have the space to grow their own. You can also offer classes or some caretaking — for example, charge a fee for a week of tending while someone is on vacation — for added value.
Start a Pick-Your-Own Business
If you’ve made a great success of a particular crop, consider opening your homestead as a pick-your-own style business. For example, you can expand your strawberry patch and invite people to come pick their own pints — for a fee. This model has the added benefit of having other people do your work while paying you for the privilege. This is a great choice if you enjoy meeting new people and explaining your work.
Teach a Class
There are lots of people out there who are interested in becoming more self-sufficient but aren’t sure how to get started. If you’re an excellent gardener or a master beekeeper, consider sharing your knowledge by teaching a class. This could be a day-long seminar or a series of meetings for a full course.
With some creativity, you can almost certainly turn your best skills into extra money for your homestead. Take some time to think about what you are best at — and what you most enjoy — and see how you could turn it into a profitable side business.
Your wallet will thank you!
Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.