Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jobs and finances

Well... Bill gave notice at his job on Monday. He will be there through the end of February. We joke that he is now going from 4 jobs to 3. He has been working getting a new business up and running for over a year now and doing projects on the weekends. He specializes in garden design and does sculptures and furniture out of reclaimed and recycled materials. check out his website here He is also busy with our landlord duties. We have 6 rental apartments in Chicago (we live in one). We recently had a tenant move out so we are going to take this opportunity to fix it up by gutting and remodeling the kitchen and bath and installing a new energy efficient furnace. He has also been working hard to design and timeline our farm rehab and construction - he has been doing architectural drawings and plans and continually revising them. We feel pretty confident that we are close to a final design. (We are including a commercial kitchen! yea!) We want to order our solar panels and some of our solar water heater components to take advantage of the tax credit on our 2009 return. It has been an exciting week - we feel like we are taking a really big step towards our dream of living on our farm.

In other news, our farm class focused on a $10,000 farm start up last week. It was sobering. In the study we did (egg layers - which are of course not really a money maker) showed how little money the farmer made.

I'm also reading a case study published by Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems and the finances are just astoundingly poor, to be frank. Market gardeners with less than 3 acres in vegetable production (not including cover crops) make on average $4.96 per hour. This report is from late 2005 so maybe money has gotten better...? Here is a link to the study: Grower to Grower: Creating a livelihood on a fresh market vegetable farm. I haven't read the whole study yet, but I look forward to delving into it further. I need to really do some self-reflection to determine whether I can mentally be OK with working that hard for less than minimum wage. Lots to consider.

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