A couple mornings ago I heard an amazing item on the radio about a former mortgage broker in San Francisco—I didn’t catch his name–who has started a business of hiring himself out to do organic gardening in people’s backyards. He charges $25-$35 a week and has done 50 gardens so far this year. His services appeal to those who want organic produce and don’t trust food labeled organic in stores. Naturally, it also appeals to those who don’t have gardening skills.
When his service was announced on the Internet on a classified ad site he had 200 responses in 20 minutes. He also put up 50 flyers, and hasn’t had to do any marketing since. He’s made nearly $90,000 since May. Obviously he made a good business choice.
I have a brother-in-law who started a lawn mowing business a few years ago and has been quite successful. His business dropped a bit this past summer because of the economy, but he still has a core clientele which he says he’ll probably always have. He provides a service certain individuals and businesses are willing to pay for. Those who offer to clear snow from sidewalks and driveways for residences and businesses will likely find the same principle applies.
The idea of bartering services could offer some interesting possibilities, too. A while back I read that people are bartering their services to be able to take vacations. For example, a couple might offer to do some maintenance work at a resort hotel for a discount or even free lodging.
If you’re not interested in bartering services or don’t care to do gardening for others, consider what you can do with your own garden. You may be able to sell produce to farmers markets or restaurants. Granted, the restaurant industry has been adversely affected by the economy, but there’s still a restaurant demand for fresh, wholesome produce.
Farmers markets are enjoying a great deal of success as well because of consumer demand for quality produce not tainted with chemicals or e. coli bacteria. Many simply prefer produce that’s locally grown, perhaps due to environmental concerns, or because they can get varieties not available at the supermarket.
During cold weather, seed companies send out seed catalogs, which are always fun to peruse. It’s a time to dream and plan for next season’s garden. You’ll want to grow as much as you can for yourself and your family, but consider what you could grow for sale as well.
If you’re serious about growing produce for others, get a copy of Cash from Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. I’ll admit,this is an old book. It’s been around since the 1980’s, but it’s sort of a classic. The concepts discussed, including various charts, are invaluable. There are instructive examples of conversations you might have with chefs or restaurant owners who will buy your produce. While dollar amounts may be different today, you’ll see the potential financial reward of your efforts.
The book also gives an overview of square foot gardening and tells how to prepare your harvest for sale to buyers. You don’t have to subscribe to an expensive market gardening newsletter because you can have all of Bartholomew’s great information in one place–Cash from Square Foot Gardening.
You might also be interested in ordering an updated edition of Bartholomew’s original book. It’s All New Square Foot Gardening. Discover more about gardening intensively and productively.
When it comes to survival, you might be surprised at the value of the skills you already possess for practical living. Why not turn those skills into cash?