Last Updated: 11/22/2021
Hi Ladies and Gents,
Andreas here on Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises! For those first-time visitors, welcome to the Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises blog and website. I’m your host, Andreas Gross, a career international educator with 13+ years and counting of experience in an educational setting where I have taught students and led teams (and continue to do so right now at the time of this writing). I have been the Head of Department of both Elementary and Middle School Science Departments, led Elementary School teams to victory as their team leader, and built an international section at a school in China from scratch with my wife as a Coordinator-Deputy Coordinator duo! Currently my wife and I are leaders at large private bilingual schools in eastern Mainland China. I am the Foreign Academic Coordinator of the Elementary English Teaching Department at a private Taiwanese school, and my wife is the Deputy Director of the Elementary English Teaching Department at a school just a few miles away in the same city. I am also a webmaster, online marketer, and ICF-trained professional coach who works with educators who are interested in opening their own business and businesspeople who are interested in making the transition to education. Have a heart and support Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises! Feel free to check out the Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises webstore here! Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org about educational coaching and consulting services I offer.
With that introduction for our new readers said and done, let’s see where we are going with today’s blog post. This is Monday of Thanksgiving Week. Many schools across the U.S. are on Thanksgiving Break right now, having started last Friday when the dismissal bell rang. In the spirit of feasting on the abundant harvest, I promised some micro farming blog posts this month. Last Thursday, on November 15th, we took a look at 4 Factors To Be Aware Of When Considering Starting A Micro Farm. Today we will look at One Of The PRIMARY MISTAKES TO AVOID When Starting A Micro Farm In A Town Or City.
It’s easy to heed the call of micro farming. It really is. Who wouldn’t get excited about the idea of knowing where his or her food came from? Who wouldn’t get psyched about feeding only the very best food to the members of his or her community? (Yeah, no modesty here, ha, ha!) Who wouldn’t mind the extra cash from a ‘kitchen garden’ or backyard-type operation?
As awesome as all of the above may sound, if you make this one very common mistake I am about to discuss below, your self-sustaining, eco-friendly dreams of making some extra money through your backyard ‘green labor of love’ can easily turn into a very expensive and drawn-out battle with your local town council, city hall, neighborhood development committee, or home owner’s association. You might end up with not only a ruined micro-ag enterprise, but you could easily be left with a hefty legal bill as well!
THE BIG MISTAKE: Don’t make the mistake of failing to research local laws, ordinances, and covenants!
It doesn’t matter how seemingly relaxed or freewheeling your proverbial ‘neck of the woods’ may be, if you are going into micro farming – as opposed to ‘traditional’ full-scale farming – chances are more than likely that you live in a city, town, or suburban environment...probably not a place that is zoned for unrestricted agricultural use! You will need to check with local authorities if your micro farming vision fits with existing laws and policies. Local ordinances and even private neighborhood covenants and home owner’s association rules can throw cold water on your plans because of their many restrictions and other stringent requirements, but these four are the ‘Top 4’ issues that usually come up near the very top of the list – and cause the most problems – with regards to micro farm ventures intending to operate in a town or city:
1. Land use
Depending on where you live, you might not be able to farm at all. Many cities ban large scale plant cultivation and/or animal rearing outright. They either restrict you to a decent-sized garden or very tiny green areas (often with many restrictions on what you can and can’t do within those spaces). In terms of keeping animals, such jurisdictions might say a pet or two (or possibly three) is fine, but beyond that, no way!
Even if your city or town allows for farming, make sure you comply with the necessary permit requirements if there are any (which there is a very good chance that there are permit requirements of some sort in place – if not directly for cultivation/animal husbandry, then at least for the sale of your products). Operating without a permit not only can lead to the closure of your farm but you might be on the hook for sizable fines, penalties, and, if you don’t pay up on time, hefty interest penalties on top of your already sizeable fines. Not a good situation!
Let me give a quick example here: chickens. I know my hometown of Pullman, Washington, allows for the raising of chickens for micro farming/‘backyard farming’ purposes (at least this was true as of the time of this writing), but there are strict restrictions in place. First of all, you have to meet a minimum private yard space requirement to raise chickens (i.e. you cannot raise chickens in the green spaces provided in an apartments/condominium complex, even if you own a unit there, for example). Some neighborhoods in town ban the raising of chickens (and other things as well) by private covenant. In addition, by municipal ordinance you are restricted on such other factors as the number of chickens you can keep at one time and the size/style/type of coop/enclosure you can keep them in.
Despite these restrictions, it is perfectly possible to raise chickens to produce fresh eggs for your family, friends, and neighbors and even sell the eggs for money (which I am almost sure probably requires a business license to sell the eggs in exchange for money within city limits as a regular business, although I have never actually looked that far into it to be honest). The market is not flooded with everyone raising chickens in their backyards (heck, I have never tried it! Not really my thing!), but a decent amount of people do it, and you can always find fresh local eggs for sale around town if you look hard enough and know where to look.
2. Water use
Local ordinances may have varying rules regarding what you can and cannot use water for. You also have to make sure you comply with drainage and sewerage rules. These might require you to get a special permit (with its matching fees!).
3. Labor regulations
Some jurisdictions – I’d actually venture to say most jurisdictions in this case, whether formally incorporated municipalities or not – are very sensitive when it comes to any kind of labor arrangement. Not only must your operations comply with state rules regarding wage and hour regulations, there might be county and/or city rules you might not be aware of that need to be adhered to as well.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of these rules, in addition to health and safety regulations on the state level, before you even think of hiring someone to help you out with your micro farm in town.
4. Waste regulations
You might think that your operations are so small scale that you won’t be producing much waste. While this may very well be true, you can almost bet your boots that your local city site inspectors will have a different opinion on the matter of your waste! Don’t run afoul of local rules: make sure your waste management systems are in full compliance!
One of the worst ways to put an end to your dreams of micro farming in town is to run smack into local laws. It’s even worse when those local laws bite you in the behind because you didn’t do your full due diligence before starting your micro farming venture! Be informed about applicable local rules and regulations so you can build a micro farm in your town that will continue to benefit your family and community for a long time to come. Don’t let your micro farming venture become a flash-in-the-pan that dies at the hands of your local city code enforcer because of a random call from a picky neighbor regarding a local ordinance you missed reading up on in the City Code before getting started!
Until next time, readers! This upcoming Thursday will be Thanksgiving in the U.S.! Ms. Julia Mitchell of Outspiration will be back with another guest post - this time on sustainable business practices and what it takes to be an ECOpreneur.
Better life, better business, better you!
Ideas, inspiration, opportunity,
Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises
Washington State Certified K-8 Educator, K-12 International Education Consultant, Professional Coach, Proofreader/Editor, Affiliate Marketer, Popsicle Stick Crafter, Print-on-Demand Products Designer, and Webmaster
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