My Town Lot Farm

Obviously farming isn’t new and many are accustomed to urban farming but lot farming is slightly different then both, a blend perhaps. There are many people in both suburban and rural areas that have what are considered “town lots”, and to turn that lot into a working farm, is what a I consider a Lot Farm.

Unlike urban farming, it is not necessary to farm on a roof top or hang cleaned out soda bottles on windows to grow plants. A lot farm has enough land to provide for a family without the necessity of being creative with space, though being creative with space is a plus and will aid in lot farming, it is just not a must.

It wasn’t long ago that almost anyone with a piece of land, no matter the size, had a garden to support themselves partially. Lawns weren’t considered prized possessions they were used in growing food, and the parts that weren’t, were often covered in some sort of clover, which requires less maintenance, 50% of the water needed to grow grass and fed bees, a good thing being that bees aren’t doing so well. People had backyard chickens or rabbits and along with their garden, provided for themselves food that was leaps and bounds above what is sold in the supermarket today, and by canning some of the what they had, were able to provide for themselves, at least partially, throughout the winter months too.

Today, if your grass isn’t emerald green and perfect you get a “tisk, tisk” from your neighbors and many who want to plant gardens or raise rabbits and/or chickens on ample space aren’t even allowed per their association, town or city code. Why is that, in a world where hunger is an issue and in a country that has so many on food assistance programs are people told they can’t plant gardens or keep rabbits and/or chickens, animals that are smaller than cats and dogs, to provide for themselves? Why are we becoming a nation of people that rely on others or technology for everything, without even learning the basics of how or why it is good to know how, to take care of oneself, at least partially, should something happen, like the loss of a job or the inability to find whole, healthy food in the supermarket?

When we bought our current house, we were told to buy in a town rather than the country because we were about to start a family and raising children in town would be better for them, they would be closer to school (this is before we decided to home school), they would be closer to friends, closer to activities and at the time it made sense, so we bought in town on a normal town lot. We adore our home but hate the location, not only are some neighbors less than friendly, we are restricted in what we can do on the space we have and under the town’s codes. Of course at the time, we weren’t concerned about being self-sufficient or the quality of the bulk of supermarket food, so farming or even gardening was not on our list of concerns at all.

I was diagnosed with Lupus and Adam was diagnosed with Gout, and that is when things started to change. We researched and found many links to GMO foods, pesticides, gluten, high fructose corn syrup and more, to different health problems and diseases, so we decided to make some changes to our lifestyles and eating habits. We began eating healthier but realized it came at a very high cost and we still didn’t truly know how the food was grown or how the meat was raised, and that was important to us. During our research we found links to the way animals are treated, to the quality of meat or dairy they produce, and we didn’t like buying without knowing. We also didn’t like wondering how long even the organic food, fresh or otherwise, had been sitting in the supermarket. About the same time we came across the book, “The Square Foot Garden” and decided to give it a try. Well, the garden took off, we were able to can some of our bounty and we got the high from providing for ourselves food that is better than we could buy from a traditional store, and then we decided that we wanted to do even more.

My husband is a hunter and while it is impossible to say that the venison he gets is organic, as the deer eat local corn, it is raised humanely, as it is wild, isn’t pumped with any hormones and because Adam is a good shot, killing the deer with one bullet, the deer are harvested as humanely as possible. We do rely on a deer every year and someday with growing kids it might be 2, but we realized that we wanted to raise our own “white” meat, however, living on a small lot we were obviously hindered. After giving it some thought we decided on rabbits, because chickens are loud and according to my husband, smell. We began looking into raising rabbits but I was totally against raising any animal in a tiny cage, then we found the colony method and ran with it, we sat out to turn our little lot into a working farm.

IMG_1877With a plot of land 2’X24′ and with 1 buck (a male rabbit) and 2 does (a female rabbit) in a 7’X6′ pen, during the first garden season (2013) and the first 6 months of having a rabbit colony, we canned 48 quarts of pickles, several gallons of refrigerator pickles, 6 pints of relish, 21 pints of salsa (using our tomatoes and peppers), 6 pints of salt and vinegar green tomatoes, froze about 20 cucumbers for stews (they can replace zucchini), froze about 2 gallons worth of diced peppers for cooking, froze about 12 hot peppers for cooking and got about 55 pounds of meat, not to mention the snacking out of the garden. Needless to say, we were hooked and became ready to expand!

There are many reasons to become a lot farmer, urban farmer, homesteader or whatever you want to title it. You can grow/raise what you like, how you want it and for a fraction of the cost provide for your family food that is better than that you can buy. You can do this as a family, and have fun doing it while passing on skills to future generations that are seemingly less and less self sufficient.

It all starts with and idea, take a look around your property, even if you rent it is possible, and make use of the space you have, to grown your own food. If you are unable to raise animals in your area, find a farmer and contract with them or try and change the laws to allow it.

Follow the links for more information on Raising Rabbits or Our Square Foot Garden

Bet + Fam 🙂

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