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The dream of making a full time living from homesteading is one many of us share. I know that many people living on small acreage wonder if they can really earn an income. The honest truth is yes there are many ways to make money on your homestead even if it’s a small one!
It really is possible to make an income from homesteading but you might have to get creative if you want to be able to homestead full time.
If you have a large amount of land there are many traditional farming ways to make money. Things, like raising beef cattle, selling firewood from your own bush, running a dairy, are all wonderful options if you have a large land base.
For us and maybe you too these things just won’t work. While we used to live on a large homestead, for the past 13 years we’ve homesteaded on just under an acre. I know we aren’t the only ones homesteading on small plots of land. I also know that you can make money on smaller homesteads and each year our income streams grow.
This list of ideas focuses on ways that you can make money when you live on a small homestead 2-3 acres or less.
Ways To Make Money On A Small Homestead
Making Money Gardening
1. Market Gardening
When you think about making money on your homestead, market gardening is likely one of the first things that come to mind. Growing and selling extra vegetables is an excitant way to make money on your homestead.
With a growing local food movement, you can find many local farmers markets a thriving and affordable place to sell your produce. Selling from a stand at the end of your driveway can also bring in a good income.
This is an excellent book that has really changed our approach to market gardening. It’s brought a new focus and level of productivity we didn’t think were possible on a small amount of land. He has a full-time market garden making 150k a year on just 1 1/2 acres, yes it really can be done.
The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic FarmingThe Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed LandSustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few AcresBackyard Market Gardening: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling What You GrowCompact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or LessThe Permaculture Market Garden: A Visual Guide to a Profitable Whole-systems Farm Business
2. Start A CSA
If you find you still have extra produce after selling at local markets starting up a CSA can provide you with steady seasonal income.
3. Cut Flowers
One often overlooked source of income for small homesteads is selling cut flowers. You might find it surprising that flowers compete with produces sales very well at markets. Planting cut flower borders around your gardens can serve you dual purpose by bringing in more pollinators to your garden and providing another income stream.
4. Selling Fresh and Dried Herbs
If you’ve ever bought fresh herbs from your local grocery store you realize just how expensive these can be. Yet many herbs are really easy to grow. Even a small garden can produce a large number of herbs that you can cut weekly for sale.
5. Grow an Orchard
Starting a fruit orchard does take some time but it’s well worth it. Even a small homestead can produce a lot of fruit in a small space with dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees and good pruning. After filling your own pantry you can still have bushels of fruit to share or sell.
6. Start a Nursery
I love to grow plants for our garden, it’s very common for us to start over 1000 plants a year. Many of these are for our own garden but we also make a nice income by selling vegetable seedlings. We take custom orders from friends and neighbours and still have many plants that we sell from our driveway and local markets.
If you’re really short on space focus on vegetables that have a high demand and consider growing organic and heirloom varieties that bring a higher price per plant.
7. Selling Strawberry Plants
If you have a producing strawberry patch you can make money by selling the runners. When your strawberry plants start sending off to many runners pot some of them up and sell them as started plants.
Learn more about how to grow strawberries.
8. Selling Berries
We’ve been slowly adding to our berry plants each year and I hope to soon have enough to be able to sell extra berries. Berry plants are very productive and you can have a high return in a small space.
Don’t limit yourself to thinking only of strawberries either, gooseberries, currants, blueberries and garden huckleberries all produce well in smaller spaces.
9. Selling Maple Syrup
I live in an area that makes a lot of maple syrup. We have a few maple trees on our own little homestead and I look forward to making maple syrup every spring.
If you have enough maple trees you can make your own syrup to sell. Another way to make money from maple trees is to allow another maple syrup producer to tap your trees. It’s very common here for people to pay to tap other people’s trees.
Maple trees aren’t the only types of trees you can make syrup from, birches and walnut trees can also be used.
10. Christmas trees
If you have an extra acre or so of land growing Christmas trees may be a good side income as well. Christmas trees are grown close together and harvested when they are 5-7 feet tall so you can produce many trees in a fairly small area.
Making Money With Livestock
11. Farm Fresh Eggs
Fresh eggs taste so much better than commercial eggs do and selling fresh eggs can bring in a nice income. Many urban homesteads can also keep small flocks of chickens in their backyards. Keeping a few extra hens can cover the costs of your chicken feed and a few more can bring a steady income.
12. Fertilized Hatching Eggs
I’ve found there is a good market for selling fertilized hatching eggs in our area. The price you can get for your fertilized eggs will depend on if they are a barnyard mix, a pure-bred or a rare heritage breed.
13. Selling Day Old Chicks
Selling day-old chicks or ducklings is a fun side business if your flock includes a rooster or drake (male duck). This is a profitable activity that my children love to help with. Just be warned hatching chicks is addictive soon you might find yourself adding multiple incubators!
14. Broiler Chickens
Raising broiler chickens can bring you a good income especially if your focus on naturally raised, organic birds. Depending on your local laws you have options to sell the birds live to individuals or packers, or sell meat from your farm.
15. Selling Meat Rabbits
Raising meat rabbits can produce a good amount of food for your family and a good income. Depending on your area you can sell directly to customers or find a meat packer who buys live rabbits from you.
16. Selling Meat Rabbit Breeding Stock
If you have been raising rabbits for a while and know how to raise good stock consider branching out into selling breeding stock. Good rabbit breeding stock can be hard to find and you can sometimes make more money specializing in selling high-quality breeders.
If your living on a small homestead raising quail might be just right for you. These little birds are easy to raise and are ready to be sold at just 6-8 weeks old. That’s a fast turnaround!
You can start raising bees and selling local honey. There are also many beeswax products you can look into. Here is a great site to learn about beekeeping.
19. Pastured lamb
If you have good pasture land sheep can do well for you even on a smaller homestead. They are more labour intensive then chickens or rabbits but a lot of that will depend on what breed you choose as well.
20. Selling Wool
If your raising sheep try growing a breed that has a good wool quality. Selling the raw wool can bring in another stream of income. If you’re interested you can process the wool yourself or pay to have that part done, then learn how to spin and sell homespun yarn.
21. Selling Manure
If you raise livestock you have a great opportunity to use both the manure for your own garden and sell the extra to other gardeners. I know many goat and sheep farmers who will sell their aged manure by the truckload here if you pick it up yourself, while others sell it in old feed bags at the end of their driveway.
Ways To Make Money Cooking
22. Selling Jams and Jellies
Everyone loves homemade jams and jellies! This is also a good way to make money from your extra fruit. If your local laws allow you can make jams and jellies at home to sell at farmers markets. Make sure to check the regulations though some areas require a commercial inspected kitchen.
23. Fresh Bread
Ways To Make Money With Crafts & DIY
If you have trees and shrubs growing on your homestead you can put trimmings to use making beautiful wreaths. Grapevines, wild or domestic, as well as dogwood and evergreens, can all be used to make natural wreaths.
Woodworking opens up a wide variety of ways to make money on your homestead. You can make many projects at a low cost by repurposing pallets and reclaimed wood.
Some ideas are:
- Bird feeders
- Garden planters
- Picnic tables
- Serving trays
- Storage Crates
Check out my DIY board on Pinterest for more ideas.
26. Knitting and Crochet
Would you like to learn how to knit or crochet? You can see my beginner knitting videos here and my beginner crochet videos here.
27. Making Soap
Soap making is another fun hobby that you can make a good income with. You can start with learning how to make basic soaps and then use herbs that you grow to make your own custom soaps and lotions.
28. Candle Making
Making and selling homemade candles is a good homestead skill to learn and can be profitable too. Try learning how to make candles using natural ingredients and selling them online or at farmers markets.
29. Building Rabbit Cages, Coops, and Pens
If you build good rabbit cages, chicken tractors or other animal pens try building some extras to sell. You can take custom orders or simply build a few extra cages each time you make one for your own animals.
You don’t have to stick with large cages either, selling smaller items like hay racks for rabbits, nest boxes for rabbits and chickens are also good ideas.
Making Money Online
If you enjoy writing you may be surprised to find out you can make a good income online even if you have a small blog.
31. YouTube Videos
Making videos and sharing them on sites like YouTube can really help to spread your reach. If you want to share your passion for homesteading starting a channel to share your thoughts and how-to videos can bring in another stream of income.
32. Teach A Class (Local or Online)
What special skills do you have? Have you been gardening for a long time? Knit beautiful things? Cook amazing dishes? Know how to prune fruit trees?
Why not start working with people who would love to learn your skills. You can organize a local class as an afternoon workshop or make an online course with a site like Teachable to reach a wider audience.
This is just a few ideas to make money on a small acreage. I’d love to hear your ideas for making money on a smaller homestead, leave a comment below to share your thoughts!
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.