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UPDATE - Brilliant dd and not going to college...


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Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners is another great resource, either for a gap year or starting a farming career.  They can help match apprentices and then journey-people on farms.  Many many MOFGA members are/were homeschool families, and now there are loads of second-generation, homeschooled farmers starting their families and farms.  https://www.mofga.org/Programs/Education/Farm-Apprenticeships

MOFGA is based in Unity, Maine, which is also home to this small environmental/agricultural college: https://www.unity.edu

Edited by Harpymom
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This. My DD feels a lot of pressure to make the world a better place, save the world, etc, and I think a lot of it is because she is percieved as being just so gifted that she gets the message that th

So where I am coming from: We have a small farm. We have about 60 acres. We have fruit trees, gardens, chickens, beef cattle, and I have a milk cow. At various times we've raised horses, pigs, an

I would support her goals. It's her life and she gets to decide how to live it. College isn't for everyone, not even the brilliant. I do understand your concern a bit. I have a very highly gifted chil

14 hours ago, Attolia said:

So what does a mom do to support, lead, and help her think through and process these desires?  What can I do that doesn't squash her dreams and supports them but makes sure this is a decent direction?  I won't lie, this had led to some anxious thoughts on my part.

Fwiw, there's a difference between figuring out how to support her and figuring out what she needs to do. You said she's brilliant, so let HER figure out what to do and don't even try. If she's wanting to take some business classes, she has her head on straight.

College will be there later. It's not like saying no to it now is saying no forever. However if she went to college and got really stressed and crashed her health, that could be really hard to recover from. It sounds like she's making a HEALTHY choice for her. It sounds like rat race isn't what is good for her, and there are lower key schools (schools you can go to any time) that she might choose later if she needs a little something.

Her plan sounds fine to me. I don't really get the rush to graduate thing. Just talk with her. She might be able to slowly ramp up her business plans as she slowly ramps down her academics, or you could convert her business plans into academic credits. I'd just kind of wind it up in a natural way, so that she has a transcript that helps her go forward to do whatever she wants later. Beyond that, just let her do it. There's not an issue. She's going to have some basic things to think through, like where to get the funding, and you're going to have some things to think through, like what ownership/financial part you want in this. And I'd throw that on her. Let her figure out her life. That's why she has this brain, and it sounds like she's willing to.

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5 hours ago, Katy said:

Farming is a multi million dollar business.

Is this really what she was saying she wanted?? I need to reread. In our part of the country, we have a lot of small organic farms that sell specialty things (turkeys, honey, etc.). There are people starting small organic farms Felton Homestead - LocalHarvesthttps://www.localharvest.org › felton-homestead-M73154  just to give work to people with disabilities. There are many ways to do this that are much lower key. 

It takes a number of years (from what I've been told by friends who did it) to get land certified organic. She's going to learn a lot going through this process, researching what it would take. 

I don't know, college has been destructive on my dd, between her anxiety and MTHFR defects and just propensities. You really might not like what happened if she went that way, and I think it's really insightful of the girl to be trying to find another path, something that is healthy for her. And she may research this for 6 months and realize the funds, the timing, etc. aren't what she wants. She may realize she'll have to take a job just to have the funding to start buying things. Missing the bigwig college recruiters is not the end of the world. There will be other options.

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14 hours ago, Attolia said:

what she said (farm, homestead, write).

Are her writing skills good enough to freelance or somehow get a job? Can she make a *blog* about her farming adventure? I'd merge these somehow. She can get credit for them and maybe translate them into money for her farm adventure. Like don't * require* it but just toss it out as an option, see what she thinks. If you're not in a position to fund this, she'll very quickly need some paths to getting money, lol. 

The other thing you might do is very quietly continue to nurture her writing, via facilitating reading, via writing woven into life, etc. and make sure that everything she does turns into a decent, innovative transcript that reflects her. That way if she decides in 6 months or a year to pursue a degree (say in english, say online, say on the side), she has options. 

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

Fwiw, there's a difference between figuring out how to support her and figuring out what she needs to do. You said she's brilliant, so let HER figure out what to do and don't even try. If she's wanting to take some business classes, she has her head on straight.

College will be there later. It's not like saying no to it now is saying no forever. However if she went to college and got really stressed and crashed her health, that could be really hard to recover from. It sounds like she's making a HEALTHY choice for her. It sounds like rat race isn't what is good for her, and there are lower key schools (schools you can go to any time) that she might choose later if she needs a little something.

Her plan sounds fine to me. I don't really get the rush to graduate thing. Just talk with her. She might be able to slowly ramp up her business plans as she slowly ramps down her academics, or you could convert her business plans into academic credits. I'd just kind of wind it up in a natural way, so that she has a transcript that helps her go forward to do whatever she wants later. Beyond that, just let her do it. There's not an issue. She's going to have some basic things to think through, like where to get the funding, and you're going to have some things to think through, like what ownership/financial part you want in this. And I'd throw that on her. Let her figure out her life. That's why she has this brain, and it sounds like she's willing to.

IMO, the "rush to graduate" to quote this post is bc this girl has ALREADY has had (IIRC) some serious health issues. So I see it as finishing high school while she is healthy, in case something else happens health-wise.

I also think a high school diploma as a BASIC minimal requirement for a young person in 2020, given the mental, physical and emotional health to do it. Which it sound like at this point, this girl is at that place. She might not always be in that place.

And for a third-ish reason...when she HAS the diploma, she'll be in a position to jump on things quickly, if she needs to, wants to or something arises. Again, IMO, for this girl, it'd be a shame if something special opened up or an opportunity was presented to her that could further her dreams/goals/life choices...and she's still working on her HS program when it could possibly have been completed.

I'm not saying to rush any and every person thru a HS diploma...I'm saying in THIS case, it is what I would give as advice, based on what Attolia has written about her daughter and this situation in particular.

 

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16 hours ago, Attolia said:

So what does a mom do to support, lead, and help her think through and process these desires?  What can I do that doesn't squash her dreams and supports them but makes sure this is a decent direction?  I won't lie, this had led to some anxious thoughts on my part.  I have had to step back and trust God with dd in this area. 

 

I'm not a homesteader by any stretch of the imagination. But here are some ideas for "creative" homeschooling, some more obvious than others - not in any particular order:

researching homesteading - what does she want to do, not do and why

Can you send her on some trips to meet with other people who are living a similar lifestyle? They could help her come up with a list of things she needs to know and then the two of you could tailor her studies around that.

Is there a community garden or other co-op she could work with? This would give her an opportunity to meet other people who may have similar goals in order to glean from their knowledge, plus there are the obvious advantages of learning new skills, planning, etc. that come along with it

conferences - are there conferences she could attend to learn about writing? Continuing education classes about writing?

learn how to promote her writing, build an audience, good use of social media to do so, etc.

blogging about her goals and what she learns - hones writing skills, critical thinking skills

financial management, both personal and small business book keeping, financing, etc.

how to put together a business plan (working with an extension agent on this would be fantastic) - even if she become self sufficient, she will need an income stream to pay for things like property taxes, health care, raw materials, transportation, etc. - so how does she want to generate this income through homesteading?

4-H projects, including all of the documentation, to hone skills, writing, planning, organization

learn the how to's , but also the why behind them for gardening, canning, cooking

Math at least through Algebra 2

Science - concentrate on environmental science - will she do AP environmental science?

Along the same lines - alternative energy studies - wind, solar

sewing - household items like curtains, quilts, rugs; clothing items - can be done through 4H or other avenues. I mean, there are people who make their own bras! If she wants to homestead, sewing would be valuable.

Junior Achievement teaches small business ownership skills that she might need - it's a great program

child development - all the way through the college years

basic child care

advanced first aid skills

infant child CPR

Home repair/carpentry skills:  Can she work on some Habitat for Humanity projects? Take a small furniture building class through the extension office or continuing education at a community college? This would help her learn how things go together, which is super helpful when you need to take something apart to fix it. The home improvement stores here have free clinics on how to do various things as well.

auto maintenance - the basics and beyond - oil changes, rotating tires, minor repairs - these are huge time and cost saving skills

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Fwiw, there's a difference between figuring out how to support her and figuring out what she needs to do. You said she's brilliant, so let HER figure out what to do and don't even try. If she's wanting to take some business classes, she has her head on straight.

College will be there later. It's not like saying no to it now is saying no forever. However if she went to college and got really stressed and crashed her health, that could be really hard to recover from. It sounds like she's making a HEALTHY choice for her. It sounds like rat race isn't what is good for her, and there are lower key schools (schools you can go to any time) that she might choose later if she needs a little something.

Her plan sounds fine to me. I don't really get the rush to graduate thing. Just talk with her. She might be able to slowly ramp up her business plans as she slowly ramps down her academics, or you could convert her business plans into academic credits. I'd just kind of wind it up in a natural way, so that she has a transcript that helps her go forward to do whatever she wants later. Beyond that, just let her do it. There's not an issue. She's going to have some basic things to think through, like where to get the funding, and you're going to have some things to think through, like what ownership/financial part you want in this. And I'd throw that on her. Let her figure out her life. That's why she has this brain, and it sounds like she's willing to.

 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Is this really what she was saying she wanted?? I need to reread. In our part of the country, we have a lot of small organic farms that sell specialty things (turkeys, honey, etc.). There are people starting small organic farms Felton Homestead - LocalHarvesthttps://www.localharvest.org › felton-homestead-M73154  just to give work to people with disabilities. There are many ways to do this that are much lower key. 

It takes a number of years (from what I've been told by friends who did it) to get land certified organic. She's going to learn a lot going through this process, researching what it would take. 

I don't know, college has been destructive on my dd, between her anxiety and MTHFR defects and just propensities. You really might not like what happened if she went that way, and I think it's really insightful of the girl to be trying to find another path, something that is healthy for her. And she may research this for 6 months and realize the funds, the timing, etc. aren't what she wants. She may realize she'll have to take a job just to have the funding to start buying things. Missing the bigwig college recruiters is not the end of the world. There will be other options.

 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Are her writing skills good enough to freelance or somehow get a job? Can she make a *blog* about her farming adventure? I'd merge these somehow. She can get credit for them and maybe translate them into money for her farm adventure. Like don't * require* it but just toss it out as an option, see what she thinks. If you're not in a position to fund this, she'll very quickly need some paths to getting money, lol. 

The other thing you might do is very quietly continue to nurture her writing, via facilitating reading, via writing woven into life, etc. and make sure that everything she does turns into a decent, innovative transcript that reflects her. That way if she decides in 6 months or a year to pursue a degree (say in english, say online, say on the side), she has options. 

 

 

I think you've hit what we are thinking more than most, so I will use your posts to expound.  You are right, she has to figure this out. I just need to be supportive.  I need to give her space to think through it rather than problem solve alongside her.  thanks for the reminder ❤️ 

She doesn't want a large scale farm.  Not at all.  She wants a small organic farm with veggies, turkeys, chickens, micro greens, herbs, etc.  She has good plans and thoughts.  I think we've talked about our dd's before and I am afraid college will be destructive to my dd as well.  She wants to be in a healthy place and academic environments bring her so much anxiety (even though outwardly she succeeds). She doesn't like who she is as a person within academics.  She has no peace.  She said she'd rather work at Starbucks part time and start a farm/business than go to college.  Starbucks gives medical benefits to part time employees. 

She is a very talented writer.  She wants to blog.  We have already bought a domain, but haven't developed it yet.  She started an instagram and Facebook page.  She wants to put her name out there via writing and photography and sharing her story. 

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I skimmed so forgive me.

Lots of successful farmers these days have college degrees.  Lots of successful farm families send their kids off to college because they want them to see something else, and come back to the farm on their own terms, and because they can afford it.  I know very few successful farmers who didn't grow up farming.   Farming is a way of life, to be successful it has to be run like a business, but it can't be successful without the "way of life" knowledge. 

The successful farmers that didn't grow up in it started at a time when the organic industry was in it's infancy.  They created it.  I don't see where the openings are to start from scratch and build a farm on it's own these days.  Anybody who does that has to be as smart (insightful) as Bill Gates. 

Marrying as a career plan for a young lady needs a backup plan, I'll agree that would be nice.  Not everybody can afford backup.  Building a business with a partner/spouse is also risky.  Divorce is a common cause of farm failures (if one spouse wants to continue, they have to buy out the other).

I agree, business education, and hands on internship/job over the summer.  Let me know if you want contacts near La Crosse, WI. 

 

edit: Sorry again, this sounds unrealistic, WHERE is she going to find land to farm within commuting distance of STARBUCKS?  Is she thinking of squandering an inheritance?  edit again: I don't know a thing about being a celebrity, if that's the plan, then I'm useless, sell the sizzle and not the steak has always been as profitable as raising the steak. 

Edited by barnwife
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36 minutes ago, Attolia said:

 

 

 

 

I think you've hit what we are thinking more than most, so I will use your posts to expound.  You are right, she has to figure this out. I just need to be supportive.  I need to give her space to think through it rather than problem solve alongside her.  thanks for the reminder ❤️ 

She doesn't want a large scale farm.  Not at all.  She wants a small organic farm with veggies, turkeys, chickens, micro greens, herbs, etc.  She has good plans and thoughts.  I think we've talked about our dd's before and I am afraid college will be destructive to my dd as well.  She wants to be in a healthy place and academic environments bring her so much anxiety (even though outwardly she succeeds). She doesn't like who she is as a person within academics.  She has no peace.  She said she'd rather work at Starbucks part time and start a farm/business than go to college.  Starbucks gives medical benefits to part time employees. 

She is a very talented writer.  She wants to blog.  We have already bought a domain, but haven't developed it yet.  She started an instagram and Facebook page.  She wants to put her name out there via writing and photography and sharing her story. 

She might consider an online degree, because having a degree really does open up doors that are otherwise inaccessible. I did a Master's through Western Governor's University; they don't give grades, which might possibly relieve some of the anxiety. You demonstrate competency through assessments--tests or assignments--and everything is pass/fail. You can retake if you don't pass the first time.

 

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There are farmers in my family, it is crazy hard work. My grandparents farmed but did not encourage their kids to do so--all went to college and ended up doing other things. Farming absolutely destroyed my grandpa's health. My family farmed part time when I was young but it wasn't our primary source of income. 

One brother in law grew up on a dairy farm and now manages potato farms; he has a degree in agriculture.

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16 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 

 

edit: Sorry again, this sounds unrealistic, WHERE is she going to find land to farm within commuting distance of STARBUCKS?  Is she thinking of squandering an inheritance? 

 

We will let her start on our land.  Not a huge farm by any means but we know small farmers with about as much as we have and we aren't using it.  The land beside us is vacant and if she can save for it (work part time and save) then she can buy that and then use both plots.  Our small acreage is within 15-20 minutes of Starbucks.  And within 30-40 minutes of a large/hip city with a multitude of farmer's markets. 

Edited by Attolia
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In the old days when everybody grew up on farms, the dream was to run off and join the circus, or become a sailor and see the world.  Neither of these were realistic good options for most farm kids, even if they had seen the ocean, or been to the circus. 

Personally I see NOTHING wrong with kids staying home and helping out, not going to college, or getting married RIGHT AWAY.  I do see helping out as a step above playing video games in the basement, and no worse than going to college just because they have nothing better to do.  This seems like a vague plan to keep doing what she likes and not have to take any drastic steps right away.  At the minimum, if she's serious, she should work somewhere ELSE for a season.  If you want to support her, but not unconditionally, you could require she pay rent (put that into a fund for her if you want) so it doesn't come to a point where she is playing video games in the basement, plenty of video game players are brilliant too. 

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Both of mine were very strong in high school and both went to community college while the naysayers screamed that I was squelching their potential. But community college was what they needed. 

And you know what? Best choice, hands down. They built up their confidence that way, figured out their majors, and did it with no debt. Both are commuter students to a 4-year that has unique programs that fit them both. 

Meanwhile, I have friends whose kids have gone all kinds of wrong because the parent's dreams weren't their dreams and because they didn't have a chance to figure it out for themselves. 

As long as there are goals and structure, and I say go for it!

Edited by G5052
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There is a neat blog called Chickens in the Road by Suzanne McMinn and her series of farms in West Virginia. She was a Navy wife who lived all over and wrote romance novels. When her marriage ended, she moved to WV to farm and started the blog. She has 3 adult kids so she is in a much different place than a young woman starting out. But it is a neat blog that can give your DD insight into a writing, farming, making a living/life that isn't backed by millionaire land owners.

At one point, IIRC, she stated that she made more money on the blog than writing romance novels. But that was years ago and I think "monetizing" blogs is much more difficult. She has retreats at her farm now, in addition to what appears to be different writing gigs.

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34 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 

edit: Sorry again, this sounds unrealistic, WHERE is she going to find land to farm within commuting distance of STARBUCKS?  

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

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19 minutes ago, Attolia said:

We will let her start on our land.  Not a huge farm by any means but we know small farmers with about as much as we have and we aren't using it.  The land beside us is vacant and if she can save for it (work part time and save) then she can buy that and then use both plots.  Our small acreage is within 15-20 minutes of Starbucks.  And within 30-40 minutes of a large/hip city with a multitude of farmer's markets. 

This sounds great. I kinda wish I could do things over and not have $$$ debt from a college degree that I only kind of enjoyed getting. It took me at least 10 years of twists and turns, career-wise, to find something that I am good at doing and really like doing. Just the fact that your DD is thinking about the big picture (having a part time job for health insurance, for example), and has insight about herself (that she doesn't like who she becomes in an academic environment, despite the appearance of success) is very mature for a teenager. I went to college because it was "the next thing," without any self-reflection at all. 

If her mental health is not good in an academic environment, and she knows that for sure, there's really no point in encouraging her towards that direction. Recovering from trauma is no small task, and a marathon, not a sprint. I have a friend who is outwardly very successful, and inwardly an anxious, miserable mess. Nobody would know that from casually talking with her. She is hesitant to step off the career treadmill because... what could happen? What if she regrets it later on? She's already put in so much time! But the fact is, she is unable to function now.... all of her friends want her to GET OUT and do something, anything else... work at a coffee shop, ANYTHING, because it's clear to us that she may not be able to survive this level of stress. For real. For some reason, she is not able to do it yet, but it's scary watching her like this.

Once your DD starts learning about the requirements for a small, organic farm, she may find that she needs to do some learning that requires college courses, and if that happens, she may be okay with it because it serves her larger goal. Or maybe she can get some kind of certification that does not require college, but that helps her towards her goals. 

Since she is really interested in learning about farming, I'm sure she will soak up opportunities to read books about it, do apprenticeships related to it, etc., and figure out the next step as it happens. I think it will be very important to her to connect with other people doing the same thing, so she can be connected to a community. Having people her own age to connect with will also be very important for her mental health - she will see that she's not the "odd one" doing something unheard of... because other people like her also think it's a valuable and fulfilling path.

I'd love to read her blog... sounds right up my alley 🙂 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

 I'm not arguing that her parents can't support her for a few years while she figures out what she wants to do, and that's fine with me if they do, or if my kids do something similar.  I'm getting together with a cousin who was very interested in getting into video game development, that's fine, he has a full time job, and pays rent at his own place, he's not living at home working part time and pretending that playing video games is his life goal. 

If she has a business plan to convince a bank to give her a loan to buy land in such an area, that would be impressive.  Again, nothing wrong with getting help, it's just that is not a business plan, to get help from your parents.  Farm kids who start off on their own may get help from their parents, but usually not all expenses paid (that would be for a ten year old raising a 4H steer, not a high school graduate trying to make a living, time to face reality). 

IF she's planning to make money producing farm products, then any time spent looking at pretty pictures on social media is useless.  Hands on experience on a profitable production farm is what she needs.  If her goal is to be a celebrity, then I have nothing to add. 

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6 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 I'm not arguing that her parents can't support her for a few years while she figures out what she wants to do, and that's fine with me if they do, or if my kids do something similar.  I'm getting together with a cousin who was very interested in getting into video game development, that's fine, he has a full time job, and pays rent at his own place, he's not living at home working part time and pretending that playing video games is his life goal. 

If she has a business plan to convince a bank to give her a loan to buy land in such an area, that would be impressive.  Again, nothing wrong with getting help, it's just that is not a business plan, to get help from your parents.  Farm kids who start off on their own may get help from their parents, but usually not all expenses paid (that would be for a ten year old raising a 4H steer, not a high school graduate trying to make a living, time to face reality). 

IF she's planning to make money producing farm products, then any time spent looking at pretty pictures on social media is useless.  Hands on experience on a profitable production farm is what she needs.  If her goal is to be a celebrity, then I have nothing to add. 

The reason I mentioned the Chickens in the Road blog is bc Attolia's DD wants to be a writer, and this woman has an interesting journey which appears to have her supporting herself with a combination of writing and farming and teaching (the retreats). 

In a way, I think McMinn is more in a service industry/hospitality industry (I am just playing with this idea, don't know which word fits better) than anything else. She provides the retreats, the "pretty pictures" of the blog, the stories. It isn't farm products per se. 

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I agree with others that some training or schooling in agri business will likely be helpful to her but with where she's at now I think just going for it and forgetting formal school for awhile is probably the best thing for her. Who knows how she will feel as time goes on and she has some space and time to destress. Kudos to you Mom for supporting her through this difficult time.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

There are farmers in my family, it is crazy hard work. My grandparents farmed but did not encourage their kids to do so--all went to college and ended up doing other things. Farming absolutely destroyed my grandpa's health. My family farmed part time when I was young but it wasn't our primary source of income. 

One brother in law grew up on a dairy farm and now manages potato farms; he has a degree in agriculture.


Yes. This is my extended family story too. If anxiety and health is a problem, college may very well be the healthier option.  Farming even on a small scale is physically demanding and extremely stressful.  The debt that most farmers have to stress over is often crushing, especially the first decade.  And nearly everything about farming is up to pure luck.  They can’t control the weather, their neighbors property uses, government policies, or insects. Their entire knowledge base is all about mitigating for damage control in hopes of a profitable outcome. And often the only fallback is to get a loan to cover loss in hopes the next season is good enough to make it up. They make it look romantic on tv and they are so happily passionate when talking about it but it’s brutal hard and not much forgiving. And as for people being unkind. Well not all farmers are sunshine, but if you don’t get along with someone at college, it’s usually not that big a deal to avoid them.  Most farming business is surprisingly small and not getting along can mean your business gets shut out.  So lots of pressure to fit in a community, that are sometimes very isolating even on good days. 

Ree Drummond is ridiculously wealthy and both sides of that marriage have been wealthy for multiple generations. But hey - she met her dh at college.  Unless the OP has the funding for this girl and can bail her out when things get rough, which will often happen in farming even with excellent business practices, and unless the OP wants the entire family to contribute to running this organic farm with her daughter - the young lady needs to leave home to learn how to do this in a realistic manner. She may very well find she loves working on a farm that isn’t hers by going to an ag school that puts her in farms for research for example.

Edited by Murphy101
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Honestly, trying to gain celebrity with a blog or whatever maybe isn't a great path for someone with anxiety.  Anyone with even a tiny amount of personal fame opens themselves up to criticism and trolls.  Something like a farm blog probably wouldn't be too onerous.  Our CSA has a lovely blog they update weekly with news and recipes and updates, etc.  I'd just caution her at least in the short term about baring her soul online for just anyone to read.  However, I do know a few people with flexible writing careers that do contract article writing for online news sources or small newspapers.  And possibly run very targeted blogs about the arts, their small business, cooking, etc.

I am curious about what makes her anxious about a school environment?  Did it feel like constant competition?  I have high achieving kids I don't think would have done well in a high school environment like that either.  But my oldest has transitioned well to college and he firmly just feels like he is walking his own path.  He keeps his eyes on his lane but I think even a couple years ago that would have been hard particularly surrounded by a bunch of intense peers and their super engaged parents.  I would also say, he had a great experience dual enrolling at a community college close to home.  After his first semester at a very rigorous college, he still says a composition prof at the CC was his best teacher and he got special attention from him.  There's a world of educational opportunities between top 10 college and home.  I absolutely wouldn't rush her.  But at some point if she does want to have a small business, taking a few business courses (marketing, financials, etc) or even writing courses might become interesting in a more low key environment where she can live at home.  I think just coming out of such an intense environment can require a decent period of time to detox and reset and work on improving mental health and resilience.  Even in terms of having a relationship and getting married, it is hard to get into a healthy relationship if you are struggling.  So I would work to keep options open while letting her explore these areas.

We live blocks from a large AG campus and those students are VERY hands on and engaged and I know many of them are very engaged smart students.  Many go on to intern and work CSA

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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35 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 I'm not arguing that her parents can't support her for a few years while she figures out what she wants to do, and that's fine with me if they do, or if my kids do something similar.  I'm getting together with a cousin who was very interested in getting into video game development, that's fine, he has a full time job, and pays rent at his own place, he's not living at home working part time and pretending that playing video games is his life goal. 

If she has a business plan to convince a bank to give her a loan to buy land in such an area, that would be impressive.  Again, nothing wrong with getting help, it's just that is not a business plan, to get help from your parents.  Farm kids who start off on their own may get help from their parents, but usually not all expenses paid (that would be for a ten year old raising a 4H steer, not a high school graduate trying to make a living, time to face reality). 

IF she's planning to make money producing farm products, then any time spent looking at pretty pictures on social media is useless.  Hands on experience on a profitable production farm is what she needs.  If her goal is to be a celebrity, then I have nothing to add. 

I think there's a middle ground, though. Staying home, working a small plot of her parent's land into a garden, getting chickens or bees or something, taking some necessary classes or internships, building out a website/blog/ig/youtube channel, maybe working part time somewhere to earn money for expenses and such...that's a lot! It's not trying to be a celebrity for celebrity's sake or get heavy into agribusiness, but it's not the equivalent of playing video games all day either.

On the continuum of wanting kids to be self-supporting and hard working, on these boards I fall on pretty draconian lines I feel like. Still, I would support a kid (let them live at home) who was doing something like this. And I would let them know honestly that it's really hard to make a living doing this sort of thing, but also the skills gained wouldn't be useless and could lead a lot of other places.

Edited by EmseB
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I have a lot of sympathy for the OP's DD, too. I knew at 17 that full time community college wouldn't be a good option for me because I was burnt out and done with school after 12th grade. I was in a bit of a different position because we weren't going to afford and I didn't have the scholarships for a 4year.

But everyone, including my parents, talked to me like college was the only option and I was dumb for not going and lazy because I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to commit myself to school. 

I'm rambling, but I don't think it's so bad to delay school or do it as needed and for young adults to work full time instead, especially if the work is interest-based and productive and the family has the means to let her stay at home and work on this stuff and figure out if it's her thing or where it leads.

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1 hour ago, barnwife said:

I skimmed so forgive me.

Lots of successful farmers these days have college degrees.  Lots of successful farm families send their kids off to college because they want them to see something else, and come back to the farm on their own terms, and because they can afford it.  I know very few successful farmers who didn't grow up farming.   Farming is a way of life, to be successful it has to be run like a business, but it can't be successful without the "way of life" knowledge. 

The successful farmers that didn't grow up in it started at a time when the organic industry was in it's infancy.  They created it.  I don't see where the openings are to start from scratch and build a farm on it's own these days.  Anybody who does that has to be as smart (insightful) as Bill Gates. 

Marrying as a career plan for a young lady needs a backup plan, I'll agree that would be nice.  Not everybody can afford backup.  Building a business with a partner/spouse is also risky.  Divorce is a common cause of farm failures (if one spouse wants to continue, they have to buy out the other).

I agree, business education, and hands on internship/job over the summer.  Let me know if you want contacts near La Crosse, WI. 

 

edit: Sorry again, this sounds unrealistic, WHERE is she going to find land to farm within commuting distance of STARBUCKS?  Is she thinking of squandering an inheritance?  edit again: I don't know a thing about being a celebrity, if that's the plan, then I'm useless, sell the sizzle and not the steak has always been as profitable as raising the steak. 

I think it's tough to start farming successfully without growing up in it, but I do know of small farm families that are very successful that didn't have farming in their background.  We have a few small organic farms in our area that started out very slow...  One is run by personal friends.  Both husband and wife worked while building it up.  Wife had a college degree, not husband.  Today, they have a really lovely organic farm.  They probably built it up over 20 years.  They supply vegetables to major restaurants in the metro area 2-3 hours way.  They've even added a bed and breakfast on their land.  BUT, I know nothing about farming myself or how difficult this is!  I wonder if the area makes a difference?  I've seen new small organic farms popping up still in our state, but maybe our state has been slower to get to this point so there have still been openings.

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

I agree.....I was just going to ask....is all ‘farming’  huge big business?  And I think that very bright people are perfectly capable of being entrepreneurs without  a business degree.  My boss is a prime example.   

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Some friends of ours run a small, organic farm where they take a few interns each spring/summer.  They provide room and board (and maybe some allowance on top of that?  I'm not sure.)  It's a really nice, safe place.  I wonder if your dd might be interested in doing something like that.  There are probably a lot of small farms that do that!  If your dd is interested in inquiring at the one we know, you can PM me and I can tell you more about it.

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2 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Some friends of ours run a small, organic farm where they take a few interns each spring/summer.  They provide room and board (and maybe some allowance on top of that?  I'm not sure.)  It's a really nice, safe place.  I wonder if your dd might be interested in doing something like that.  There are probably a lot of small farms that do that!  If your dd is interested in inquiring at the one we know, you can PM me and I can tell you more about it.

That is so cool. 

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

Starbucks is everywhere! It’s not unrealistic at all. 

Also, homesteading isn’t large scale, or even small scale, farming. Although much of the time a business is involved, homesteading is more about sustainable living & self sufficiency than it is about the business itself.  While they do overlap somewhat, they have different goals and attract different types of people. There are people that homestead in rural areas with varying sized properties, suburbs, towns & even a few big cities. 

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I think your dd's plans to runs small farm sounds wonderful. There is not need to go to college with those aspirations but she might consider taking a few specific classes here and there if there is a local college with an ag school. I graduated from the Ag department of my local University. My conversations was pre vet but the courses I took could be very valuable to her. I took a dairy production course, poultry production, and a general farm production class. All were very hands on and focused on both large scale and small scale farming. We were on the farm working with the animals more than we were in classrooms. I also took a class that focused mainly on the business side of running a business in the Ag field. There were also great courses on plant production that I never took.

While none of this is necessary, classes like that could be very helpful and if only taking them for knowledge and not to earn a degree she might approach it differently. I know for myself those classes didn't ignite the same type of anxiety as organic chem, microbiology, and other core classes. They were refreshing breaks from the rest of my dreaded schedule.

But even if she doesn't take any classes she can certainly be successful. I have a friend who runs a success small scale farm that keeps growing every year. It was very hard at first to establish a name in the community but he stuck to it, learned from mistakes, and is now well known in the community.

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1 hour ago, J-rap said:

Some friends of ours run a small, organic farm where they take a few interns each spring/summer.  They provide room and board (and maybe some allowance on top of that?  I'm not sure.)  It's a really nice, safe place.  I wonder if your dd might be interested in doing something like that.  There are probably a lot of small farms that do that!  If your dd is interested in inquiring at the one we know, you can PM me and I can tell you more about it.

This is super common in our local CSA's too.  I know young adults who've spent summers on a farm doing this kind of thing.  Farming is very physical and hands on and this type of internship would be a great trial of what that would really be like.  That said, I think those type of internships can be competitive.  It is in our area, probably because we have a well regarded ag program locally.

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She could start meeting organic growers at Farmers Markets and learning what she can that way.  And possibly visiting WWOOF farms in your area of there are any  (willing workers on organic farms) — or taking occasional trips to visit ones if none are close by.  

Plus reading and expanding her own gardening. Techniques and abilities.  

If you have a local grocery store that does/can work with small scale local growers, see if there are things they’d buy that your daughter can grow in a small space, just to get some starting experience  even if it isn’t initially money making.   For example a specialty item like garlic or burdock or herbs or mushrooms—Food items that can grow in a relatively small space are ways some people I know started.

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3 hours ago, EmseB said:

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

Same here. I can walk to three Starbucks locations and yet be out in the country surrounded by farms and orchards after driving for ten minutes. 

And just in case it’s ever of interest for her in the future, Oregon State University has online ag and business degrees (among many others) and there is not a surcharge for non-residents.

https://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate/

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3 hours ago, EmseB said:

Just for a data point...we live in a place where thousands of acres of farms and orchards are all within 15-20 minutes of a Starbucks in town.

And I get the impression the OPs daughter is not looking for a huge amount of land to run a commercial farming business.

Same here. Drive 5-10 minutes from any of the Starbucks in our area and there is nothing but farmland.🙂

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This is probably a dumb question, but is your land even arable, beyond the garden you have? Does she have a plan for buying the equipment needed to turn "land" into farm land? 

I see her dream as such a lovely picture of a life--minimalism, organic, close to the land and close to God, with hard work and thoughts spilling over into beautifully crafted and inspiring written pieces...

I wouldn't kill her dream, but yeah, agreeing she needs to work somewhere else. I also would encourage her to plan on buying her own land instead of living with you. 

Also, I think a gap year is a great idea. And, I would gently encourage her to think of college as a place to become a broader and deeper person, with exposure to a wider world of other's experiences/thoughts/ideas. I want my kids to become familiar with the world and its cultures, too. Can she do that where she is?

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I think the farmland/Starbucks relationship can really depend on your metro.  Most of the CSA's and farmer's market vendors for our metro are at least an hour out to get affordable land appropriate for micro farming.  My kid goes to college in a midsize city and the starbucks/farmland options are much closer together.  

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What I keep hearing from farming people in various places is:

1.  The closer you are to your final product, the more money you make.  So, for instance, if you are growing garlic, making garlic braids and selling them through Williams Sonoma or some local store is going to be a lot more lucrative than selling to a garlic processor to make bottled crushed garlic.  Etc.  BTW, the coolest thing that Ben and Jerry did was help the local dairy farmers make a local market for their highest quality milk.  Coop processors are extremely helpful, too.  

2.  You can't control the profit streams with certainty because you can't control the costs of inputs.  Feed prices, for instance, vary all over the map with droughts and shipping costs and such.  The weather is unpredictable from one year to the next.  Most farmers mortgage against their future crops and get all of their income in a relatively short period of the year.  The banks take a significant interest in your practices in order to make those loans, and you can find yourself forced to do things more conventionally than you planned in order to get those loans.

3.  One bad year can mean losing your land forever.

4.  Diversified crops are traditional but hard to manage, supposedly.  (Honestly, I have never figured out why this would be so.  It seems to me that having varied harvest times through a large part of the year would be helpful but it doesn't fit in with the migrant worker schedules or something, nor with the purchase habits of processors.  So see number 1.)

5.  People who homestead successfully often have a 'side job in town' for regular income, and often one family member who researches and writes about things like recipes, or techniques, or life, and monetizes that in the form of affiliate links or books for sale.  

6.  There is a big lead time for some things.  Fruit trees take several years to start to bear productive amounts.  Transitioning to organic takes at least 3 years.  Being able to weather those lead times requires a great deal of hard work and planning and no small amount of luck.  

7.  Farming towns are pretty depopulated.  Because of the use of big ag type equipment, there are far fewer farm jobs per area of farmed land than there used to be.  So living on a farm can mean that the nearest town doesn't have typical services, restaurants, churches, etc.  It's very important to assess that if you plan to raise a family there, or if you might need a side gig to get by for a while.

8.  Inheriting land to farm is the most secure way to establish a stable operation.  

I fully recognize that there are exceptions to all of these, but they are points to ponder.

If I were doing this, I would start with simple self-sufficiency, I think.  I would journal HARD, including my observations, thoughts, and what actually happened, because that would be grist for the later writing mill.  I think your idea of letting her develop your land is really awesome. 

I would want a variety of trees to start with, if it were me--so that if she moves on, you would have a bunch of different fruit and nuts to bring in in different seasons, right there on your land, if the climate is in accord with this.  I'd focus on things that are expensive in the store ahead of things that are cheap--heirloom Indian corn over bread wheat, for instance; or persimmons over apples.  (Again, assuming that your climate allows this.)  I'd try various types of home to small scale commercial preserving, including building a solar dehydrator, canning, salting,  fermenting, etc.  I'd also learn how to bake--again to get a usable, saleable product that was more lucrative than the raw ingredients.  I'd try to stagger the harvest times so that processing on the spot would be doable.  I'd consider farm animals--hens, ducks, maybe a goat (great for eating brush), maybe even a cow although that is pretty ambitious.  I'd build this all up very gradually.  Trees first, then plants, then the easiest animals.  Document, document, document, -- what I was thinking in making those choices, what worked, what didn't, what I might try next.  I wouldn't start a blog right away but I'd write a great deal.  

I'd think about the year as a whole.  What do people do in the fallow months where you are?  Out here, they can still grow wonderful salad greens and citrus, but that's not the case everywhere.  Did they maybe do more fiber work in the winter in the past?  Did they play with recipes for stored potatoes, onions, and winter squash?  Nowadays do they take a brief holiday season job at a local mall?  I would want to think that through so that I would be able to jump on those opportunities as they came up.  For instance, if my goal was a holiday job at a local cooking store so that I could get an employee discount on canning equipment, it would be too bad to lose out because applications were taken in October and I assumed that they weren't until November.  

After just a year or two of this, I'd have an operation up and running, I'd know what it would take to make a living at this, I'd have a lot to write about, and I'd know whether I was going to like it enough to continue or not.  One thing that would be hard for me would be being so tied to one spot so relentlessly.  That's something that farmers need to contend with, and it is important to know that about yourself--whether that is OK with you or not.

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A neighbor young adult is, ironically, running a Community Garden in a city as  her job, commuting from her parents home on acreage in rural area, rather than either growing on parents’ land or getting a job at a local area farm.  

 

Our local high school has FFA and a couple of kids will probably be taking over family farm situations.  

I know one person who started as a teen raising basil in his backyard for an Italian restaurant    He had an in with the restaurant, but nonetheless he started just doing it for some experience and spending money, and then gradually expanded his operation to include greenhouses with year round herbs and salad greens and outdoor seasonal fruits, in addition to a huge basil for pesto area 

 

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So where I am coming from:

We have a small farm. We have about 60 acres. We have fruit trees, gardens, chickens, beef cattle, and I have a milk cow. At various times we've raised horses, pigs, and sheep. We started about 17 years ago and have slowly worked our way up as far as land size. My dh works as an engineer in a large city, otherwise we could not do this.

I blog, write as a freelancer, and have been published in various farming publications. This is what I do. Much of my writing has been about farming and the homesteading lifestyle. 

1. You and your dd and your dh need to think really hard and discuss what this enterprise can look like. My friend allowed her dd to build on family land, but when debt and life circumstances meant that the dd needed to move, it was a big family ordeal. If you and your dh get old and need the money that you've invested in your home and property, but her business is built upon it, that will make things very complicated. From watching my friend's ordeal, we've decided that we won't be breaking up the farm to let our kids live on little bits and pieces of it. You just never know what life can throw at you. 

2. Small operations mean that someone has an off farm job, at least initially. To be wise, she will need to start small and slow, building her customer base and gaining experience, with several sources of revenue so that if one fails she's got a couple back up plans.

3. I love the idea of Starbucks. Both my older kids have worked part time and it has given them a perspective that they can't get any other way. My second dd is smart but school is very hard for her. However, after working in a tea shop for 2 years, she knows that she can't do this as a career. Her feet hurt every day, and she knows that the payscale will barely pay her bills. If she can't work for some reason, like an injury, she will be sunk. So my dd's idea of "tea shop worker by day, children's book writer by night" died a slow death. My dd struggles a little with anxiety and she knows that (while she's not materialistic in the least, and wants a very simple life) for her to feel secure, she's going to need a job that pays the bills, plus a little extra for emergencies. When she started looking up house prices in the area where she'd like to live and then scrolled down the page to "estimated payment" her ideas really became much more practical. She also knows that for her to enjoy writing, there needs to be few pressures on her. She won't be able to be truly creative when she's depending on the payment for writing. For my dd she is choosing a path that pays reasonably well, has plenty of jobs available, doesn't involve lots of peopling, and will give her financial security. 

Go ahead and let your dd get a part time job. She may be surprised at how taxing even a 5 hour shift is and what that will do to her motivation after work. It will give her perspectives she may not currently have.

4. Read up a little on Emotional Quotient. My oldest dd has a very high IQ but I'd wager by how she does life that her EQ is fairly low. While my oldest aces school, regular life is hard. Second dd has probably a lower IQ but much higher EQ. EQ factors in the person's resilience, attitude, understanding oneself, understanding how relationships work, etc. While my second dd has a little anxiety, she manages it, it doesn't manage her like with my older dd's. People with a good EQ will do well in whatever they do, regardless of their IQ. I mention this to remind you that despite her above average IQ your dd sturggled to cope with the demands emotionally of many of the high academic programs. That's ok. It's just what it is. But don't look at it as "wasting" her IQ if she doesn't take a traditional path. In fact, knowing what she can't cope with actually is a wise move.  You wouldn't be disappointed if a child with a lower IQ chose a different path. So don't be disappointed if your lower EQ child doesn't want to sacrifice her emotional well-being to pursue what may be expected of her. (I'm not saying any of this to be ugly about your dd. My oldest deals with similar stuff, as far as performance anxiety and emotional stuff affecting her health.)

4. Writing and blogging about farming stuff is very common. Monetizing it will be difficult because the field is pretty saturated. I've been published in farming magazines, but that's not a revenue stream that I can depend on because 1. So much of what needs to be written has been written. 2. There are very good writers out there sending queries on the same things that I'm doing. So that leaves freelance writing, which I do for hire. I basically make a little more than minimum wage. Your dd may be an excellent writer, but the thing is, in the adult world of writing for money, there are TONS of excellent writers. It's been a little discouraging for me, as I've tried to increase my wage, I find many jobs that I could do. They sound interesting and exciting, I have the skills and the passion. And then I scroll down and it says, "Bachelor's degree required in English, Communications, Marketing, etc." I never completed my degree so I'm out. There are SOOOO many people who want to work from home writing stuff, there's just lots of competition. 

Perhaps she needs classes in Marketing and Communications too, to go along with her business stuff. These will help her make her online presence more effective, and if she finishes a degree it can give her options for part time income streams in the off season.

5. Farming is very hard on people physically. I'm 40. I injured my hamstring 3 years ago (farming injury) and it hurts almost every day. My shoulder aches almost all the time from carrying heavy things. My dh has back injuries on a fairly regular basis. He's broken a foot several times, I've broken a finger. The animals don't care if I'm hurt. I was working outside when my son was a week old because things had to be done. Despite nursing issues, and childbirth recovery, I had things to do outside. My family pitched in, but since these things were MY responsibility, I needed to see for myself they were done properly. There are things that the person who sees the animals every day will pick up that someone "filling in" won't spot. I think it's hard to fully understand this when you're young and strong and healthy, but you do get to the point where you're just...tired. IF we depended on the farm income, it would be doubly hard, because there wouldn't be an option to take a season off. With my dd getting married this fall, I said no to pigs. Because we don't depend on the income, I had that ability. But mentally, I don't know that I could've managed pigs plus wedding. 

Those are my initial thoughts. I won't say that her plan is terrible, but she probably needs to realize that it'll go a lot slower than she expects. You may need to spell out what you and your dh are willing to do to help her. It's funny, kids can make assumptions about what their parents are willing to do, so having those conversations upfront is pretty important. 

She does need to understand that you want her to have a safe, secure, independent future. So you're not necessarily pooping on the party. You just want her to be realistic. But honestly, she's so young. Some perspectives she just won't get without certain kinds of life experience. She may have to go out and do some things and try some things. She can go ahead with a part time job and starting some of her farmy type projects. Those experiences will truly be valuable. 

Authors to read that give true, realistic pictures of farming type lives: Gene Logsdon's "The Contrary Farmer" and Carla Emery's book about homesteading. Joel Salatin mentioned above is okay but I don't feel that his ideas are always 100 percent realistic. 

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10 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

6.  There is a big lead time for some things.  Fruit trees take several years to start to bear productive amounts. 

 

10 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Transitioning to organic takes at least 3 years.  Being able to weather those lead times requires a great deal of hard work and planning and no small amount of luck.  

 

Iirc, Transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture takes three years - regardless of the amount of biocides left in soil .

But afaik, 

According to Oregon Tilth rules in past and probably still true, if land was not being conventionally farmed with biocides requiring “transition” rules— it could be tested for pesticide levels and if found to be clean / under the allowed amount, it can get immediate certification   Hence the immediate certified growers may have much cleaner land at year 1 than the formerly conventional big  ag places — and local customers at farmers markets etc may know that.  As well other ways can be used to indicate to potential customers that practices are what they want—different than a certification label.  

My guess is this is similar for other organic certifiers such as in northeast.  

However, certification is expensive and many local growers here prefer to work out a relationship with buyers who are more interested in the reality of the farming practices rather than the “certification”.  

Certainly for a teen starting out, doing things in ways that can have minimal overhead costs makes a lot of sense, so for example, probably to use organic practices, rather than to be certified as officially “organic” unless/until income were to justify certification. 

And to grow things that don’t require tractors, greenhouses, etc — at least to start .    Staying away from things like that which cause debt is considered a good idea.

Most of the organic farms in my area are keeping it pretty simple.  Exception for a dairy, which necessitates extensive buildings and milking equipment...  still it has all either grass fed pasturing when weather permits or almost all the winter feed is grown right there.  But they do have tractors, huge watering equipment things, and the electric milking machinery and dairy area—plus indoor living area for when weather is too cold or wet for the cows to be out.

The farms where we get meat also pasture their own animals usually in a rotation with crops—or in a way that they can provide the needed manure inputs for the crops, 

Bigger family organic farms tend to have bigger animals (cattle, pigs...)   Small ones may have no animals at all, or else small animals  like chickens or rabbits. 

 

 

One family I know bought a going “you pick blueberry farm” so the plants were already mature and producing— and now they have 3 generations all living there and working it.  It’s a huge job in spring and summer.  However, Some can travel or do other things in winter so long as one or two people minimum stay home to make sure it’s basically okay.  And one of the second generation adult kids living there is now homeschooling generation 3.

  They didn’t start with the blueberry farm though. They had prior experience with heirloom tomatoes and other specialty crops on a smaller home acreage first back when the now adult kids were themselves children being homeschooled in a mostly learn by doing type way.  Like math could be the actual math needed by the business. They were my original intro to homeschooling.  

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

It’s the same in this area and I feel like it’s actually a commentary on how stupidly ridiculous the number of Starbucks branches are 🤣

 

When I was in college a lifetime ago, we did a case study on McDonald's. At that time the company goal was that there would be no more than 15 minutes between each of their locations, so that everyone could be near a McDonald's. Starbucks is the McDonald's of the coffee world.

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5 hours ago, maize said:

She might consider an online degree, because having a degree really does open up doors that are otherwise inaccessible. I did a Master's through Western Governor's University; they don't give grades, which might possibly relieve some of the anxiety. You demonstrate competency through assessments--tests or assignments--and everything is pass/fail. You can retake if you don't pass the first time.

 

This I think is a really great idea - no grades would be a big difference from a competitive private school I think. And my husband is doing his masters through WGU right now - the counselors are super supportive, and the classes are meaningful - they actually apply to real life more than any others he has taken. And there is no timeline really - you go at your own pace and when you are done, you are done. 

4 hours ago, barnwife said:

 I'm not arguing that her parents can't support her for a few years while she figures out what she wants to do, and that's fine with me if they do, or if my kids do something similar.  I'm getting together with a cousin who was very interested in getting into video game development, that's fine, he has a full time job, and pays rent at his own place, he's not living at home working part time and pretending that playing video games is his life goal. 

If she has a business plan to convince a bank to give her a loan to buy land in such an area, that would be impressive.  Again, nothing wrong with getting help, it's just that is not a business plan, to get help from your parents.  Farm kids who start off on their own may get help from their parents, but usually not all expenses paid (that would be for a ten year old raising a 4H steer, not a high school graduate trying to make a living, time to face reality). 

IF she's planning to make money producing farm products, then any time spent looking at pretty pictures on social media is useless.  Hands on experience on a profitable production farm is what she needs.  If her goal is to be a celebrity, then I have nothing to add. 

Actually, we've been listening to a podcast on NPR about "self made" business people - like the guy that started Men's Wearhouse, etc etc. And the one think they ALL seem to have in common is help from their parents - either a loan, or seed money, or free rent, etc. Or at the very least were a back up plan. 

1 hour ago, Frances said:

Same here. I can walk to three Starbucks locations and yet be out in the country surrounded by farms and orchards after driving for ten minutes. 

And just in case it’s ever of interest for her in the future, Oregon State University has online ag and business degrees (among many others) and there is not a surcharge for non-residents.

https://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate/

Online in general might be better for her if that meant she wasn't directly competing with other students, and if she could work around her own sleep schedule, etc. 

Another thought is auditing some online classes - maybe one of the ones that gives a certificate at the end. Would that take the pressure off, but allow her to take some business or ag classes?

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There are TONS of internships to do to try out sustainable and organic farming, and now is a pretty good time to start looking for one. To name a few places, https://attra.ncat.org/internships/?FarmName&City&State=NH&Keyword&allDate=0&FarmID=1807 and https://quiviracoalition.org/ both have a bunch of listings for internships.  It's a good way to try it out, dip a toe in, and make some money while she's at it.  

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4 hours ago, barnwife said:

 Again, nothing wrong with getting help, it's just that is not a business plan, to get help from your parents. 

 

Why not? If the parents' can afford to invest in their children's adventures, it certainly is as viable as getting anyone else to invest or a loan from any other person or bank. Personally, I don't recommend borrowing money from family, but not everyone has that same preference. It is even acceptable for parents who can afford it to gift money, land, stocks, or any other property to their children for the purpose of giving them a start on life. There isn't anything wrong with that anymore than there is a parent paying a child's way through college.

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15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

2. Small operations mean that someone has an off farm job, at least initially. To be wise, she will need to start small and slow, building her customer base and gaining experience, with several sources of revenue so that if one fails she's got a couple back up plans.

 

At 16 or so as I think she is now, she could really try just one thing out.  Or two that come in to readiness at different times, like snow peas planting soon (ready spring)  and garlic (for ready in fall). 

 

 I presume that parents would be providing the basics so that initial experience could be more akin to a child running a lemonade stand.  One need not yet ask how will a lemonade stand provide a full income.  It’s just like first grade level experience 

15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

 

3. I love the idea of Starbucks. Both my older kids have worked part time and it has given them a perspective that they can't get any other way.

 

I agree.  I am hoping I can get my son into a basic job like that. 

 

15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

5. Farming is very hard on people physically. I'm 40. I injured my hamstring 3 years ago (farming injury) and it hurts almost every day.

 

That’s true.  One friend of mine who was in organic farming is now being an instructor  at Oregon State, and another who was in landscaping went back to school to be able to work as a librarian  because they needed things to be physically easier.  

 

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

This I think is a really great idea - no grades would be a big difference from a competitive private school I think. And my husband is doing his masters through WGU right now - the counselors are super supportive, and the classes are meaningful - they actually apply to real life more than any others he has taken. And there is no timeline really - you go at your own pace and when you are done, you are done. 

Actually, we've been listening to a podcast on NPR about "self made" business people - like the guy that started Men's Wearhouse, etc etc. And the one think they ALL seem to have in common is help from their parents - either a loan, or seed money, or free rent, etc. Or at the very least were a back up plan. 

Online in general might be better for her if that meant she wasn't directly competing with other students, and if she could work around her own sleep schedule, etc. 

Another thought is auditing some online classes - maybe one of the ones that gives a certificate at the end. Would that take the pressure off, but allow her to take some business or ag classes?

 

Starbucks also pays tuition for employees who want to earn their bachelor's degree online from Arizona State University. I don't know what majors they offer, but Starbucks is looking better and better.

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3 minutes ago, skywards said:

There are TONS of internships to do to try out sustainable and organic farming, and now is a pretty good time to start looking for one. To name a few places, https://attra.ncat.org/internships/?FarmName&City&State=NH&Keyword&allDate=0&FarmID=1807 and https://quiviracoalition.org/ both have a bunch of listings for internships.  It's a good way to try it out, dip a toe in, and make some money while she's at it.  

 

Plus for a 16 yo it doesn’t necessarily need to be a competitive internship.  If there’s a close enough farm for her to live at home, it might just be volunteering to help in exchange for learning

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I've been thinking about your post for a couple days. I have mixed feelings about the situation.

I am of the opinion that we push too many of our "smart" kids off to college, when it really isn't the best route for all.

On the other hand, I've watched a sweet, attractive, artistic, and very anxious young woman drift for the past four years since graduating from homeschool. Her initial plan was to write a book, working an entry level retail job in the meantime, while looking for a husband. She really wants a simple life of raising kids with a partner. Nothing wrong with that.

Because she is attractive, she does get a lot of men approaching her, which, ironically, has increased her anxiety. Too many choices, and sometimes she acts on the options impulsively, which leads to its own issues.

She is really afraid of feedback, which I do believe is at the heart of her fear of school. On the other hand, she has found that there is a lot of criticism in various forms regardless of the path taken. The anxiety compounds, and she appears to be further than ever from independent living.

All that to say that if this was my daughter, I think that I'd treat this first year as a gap year, and offer the use of the land with the stipulation that she gets ongoing therapy for anxiety. I am not sure if her past health issues were mental health related, so it is possible that you already have all this in place. I would personally avoid taking any college cl;asses this year that might interfere with being able to apply as a freshman next year if she desires.

Then re-evaluate next year. Well, realistically, it may be a bit more than a year, as she probably would need two full growing seasons to get a decent picture of how this would go.

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12 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Just realized she's describing Susan Wise Bauer - hobby farm and writing career!

True.  But SWB has a PhD and teaches at the college level as well.  So I'd say she thought out her back up plan quite thoroughly!  

I really like Fairfarmhand's post!  Point #1 about tying together family finances is SO important and good to be aware of this early.  I have a mother in her 70's who partially owns my brother's home.  I warned her against this.  If she were to suddenly need long term nursing care and needed to liquidate her assets, his home would be on the list.  It's actually simpler to gift someone money or land than to have both names on.  Just something to keep in mind.  I can also say, this type of gifting can cause conflicts and resentment with siblings if it's not clear a single sibling is obviously disabled, etc and needs more hands on care.  

 

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