Value-Adding – Combining Agricultural Produce & Skills
Can you combine your farm products with your current hobbies and skill sets in such a way as to generate income?
You can handcraft fancy soap from goat milk, herbs, and even some flowers that you might already grow in your garden. Soap making takes some work to learn and master. But once you’ve got the skill down, you can reliably produce beautiful handmade soaps for people. The materials needed to make soap are fairly cheap, and you can sell handmade soap for $5 or more per bar. If you make soap in big batches, it won’t take very much of your time either. You can churn out a few hundred bars of soap in one afternoon and have enough to sell for a while.
If you grow herbs on your farm, it is possible to turn them into essential oils that you can then sell. You can also use these essential oils to make your all natural soaps and skin products. The process of making essential oils calls for technical expertise and equipment, as well as large quantities of the plant from which you are extracting the oil. The results are, however, very rewarding and lucrative.
Lotions, Lip Balm, Shampoo, Deodorant, Bath oils
Lotions, lip balm, shampoo, and even deodorant can be produced with items grown or raised on your farm. Farm raised items include butter, beeswax, honey, herbs, and more. Even if your farm doesn’t produce these items, you could source some of them from off-farm.
A member of the cucumber family, loofahs produce a fruit which dries into a scrubber favored by people for being eco-friendly and non-toxic.
You could put your carpentry skills to use in a wide variety of attractive and useful items:
- Dog houses/kennels
- Backyard chicken coops
- Bird & bat Houses
- Bird feeders
- Rabbit Houses
- Walking sticks
- Wood decor items & signs
- Custom-built play-ground equipment (taking due note of safety parameters!)
Handmade candles have a totally different feel to them compared to mass-produced ones that you can buy in stores. People appreciate the extra love and effort that goes into it. If you raise bees, you can consider making beeswax candles
Spinning/weaving and knitting of wool
Apart from the obvious sales possibilities of home-made woolen items there are possibilities connected with running classes in collecting wool snagged on fences, washing and dying it, spinning it – and then knitting your own garments.
Making wreaths from trees and plants on your farm, from old grapevines, fresh flowers, or pine branches and cones can be a great way to make money on a small farm. If you raise Christmas trees on your farm then you can also make wreaths out of the ones that you can’t sell. If you grow flowers you can include those that will go well in flower wreaths, such as Leucospermum or pin-cushion proteas.
Jewelry comes in a host of different forms and can be made of course from materials that you buy for the purpose. But perhaps you can incorporate recycled materials or natural materials from your farm – bits of wood, seeds or feathers.
If you are skilled as a photographer you could offer your services for weddings and other events and for family photos or publicity photos. You can also consider taking photos and selling them as stock photos. Or creating your own collection of postcards of the local area. If you are using part of your farm for events or outings for families you could offer your services to take informal photos of people having fun. (And your own photos will be invaluable to illustrate the material you develop).
Do you like to sew, knit, or crochet? If so, you could put your skills in clothing items such as hats, aprons, oven gloves, scarves, blankets … the list of possibilities is of course endless. Perhaps you could make reusable shopping bags for your customers to take home their fresh produce each week.
The art of quilt making is becoming more valuable and quilts as bedspreads or wall hangings can command very high prices. They can be created using traditional designs, your own designs, or custom-made to a the design of a customer.
Do you have a wheel and a kiln? Or access to them? And the skill to produce the individual, hand-made pottery is always popular.
Note: dollar amounts mentioned are given at time of publishing and subject to change.
Please see the Earnings Disclaimer associated with these articles.