I have grown organic produce (vegetables) for 8 years. I do not raise any
animals due to space limitations, and for other reasons. I guess I am a
market gardener, not a farmer. Perhaps organic farming may be cheaper for
dairy farmers or farmers who grow grains & soybeans, but it has not been my
experience, or that of other organic produce growers I know, that it is
cheaper for those who grow produce, especially intensively grown speciality
produce (salad mix, etc.). Saving your own seeds sounds great, but try
doing it with 100 different varieties of vegetables, many of which will
cross with each other. Maybe okay if it's soybeans or something like that.
Not very practical when growing many different crops and different
varieties. It is also often not practical to raise animals when doing
small-scale vegetable growing due to space limitations, (not to mention the
farmer's time and energy) therefore organic inputs must be purchased, and
the ones that are permitted are not cheap. Also, if cattle are raised on a
small acreage, feed must be grown for them elsewhere and purchased, and
where do you buy organic feed? So I mostly use kelp meal, fish meal, etc.
which I have to buy. It is pretty much impossible to make enough compost to
last a year. Even manure costs money around here, if you can even find it.
Land here (Vancouver Island) costs $200,000 or more for 5 acres, much more
for larger farms, because there is only a small amount of arable land in
British Columbia. So most farms are small - maybe you'd call them market
gardens. Organic regulations also call for buffer zones between roads,
neighbouring farms, etc. cutting down the area that can be used for
I suppose whether organic farming is cheaper than conventional depends a
lot on where it is and what kind of farming, but I'm still interested in
hearing about other peoples' experiences with this, especially as regards
to intensive veggie farming. I went into it thinking it would be cheaper,
but that has not proved to be true for me or for my friends.
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