Turn Your Farm Venture Into a Business

Have you ever dreamed of taking your part-time homestead to a full-time salary? What's holding you back? Business books say most people are more afraid of success than failure.

The Green Fork in the Road

Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?

We Are What We Read

My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.

Avoiding Urban Beekeeping Problems

OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.

The Accidental Homesteader

When I bought my farm, I did it to live in the woods. I would like to say I was deliberate. And intentional. But clueless is probably a better word. I should have suspected something when I bought the land and they threw the house in for free.

The Amazing Cold Frame

If I could only pick one season extending structure, it would be a cold frame. Incredibly versatile, a simple cold frame is the key to taking your garden from a two or three-season plot and turning it into a year round vegetable factory.

Live the Homesteading Dream

Like Thoreau and the Nearings, we feel more alive and participative in the natural world around us on our 5.5 acre homestead and organic farmstead than Lisa and I ever did walking through a corporate cubicle maze in the city.

Ducks in the High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane

We folded down the back seats in our Subaru wagon, lined the whole back area with a heavy tarp and a thick layer of straw, and headed down to Nash's Delta Farm to catch us some ducks.

The Lazy Farmer

I don't know why, but somehow I think of myself as a lazy farmer. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not a real farmer. Sure, we ate out of the garden all summer and I sold our excess produce at the farmer's market, but gardening is hardly farming.

We Can Do Better Than This

Change is not only possible, it’s inevitable. Within the next few decades, great change is coming, because the way things are done today literally cannot continue. America's use-it-up-and-move-on way of life is in its endgame.

Thinking the Way Animals Do

A horse trainer once said to me, 'Animals don't think, they just make associations.' I responded to that by saying, 'If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.'

Hatch Your Own Chicks!

Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks, so what would be better than hatching your own? Let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.

The Pickled Pantry

The thing about self-sufficiency, working with nature, making delicious food: There’s always something new to learn.

Math in the Hen House

Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.

Chicken Processing for the Uninitiated

‘Pluck A Lotta Chickens: A Live Demonstration’ was in the Timberstone Room, which holds several hundred people. I sat second row, center. Once they started the process, it wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it was going to be.

Bobolinks

I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.

Securing Rare Breeds in Drought Conditions

Heritage breeds are survivors, although some may be in for a very challenging year. The national drought is about to have a huge impact on the American economy and now is the time to plan ahead.

DIY Solar Installation

Solar expert Joe Utasi hopes to have his home solar panel installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss by the time the Seven Springs Fair arrives.

Voyages in Food Security

My boyfriend and I traveled from Orlando, FL with the expectation that we were going to encounter a life-changing experience. It was well worth it. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Life on Desert Canyon Farm

We do a lot of things on our farm, but the primary way we earn a livelihood is selling wholesale potted herbs and heritage food plants to garden centers throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Nuts About Nuts

The factory farm creates the wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … is it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?

What’s Wrong With Predators Nowadays?

One thing we can all agree on is that is time for things to change. So perhaps we need to look at the world more like prey and less like predators.

Let's Get Busy

Can a civilization this profoundly removed from the visceral participation in farming and food even survive? Can the assumptions, like cheap energy, cheap grain, and processed food that can be nutritious, really continue into the future?

Winter Gardens

Easy, practical, delicious – growing an organic food garden is a skill anyone can learn: that's my main message! It doesn't have to involve a lot of work and certainly doesn't require a big investment in special products or equipment.

Upgrade a Gravel Pathway

Let’s put water back into the soil where it belongs. Permeable or porous surfaces, like a gravel path or patio, allow rainfall and irrigation to percolate into the ground rather than spill into the street.

A Barn Raising: “Brush Fires”

Until we built a barn of our own and experienced the kindness of neighbors firsthand, I would have thought the notion of a barn raising to be a quaint relic of the past.

The Home Cook: A Secret Ingredient

Cooking is great improvisation and I think that’s what I like most about it. You can say the word, “burger,” to any cook and be surprised by every interpretation that you get.

Create a Garden That Works for You

When a vegetable garden doesn’t look like a vegetable garden, what is it? A polyculture, where gardeners strive to address this simple truth: The most effective way to grow healthy plants is to create gardens that replicate nature.

Steps Toward Happiness and Simplicity

Research tells us that a basic source of unhappiness is feeling out of control of our lives. And that’s practically a definition of American life today. What can we do to give ourselves more control?

How to Buy Seeds

Deciding where to buy seeds can be a perplexing challenge. How does a conscientious gardener choose seeds that will grow well, look lovely and taste great, but also support sustainable seed farmers and healthy environments?

Crafting a Handmade Garden

I’m a handmade gardening gal – part eco-friendly, non-traditionalist; part crafty creative with more ideas than money, and an abiding aversion to off-the-shelf shopping. My garden is my canvas, my vision, and my voice.

The Organic Materials Review Institute

The Organic Materials Review Institute was formed by organic certifiers back in 1997 to focus exclusively on the products and materials used by farmers.

Introduction to the Eglu

Meet Amelia, Honey, and Tilda — an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, and Rhode Island Red, respectively. We keep our little flock of three in an Eglu, which has an egg-shaped hen house attached to a wire-enclosed run.

Raising Rare-Breed Chickens

A few years ago the ALBC launched its Heritage Chicken promotion; if you’d like to get involved, here’s what you need to know.

Welcome to Chick Days Vermont!

I started my poultry quest way too early for New Englanders: January! I marked my calendar in red and drew childish pictures of a chicken on the calendar blocks. I was as impatient as a 6-year-old waiting for Christmas morning.

Why Have Chickens?

Why raise chickens? Because they’re the pet that makes you breakfast.

Aquaponic Gardening: Growing Fish and Vegetables Together

What if I told you that you could catch fish for dinner right in your own backyard, and they were growing the veggies for the rest of your dinner until you caught them? This is all within reach using a new style of gardening called aquaponics.

Solar Electric Incentive Status: What's Changing and What's Not

A lot of people have been asking us what incentives are still in place for 2012. The answer: All of them. While there were a few changes in 2011, the majority of programs that will impact the average homeowner remain the same. Here is an overview...

Speaker Post: Lyle Estill of Piedmont Biofuels

Arlo was twelve when the two of us headed to the Fair in Seven Springs. I had only a couple of rules: We pay for any book you want as long as he reads it, and that he find something to keep himself occupied while I was working.

Speaker Post: Deborah Niemann of Antiquity Oaks

Can you milk a goat if it was not bottle-fed? Do you have any trouble selling kids if you don't bottle-feed? Can you show a goat if it was dam-raised? These are just a few of the questions I've been asked over the years.

Speaker Post: Ann Larkin Hansen of Storey Publishing

At last year’s Mother Earth News Fair I had started my talk when someone in the audience said, “But how do you know all this stuff?” I guess I’ve fallen into that small-town habit of not introducing myself! Let me make up for that now.

Speaker Post: Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm

How lucky was I to find a pair of folks just as crazy about farming, working horses, working dogs, as I was? Us two women, practically Luddites in our past times, found each other because of an online publication of Barnheart at Mother Earth News.

Speaker Post: Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm

What I like about MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS is that they encourage an active, participatory human presence in nature. Too many environmentalists think that human activity or presence is incompatible with environmentalism.