Peter from TreeEater Farm & Nursery (http://treeeaternursery.com/) in BC shares the challenges and lessons learned from his experience earning a living off the land for 13 years with his partner Magdalene.
Peter moved to a piece of land in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands as an idealistic 22-year old who wanted to save the world and reduce his environmental footprint by growing his own food, building his own shelter, and producing his own fibres for clothes. Magdalene joined him a few years later.
To make this homesteading project financially viable, the couple has had to experiment with different revenue streams, including community supported agriculture (CSA) vegetable box programs, hand forged tools, meat animals, dairy cows, and selling fruit and nut trees, as well as plenty of off-farm work as well.
After a steep and labour-intensive learning curve, Peter has realized that living off the land can be very expensive, that it can be difficult to earn an income from agricultural products — especially if your land isn’t situated in an area with a market for your product nearby, and that living off the land requires a lot of infrastructure & maintenance — all of which costs time and money. And they aren’t even trying to be off grid.
It was refreshing to get such an honest look behind the scenes of what appears to be a utopian lifestyle: living in a hand built timber frame home with a cozy wood stove, and eating fruit and nuts from your own island orchard’s trees, and to know there’s quite a big financial and physical struggle to make it all happen.
To learn more about Peter and Magdalene’s Farm & Tree Nursery, you can check out their website and follow them on Facebook: