Growing up I was a complete city girl and I never would place myself as a girl who would grow up to love the farm life. It never was even a thought. I didn’t know 4-H existed or what it was and had no clue what FFA was. I also learned that our county fair is anything but just carnival rides and fair food. All these things I had to learn did a 180 when I met my significant other. If you’re thinking about starting a farm here’s a peek into how I got started and you can too! While this is mostly my experience on the farm I’ve got some great tips on how to incorporate farm life into the city, if you’re not ready to go full farm!
Moving to our now home it was already a full functioning 4-H farm because his daughter showed goats, pigs, and horses. According to Living History Farm, “4-H and FFA are part of the system of training and educating rural young people. FFA (the Future Farmers of America) is a formal education program sponsored by local schools. 4-H is an after school program sponsored by the Extension Service.”
For me. I was thrown in head first. Our first winter coming into spring together we walked into Tractor Supply Co. and the little peeps and chirps stole my heart. We boxed up 25 of those sweet babies and took them home. My own little flock. Those little chicks went under heat lamps in the garage and I was told that in the morning I would probably find a few that didn’t make it and that was just “farm life”. You can get your own chicks at Tractor Supply too!
I went into the garage that morning and stopped at the door, I gathered all of my courage and strengthened my heart… that morning I found 25 lively little chicks and I was hooked. They all survived and made it to the coop. A few weeks later we went to pick up the “fair” pigs meaning we weren’t going to have them for long but I was told that I got to pick one out to bring home too. I had to hide my happy tears the whole way home. A little spotted gilt was all mine, her name was Moo.
She went on to have a litter of little piglets and was such a good mama. That work brought me so much joy. Moo had a mind of her own, she enjoyed human company a little too much and would often break out of the barn, root up the whole yard and stand by the door waiting for someone to come out of the house to rub her behind the ears. She came to her name like a dog but at 300+ pounds it was a little scary to have her chasing after you. Moo was the only pig I would ever call mine and she was so loved. While a pig might be a step too far to begin with and if you are inexperienced there are plenty of resources to help you raise them successfully!
The most common way to bring the farm to you is going to be a garden. This is something you can easily do at home and there are a ton of resources out there on building a backyard garden. There is something special about raising and growing your own food. Whether you grab it out of the garden or out of a coop in the morning, the final product brings you so much joy. You don’t have to start with raising animals for meat instead you can start with egg layers and a garden. Homegrown can be simple.
Did you know that city limits may actually allow you to keep a couple of chickens? It’s true. Check with your local offices, they usually have a limit of hens only (roosters are loud). Pinterest is a great resource for backyard chicken keeping. Don’t have the room, or the time? Just outside your city limits you can take a drive and find “farm fresh eggs” signs up. Nothing beats an egg from a local source.
If you have a small yard and don’t know where to start a garden you can always choose a few vegetable plants and plant them in five gallon buckets. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t worry about not having a green thumb, start with tomatoes, that will make it easy, they take awhile to grow but nothing beats a fresh garden tomato.
You don’t have to know it all to start and you do not need a green thumb. Don’t worry about being raised in FFA or 4-H, you just have to have determination and be willing to get your hands dirty….like really dirty. We now have cows, chickens, and bees and I have seen the work behind horses, pigs and sheep. I have scooped more poop than I ever want to admit. The greatest part is that our animals know they are loved while they are with us. I know where my food comes from and that it was handled with extreme care.
If I can do it anybody can do it, just start!