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Urban farm fall slide

Yeah, we’re a bit busy around here and all of my writing juice has been dry of late.  Part of this has been doing a serious effort with homeschooling for the girls this year.  They did a sample of regular day school at the start of September, decided with us that the family is happier as part of our AFE community, and I made good on my pledge to actually takeover the *schooling for the girls.

Mainly this has been organizing time and getting the girls places on schedule.  Doing all the gap filling, with Debbie doing some, too.  Teacher meetings and various obligations.  Mobile broadband and a flexible schedule are my savior here.  Even then, I ended up taking about 25% of my time over three weeks as PTO (paid time off), which is the abbreviation for “vacation”.  Things are finally humming a bit more, weathering the shifts around us, and I am able to put my nose to other grindstones.

As we move in to the fall at the urban farm, we’re finding ourselves taking the hard 2-year look at what we’ve done, what we planned to do, and where we think we can do.  It’s pretty clear that farming 50’x50′ (15mx15m) can only make a handful of cash, perhaps 20% of the mortgage if we really work the angles.  Downtown restaurants, even in times of flush cash and customers, can’t support a micro-intensive urban farm that charges 4x what other local organic providers do.  It comes down to the amount earnable per square foot, and how much that square foot costs us.

So we’re looking for other ideas and trying to turn our bruised-apple experience in to some applesauce.  The value of house sales dropping like a rock around here hasn’t helped; even traditionally expensive Santa Cruz is down in the market.  It makes the whole business-side of the equation hard to evaluate.

In the end, whatever we can do to foster community and create sustainability in our lives here is a good thing.  Lessons learned along the way are digested, composted, and turned in to something new.