Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas
Getting By - Earning Extra Income - Making a Living - Starting a Farmstead - Thriving With Sustainable Growing
- Homesteading - Organic - All Natural - Permaculture - Self Sufficiency -
Personalities, skills, equipment, sructures, workshops, and materials are all components. As we develop the enterprise these components fall into place. Opportunities emerge when bringing together these components in different ways. Let's look at ways we can utilize what we have available more creatively. Some of these ideas are for fuction. Some are for promotion.
We'll have people with a high level of skill and experience in particular subjects. We've got workshops full of tools. We've got raw materials.
The kitchen suggests cooking classes. Canning, food preservation, meat cutting, smoking and curing meats, cheese making, cake decorating, fermenting, pickling, juicing, bread making, and so many more that listing them doesn't make sense. There are people out there who don't know how to cook. I once had a lady offer cash money for me to teach her how to bake a turkey.
Google "canning class". You'll find some classes being offered, although probably not close by. Class fees range from $40-75. Several people per class makes this a lucrative enterprise. This class in interesting when we have a wide selction of fresh vegetables available in the store. Take the class, pick up 25 pounds of green beans to take home. While we are ate it, jars, lids, and pressure canners can be made available We'd have these around as part of our operation. Instead of storing them out back, store them out front with a price tag.
A general cooking class could be taught as an ongoing series. This week we make a pot roast. Next week we bake a turkey. While it's in the oven, we walk through scalloped potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, yeast rolls from scratch. When it's ready, the students dine. Makes for an interesting dinner date: go out to eat and make your own dinner. Class fees may vary depending on the subject. Bread Class would be cheaper than Lobster Class. As with the canning jars, retail items can enhance sales.
With a woodshop, woodworking classes are something to look at. Saturday we are building adirondack chairs. Pay a class fee plus materials. A repurpose shop brings a terrific supply of useful materials to bear. Arts and Crafts classes are ideal: sewing, quilting, leatherworking, ceramics. Classtime spent making your own eusable shopping bags is time well spent. Yoga? There are some subjects which would require professional licenses or certifications. Shooting? Not really suitable if we are not specifically set up and licensed as a gun range. Archery, on the other hand, may be possible. Just don't do it near the pumpkin patch.
Classes required specialized knowledge. Not just anybody can teach a class. Futhermore, that knowledge has value. It would not be right to ask someone with decades of experience to teach a class for the benefit of the company and get $x/hour. If you believe you have what it takes to teach a class, present your ideas.
Here's the deal: The instructor conducts the class, the company provides all the tools, equipment, energy, space, logistics and promotes the class through its website, bulletin boards, and email announcements. Supplies and expenses are deducted from the class fees, and the instructor keeps half of the balance. Another option which may work better in some cases is for the instructor to rent the workshop, conducting the class independently of the co-op. In this case, it is the instructor's event. The instructor is responsible for all expenses and keeps all class fees. This is well suited for a cottage industy. I can see a kitchen classroom becoming a priority.
Anyone can teach a class on their own. Any class that is endorsed and promoted by the co-op would need to be juried first. Class material, subjects covered, equipment and resource requirements will be submitted to an approval committee. If approved, hold the class. To jury the class, members of the co-op attend free of charge. Attendants determine if the class is appropriate, informative, substantive and if the instructor is competent. Make it past the jury, the class becomes a regular event.
LECTURES AND TALKS
This one might be 'out there' a ways. The dining hall/cafeteria/meeting room can be used for more than consuming sandwiches. Organic crops, permaculture orchards, free ranged chickens, and the nature of the cooperative put us at the forefront of innovation. Think of it less as a farm and more as campus or living laboratory. And what do campuses have? People from out of town with slides.
Keynotes speakers are possible. Plenty of people out there who have a message to share. Put several together and we have a symposium. TEDx style talks would make for an interesting evening. We sell tickets and drinks.
What if, instead of a few speakers on a Saturday Evening, we made an all day affair out of it? Invite in some crafters and vendors, artists and demonstrators. Set up exhibits on solar cooking and dehydration. Demonstrations of forging and axe, making cheese, composting. Hold several classes throughout the day. Hands on workshops such as macrame, basket weaving, cupcake decorating, pony rides and face painting for the kids. Booths for charitable causes, Cans For College comes to mind right away. Grease some pigs. Make a day of it.
This can evolve over several years to be a serious event. See MOFGA's Common Gound Country Fair.
Set up tables and booths for a giant yard sale. Charge $10 for a spot, spend it all on advertising. So what if we don't make a dime. We gain exposure. The star of the show is our Repurpose Shop.
Same idea as the flea market but with artisan and craftsman quality items.
The star of the show is a line of cottage industries.