Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Help with setting the right course  (Read 1023 times)

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Help with setting the right course
« on: April 08, 2021, 07:50:02 pm »
Hey all, I'm not sure where the right forum for this is, but hopefully, the forum described for anything and everything will do.

I have mental illness, poor eyesight, autism, depression, and other difficulties I have been struggling with for years.

It has held me back a long time, but I'm finally coming to terms with myself, and fortunately, being so well known in the system, no matter what I do, in Scotland, I have a safety net to fall back on.

With that in mind, I want to take a chance, once in my life, to see if I can support myself, in a way that is fulfilling, and truly satisfying.

I am determined, that I'm going to continue taking the new medicine which is working for me, and working toward taking the leap, of being a smallholder myself, some day in the next few years.

It will take hard work, and dedication, but I want to make every effort possible in trying to be successful, before giving up my dreams of independence and self sufficiency for good.

I have a number of ideas on how it could work, from market gardening, to high value multi crop rotation, to chickens, sheep, permaculture and etc, but I'm just a clueless city boy, and could use some experienced pointers, in helping to set my compass in the right direction.

I will take any course, buy any book, and learn every aspect of farming, gardening, livestock care, and farm management, for however long it takes, I just need to know where to start, and to form a cohesive vision for ordering my steps on the journey.

So, if it's not too much trouble, could you guys tell me, the things I actually need to learn, the skills I must develop, the qualifications needed, and where to recieve such for myself, along with any other helpful information you think could help me.

Chances are, I'm going to fail miserably, I'm a flawed and vulnerable person, but I'm going to give it a shot, one way or another, I have to know for certain its beyond me, before throwing in the towel, and would appreciate any helpful advice you have to offer, thanks.

P.S sorry if this turns out to be the wrong forum, you can move it to an appropriate place if required.

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 08:11:17 pm »
Hi Bjt1992 and welcome.
I had to read and re read your post a couple of times.
In short ,go for it. It looks like you have a good positive attitude. Planning things out is the key and having an idea worth following is the key. I'll think you'll find that you can ask any question on here , you might get a few different answers either way you should get pointed in the right directions , the knowledge base is enormous here, just ask.
The thing is to have a modest and easy start, don't try to do too much at first, spreading yourself too thinly just wont work, get established and see how you get on, decide what you want to start with but take into account your problems and hopefully taking this chance may the best thing for you.
Get some land sorted out and go from there and keep us up to date.





doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 08:12:51 pm »
Well done for telling your story, that's a good start.

The first thing you need obviously is land. Do you have that, or can you get some fairly easily?  Even a garden will start you off on the right track. If you don't have one you could offer to manage a neighbour's one if it needs attention.

Once you've got that sorted you need to decide what you want to do bearing in mind how much land you have. 

Vegetables are always a good bet - the only advice I have is if you are growing just for yourself you need to grow what you enjoy eating.  There's no point growing stuff you won't eat or cant give away. 

If you want to do it as a business there are others on here more qualified than I am to advise you
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2021, 08:56:09 pm »
The thing I did before even thinking about getting my own place was go WWOOFing at all sorts of different places.  Seeing different setups, working on them, hearing about other places and other ways of doing things from fellow WWOOFers gives you perspectives you will never get from books or sat at a computer screen.

And then you would know a bit more about what you love, what you hate, and what you can tolerate, and then you can start looking at places and thinking about how you could make it work for yourself there.

Enjoy the journey, it starts now! 

www.wwoof.org.uk
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: otherwise known as Covid Central (actually that's probably Devon),
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2021, 10:33:26 pm »
Hi @Bjt1992 and welcome to the forum.  I can't personally offer much advice as I'm not really what one would normally call a "smallholder," but I so wish you good look with any venture.  Plenty of brilliant advice to be found here.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 10:38:59 pm by arobwk »

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2021, 07:50:33 am »
Start with growing vegetables ...  in your own or a neighbours garden .... or get an allotment.  try gowing a large variety and see how it goes.

Also I agree with Sally .....  WWoofing , or helpx  ..... go and volunteer on other holdings and see what you enjoy and what you hate.

Good luck with this
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2021, 01:03:15 pm »
Hi Barry
First off, stop setting yourself up to fail  8) .
You have so much in your favour - everyone has some problems, and yours are big, but as you say you have backup and support. So keep thinking positively, but remember that even if things don't turn out right straight away, you have the huge advantage over most of us here and that's youth  :thumbsup: .  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


Having said that, also take the advice to start slowly - you can't do everything at once, much better to start slowly, take your time to learn each stage properly, then move on a bit further if you want to.  In practical terms that might mean to get a qualification in horticulture, then set up growing veggies on a scale where you can offer a box scheme.  This means having a constant supply of veg year-round, and the ability to deliver to your customers, so requires skill and planning.
I don't have details of horticulture courses, but they're easy enough to google, then to get the opinions of others who have done those courses.
Once you have set yourself up as a market gardener successfully, then is the time to gradually add in laying hens, perhaps a pig or two bought in as weaners each year and raised to slaughter weight on a spare piece of land.  Perhaps add a goat or two for milk and the occasional kid for meat. From then you will know if you really want to go into it big scale or that you are happy as you are.


You will know by then how the new pills are working and whether or not you can guarantee that you will stay out of hospital. A horticultural enterprise can manage for short periods without supervision, but animals cannot, as you know, so realistically you would need to know you had a reliable stand-in to take over their care if you did have to go into hospital at any point.  Of course everyone is at that risk too, but you would be sensible to work out a worst case scenario, and make provisions for that in advance.
Again being realistic, agriculture is one of the industries with the highest incidence of depression and other mental illnesses in people who did not suffer from them at the start of their careers. It can be lonely and stressful.


If you truly want to go into full-on animal husbandry, then what you need first is experience.  Even if you choose to take an agriculture degree, and Edinburgh Uni does one of those, then before you could even be accepted onto that course, you would have to show that you have plenty of experience. You would be up against people who are in line to inherit the family farm, and who have a lifetime's experience of what's involved, plus the advantage of not having to buy the farm in the first place. It's possible, but very, very hard.


Sally's mention of WOOFing is a good one.  This started off as 'Working Weekends on Organic Farms', but has morphed into more than that now, so you can spend much longer times on one farm, usually a smallholding, and really learn what's involved, both in the care of everything they have, but also in just how heavy and continuous the work is. You can do it, but you need to know in advance the totality of what is involved.  Of course on top of the actual outdoor work, many people working on the land also have to spend many hours doing the books, filling in forms and obeying the great master of the Government.
Another possibility someone mentioned on your first post was volunteering at Gorgie city farm. Once it re-opens to the public, go along and have a look and see if you think that might help.
Did you ever get those windowsill plants to at least start growing something this year?
Every little thing is gradually building up your knowledge and experience, successes as well as failures. In fact possibly we learn more from our failures than from our successes.


There are loads of books around, both instructional and histories of the actual experiences people have had in setting up various horticultural and agricultural enterprises.
 Get reading, get some practical experience and the very best of luck  :thumbsup: :garden: :farmer:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 08:15:37 am »
Hi Bjt1992 and welcome.
I had to read and re read your post a couple of times.
In short ,go for it. It looks like you have a good positive attitude. Planning things out is the key and having an idea worth following is the key. I'll think you'll find that you can ask any question on here , you might get a few different answers either way you should get pointed in the right directions , the knowledge base is enormous here, just ask.
The thing is to have a modest and easy start, don't try to do too much at first, spreading yourself too thinly just wont work, get established and see how you get on, decide what you want to start with but take into account your problems and hopefully taking this chance may the best thing for you.
Get some land sorted out and go from there and keep us up to date.

Thanks, will do

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2021, 08:18:36 am »
Well done for telling your story, that's a good start.

The first thing you need obviously is land. Do you have that, or can you get some fairly easily?  Even a garden will start you off on the right track. If you don't have one you could offer to manage a neighbour's one if it needs attention.

Once you've got that sorted you need to decide what you want to do bearing in mind how much land you have. 

Vegetables are always a good bet - the only advice I have is if you are growing just for yourself you need to grow what you enjoy eating.  There's no point growing stuff you won't eat or cant give away. 

If you want to do it as a business there are others on here more qualified than I am to advise you

I live in a flat, but there is a community garden project in my neighbourhood, growing food on unused areas of land, and making baked goods etc, I think I'll reach out to them, that is a very easy start to get some green in my fingers.

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2021, 08:21:08 am »
The thing I did before even thinking about getting my own place was go WWOOFing at all sorts of different places.  Seeing different setups, working on them, hearing about other places and other ways of doing things from fellow WWOOFers gives you perspectives you will never get from books or sat at a computer screen.

And then you would know a bit more about what you love, what you hate, and what you can tolerate, and then you can start looking at places and thinking about how you could make it work for yourself there.

Enjoy the journey, it starts now! 

www.wwoof.org.uk

Thank you, that's helpful, getting some hands on experience first, should be very good for me, and help me develop a bit before getting my own plot.

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2021, 08:22:31 am »
Hi @Bjt1992 and welcome to the forum.  I can't personally offer much advice as I'm not really what one would normally call a "smallholder," but I so wish you good look with any venture.  Plenty of brilliant advice to be found here.

Thank you, I appreciate the welcome.  :wave:

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2021, 08:24:05 am »
Start with growing vegetables ...  in your own or a neighbours garden .... or get an allotment.  try gowing a large variety and see how it goes.

Also I agree with Sally .....  WWoofing , or helpx  ..... go and volunteer on other holdings and see what you enjoy and what you hate.

Good luck with this

Thanks, will give it my best, and some beginner experience can be had on allotment projects right where I am.

Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2021, 08:47:33 am »
Hi Barry
First off, stop setting yourself up to fail  8) .
You have so much in your favour - everyone has some problems, and yours are big, but as you say you have backup and support. So keep thinking positively, but remember that even if things don't turn out right straight away, you have the huge advantage over most of us here and that's youth  :thumbsup: .  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


Having said that, also take the advice to start slowly - you can't do everything at once, much better to start slowly, take your time to learn each stage properly, then move on a bit further if you want to.  In practical terms that might mean to get a qualification in horticulture, then set up growing veggies on a scale where you can offer a box scheme.  This means having a constant supply of veg year-round, and the ability to deliver to your customers, so requires skill and planning.
I don't have details of horticulture courses, but they're easy enough to google, then to get the opinions of others who have done those courses.
Once you have set yourself up as a market gardener successfully, then is the time to gradually add in laying hens, perhaps a pig or two bought in as weaners each year and raised to slaughter weight on a spare piece of land.  Perhaps add a goat or two for milk and the occasional kid for meat. From then you will know if you really want to go into it big scale or that you are happy as you are.


You will know by then how the new pills are working and whether or not you can guarantee that you will stay out of hospital. A horticultural enterprise can manage for short periods without supervision, but animals cannot, as you know, so realistically you would need to know you had a reliable stand-in to take over their care if you did have to go into hospital at any point.  Of course everyone is at that risk too, but you would be sensible to work out a worst case scenario, and make provisions for that in advance.
Again being realistic, agriculture is one of the industries with the highest incidence of depression and other mental illnesses in people who did not suffer from them at the start of their careers. It can be lonely and stressful.


If you truly want to go into full-on animal husbandry, then what you need first is experience.  Even if you choose to take an agriculture degree, and Edinburgh Uni does one of those, then before you could even be accepted onto that course, you would have to show that you have plenty of experience. You would be up against people who are in line to inherit the family farm, and who have a lifetime's experience of what's involved, plus the advantage of not having to buy the farm in the first place. It's possible, but very, very hard.


Sally's mention of WOOFing is a good one.  This started off as 'Working Weekends on Organic Farms', but has morphed into more than that now, so you can spend much longer times on one farm, usually a smallholding, and really learn what's involved, both in the care of everything they have, but also in just how heavy and continuous the work is. You can do it, but you need to know in advance the totality of what is involved.  Of course on top of the actual outdoor work, many people working on the land also have to spend many hours doing the books, filling in forms and obeying the great master of the Government.
Another possibility someone mentioned on your first post was volunteering at Gorgie city farm. Once it re-opens to the public, go along and have a look and see if you think that might help.
Did you ever get those windowsill plants to at least start growing something this year?
Every little thing is gradually building up your knowledge and experience, successes as well as failures. In fact possibly we learn more from our failures than from our successes.


There are loads of books around, both instructional and histories of the actual experiences people have had in setting up various horticultural and agricultural enterprises.
 Get reading, get some practical experience and the very best of luck  :thumbsup: :garden: :farmer:

Much appreciated fleecewife, when I'm well, I have the physical strength, so you are right about youth, that's a plus, i still have a few years to get going before the bones start creaking lol.

As for the depressive potential in farming, i appreciate the heads up, i very much doubt it's going to be a walk in the park, but I'm unlikely to be more depressed than usual, my life has known much lonliness and hardship, I'm used to that, and before considering smallholding, my ideal lifestyle, was a long haul trucker in north America, being alone can be pleasing in my circumstances, and what my life hasnt known much of, is self sufficiency, self worth, growth, and fulfillment, there are more pros than cons to my mind, but, taking it slow, and pacing myself, is likely the thing to do.

I think horticulture is a great place to start, I really appreciate all the responses, but yours particularly, a beginning of an action plan is starting to form, get involved in my local garden allotment project voluntarily, learn a bit of horticulture, do a bit of working, perhaps take an agriculture course in college, and or basic animal care, and get a few heavy vehicle liscenses, if it turns out I enjoy it, and can do ok, move somewhere with space for a goat and a few hens, and see how that goes, perhaps doing cheap or freebie veg boxes for locals to get a feel for it, before saving up for some land of my own, if I do eventually buy, it will be in southern Ireland, cheaper land, better climate.

The planning and paperwork shouldn't be a problem, I'm a methodical thinker, and write and plan all the time, though a brief management course could help, just before taking the leap from the kiddie pool of gardening, to the deep end of farming, as for the back up plan for the animals, I agree, becoming unwell by myself, is my biggest fear for this venture, hopefully I will find a solution, but in the meantime, I am in communication with someone, who shares my dreams, and I have a lot in common with, its early days yet, but all being right in the world, in best case scenario, I may have a new partner in crime, to take the journey with, who can hold things down a bit, when I need to rest and recover, but well see, fingers crossed, and thanks again, Barry. :hug:


Bjt1992

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Help with setting the right course
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2021, 08:51:32 am »
Hi Barry
First off, stop setting yourself up to fail  8) .
You have so much in your favour - everyone has some problems, and yours are big, but as you say you have backup and support. So keep thinking positively, but remember that even if things don't turn out right straight away, you have the huge advantage over most of us here and that's youth  :thumbsup: .  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


Having said that, also take the advice to start slowly - you can't do everything at once, much better to start slowly, take your time to learn each stage properly, then move on a bit further if you want to.  In practical terms that might mean to get a qualification in horticulture, then set up growing veggies on a scale where you can offer a box scheme.  This means having a constant supply of veg year-round, and the ability to deliver to your customers, so requires skill and planning.
I don't have details of horticulture courses, but they're easy enough to google, then to get the opinions of others who have done those courses.
Once you have set yourself up as a market gardener successfully, then is the time to gradually add in laying hens, perhaps a pig or two bought in as weaners each year and raised to slaughter weight on a spare piece of land.  Perhaps add a goat or two for milk and the occasional kid for meat. From then you will know if you really want to go into it big scale or that you are happy as you are.


You will know by then how the new pills are working and whether or not you can guarantee that you will stay out of hospital. A horticultural enterprise can manage for short periods without supervision, but animals cannot, as you know, so realistically you would need to know you had a reliable stand-in to take over their care if you did have to go into hospital at any point.  Of course everyone is at that risk too, but you would be sensible to work out a worst case scenario, and make provisions for that in advance.
Again being realistic, agriculture is one of the industries with the highest incidence of depression and other mental illnesses in people who did not suffer from them at the start of their careers. It can be lonely and stressful.


If you truly want to go into full-on animal husbandry, then what you need first is experience.  Even if you choose to take an agriculture degree, and Edinburgh Uni does one of those, then before you could even be accepted onto that course, you would have to show that you have plenty of experience. You would be up against people who are in line to inherit the family farm, and who have a lifetime's experience of what's involved, plus the advantage of not having to buy the farm in the first place. It's possible, but very, very hard.


Sally's mention of WOOFing is a good one.  This started off as 'Working Weekends on Organic Farms', but has morphed into more than that now, so you can spend much longer times on one farm, usually a smallholding, and really learn what's involved, both in the care of everything they have, but also in just how heavy and continuous the work is. You can do it, but you need to know in advance the totality of what is involved.  Of course on top of the actual outdoor work, many people working on the land also have to spend many hours doing the books, filling in forms and obeying the great master of the Government.
Another possibility someone mentioned on your first post was volunteering at Gorgie city farm. Once it re-opens to the public, go along and have a look and see if you think that might help.
Did you ever get those windowsill plants to at least start growing something this year?
Every little thing is gradually building up your knowledge and experience, successes as well as failures. In fact possibly we learn more from our failures than from our successes.


There are loads of books around, both instructional and histories of the actual experiences people have had in setting up various horticultural and agricultural enterprises.
 Get reading, get some practical experience and the very best of luck  :thumbsup: :garden: :farmer:

Much appreciated fleecewife, when I'm well, I have the physical strength, so you are right about youth, that's a plus, i still have a few years to get going before the bones start creaking lol.

As for the depressive potential in farming, i appreciate the heads up, i very much doubt it's going to be a walk in the park, but I'm unlikely to be more depressed than usual, my life has known much lonliness and hardship, I'm used to that, and before considering smallholding, my ideal lifestyle, was a long haul trucker in north America, being alone can be pleasing in my circumstances, and what my life hasnt known much of, is self sufficiency, self worth, growth, and fulfillment, there are more pros than cons to my mind, but, taking it slow, and pacing myself, is likely the thing to do.

I think horticulture is a great place to start, I really appreciate all the responses, but yours particularly, a beginning of an action plan is starting to form, get involved in my local garden allotment project voluntarily, learn a bit of horticulture, do a bit of working, perhaps take an agriculture course in college, and or basic animal care, and get a few heavy vehicle liscenses, if it turns out I enjoy it, and can do ok, move somewhere with space for a goat and a few hens, and see how that goes, perhaps doing cheap or freebie veg boxes for locals to get a feel for it, before saving up for some land of my own, if I do eventually buy, it will be in southern Ireland, cheaper land, better climate.

The planning and paperwork shouldn't be a problem, I'm a methodical thinker, and write and plan all the time, though a brief management course could help, just before taking the leap from the kiddie pool of gardening, to the deep end of farming, as for the back up plan for the animals, I agree, becoming unwell by myself, is my biggest fear for this venture, hopefully I will find a solution, but in the meantime, I am in communication with someone, who shares my dreams, and I have a lot in common with, its early days yet, but all being right in the world, in best case scenario, I may have a new partner in crime, to take the journey with, who can hold things down a bit, when I need to rest and recover, but well see, fingers crossed, and thanks again, Barry. :hug:

Sorry, do a bit of woofing.  :excited:

 

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2021. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS