Photos: Benjamin Shute
Farming is not a career path for people who want to get rich. Sixty percent of small farms in America have sales of under $10,000 a year [PDF], and survive because someone in the family has an off-farm job.
Young farmers in particular have to pinch their pennies hard. Fortunately, the field attracts tinkerers, makers, and make-doers — and now they’ve begun open-sourcing their inventions on FarmHack, a blog about “Resourceful Farming with Found Materials” recently launched by the Young Farmers Coalition.
On it, you’ll find a Google Sketchup drawing for a cultivating tractor mod, a “slaughter chic” mailbox kill cone, recycled burlap coffee-bean sacks as path mulching material, a broken trampoline turned pastured chicken coop, and a project for those cheap-o Costco cups:
What did you do with all those cups you and your guests used at that farm party last night? I know, I know, you used mason jars and your responsible party going friends brought mugs. At the right point in the spring, the iconic red plastic cup is perfect for potting up plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc. Just drill a few holes in the bottom, put in some compost and potting soil, and transplant the start. They are relatively cheap and if you are gentle with them you can use them year after year. When you are done with the cups they can be recycled.