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GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD
CAN BE VERY PROFITABLE

A commercial farmer is lucky to clear $800 an acre on high-value fruits and vegetables, or $100 an acre from livestock, or $25 an acre from grain, but a backyard food producer can make $2,500 an acre,and do it in spare time to boot. And if you think about it deeply enough, there is a real possibility of making a whole lot more than that from a garden, like maybe creating a new career or a more meaningful life for yourself.

One reason for the greater per-acre profitability of small gardens is that backyarders can figure the value of the food they produce at what they would otherwise pay for it at supermarket or restaurant prices, not the less-than-wholesale price that the commercial farmer receives.Secondly, the backyarder does not have to pay out-of-pocket cash forlabor to produce the food. Third, the backyard land is also not anout-of-pocket cost, since it would be there regardless, whether it isused for bad minton or berries.

Trying to determine how much a typical American family spends on food these days is extremely difficult because of the many variables involved. The average family grocery food bill seems to float around $100 a week. But some grocery food bills may actually be declining, as more people eat out. If you grow, say, three -fourths of your own food, you save nearly three-fourths of your grocery bill, and that canbe a significant chunk of money. But if you are so un-American as to eat your own food rather than dine at McDonald's frequently let alone an expensive restaurant the value of your home food jumps right out ofthe frying pan. What you get for ten bucks at a fast-food restaurant, you could produce on a mini-farm for a dollar. The dab of meat and vegetables that you pay $50 for at a fine French restaurant, you could raise yourself for 50 cents.

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