Hobby Farming - A Growing Trend

Small scale agriculture is generally labeled as Hobby Farming. The term is often used to describe a wide variety of activities from gardening to backyard livestock to part-time farming etc. Perhaps hobby farming is too vague of a label to describe smaller scale farmers that have indeed made important and vital contributions to the economy of the country and to the economical well being and health of thousands of families.

Canada's agriculture census defines a hobby farm as one on which the main operator reported 190 days or more of off-farm work and whose farm did not employ any year round paid labor. A working paper by Stephen Boyd, Statistics Canada, March, 1998, titled "Hobby Farming: For Pleasure or Profit?" explores the topic in more detail.

Interestingly the working paper states that "According to 1991 Census of Agriculture data, there were 50,991 census-farms in which the main operator reported 190 days or more of off-farm work and whose farm did not employ any year round paid labor. Part-time or “hobby” farmers are an integral part of the agriculture population."

It also points out that "Among the hobby farmers in Canada 40% are reporting positive net cash farm income. Only 9% of these hobby farmers are reporting net cash farm income of greater than $10,000. Ontario and BC’s farm population consists of the highest proportion of hobby farms (18% and 16% respectively). Hobby farming is not a new phenomenon in Canada and hobby farmers do not appear to be a dying group. It is obvious that there is much more to this pursuit than making a profit." Reference Link

Clearly there are people that hobby farm for personal pleasure and also for the healthy food value of the crops and family social interaction benefits of growing your own food and living a desired way of life. There are also others that achieve financial benefit from their small scale farming endeavors

Hobby farming continues to be a topic of great interest among people that live in rural areas, or those that wish to become rural residents and those that practice urban agriculture. It appeals to people that seek to grow their own food and be safe in the knowledge of knowing what goes in to producing it. Of course there are also many smaller scale or full time natural farmers that seek to make some or all of their income from farming. This scale of farming also appeals to retired or semi-retired persons as well as families.

Many small scale farmers today, incorporate farming practices that produce diversified crops and make efficient use of land and resources with a minimal potential for adverse impacts. It is surprising the number of farmers that are now using polyculture techniques to farm in a more efficient and sustainable manner.
Do It Yourself Aquaponics

One farm method being used more and more by hobby farmers involves a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture techniques known as Aquaponics. There are Aquaponics operations in use around the world to successfully grow fish, plants and other animals in a self contained farm. All use only minimum added fertilizers if any and no pesticides. They have chosen to use aquaponics in order to reduce the land, water and resource requirements needed to produce a sizable crop. Read More Here.

Hobby farming Books and Reference Materials

In association with Amazon.com we offer a wide selection of books and materials on Hobby Farming, Aquaponics, and Country Living available in our book store at This link.

Aquaponics Video

Have a look at this great introduction video from the Urban Farming Guys explaining Aquaponics and building your own system. Hosted on Youtube, we embedded here so that you can easily watch it from our site .

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