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Backyard Farming and Earning 6 Figures on Just 1.5 Acres

Millennials, GenX and Baby Boomers: the New Farmers

Gardening may just be a new kind of green movement, and one that definitely contributes to sustainable living and self reliance.

Gardening is becoming increasingly popular. As baby boomers retire and have more time to pursue other interests, many of them are taking up gardening. The benefits of gardening are many, and the healthy activity and sunshine for vitamin D, is just the beginning.[1]

Strolling through a fresh and flourishing garden in the cool of summer mornings is a meditation that refreshes the spirit. There’s nothing like plucking and munching on a crisp purple pole bean, a sweet cherry tomato, sprig of parsley and some sweet purple basil.

There’s something about fresh picked produce that satisfies cravings and seems to soothe and invigorate at the same time. It’s as if our very cells perk up and take in a deep breath of fresh air.

Yard Gardens and Urban Farming

There’s a growing interest in gardening amongst Baby Boomers, Millennials and GenX-ers as they become increasingly interested in nature, self sustainability, and having healthier foods for themselves and their families.

Many are eager to learn how to make money from home doing things they love to do. Most of us never considered farming as a viable option, yet today Farmer’s Markets are flourishing with small farms and boutique crops as people from all walks of life are gardening and farming for profit. Some are earning supplemental income and others are earning full time income from gardening, urban farms or small farming.

Some are doing—or dreaming of doing—more than subsistence agriculture. Many seek ways work from home as well as how to make money online from entrepreneurial endeavors. Backyard farmers are able to create “value added” products to farming. Some are turning hobbies into profits by selling online through markets like Amazon and Etsy, as well as selling at Farmer’s Markets.

One lady in the Planting for Retirement (PfR) group makes framed art dried flower pictures into framed art and sells from her website as well as on Etsy. Another PfR member makes herbal remedies which she sells through local stores and events as well as online.

People who are into farming, tend naturally toward other handmade goods, such as  such making soap, candle making, jams and pickled products, dried and living floral arrangements, and woodcrafting.


The number one book selling through right now is The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier, who is earning six figures farming on just a couple acres.

Statistics from The National Garden Association[2]

Millennials Garden More Than Ever
In 2008, 8 million Millennials were food gardeners. In 2013, the number had increased 63%, to 13 million. And they spent 89% more on food gardening in 2013 than in 2008, according to the National Gardening Association.[3] The increase in Millennials has meant an increase in urban gardening, too, since Millennials move to and live in cities in greater numbers than previous generation at that age. Urban area gardening has grown by 29% in that same five-year period.[4]

Farmers Can Make Six Figures on Just a Few Acres of Land

Grow food for yourself and your community with small scale farming. By small I mean you can make a good living farming with under 2 acres.

That’s what Jean-Martin Fortier is successfully doing on just an acre and a half on his award-winning farm, Les Jardins de la Grelinette. This micro farm earns $150,000 in revenue annually, and about 50% of that is net profit.

Here’s what Fortier says about his new book – The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming:

“I felt that there was a need for a book like this. I have been involved with growing the food movement. My response was to tell people that they can grow and here is how.”

Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener, and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches
Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener, and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches. (Image via

Earn a Living from Your Garden

By Olivia Maki on

Fortier’s philosophy is “grow better, not bigger.” Better to him means not only better food that is grown in better soil, but it also means a better quality of life. He prides himself on the fact that he can take winter vacations with his family.


The couple’s approach to growing food is what Fortier refers to as “biologically intensive” or bio intensive, incorporating permaculture methods like conservation tillage,[5] building permanent beds, [6] (as opposed to creating new ones every season), and crop rotation [7] Like many young farmers growing in colder climates, Jean-Martin cites Eliot Coleman[8] as an inspiration.

The Market Gardener gives the aspiring farmer the sense that they can pick up the book and follow it step-by-step to start their own farm.

The book begins by explaining Fortier’s approach to small-scale farming and ranges from tips on how to choose a site to designing the layout. “The aim is to organize the different workspaces–inside and outside–so that the work flow will be as efficient, practical, and ergonomic as possible,” he says…


Fortier’s approach to basic skills and design concepts can be used all over the world. Jean-Martin and his wife, Maude-Hélène Desroches, have spent time on farms in Cuba, Mexico, and New Mexico which he cites as inspiration. “We had been to Cuba, and we had seen acres and acres of farms running on permanent beds without tractors and thought that was a brilliant way to do it,” says Fortier.
“My message is that if you want to get into farming–if you’re young and you don’t have access to land or capital—this is a pretty bright way to do it without a lot of input. And you can make a living,” says Fortier.
For an more information on how Jean-Martin Fortier is earning 6 figures per year on just 1.5 acres, we interviewed him for an article on There you will learn important tips on how small micro farms can be more profitable than larger acreage, and how much JM gets to keep after expenses, in addition to which markets are more profitable for selling produce. You can read that article here.

GROWING FOR PROFIT: If you’re interested in learning about earning money from gardening or farming, we invite you to join our Facebook group: Planting for Retirement. We’re a new group of people interested in learning how to supplement our income through growing something by sharing our wins, losses and lessons in the field.

Gardening is becoming increasingly popular. As baby boomers retire and have more time to pursue other interests, many of them are taking up gardening. The benefits of gardening are many, and the healthy activity and sunshine for vitamin D, is just the beginning.

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