The Backyard Farming Connection is an online meeting place to help you plan, build, grow, and enjoy your own backyard farm. Since 2011 we’ve been helping people make their backyard farming dream a reality. We share everything we’ve learned over the years and also our favorite tips and supplies to help you on your journey. Backyard Farming is a journey and we don’t have all the answers but we are hear to learn and share what we know with you!
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Growing up on the coast of Maine we rarely grew our own food, but in many other ways we were actively practicing elements of backyard farming and homesteading. As a child I learned to sew, knit, cook, preserve food, and practice sustainability. Living nestled in the woods we had almost no sunlight and while my mom put in a big herb garden, most other vegetable plants struggled without the sun.
This didn’t stop me from dreaming of one day owning some land and creating my own vegetable garden and raising my own animals. The more I read, the more I wanted to connect more directly with the food I was eating.
After high school I moved to Vermont for college. Surrounded by farms and taking classes about sustainability and reading books by authors like Wendell Berry I was slowly creeping closer to my goals. While I was always passionate about the idea of homesteading, I chose to pursue one of my other passions immediately after graduating. It was right around this time I met Dave who I would eventually marry and start down this homesteading journey.
For the next 5 years both Dave and I worked on traditional sailboats running outdoor education programs for students. The focus of these programs was leadership, marine science, sailing education and sustainability. Spending days or weeks at sea is the perfect metaphor for the self-sufficiency that comes with homesteading and many of our sailing friends spent their time on shore growing gardens.
After 5 years of constant moving, traveling and sailing, we moved to Boulder for a year and onto Durham, NC where we bought our first house and got married. This was our first chance to dive into homesteading and we were so excited to start our first garden. Unfortunately our yard was made up of heavy clay soil – not just a little clay, but chunks of clay. This forced us to become creative and we did most of our growing in pots on our small patio. In many ways we were practicing apartment homesteading in our small house. During our time in Durham, we both got our masters (Dave in Environmental Management and Business and myself in Climatology) and we had our twins. It was a crazy, sleep-deprived few years of juggling school babies, and our tiny home.
After graduation, Dave started a job with GE in the renewable energy industry and we moved to Schenectady New York for a year and spent 6 months in an apartment in France. After returning from France we bought our next home of 2 acres on land near Saratoga Springs, NY, had our 3 child and really dug into homesteading. It was during this time that the Backyard Farming Connection began, mostly as a way to learn, grow and connect with other people on a similar journey.
Like every piece of property, this land came with its own set of challenges including some invasive plants, a very wet footprint, and a busy life with 3 kids under 4. We spent most of our time working on our property, planting fruit trees, building natural raised beds, getting chickens, goats, bees, and rabbits, and preserving our own food. You can see some photos and a little update about our first homestead in NY on my Homestead Highlights page.
After just a few years we decided to move back towards our family, and we bought our current home in coastal New Hampshire. In many ways, our current property has elements that make backyard farming easy – we live on 5 acres, we have a barn, and generally excellent soil. As we’ve grown our homestead over the years, knowing we would be here for many years, we’ve taken a slightly different approach. Today I am focused mostly on creating systems that make homesteading successful, easy and sustainable so it doesn’t take over our entire life. In order for homesteading to work for us, we need to fit it in between school, jobs, sports, and our love of travel. You will find many articles on this site about how to plan and make homesteading easy.
As I write this, our homestead consists of many fruit trees, extensive berry patches, 5 goats (we recently lost our llama), some chickens and ducks, a large vegetable garden, solar panels and our new puppy. On 5 acres we are often overwhelmed with the amount we can do. Today my kids who were just babies when we started homesteading are in middle school and high school.
I recently left my job at a non-profit and am dedicated to getting this site back up and running with everything we’ve learned over the years. I don’t pretend to be an expert on everything homesteading, but everything on this site is based on what we’ve learned, what we are learning and what we’ve researched. We’ve tried almost every product on these pages and stand behind the information. We also recognize that what works for us here in NH might be different and we love talking and sharing with others.
We invite you to follow along with us on this site or join us on our Facebook Page, Facebook Group or Instagram. If you haven’t already, you can also sign up for our newsletter to learn more with links, posts, products, and inspiration about backyard farming. Thanks for joining us here at the Backyard Farming Connection!