Here in Baltimore, we have learned that value-added products such as pickles and jams, dried teas and spice rubs, drinks, baked goods, and more can really supplement the income you earn to support your homestead or urban garden project.
Especially for our urban farm, where we want to create a lot of community engagement programs such as cooking and gardening classes, student volunteer opportunities, block parties and more, we really want to figure out how we can supplement our funding. Grants and donations are extremely useful, but as urban gardening projects continue to grow, we are all going to be dipping into the same funding pool. Creating self-sustaining revenue streams are really important to us!
There is only so much money you can earn from selling whole produce, especially once you factor in all of the time and labor needed. For example, we can earn a lot more donations by selling sandwiches made with our homegrown pickles than we can by selling fresh whole cucumbers.
But of course, the most difficult thing about making value-added produce is figuring out what kind of food licensing you need.
Luckily, the Maryland Extension has created a really handy worksheet that outlines the different levels of value-added products from least hazardous food to most hazardous, and the types of licensing needed for selling each type of food. Even if you don't live in Maryland, this could help you figure out how to make the next step for your own farmer's market!
Here's a link to the PDF: http://www.agmarketing.umd.edu/NewslettersPDF/AgMarketingNewsUpdate...
For more information on the Boone Street Farm and other urban homesteading projects in Baltimore, come visit me here!