How to Become a Farmer, and Why Drought Can Be Good (Video)

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From young farmers farming with horses to backyard slaughter in West Oakland, we've seen plenty of ways that idealistic young people try to break into the farming game. Here the Perennial Plate folks pay a visit to three different farms in the Bay Area, and we hear a little bit about how they got started, what it's like to farm, and why they do it. We also get to see some bad-ass unicycling, and we learn why drought can actually be a good thing for growing fruit.

Tim Mueller of River Dog Farms provides living proof that the idealistic and cash poor can indeed break into farming. When asked how he got started, he laughs: "With a fool hardy belief that we could make a living."

But something seems to be going right. The farm has expanded from just 5 acres to nearly 500, including irrigated vegetable growing, pasture, egg production and more. Muelller is also "dry farming" grains—and he is not alone in pursuing alternatives to irrigation-dependent agriculture.

Sure, all plants need water. But in a world of increasingly precious water resources, dry farming is often touted as a more sustainable approach that offers a better product too. Bill Spurlock of Sunny Slope Orchards makes a powerful case for not irrigating your orchards, and returning instead to drought-tolerant, resilient and (by the looks of things) insanely delicious fruit varieties.

Meanwhile Esperanza Pallana of Pluck and Feather urban farm is proving that you don't need hundreds of acres to grow good food and engage your community.

Once more, awesome stuff from the Perennial Plate—the folks who brought us video on trapping and killing feral pigs, alternative dairy farming, and the urban farmers of New Orleans. If diversity is a sign of resilience, then the world of small farmers and food producers is in surprisingly good shape—at least if Daniel and Mirra's videos are anything to go by. Maybe they'll inspire even more folks to give it a go...

More from the Perennial Plate
Off-Grid Farming in the Caves of Utah
Trapping and Killing Feral Pigs is Disturbing, But Is It Green?
Hunting and Eating Roadkill in Minnesota (Video)
A Gulf Fisherman Struggles for Economic Survival (Video)
Growing Oyster Mushrooms, and a Recipe for Vegetarian Terrine (Video)
When Cows Retire: An Alternative Approach to Dairy Farming (Video)