Small Farm Cash Crop for Cranbrook (B.C.) Area
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Nicole Porter
Posted on: July 01, 2007

One more question - Are there any other suggestions you might have for a small cash crop (26 acres) in the Cranbrook, British Columbia, area that would require minimal equipment and labour?

We would prefer native but any other herb/ medicinal etc species that would not disturb the natural habitat too much would also be of interest.

Yes, that’s why I suggested you check out my various services and call me for details. Mostly what you have to sell is labor. What you want is for this labor to be worth $25/hour, not $12/hour. The wildcraft of herbs is very labor intensive, while using equipment can increase the economy of scale.

There are crops that can be harvested with new technology, like commercial vacuums to collect uva ursi in your immediate forests. Rose hips are going to be hard, competing with Chilean imports (20 MT/month). You might even grow mushrooms, just like my partner does on Denman Island.

I can help you with the "minimal equipment" needs, but most everything is about labor incomes. Your quest is how to advance the state of technology. In your neck of the woods, it is called "Appropriate Technology." Take a physical inventory on who has what, and then I can often suggest a "game plan" that will work.

The one closest to my hear is to farm about 20 acres of dandelion root and chicory root for the "herbal coffee substitute" markets. Stevia and licorice mint [syn. anise hyssop] also grow well in that region, as two more ingredients for making this brew. Add some French-style vanilla bean, and you might have a business that can eventually be sold like Cascadian Farms was sold to General Mills several years back. This would be right up Starbuck’s alley (buzz central).

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