A smallholding is a cultivated plot of land, larger than a garden or allotment but not quite as vast as a farm. Growing produce and rearing animals on a smallholding can allow your household to become self sufficient, and for the more dedicated and business-minded, it can even become a viable source of income.
Smallholdings are generally more productive per acre than larger farms. Being smaller in terms of size allows them to be farmed more intensely and usually run on a more personal and thrifty basis. Mass commercial output is scarcely a priority for a smallholder but its produce can benefit the owner, their family and usually the local community.
Running a smallholding rather than a commercial farm allows for the use of more personal and eco friendly agricultural techniques. This can include rainwater collection, the use of wind turbines and tree planting to absorb CO2. Organic smallholdings produce food without adding chemicals and pesticides into the ground or water systems. While smallholdings are usually found in rural areas, urban plots of land used for cultivation can be a great help in absorbing carbon emissions in more built up areas.
A local smallholding can be a valuable source of income to a rural area that may have been affected by the economic downturn and the increasing popularity of large supermarkets. Smallholdings are ideal for employing locals as well as preserving traditional trades such as hedge laying and carpentry. Offering locally sourced produce provides a source of income to the smallholding and to the surrounding area. As a rural community becomes more productive, other local services tend to be strengthened such as bus services and post offices, which in turn helps to bring more wealth into the area.
Your smallholding, regardless of the income it may bring, can deliver a variety of personal benefits. Maintaining your smallholding allows you to be close to nature and brings about a more active lifestyle. It can introduce new activities that are varied and both physically and mentally challenging. Despite potential income it may bring, a smallholding is a way of life rather than a job, which brings a sense of well being and independence.
A smallholding is a demanding and long-term commitment, and certainly isn’t for everyone. But it provides an opportunity to face different challenges, learn new skills and live more independently, making it a unique and highly rewarding way of life.tagsorganicself sufficiencysmallholding