You can dress it up as much as you want, “financing” or “funding” but it all comes down to the same thing. How are you buying your farm, buying all the many supplies and packaging and seeds and greenhouse and sustaining your life? Where is the money coming from?
So far we have been incredibly lucky. I spent the past 10 years saving a third of my paycheck in Switzerland (even when I really didn’t want to!) and Rob got an awesome consulting contract when Klara was born for a year, so that helped us tremendously. In addition, my old employer gave me a consulting contract when I left. It has been a few hours a week for 8 months but since it is a Swiss salary, it has been really helping. Despite all that though, when I just put in all our receipts in excel I saw that we have already spent $96’000 here! That is only receipts that can be linked to the business!! Not including food, 1-2 times per week daycare, dental bills (there were a lot this year) or even including Sam’s birth that we paid for. I know it is normal starting a farm, especially with a greenhouse with a proper foundation and permit and a brand new walk-behind tractor, but I am still blown away.
How long will it take to get a return on these purchases?
But then I think. We didn’t come here to make money. We came here to get away from the 45 hour work-weeks and commuting and never seeing our family. We came here to reduce our footprint, eat better and help others eat better. We came here for so many reasons and none were linked to money. It’s hard though, it is very hard to spend your savings and pension (I was given my pension in cash when leaving Switzerland).
And now I have applied for a temporary contract over the winter to give us a little extra income. It’s just 60% for 3 months, an easy job to learn Canadian Health & Safety legislation and practices, but it is really hard to think about getting it. Although, I am still in shock by our spending, I do not want to go back to work. Driving 40 min each way and not being able to invest all my free time (when children are sleeping or at daycare) in developing this business is hard to think about. This is winter though and there is very little to do outside on the farm, I need to take whatever work I can get.
Rob still cannot work or study in Canada. His permanent visa application is progressing but he still hasn’t had any confirmation and he is taking this very seriously. I have suggested an online FoodSafe course, since we need that anyway, and he won’t do it. I do understand though, if something screws up and he doesn’t get that permanent visa, our whole dream is gone before we’ve really started.
Another option is grants, normally you are not supposed to spend your own money on your business, this is a big mistake we might be making. I’ve looked around and haven’t found any grants that would apply for us. Even to fund our organic certification. However, there are surely some. How do other people start farms when they don’t have their pensions to help?
The reassuring part of it all is that if we don’t make a dime, if we lose our savings (I won’t spend all my pension!) then at least we can go back to work. We will just move back to a city and get normal jobs again. What a glorious time that would be! Need to stay positive so that never happens!!!
ADDITION: I got the job and I’ve just had my first day. The working days in this union job are 8am to 3:30pm so my working day is still in no way comparable to what I was doing before. Phew!