We decided to start a market garden in 2020. Are we crazy!? Some would argue that we are indeed a little nuts. However, we view things from a different perspective.

Before I get into the reasons why my husband and I decided to start a market garden, I wanted to explain just what market gardening is and what it entails.

Up to a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know what a market farm was let alone that I would soon become a market farmer!

What is market gardening?

A market garden is a small plot of land, typically 1 to 5 acres, where fruits, vegetables, and flowers are sold to the public. These crops are known as cash crops.

Market gardens also called micro-farms and/or small-scale farming.

Characteristics of market gardening:

  • High productivity on a small plot of land 
  • Intensive methods of production 
  • Season extension techniques (using greenhouses and hoop houses, as well as indoor seeding) 
  • Selling directly to public markets (farmers market, chefs, etc)

Many market farms use greenhouses, hoop houses, indoor and outdoor seeding in order to produce high-quality produce.

Market farms produce a wide variety of crops, as opposed to traditional farming which produces monocultures.

Market gardens rely more on manual labour, hand and light power tools, than big equipment that is used for large-scale operations.

A market gardener sells their produce directly to customers, restaurants, and shops.

radishes from our backyard garden

Can you make money growing vegetables?

Yes, it is actually possible to make money growing vegetables, pretty cool, eh? Allow me to explain.

Market gardening for a living

Being a market gardener means that you get to be your own boss, which is both exciting and scary!

You get to work outside most of the time, yes, this includes rain and shine, but hey, there is nothing like getting your hands dirty in the great outdoors, even if the rest of you is soaking wet!

As well, there is a deep feeling of satisfaction when you provide fresh, delicious vegetables to other families in your community.

Right now, we are growing a backyard garden and we are harvesting enough vegetables to give away to friends, neighbours, and family members.

I love the feeling of other people eating our veggies and telling us how good they were. It makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.

Market gardening for profit

By utilizing a biologically intensive method of farming, minimizing start-up and production costs, and direct selling your veggies to your customers, it is possible, or better yet, probable that you will make money selling your veggies.

J.M. Fortier’s the market gardener is a great resource on how to make a living on a small-scale farm. We refer to this book (among others) very regularly.

Is market gardening profitable?

Market gardening is definitely profitable. Through selling your veggies directly to your customers via Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and restaurants, it is very possible to make a profit. It does however require hard work.

Feel free to get creative with who you sell to, maybe there is a giant hole in your community you can see that is missing farm-fresh veg, it’s up to you to figure out how to jump in and fill that void.

Making your market garden profitable is about producing high quality vegetables people want to buy AND finding the people that want to buy them. You might grow the best tomatoes in the community, but if no one knows about them, they are just going to rot.

Jon and the kids breaking ground at our market garden site 2020

Reasons why we decided to start a market garden this year

When Jon and I were first talking seriously about starting a market garden, I admit, I was on the fence.

I loved the idea of selling farm fresh vegetables to our community but was unsure if I had a green enough thumb to actually grow delicious vegetables.

I was also a little (lot) afraid of starting our own business and being wholly responsible for our income, even though being an entrepreneur is a goal of mine, the thought of providing for our family with our own business was a little daunting.

So, to help lessen my worries and to make sure Jon and I were on the same page, I had us write out the reasons why we wanted to start a market garden.

We each wrote out our own list separately, and the results were pretty interesting.


Here are the reasons why I want to start a market garden in 2020:

  • I don’t like my current job situation
  • Too much driving
  • Too much time away from home
  • Scared that I’ll bet killed at work/every accident seems worse
  • To have and share a healthier food source/know where our food comes from
  • To build something positive with and for my family
  • To be involved with and contribute to a community
  • To build something for our kids/legacy
  • To be our own boss/earn a comfortable living
  • To pass some real knowledge along to our kids
  • To change our lifestyle to live sustainably and to pass sustainable practices along to our kids
  • To find some real meaning and fulfillment in a job
  • I apparently love to garden
  • We can do it together, as a family


Here are the reasons why I want to start a market garden in 2020:

  • Be our own boss
  • A challenge – success depends on our ability to grow veggies and sell them effectively
  • I can use the skills I have acquired over the last 5 years in online marketing and social media
  • Can continue to learn about marketing and apply those skills
  • Eating healthy is an important part of my life and being able to know where all of our produce comes from is invaluable
  • Being able to share our success and failures with our kids so that they learn important lessons
  • Starting/owning a business that they can use in their own lives
  • I need a change, tired of not having something permanent to get up to – feel like I am drifting and need to set up some roots
  • Jon loves to garden and takes pride in it – he also needs a change
  • We are currently in a position where it is the right time to change our paths if we choose to do so
  • Market farming does not require a huge investment upfront, can accumulate tools and other structures as we go
  • The land needed to market garden fell into our lap from family and we are very grateful for that – means it will not cost much to get started in terms of land
  • Our kids are old enough to help out and learn from experience
  • Show our kids that it’s never too late to achieve your dream, you can do anything when you put your mind to it
  • Excited to become a contributing community member
  • Excited to build a community in person and online
  • Finding a place to belong – market farming feels like a good fit because it aligns well with my core values
  • Get out of the rat race – I have been a stay at home mom for the last 6 years – Jon has worked through that time – he deserves to know what that feels like because I think it is awesome to have the freedom to do what you want to do in life
  • Having a project to work on together will (hopefully) bring us closer, it’s nice to have the same goals and work toward them together
  • We will have something worthwhile and substantial to leave our kids if they choose to go down this market garden path (I hope at least one of them will!)


When I examined our reasons for starting a market garden, I saw that there were five main categories our reasons fell into.

They are:


Both my husband and I need a change in vocation. I am currently a stay at home mom and the kids are getting older and I want a purpose in my life.

Jon is driving 3 hours to and from work every day, he doesn’t like his job, and it’s getting increasingly dangerous due to lax safety measures.

The timing is right in our lives as we are currently able to live with few expenses, allowing us to keep/save money to put towards our market farm.

Of course, we are using a budget to help us sort our money accordingly.


Jon and I do not want to go work for someone else. We want to be our own bosses and prove to each other (and others) that we can be successful in running our own business.

We want our blood, sweat, and tears to be for us and our family, not our supervisor.


We are both excited to learn new skills and apply them. Jon has been reading nonstop about market farming, veggies, growing cycles, etc.

I have been trying to make a living with online marketing for the past 5 years with minimal success. I am hopeful that I can finally put the skills I have acquired over the years to work now that I have a focus and desire to do so.


It is really important to both Jon and I that we contribute to our community. I firmly believe that change in this world happens in small steps at a time.

Being able to positively affect our community with fresh, delicious, homegrown veggies is a step in the right direction to move away from the unhealthy mono-crop culture that is all too prevalent now.

We want to make meaningful connections with community members as well as fellow small business owners so that we can help make our community thrive.


Teaching our kids where good food comes from is super important to Jon and me.

Living in a society of convenience is having a detrimental effect on all of our health.

We have a backyard garden this year and it has played a big part in exciting our kids for market farm life.

They already routinely look for bugs that may be eating our tomato plants, or caterpillars that are setting up shop on our basil.

They love walking around and looking at the progress all of the veggies are making day by day.

To see that they are interested in gardening already is a great sign to show that they will be open and willing to learn more about veggies, how to grow them, and why they should eat them.

We also want to show our kids that it is never too late to start something new.

Jon and I are no spring chickens, we are in our mid-late 30’s. We want to show them how to start a business, the good and the bad, so they can learn from our experience and maybe want to start their own business one day or improve ours.

As well, Jon and I want to pass a legacy on to our kids. We sincerely hope that at least one of them wants to carry on with the market farm once we retire (in a loonngg time!)

We want to pass down a successful, thriving business that they can continue to grow (hopefully!)

Those are our reasons for starting a market garden in 2020.

What do you think, are we crazy?

Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Stay Local,

Kathy and Jon

Your friendly neighbourhood farmers!





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