Making Small Farms Profitable Using a Central and Satellite Farm Concept

Small family farms, which were historically the backbone of agriculture, are becoming extinct due to pressure from corporate farming, regulation and the high cost of doing business. The disappearance of these family farms is changing the landscape and personality of rural areas. The displaced farmers are turning to employment in other area in order to earn sufficient income for their family and the families are succumbing to the typically suburban lifestyles.

Missing from this picture is the pride, education and fulfillment that comes with raising a family on a farm. With the concept presented here, small farms have the potential to re-emerge in community-wide, cooperative efforts. Small communities can become farming Mecca’s which provide food that is locally and sustainably grown, creating a community-wide sense of pride and active, self-supporting farms.


Farmers build or have built environmentally controlled greenhouses that utilize one of three methods of high-tech, controlled environment crop culture…hydroponics, aquaponics or organics. The greenhouses will be of a uniform size and design and will protect the crops form rain, snow, heat, cold, wind and insect damage. Each farm will have a greenhouse and a family residence.

Training for the farmers will take place at a “central farm” that has classroom and training areas and utilizes hydroponic, aquaponic and organic technologies to grow healthful crops. The central farm will also supply fish fingerlings and plant seedlings to the “satellite farms” and will market the crops grown at the satellite farms.

This concept will get farmers farming using high-tech methods with protection from environmental challenges and reduced costs of operation through cooperative buying. With an established central farm, the satellite farmers can focus their energy and attention on crop production and yields without having to take time away for sourcing supplies and marketing.

Many people discuss problems in a community and many complain about situations such as farm land lying fallow and the lack of locally grow food, but solutions are more rare than complaints. The central and satellite farm concept using hydroponics, aquaponics and organics is a viable and exciting solution that allows farmers to return to farming in a profitable scenario, increases the tax-base through increased revenues and makes fresh, locally-grown vegetables and fish available for community members and for export.

This concept can be applied anywhere in the world.

Nelson and Pade, Inc. can provide a template, design and plan for a community-wide project. Call or email to discuss your project.