Local farmer Nick Crabbs lead a discussion about intentional sustainability and farming on Thursday at Boise Entrepreneur Week.
Crabbs owns a nearly two-acre farm on Franklin between Maple Grove and Five Mile roads. He told the crowd that he envisioned the farm being a ten-year project – however, it ended up only taking a few years to get started.
Crabbs said he looked at 50 properties over two years.
“So three years ago, I decided to buy an urban farm. Now, it wasn’t a farm at the time. It was a wonderful wheat field with all kinds of things that you have to get rid of before you can actually grow anything,” Crabbs said. ”And so it’s been quite a labor of love for the last three years and it was really a blessing during the pandemic to have something to see my hands into. We originally had planned on it being like a 10-year project.”
One reason Crabbs’ farm found success early was the COVID-19 pandemic. He said many of his friends worked in service and were laid off overnight and looking for jobs – those friends were able to work part-time on his farm.
The farm is sustainable in a few ways. Crabbs takes advantage of tax write-offs and says there is a specific type of goat that qualifies for a tax credit. He also raises revenue from a farm stand that sells food and he rents out a detached dwelling.
“The second part is revenue directly off the farm stand and we’ve been doubling kind of every year. So like at some point in time, that’s not gonna keep going. But, people will like have driven by it and still three years later are like ‘I’ve been watching you for three years and I finally decided to stop and see what you’re all about.’ So that’s like 75% of our customers still… So at some point in time that levels out. And then the third is there’s a detached dwelling and so we have renters and people that live on the property as well and also work on the property. So we add all that in I mean, free house.”
Crabbs said that three years in he is breaking even, “depending on how you count it.”
“depending on how you count, in just revenue from veggies, no and never. But that’s again not the only way we’re counting to get there,” he said.