Rent Nature?


Can you rent nature to make money? Well, yes. One company has been doing this for many years. Let's take a look at what they do, and then I'll have a few suggestions for other ways to rent nature as a business proposition.

If you haven't heard of the company Rent Mother Nature®, it can be a bit difficult to explain what they do. They connect consumers with family farmers who produce things in natural, organic ways, allowing a customer to buy a "lease" on a cow, a bed of rice, an oyster patch or any of more than a dozen other items. The lease guarantees you "a share of one harvest for one season." You can buy these for yourself, of course, but buying them as gifts for others seems to be the primary thrust of the marketing.

Still not clear? Let's look at a couple examples.

Suppose you want to rent a goat for next year, as a gift for a friend. At the moment (late 2011) the price is $49.95. Your friend will get a fancy lease document, an "announcement folder" which will have your message in it along with a description of benefits, progress reports about life on the farm, and then a delivery of goat cheese when the time comes. At the moment Rent Mother Nature® is guaranteeing a yield of three logs of fresh Chèvre, each weighing five ounces.

Your friend will be able to actually choose the milking date, and will get the cheese about a month later. The goat will be raised on "a small family farm in the Berkshires dedicated to the principles of sustainable agriculture." There will be no preservatives or any unnatural additives in the cheese. A photo of the goat is extra, but allows your friend to show off the source of his cheese, and his contribution to "helping support America's family farms."

What if your friend is vegan? Buy him a maple tree lease. For just $64.95 he'll get "a reproduction of an 1890 U.S. Treasury 'License for Sugar Producer,' printed on parchment and embossed with a gold seal." Three newsletters will come to him as the season approaches, and then he'll get a minimum of 50 ounces of maple syrup in April or early May. The syrup comes in decorated jugs, and there is no extra charge for regular shipping.

Other things you can lease include Grapefruit trees, berry patches, cows, oysters, and wheat fields. In many cases the lease holder can visit the farm where he is leasing the plants or animals. Rent Mother Nature® says that you will also be "helping farmers who use natural, sustainable, and chemical-free methods of agriculture succeed in the marketplace."

Using This Idea of Renting Nature

You might like the idea, but you may not want to try to compete directly against the main player in the industry. So what others ways can you effectively rent nature to others for a profit? Let's look at a few unproven possibilities (in other words try these at your own risk; they have not been done to my knowledge).

Rent bonsai trees to people who don't have the time or patience to grow them on their own, and who need them only temporarily. A man needs some cool decor for a party, but doesn't want to spend $120 for a fancy bonsai tree, so you supply it for the weekend for $20. This would tie in well with plant rentals of other types.

Rent a pond. You could lease trout ponds and as part of the lease stock them with baby trout and keep them fed. The lease holder would be allowed to take his friends to "his" pond when the trout were the right age, and fish for them.

Rent a wilderness. There are a few places in the west where you can still buy large parcels of land for reasonable prices. As a way to hold onto them and pay the property taxes, you might rent them out to private parties for hiking and camping. Unlike with public lands, your customers could be guaranteed that they will be the only people in the whole valley.

There are many other ways to apply this "rent nature" idea to make money or support a cause. Live Christmas trees are now regularly rented out. Large predators in animal sanctuaries might be "leased" (sponsored) with the renter getting special access to see them. A tree in a wild area, rigged with a live camera, could be leased out, with the lessee having access to the live feed online. I am sure there are many more ideas in this area, and a few of them might actually make some money.

If you liked this page please let others know with one of these...

Other Relevant Pages

Green Jobs and Businesses

Odd Ways to Make Money

Money Making Ideas

(The newsletter has been discontinued.)

Every Way to Make Money | Rent Nature?