The natural world is varied and wide, and it has abundant ways in which you can make money.
While there are so many different possibilities here, I’ve listed just 14 of the best ways to make money from the natural world.
#1 Grow Organic Vegetables
If your fingers are green from your love of gardening, why not take it a step further and start selling your produce?
With the rise of mass produced food, more and more of it is laden with chemicals and GMO. People want fresh food, that’s natural, and local. You can easily supply this from your own garden. There are also plenty of sites online that can be used to sell your produce through.
#2 Raise Animals
If you have the space, raising animals is a great way to earn some cash. Chickens and goats are popular livestock as they produce a variety of products and require limited space.
Meat, eggs, milk (and thus cheeses, yogurts, etc), feathers and even skins can be sold.
Obviously you will need to check your local zoning laws to make sure you can legally keep animals, but if that’s no problem, raising livestock can provide dividends.
#3 Sell Manure/Compost
If you have a garden or livestock, one added benefit is that you will end up with a pile of smelly stuff. Whether it’s become compost or manure, other gardeners are always on the lookout for rich, nutrient laden muck that can improve their prize roses or help their competition marrow grow that extra pound.
#4 Sell Geodes, Rocks & Fossils
If your locality is rich in rocks, keeping an eye out for unusual stones could land you some cash.
Geode stones (the ones with crystals inside) are popular and can be sold online or at local markets to tourists.
Fossils are another big seller, though you need to make sure you are on the right side of the law when fossil hunting. Generally small invertebrate fossils and plant impressions are fine to pick up without a license, though the t-rex you found might end up in a museum instead!
As well as those, interesting and pretty rocks of all kinds can be sold. Some people simply like pretty things for their gardens or art.
#5 Find Truffles
Truffles are a delicacy and as such are really expensive. We’re talking around $1,200 per pound for sought after varieties.
Truffles can be found throughout most of America’s forests, but finding them is the issue. Having a dog or pig that is trained to smell truffles is the best way as truffles are underground and can rarely be spotted by a person.
Oregon, Washington and Virginia are key states for finding truffles.
Truffles can be sold direct to upmarket restaurateurs or via the web.
#6 Find Wild Herbs
Finding wild herbs is a damn sight easier than finding truffles! However the markup is lower. That being said, finding obscure wild herbs such as Wild Ginseng, Wild Mustard, mushrooms and more can certainly be lucrative.
As these herbs rarely show up in supermarkets, individuals want to buy these to add some pizzazz to their cooking or are using the Paleo diet. The same goes for restaurateurs.
Not only that but wild herbs are used in some religious and cultural rites and can be turned into dried versions, oils and soaps.
#7 Create Natural Art
If you have an artistic flair, why not consider using the natural waste found in forests, deserts, and coastlines to create unique art.
Driftwood frames and benches are common, but still highly prized for their unique look.
Feathers, leaves, pebbles, and so much more can be combined to create stunning works of art that can be sold worldwide.
First off, if the bird is alive, leave it alone!
You can find feathers littered on the ground near where birds nest, or you can pluck them from the chicken and birds you are later going to eat or sell.
Pretty feathers can sell for a reasonable price to crafts people, artists and can even be used as a hair accessory!
#9 Sell Leaves
Seriously, leaves? Yep, let me explain. Kyle Waring sells 3 New England leaves that have been preserved and dried for $20 plus shipping.
That is how you make money selling leaves! His site is Ship Foliage and it sells only during the fall season when leaves are abundant.
The weird thing is that people buy them too!
#10 Sell Snow
Kyle Waring is obviously the master of selling natural products, because after the fall season he sells genuine Boston snow!
The snow costs between $119 and $199 and is shipped through the US.
#11 Cabin Rental
Do you own a cabin in the woods? If so why not rent it out while you’re not using it?
You will be surprised how many people want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even in winter.
#12 Local Nature Guide
Are you like a local Steve Irwin or Bear Grylls? Do you know your local area like the back of your hand?
If you do, consider setting up nature tour guides for locals and tourists alike.
You can combine your love of nature, sharing it with others and making a profit too!
#13 Hunting or Fishing Guide
Not everyone is a natural born hunter or fisherman. If you know your stuff you can help teach people the basics and help them catch a trophy (or dinner) while lining your pockets.
Obviously you need to make sure that you pay attention to your local laws and get insurance too.
#14 Wildlife Photography
From squirrels to bears, everyone loves a good animal photo. If you can catch animals in their natural environments, you can earn a pretty penny selling photos of animals.
You can sell them direct to media outlets like National Geographic, or sell them on stock photo websites.
You could also have your own site selling both digital and print versions of your work.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways that you can leverage your natural surroundings into making money for you without harming it.
From the tiniest snowflake to the biggest fish there are plenty of opportunities out there if you think outside the box.