Monitoring Quality of Life

Farm sustainability not only requires concern for profitability and ecosystem health, but also for the quality of life of the people who live and work on the farm. When a farm family takes the time to talk about their values and to build a shared quality of life vision, they create a powerful base from which to achieve their personal goals and their goals for the farm.

What is It?

Monitoring quality of life begins with creating a vision of the quality of life desired by the whole family. Ideally this vision reflects each person’s values and concerns. From there, simple tools are used to monitor the actions or behaviors needed to make this desired quality of life a day-to-day reality. This monitoring allows the family to makeadjustments to both the vision and actions as needed. Image

Who Does It?

The entire family, including children, should be involved. You also may want to include others who regularly contribute labor or other assistance to the farm.


Those tools that help the family create or revise its shared quality of life vision may only need to be used once or twice a year. The actual monitoring tools work well as monthly or weekly activities and can be part of your personal journal-writing time.

Time Required

Plan on three to four hours to complete the structured activities for creating a shared quality of life vision. Some individual preparation time is also required for these activities. How much time you give to making your vision a reality is up to you. Obviously, the more attention you give to it, the greater the likelihood of your success.

Materials & Cost

The main materials needed for the exercises include large sheets of paper and colored markers. You will also need to make photocopies of any worksheets you use. Twenty dollars should amply cover your costs.