Spin Farming

yooperjon(Up Mi. z4/5)January 3, 2007

I am not trying to indorse any magazine , although I just read about a type of urban farming , useing organic methods selling at local farmers markets, and check this out for a land base they are renting out twentyfive backyards in there town of Sasktoon Saskatchewan Canada. There land base adds up to under an acer. They claim that they gross between $30 - 40,000 per season while keeping their cost un-

der $5000.00 a year. I've always wanted to sell at a farmers market , and this might be a way to start. Please

check out the artical at www.farmandranchliving.com click

on links. I would like to get some other opinions before I

invest anything more into it. It does sound like an inovative ideal. Jon

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pnbrown

Without reading the article, I'll just say that I know from experience that having gardening space widely separated is hugely inefficient. However, in the case of co-operative homeowners, there could be some big advantages.

Ease of irrigation could be a big factor, and of course any possible help with oversight from residents. Also a potential major factor being that urban or densely semi-urban/sub-urban areas are usually free of deer, that major pest, and minor ones like rabbits to some extent. So not having to make big investments in hyper-secure fencing is a major plus. I'd say if there is an abundance of cheap human labor to counter-act the inability to use large machinery, it's a very possible angle, and a good one since it encourages non-fossil fuel input.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 6:41AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Very cool article. I can understand how one could be motivated by it. I would mostly worry about what might be in the soil in urban areas. I know too many people that moved into a house and found things like car batteries, open paint buckets, overflowing buckets that held used motor oil, and years worth of chipped off lead paint in their yards.

I'd get a few soil tests before using any urban yard to grow produce.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:38AM
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yooperjon(Up Mi. z4/5)

Yes I would be careful of what was in the soil to, personally finding everything from car parts to diamond rings. I like the way they can pick and choose from the yards being offered and they try and cluster the yards they use to help cut down on time and expence. They are doing a class in the spring I might go. First I am going to order some of their info . Jon

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 11:42AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The article really glosses over two important concepts of being in business.

1. Offer what your market wants.
2. Be absolutely sure your market wants it before you buy, make, or grow it.

There is a quarter acre plot in Berkeley, CA (or at least their used to be) that grossed $250,000 per year. How? They grow specialty herbs used by upscale restaurant chefs, and they deliver fresh, daily.

A farmer in Virginia started giving his free range chicken eggs to some upscale restaurant chefs in Washington DC and launched a 30,000-dozen egg per year business.

So, the lesson is to find your market before you find your acreage. You may want to relocate nearer a different market than your current UP market.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 12:25PM
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newtxan

Wow, I would have thought there was only one specialty herb that could be that profitable.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 12:42PM
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yooperjon(Up Mi. z4/5)

Yes Dchall I agree Moving out of the UP area is in the works. We are thinking about Southern Ohio or Oaklahoma
to start such an operation. Jon

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 8:34PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

One specialty herb? Check out the price of Rosemary sprigs at any grocery. Something like $4 for 4 sprigs! Shoot, we mow down $1,000 worth of Rosemary 'weed' every year to make room for "real" plants.

yooperjon: if you are flexible in your moving, take a couple pre-move visits to check out the prospects for supplying the special needs of upper crust clients. Why did whats-his-name rob banks? Because that's where the money was. It sounds like you are limiting yourself to Cincinnati or Oklahoma City. Can you go anywhere more cosmopolitan?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 6:50PM
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yooperjon(Up Mi. z4/5)

Iam not a cosmopolitan type of person. Although if I can find somewere within a couple hours of a strong market that would be more our speed. I drive truck over the road currantly in 48 states so I get to see alot. We are not commited to any one area yet.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 11:16PM
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retsam

I thought saw something similar last year posted some where else.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 11:36PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

There's a group of asian farmers here in New England that got together and started growing asian vegetables (mostly Vietnamese veggies IIRC) for the restaurant and grocery markets that seemed to do pretty well. When you go gourmet, it seems that diversification doesn't always mean growth.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 3:26PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Yeah, I agree. I wasn't talking about moving downtown. Forty miles is a good distance away.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 1:21AM
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yooperjon(Up Mi. z4/5)

It seems that specialized markets in genral do pretty well.
Market development seems to atleast as important as quality of produce grown. I can grow quality produce,it is the marketing that Iam trying to find. Any ideas? Jon

j

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 1:34AM
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