I find it a bit hard to believe people can earn $35 thousand a year from a half acre urban lot, but the principle makes sense, grow high value produce in intensive production, without having to commute, and help others convert lawns into productive food producing mini farms!
So Wally sold off all his acreage in the country, Futility Farm as he called it, and he became an urban farmer. Now, the only land he owns in the city is his own small backyard, and he rents or barters other backyards to make up his land base. He has been supporting himself farming this way for over 15 years. He has documented his system for maximizing income from sub-acre land bases, and he calls it SPIN-Farming.
SPIN-Farming is now being practiced by a growing corps of first generation famers in the U.S. and Canada. Some of its concepts include a multi locational farm land base, 1-2-3 land allocation, high road/low road harvesting, high-value crops, structured work flow and work rate. What the SPIN system does is knock down the barriers that individuals face when attempting to enter the field of farming as a profession. The three largest barriers are: owning large tracks of land, major capital investment to farm those large tracks and land, and the education necessary to create a financially successful farming business. SPIN-Farming addresses all three.
In addressing the first barrier, which is land, did you know that there are 46.5 million acres of lawn in the United States today, and it takes 40% of the drinking water on the East Coast and 60% on the West Coast to water those lawns? Some of that very same land is prime farmland, and where many SPIN farmers are now getting their start. Front yards, backyards, neighborhood lots, roof tops are all good land base options for SPIN’s sub-acre scale food production model.
ere is another high value SPIN crop – rainbow carrots. In the SPIN system, once beds are harvested, they are immediately planted to a different crop. This is called relay cropping, with the aim being to plant at least different three crops, one right after the other, in the same bed throughout the season.Photo by Wally Satzewich
The second barrier to entering the farming profession is capital. The investment in a SPIN-Farming operation is a fraction of that of the conventional model. Some tractors cost tens of thousands of dollars With SPIN-Farming, an investment of as little as $10,000 can get you successfully farming in no time.
The third major barrier is education. I come from an Italian family of fine art dealers. They both start with the letter “f” – farmer and fine arts dealer – but they are worlds apart. I picked up a lot of my farming know-how through years of trial and error, and that is what SPIN-Farming eliminates. The system is explained in a series of guides that emphasize the business aspects and provides a financial and management framework for having the business drive the agriculture, rather than the other way around. Many a SPIN Farmer like myself has created a successful sub-acre farm business through the use of these guides. But for those that require a more personal approach to education, Abundant Life Farm in Walker Valley opens its SPIN-Farming Training and Education Center in April of this year. We will offer 3 courses per season, 6 weeks per session, 6 days a week, for further information : http://www.abundantlifefarm.com/index.php/Site/AbundantLifeFarm.
For more information on SPIN Farming go to http://www.spinfarming.com
Linda Borghi is a Biodynamic SPIN ® Farmer and Educator at Abundant Life Farm, Walker Valley, New York. She can be contacted via email @ LBorghi@AbundantLifeFarm.com