Urban agriculture can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. It was even popularized recently (relatively speaking) as victory gardens during the first half of the 20th century. The present day economy presents its own unique set of challenges, so when we were formulating just how the heck to grow vegetables in urban areas in 2008 and survive, the SPIN (small plot intensive farming) guide became an invaluable resource. They have recently updated it and it’s worth a close look for anyone looking to break into farming, or looking for new marketing or growing ideas. From SPIN:
SPIN-Farming, which is the sub-acre production system in use at Garden State Urban Farms, has released the latest print guide in its learning series for urban and suburban-based farmers. SPIN-Farming 2.0: Production Planning & Crop Profiles quantifies exactly how much money a farmer can generate for 40 crops grown on less than an acre. SPIN stands for “small plot intensive,” and it is a system that combines intensive production with a direct marketing business model.
With SPIN-Farming 2.0 crop profiles, for the first time ever, sub-acre farmers can benchmark their sales revenue from selling produce directly to consumers at farmers’ markets. The benchmarks were compiled by Wally Satzewich, creator of the SPIN-Farming system, based on his experience at his multi-sited backyard urban/peri-urban farm operation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
“Agriculture is one of the most extensively researched, analyzed and documented industries in the world,” says Satzewich. “But not much of the data and analysis are relevant or useful to the SPIN farmer whose success depends not on hundreds or thousands of acres, but on producing high yields from small land bases and selling locally.” According to Roxanne Christensen, co-author of the SPIN-Farming guides, “Crop prices at farmers’ markets have not been tracked because, until recently, it wasn’t a big business. But direct marketing of local foods has become a $1.2 billion industry in the U.S. and has grown exponentially over the past decade. SPIN-Farming is working to encourage and support the professionalization of an industry that has historically been fragmented, unorganized and unrecognized, and one that will have significant economic impact, especially in cities.”