Spin Farming

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					      Spin Farming:
small scale urban farming

       UMSOF Class
        Spring 2009
        Spin Creators & Founders

Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are the
co-creators. Roxanne Christensen is a co-founder from Philadelphia- she is
also the president of the Institute for Innovators in Local Farming. Will Allen is
the Executive Director of Growing Power in Milwaukee and Chicago.
      What is SPIN Farming?
Small Plot INtensive
Its organic based techniques make it
   possible to generate $50,000 in gross
   sales from a half acre of land growing
   common vegetables such as carrots,
   spinach, lettuce salad mixes, beets, chard,
   cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, radishes,
   scallions, herbs, summer squash and
          SPIN Farming
Land base
Equipment and Tools
Organic Practices
Weeding and Irrigation
Layout & Relays
Work Load
Pricing & Marketing
SPIN Formulas
                Land Base
 Start with your backyard
 Move into neighbors’, friends’, families’
  backyards- talk to landlords and elderly
  neighbors that don’t want to keep up back
  yard spaces
 Community garden spaces
 Rent or exchange land for produce or
  discounts at market
Urban Land Base Advantages
Water- easy access onsite
Minimal wildlife in the city
Microclimates! Cities are typically heat
islands that can be 6-8 degrees warmer
than outlying areas.
Proximity to markets: In the city,
customers are nearby
Low initial capital investment
Irrigation equipment
High Road vs. Low Road
 Post Harvest Equipment
Marketing Equipment
   2 ft wide Rototiller

Earthway Seeder $100
Tool for weeding, marking rows,
         digging furrows

Earthway Wheel-hoe for
  digging furrows $100
                                        Cultivator $50
Tools for weeding

                    Colinear Hoe $50

                                       Stirrup Hoe $50

                    Broad Hoe $50

                   Irrigation Tools
Irrigation tools:
Wand attachments: $20
Sprinklers: $20 each
Garden Hoses: $15 for 50 ft
Soaker Hoses or Drip Tape: $15 for
    50 ft
Plastic or Brass Manifolds: $20
Hose Repair Kits: $10
Couplings: $5
Washers: $5

Total: $125-$300
     High Road vs. Low Road

Walk-in Cooler for the high road $3,000
 to $10,000
                  Processing Equipment
                                     For Permanent Post-Harvesting
                                     •Post harvest shed
                                     •Drip Trays
Non-permanent Post-harvesting Area   •Bins
•Canvas market Umbrella / Shade      •Wash basin / sink
•Digital Scale
                                     •Grey water Recycling
•Wash Bins
                                     •Garden Hose & Attachments
•Drip Trays
                                     •Mesh Bags
•Folding Tables
                                     •Digital Scale
•Garden Hose & Attachments
                                     = $1,175 - $2,300
•= $295 - $580
       Marketing Equipment
  Canopy / Umbrellas
= $560 - $910
Dual Use farm & personal
    transport Vehicle

                     Use what you
                     have $0 extra
       Equipment Cost Total
$5,000 - $20,000
Doesn’t include cost of seeds!
         Organic Practices
Not certified organic
Local- your customers know you and your
Use organic, locally sourced inputs like: Coffee
grounds, compost, oilseed meals (from feed
stores), leaves, grass clippings, crop residue
straw / hay
Use Crop Rotations and companion plantings
Use remay for flea beetles
Don’t use pesticides- hand pick infestations or
get rid of diseased / infested crops.
Weeding Strategies:
  Walkways: broad hoe, wheel hoe, narrow
  rototiller, mulching
  Between rows:
Bed Areas- collinear hoe and stirrup hoes, narrow
  specialty cultivators
Row / walkway- broad hoe, collinear hoe, small
  In-row: handwork
  Perimeter: Rototiller, broad hoe
Goal: 1,000 ft2 / hour
Garden Irrigation tools determined by crop:
Hand Watering with Wand attachments
Soaker Hoses
Drip Tape
Flooding with a Garden Hose
  Standardized bed: 2ft X 25 ft created by rototiller
  High value vs. Low value crops
High Value Crops:                 Low Value Crops
More than $100 per 50 ft2 bed     Less than $100 per 50ft2 bed
Spinach                           Potatoes
Carrots                           Cabbage
Scallions                         Corn
Herbs                             Winter Squash
Radishes                          Green Beans
Lettuce                           Peas
Beets                              Goal: 75% of space in high value
Greens                             crops 25% in low value crops
          Layout & Relays
Relay: the sequential growing of crops in a
  single bed
Intensive relays: 3-4 crops per bed per
  season (ex. Spinach > Radish > Carrots or
  Scallions > Lettuce > Spinach > Radish)
Bi-relay: 2 crops per bed per season
(ex. Peas > Carrots or Lettuce > Beans)
Single relay: 1 crop per season
(ex. Tomatoes)
          Layout: 1,2,3 rule
Smaller farms need to focus on 2 & 3 relays
  per bed per season – more area in 3 relay
  beds (75% in 2 & 3 relays, 25% in 1 relay
Larger farms can have 1, 2 & 3 relays per
  bed per season- more area in 1 & 2 relay
  beds (50% in 2 & 3 relays, 50% in 1 relay)
                Work load
  Workshop vs. Written Info
  5-day work week ?
Monday-Thursday 6 AM- 8 PM
Friday 6 AM – 5 PM
Saturday 8 AM – 2 PM at Market Selling
Sundays minimal watering
  Utilize friends, family, elderly, volunteers,
Farmer’s Markets
CSA- once you know what you’re doing
and capable of supplying
Buying Clubs
Avoid wholesale marketing- minimizes
 Pricing at the Farmer’s Market
Mix and Match multiple unit pricing
Two price tiers ex.
These items $1.50 each or any 3/$4.00
Radish bunches, green onion bunches, herb
  bunches, garlic bulbs
These items $3.00 per bag/unit or 2/$5.00
2lbs potatoes, 1 lb carrots, bunch of beets,
  1/2 lb bag of salad mix, 1 lb bag of green
           SPIN Formulas
Weekly Sales Target Example:
$500 / week =
250 units at $1.50 each ($333 - $375)
100 units at $3.00 each ($250 - $300)
            SPIN Formulas
Weekly Sales targets:
Novice farmers (1-3 years experience)
$500 / week for 20-30 weeks
Apprentice Farmers (4-5 years experience)
$1,000 / week
Advanced Farmers (6-10 years experience)
$2,000 / week
Expert Farmers (10 years and beyond)
$2,000 + / week
            SPIN Formulas
  1,000 ft2 farm
13 beds X $300 (3 relays/ season) = $3,900
  5,000 ft2 farm (1/8 acre)
60 beds X $300 = $18,000 farm revenue
  10,000 ft2 farm (1/4 acre)
120 beds X $300 = $36,000 farm revenue
  20,000 ft2 farm (1/2 acre)
240 beds X $300 = $72,000 farm revenue
  40,000 ft2 farm (1 acre)
480 beds X $300 = $144,000 farm revenue
 Philadelphia Summerton Tanks

On ½ acre
                                     2 ½ to 4 people full
1st year: $26,100                    time per 9 month
2nd year: $38,000                    growing season
3rd year: $52,000
4th year: $68,000
290 beds mostly in 3 relays per season
         SPIN Farming
Interesting Ideas
Innovative use of tools
Could make a small acreage farm
For more info:
       2006 Cornercopia sales/ ft2
Chives: $7.25       Spinach: $1.30
Cilantro: $6.88     Chinese Cabbage: $1.15
Sunchokes: $3.79    Broccoli: $1.05
Dill: $3.65         Carrots: $1.00
Cucumbers: $3.03    Brussel Sprouts: $.96
Basil: $2.75        Radishes: $.85
Lemon Balm: 2.63    Potatoes: $.80
Beans: $2.43        Kohlrabi: $.75
Tomatoes: $2.20     Mint: $.67
Kale: $2.10         Peppers: $.66
Onions: $1.90       Edamame: $.54
Salad Mix: $ 1.83   Turnips: $.38
Sage: $1.73         Cauliflower: $.33
Chard: $1.71        Eggplant: $.19
Beets: $1.62        Corn: $.16

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