Microgreens have exploded in popularity in recent years. More and more consumers are eating them on a regular basis. Farmers are capitalizing on this growth by supplying fresh, local microgreens to the health-conscious public, but many areas of the country are still underserved leaving a lot of opportunities out there. Whether you are a farmer who wants to start growing microgreens or one who wants to grow microgreens better, we can help.
Don’t have a lot of land?
Looking to make a living farming?
Microgreens might be a great place to start…
Microgreens are a high-value crop that can be grown intensively in a very small space with some crops selling upwards of $50 per pound.
It’s totally possible and it is being done every day.
Hear from others doing it on the podcast.
Chris Thoreau holds a BSc. (Hons.) in Agroecology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) where his focus was on soils, urban farming, and plant breeding. Currently working on expanding the viability of urban farming in Vancouver, he has worked on uniting these areas of study to help increase the sustainability of urban food production.
Chris is an owner-member at Vancouver Food Pedalers Cooperative, an urban farming business focused on growing sunflower shoots and other soil-grown microgreens for local markets, restaurants, and growers. Now in its sixth year, the business is a profitable and respected contributor to the local food chain. The Food Pedalers distribute all their food by bicycle. The Food Pedalers is currently Chris’s major project.
Chris has focused on a number of key areas which have contributed his success as an urban farmer:
- Systems: Chris takes a very systematic approach to his microgreens production system. Every step of the production process is broken down into a very specific system which makes the production process simple, efficient, and easy for training.
- Attention to Detail: No detail is too small or insignificant to be overlooked in a production system with a seven to ten-day growing cycle. Even half-day of error can make the difference between a perfect and an unharvestable crop. Attention to detail is also required to maintain the integrity of your product from seed to sale. This includes meticulous hygiene, harvesting, packing, and distribution processes.
- Execute, Follow Through, and Follow Up: Planning is one thing and execution is another. Planning without execution is the path to failure in an agricultural operation. Planning is a means to an end – not an end in itself. It must lead to action. And those actions must be executed fully and followed up on to ensure they are producing the desired results. Once gaps are identified they must be corrected promptly.
Chris Thoreau generated over $200,000 per year in this space.
As you can see you can grow a lot of high-value product in a very small space.
The high value per pound and the low space requirement makes them an attractive crop to grow as a stand-alone business or as an add-on crop for your current farm. They also have the added advantage of being able to go from startup to the first sale very quickly in a matter of weeks.
From a market appeal standpoint, microgreens are starting to gain popularity across the US and Canada with the crop being found increasingly in on restaurant menus, at farmers markets, grocers, and included in CSA boxes. Despite this growing popularity, there are still a large number of markets that aren’t being serviced by local farmers growing high-quality microgreens, herein lies the potential opportunity. If you can fill that niche in your market, then you have an attractive business on your hands.
It is important to keep in mind that microgreens are not without their challenges. With short crop cycles, specific storage and delivery requirements, weather sensitivity and important hygiene requirements, microgreens require specific attention to detail.
The time requirements and attention to detail might not be for everyone, fortunately, there are ways to optimize process and systems to make things easier and more manageable.
The Starting and Growing A Microgreens Business Online Course is a course designed to teach you the everything that you need to know run a profitable microgreens business. From choosing the right equipment to sowing seeds to selling product, microgreens grower expert Chris Thoreau has you covered.