[blockquote cite=”Curtis Stone” type=”center”]”The important thing is to just get started. Because once you show people you are willing to do the work all kinds of opportunities will present themselves. Once you move past the talk, and you put your words into action, people see those actions, and opportunities just present themselves.”[/blockquote]
Curtis Stone of Green City Acres joins me to talk about his experience as an urban farmer.
SPIN Farming is a methodology to grown a lot of produce on very little land. It provides you with a plan to get started now so you can get cash flow going, gain experience and skills. It breaks down the big barriers to farming, being owning land the access to capital.
SPIN teaches you how to start farming with very little start-up cost and how to get a quick return on your investment. Typical start-up costs are around $10,000 and you can make $20,000 in your first year.
When Curtis started SPIN Farming he put $7000 into the business and made $22000 his first year. His main start-up costs included a rototiller, a walk in cooler, garden tools, and his irrigation supplies. Every year since they Curtis has grown his business and his earnings.
Profitable Urban Farming and SPIN Takeaways:
- SPIN is an intensive form of farming. You are just giving plants the amount of space that they need.
- Zone crops based on demand, grown rate, and highest return. Those that require more get zoned closer in the intensive zone.
- Benefits to a potential landowner allowing access ot their land. They don’t’ have to mow their lawn and all of the upkeep is taken care of. And they get fresh produce.
- Often times it is possible to lease land for free. Some jurisdictions provide tax incentives to have farming done on their land, a benefit to the land owner. A typical lease could be around $1000 per acre per year.
- Find the path of least resistance to land. Maybe a friend or relative has land that you can get started on. Then use your initial land as a pivot point to lead to other opportunities. This way you can show people what is possible.
- It is possible to make $100,000 per acre per year with SPIN. This can be achieved by adding specialty crops, extending your season and doing some indoor high value crops like microgreens.
- Start small and learn to maximize the land that you have first. Versus expanding like crazy. This can lead to burnout.
- Over time consider adding things like aquaponics, chickens or bees to the system to increase your sellable products.
- It is possible for one person to make $50-60,000 per year themselves using spin.
- One person working part time with SPIN could farm 500-2000 square feet.
- Expect 25% of the time to be dedicated to sales, promotion, and book keeping. An important yet often overlooked component of farming.
- Options for selling include farmers markets, CSA and restaurants. Each market has its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages.
- “I just see SPIN Farming as a checking account for young activists. This is a way to get paid and a way to recapitalize into something perhaps greater.”
- “SPIN is a methodology on how to grow a lot of product on very little land.”
- “I find people in our alternative community of agriculture and permaculture have a tendency to really want to rewrite the book for themselves when they get into something. And that’s totally fine, but I think there is a lot to be said about having a complete business plan that will just help you get started.”
- “The important thing is to just get started. Because once you show people you are willing to do the work all kinds of opportunities will present themselves. Once you move past the talk, and you put your words into action, people see those actions, and opportunities just present themselves.”
- “I think that is the key. You just need to start with something and turn it into something and then people will immediately gravitate towards you. I find that people in this day and age are just dieing for leadership. And when they see somebody step up to the plate and say I am going to do this because I believe in it and I think it’s right, people just come to your doorstep and offer you things.”
- “Once people get their head around the idea of not owning land it flips around to be a huge opportunity, when in the conventional sense it’s a huge barrier.”
Curtis Stone of Green City Acres
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