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The Urban Farmer (PDF)
Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land
There are 40 million acres of lawns in North America. In their current form, these unproductive expanses of grass represent a significant financial and environmental cost. However, viewed through a different lens, they can also be seen as a tremendous source of opportunity. Access to land is a major barrier for many people who want to enter the agricultural sector, and urban and suburban yards have huge potential for would-be farmers wanting to become part of this growing movement.
The Urban Farmer is a comprehensive, hands-on, practical manual to help you learn the techniques and business strategies you need to make a good living growing high-yield, high-value crops right in your own backyard (or someone else's). Major benefits include:
- Low capital investment and overhead costs
- Reduced need for expensive infrastructure
- Easy access to markets.
Growing food in the city means that fresh crops may travel only a few blocks from field to table, making this innovative approach the next logical step in the local food movement. Based on a scalable, easily reproduced business model, The Urban Farmer is your complete guide to minimizing risk and maximizing profit by using intensive production in small leased or borrowed spaces.
Curtis Stone is the owner/operator of Green City Acres, a commercial urban farm based in Kelowna, BC. Farming less than half an acre on a collection of urban plots, Green City Acres grows vegetables for farmers markets, restaurants and retail outlets. After five successful seasons, Curtis has demonstrated that one can grow an extraordinary amount of food in a backyard, and make a good living doing it. During his slower months, Curtis works as a public speaker, teacher, and consultant, sharing his story to inspire a new generation of farmers.
"The Urban Farmer is simply the best guide out there for anyone wanting to grow vegetables for market. Chock full of practical information on costs, business planning, the best crops to grow, how much land to farm, growing techniques, and how to develop markets, this book covers it all. Curtis Stone shares his hard-won knowledge on setting up and succeeding at small-plot intensive (SPIN) farming in lively, easy-to-grasp prose, in all the detail you'll need to get started. Curtis not only tells us what works, he reveals, based on his own experience, what didn't work for him, and that alone is worth the price of the book. This is a comprehensive real-world manual from someone who's done it, and any market farmer will profit greatly from reading it."
Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden and The Permaculture City
"I have no hesitation in saying that The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone is one of the most important, and overdue, books on urban agriculture ever published. It is simultaneously deeply visionary and immensely practical, always a heady brew. It allows us to look at urban land in an entirely different way. If I were 18 again and given this book, it would put fire in my belly and set me on a career path that is cutting edge, deeply entrepreneurial and profoundly responsible. It deserves to be a best seller."
Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition movement and author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff.
"Curtis Stone is at the forefront of a stirring revolution. Urban farming will change what local food means and I know of no other farmer that is as successful at it as he is. And the best part is his willingness to share what is a successful business model. If you're interested in learning to profitably start a farm on a shoestring budget, Curtis Stone is the go to guy."
Jean Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener
"A first-rate, hands-on guide to successful and profitable farming on the very small scale, Curtis Stone's The Urban Farmer should be required reading for anyone who thinks that growing food requires hundreds of acres off in the countryside. Highly recommended."
John Michael Greer, author of Green Wizardry
"Curtis Stone has artfully blended my three favorite things - entrepreneurship, independence and sustainable food production into one amazing book. He has also done so in a way that lowers the entry point for anyone who is truly motivated to no longer have any excuse for not getting started. To say I recommend this book highly is a gross understatement. I consider it required reading for anyone with a goal to start a business, not matter what niche they end up in."
Jack Spirko, TheSurvivalPodcast.com
"If factory farms are not the solution to the biggest issue of our time - how to feed 9 billion people without cooking the planet - what can we do? Grow more food in the cities where we live. Urban agriculture is a tradition dating back thousands of years as well as an innovation reshaping modern city design. It's also a lure for a growing number of idealists drawn by a vision of reconnecting with the land while becoming part of the solution. But hold on. Anyone who's tried it as a business knows there's more to urban agriculture than romance. It takes hard work and common sense - two gifts Curtis Stone has in spades, and he's always been generous with sharing it. Local growers have appreciated the lectures and workshops where he spells out the dollars and sense behind growing city food. Now readers everywhere have the opportunity to tap into this valuable resource. If you're going to invest in your future as city food grower, start with a copy of The Urban Farmer."
David Tracey, author of Guerrilla Gardening and Urban Agriculture
"This book is a treasure for anyone really serious about making a decent living off an urban farm. Back-to-the-lawn urban farming might look easy, but Curtis Stone shows exactly how that “ease” grows out of getting a thousand details right. They're all in this book, generously shared. This is not just a well-written business text, illustrating the myriad technical, entrepreneurial, marketing, accounting, farming and people skills Curtis developed to work smarter, not harder. It is even more a quintessential "how-to" manual, taking the reader step by step by step to the roots of running a profitable urban farm."
Peter Ladner, author of The Urban Food Revolution and a long-time urban food gardener
Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks
Living the Good Life on Less
High-Production Methods for Small-Scale Farmers
A Five-Step Process to Design and Develop Land