[Market-farming] SPIN Farming

John Ferree john at seldomseenfarm.com
Mon Nov 26 17:31:55 EST 2007

I got ahold of 5,10 &11. 

Big criticism w/ the guides. . . . their cost sheets do not include
some. . . costs like vehicle/liability insurance, fuel, vehicle
depreciation, taxes, electricity, water, etc. . . if you've got a walkin
- it's probably going to eat some electricity?  The authors assume a
number of costs as 'house' costs instead of separating them on a % basis
of use.  If I recall they said 2 people could net 40-50k in a season. 
their costs were around ~9-13k.   I compared them against our costs  and
the difference was mostly 'perks' the farm absorbs (internet, phone,
etc), plug production, season extension, and equipment
repair/investment.  We did have significantly higher transportation
costs.  (190 trucking miles/week)

The authors are focused on the urban aspect and have little to say about
changing existing operations. . . but their story supports the urban
assumption.  'big market farm, lots of woodland creatures ate it all. 
they moved closer to town and found a better way.'

Kudos. . . it helped me reconsider how we evaluate what to grow, beyond
what customers want.   It makes you focus on what can reasonably be
produced with your labor, and what your labor is potentially worth.  It
also provides a reasonable intro for a startup grower and will probably
lessen the learning curve.  At the same time your I would rather run
more ground without the purchased inputs and be able to improve soil
with legumes instead of a shovel.  If you are limited in space the
guidance is well founded. 

I didn't like the idea of selling everything for 3$/unit, and
discounting for multiple units.  that would send me to accounting hell. 
I also think prebagging 100# of salad + spinach + baby x,y&z a week
would be extremely tiresome and add unnecessary hours of labor/week.  no
thanks.  I also understand that in a price conscious market prebagging
may be the only way to disguise a high price or frequent price/quantity
per unit changes. 


Sharon Gordon wrote:
> Has anyone on the list been testing out the info in the SPIN Farming
> guides? 
> Small Plot INtensive Farming
> http://www.spinfarming.com
> If so, which ones are the most useful?  If it helps in answering the
> question I am experienced with biointensive, permaculture, row
> gardening, and square foot gardening.  I have minimal experience with 
> lasagne gardening, gardening with straw mulch, olla desert gardening,
> waffle gardening, and Fukuoka style farming.
> Also on another list, someone mentioned a general SPIN Farming elist a
> few weeks ago.  I emailed her fof info but haven't heard back about
> its name or how to join.  Anyone else know of it?
> For anyone who hasn't run across this, it's a way to farm intensively
> and efficiently on small plots of land with basic handtools and
> possibly a good tiller, and grow high quality food for direct to
> consumer production.  Fot some good pictures and explanations see the
> passalong link on the main page--box in second row with brown
> background currently.  The pictures can be slow to load some days
> Sharon
> gordonse at one.net <mailto:gordonse at one.net>
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