SPIN-Farming Certification Means Business

Featured

What’s it good for? SPIN-Farming certification doesn’t leave you wondering. Once you’ve earned it, what you’ll have to show for it is a moneymaking farm business. The certification program is focused, rigorous, performance-based and produces a measurable ROI.

Completion time depends on the level you are starting from. Here are the levels:

SPIN-Farming Levels of Achievement

$ Pro 1 (Basics concepts) – Novice ($500 average gross/week)
18 Credits
Covers:                                                                                                                                     >Design
>Production techniques
>Basic, low-cost infrastructure and gear
>Harvesting & prepping practices
>Safe farming practices
Graduation requirement: present the plan that generated $500 average gross/week in revenue- crops grown, unit amounts, sales channels, pricing, number of marketing weeks

completion of this level signifies a novice farmer

$$ Pro 2 (includes 2.0 concepts) – Apprentice ($1,000 average gross/week)
21 Credits
Covers:                                                                                                                     >Equipment investments
>Land base allocation
>Extended marketing period
Graduation requirement: present the plan that generated $1,000 average gross/week in revenue – crops grown, unit amounts, sales channels, pricing, number of marketing weeks

completion of this level signifies an apprentice farmer

$$$ Pro 3 – Experienced ($2,000 average gross/week)
12 Credits
Covers:                                                                                                                                   >Work rate
>Cropping strategies
>Crop repertoire
>Extended marketing period
Graduation requirement: present the plan that generated $2,000 average gross/week in revenue – crops grown, unit amounts, sales channels, pricing, number of marketing weeks

completion of this level signifies an experienced farmer

$$$$ Pro 4 – Expert ( $2,000+ average gross per week)
12 Credits
Covers:                                                                                                                                >Maximized marketing period
>Season extension
>GAP compliance
Graduation requirement: present the plan that generated $2,000+ average gross/week in revenue – crops grown, unit amounts, sales channels, pricing, number of marketing weeks

completion of this level signifies an expert farmer

No grades. No papers. You learn by doing with online guidance from a SPIN mentor and peer-to-peer support.

Here’s how it works:
>Pick the level you are starting from
>Be assigned a SPIN mentor
>Earn SPIN credits (you might already have)!
>Achieve progressively higher levels of proficiency and revenue
>Create a moneymaking farm as you go, at a pace that suits your abilities, time and resources

Here’s graduation requirements:
>Follow our online learning program
>Pass a 25 question test
>Provide key 5 SPIN metrics for each level you complete
>Create a moneymaking SPIN farm

For more details on SPIN-Farming certification, go here.

RX for Keeping Your Business Healthy

Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia, PA 

Whatever else the ever-expanding ecosystem of food activists, advocates, bloggers, media celebrities and nonprofits has accomplished, it has convinced consumers that the big food companies can’t be trusted to be honest about how they make food, and what’s in it. Ketchum, the big public relations firm that works extensively with the food industry, says its research shows food purchases are driven by one thing – consumers’ deep concern about the health and safety of themselves and their families.

As a result, SPIN farmers now have the opportunity to serve new customers. Marketing to them requires using different methods and different messaging. Like most business owners, you might have started out selling to those similar to yourself. But to capture new customers you have to start understanding the needs and motivations that may be different than your own.

SPIN farmers are reporting they’re seeing new interest from millennials, and they are changing up their products to serve them. Millennial customers are usually young professionals. Many have two income households and young children. Home cooking
is becoming more important to them, with men participating in more KP duties. Speed and convenience are key for them, and SPIN’s mix and match multiple unit packaging and pricing allows them to grab and go. If you’re still weighing out your produce items, you may need to re-think that. You might also consider offering and packaging produce together that can make an entire meal, like ratatouille.

Many millennials are single and looking to meet people and try new things. Hosting cooking demos that emphasize the health benefits of the ingredients from your stand is a way to initially engage them. Ask them what they need. This could lead to changes to your crop repertoire, or your marketing. If your market is only open when millennials are working, you may need to extend the hours, or consider a satellite market closer to workplaces, or an online order and delivery service. Or start using facebook and email marketing to create direct connections with your customers.

With so many players driving so much change in the food industry now, you need to keep your sales and marketing as fresh your produce. That way, your business will be as healthy as your customers.

DDG6 photo 2 DSC00353 (2)
GET UP-TO-THE-MINUTE SALES AND MARKETING TECHNIQUES SPIN FARMERS USE TO GROW AND KEEP NEW CUSTOMERS IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. GET A TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY SPIN GUIDE. GROW AMBITIOUSLY.

10 Characteristics of Successful SPIN Farmers

Courtesy of Roxanne C.,Philadelphia PA

We get asked all the time, “Who is the typical SPIN farmer?” The question comes from those who want to make money farming, but have doubts about whether they have what it takes to succeed. It’s their round-about way of trying to find out if they measure up.

The true readiness of a SPIN farmer can’t be determined by standardized skills assessment sheets or formulaic self-evaluation forms. SPIN farmers, by definition, are doers. If you are serious about becoming a farmer, and are trying to figure out how to go about it, one of the best ways we can help is to give you real-world examples to follow. So each month we host an online meetup with a SPIN farmer who explains how they got started, what their farm is like and how much money they are making.

There really is no typical SPIN farmer, but what is emerging from our meetups are these 10 common characteristics:

1. They are production-driven
2. They sell their products for a premium
3. They understand that the story of their farm can be turned into economic worth in the marketplace
4. They set goals, plan, and identify measurable objectives
5. They track their SPIN numbers
6. They do not take on much, if any, debt
7. They view change as opportunity
8. They innovate new approaches to business arrangements, such as networking, partnerships, and diversification.
9. They keep up to date on food trends
10. They know how to assess, take on and manage reasonable risk

If you can’t find a SPIN farmer in your neck of the woods to learn from, you’re welcome to drop in on our online SPIN member meetups. Follow us on facebook for the schedule. Though every one of our members has a unique story to tell, they all agree on one thing. The best way to get started is to just do it. SPIN makes it low-risk, and you’ll know quickly if you have what it takes. Here’s how well some of them are doing, and they are all eager to tell you how they did it.

SF photo blog characteristics just do it

MEET MORE OF OUR MEMBERS IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. GET A TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY SPIN GUIDE. GROW AMBITIOUSLY.

SPIN-Farming at Georgia Organics Conference 2017

You have a calling to farm but …you have no land, no money, no experience.                                              No Problem! Be a SPIN farmer!  

Learn how to start a first year income-producing farm in the city, suburbs or small town without huge investment and without having to own any land with SPIN-Farming  at this year’s Georgia Organics conference Friday. February 17, 2pm – 5 pm.  Register at conference.georgiaorganics.org

Workshop Title                                                                                                                       SPIN-Farming: How It Works and What You Can Achieve

Workshop Description
Learn the basics of SPIN (s-mall p-lot in-tensive) Farming, an easy-to-replicate, non-technical, organic-based vegetable farming system that makes it possible to earn $50,000+gross from 20,000 sq.ft.

Learning Objectives
1. How to greatly reduce the amount of land you need to 20,000 sq. ft. or less
2. How to get land without having to buy it
3. How to make minimal investment
4. How to design a sub-acre land base to get maximum yields and income
5. How to manage the workflow of an owner/operated farm without outside labor
6. How to identify and choose sales channels
7. How to set pricing strategies for your produce
8. How to use SPIN’s relay growing technique to multiply revenue 2,3 or more times from the same plot
9. How to use SPIN’s benchmarks to set measurable goals to continually gauge your progress and make small,continual course corrections throughout the season

Leave with the SPIN planning formula for calculating how much land you need, and how many units you need to produce, to achieve your 2017 revenue target.

Workshop Instructor                                                                                                              Lee McBride  

Lee McBride is a Technical Assistance Provider at Crotovina, where he works individually with about fifteen beginning farmers and ranchers, providing farm-specific assistance on everything from production methods to accessing capital and equipment to dealing with regulations and paperwork.

Lee found SPIN-Farming in 2006 and it became the impetus for his garden coaching and farm mentoring career. After implementing the SPIN methods slowly, over time, at the CASA Community Garden in Huntsville AL and proving the concepts, Lee believes SPIN is the one method that can feed people and create economic opportunity all over the south. He became a SPIN-Farming isntructor in 2011.

Lee has worked with over one hundred fifty farmers, many of whom are new and beginning farmers from all backgrounds for the past seven years in Alabama. As the Local Food Coordinator and as Director of Local Food for the North Alabama Farm Food Collaborative, Lee helped 21 farmers achieve Harmonized GAP certification. While working with support organizations such as Cooperative Extension to develop training materials to help farmers maintain the food safety certifications.

See why using a performance-based system like SPIN-Farming increases your chances of success by keeping you focused on just what matters most to establishing and operating a business.

Launch a farm business in a way that  is:  $ Affordable   $ Manageable   $ Scalable  with SPIN-Farming.

Register today at conference.georgiaorganics.org

By making farm startup fast and easy, SPIN-Farming opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

By making farm startup fast and easy, SPIN-Farming opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

About the Georgia Organics Conference
The Annual Georgia Organics Conference and Expo is one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast.

More than 1,000+ Conference attendees connect with like-minded peers, tour farms, cultivate new skills, and discover more than 70 partners’ exhibit booths with innovative food-and agriculture-related information that will build stronger farms, school gardens, and communities.

One-on-one consulting sessions, farmers-only farm tours, full-day outdoor workshops, the incredible Farmers Feast with some of ATL’s best chefs, and not one but TWO keynote speakers.

Register today at conference.georgiaorganics.org

2017 Trends and Who’s Setting Them

Here’s SPIN-Farming’s Alphabet List of 2017 Trends culled from all the presentations at last year’s Member Meetups. Thanks to all of the forward thinking SPIN farmers listed below who presented their business plans, how they implemented them and the revenue they targeted and achieved.

SPIN’s online Member Meetups are THE place to get in on the latest entrepreneurial farming trends as they are happening and learn from the real-world experience of those who are using SPIN-Farming to create and develop successful businesses. If starting a farm business, or learning the business of growing food, is on your New Year’s to-do list, you’re welcome to join in. (see below).

SPIN’s Alphabet of 2017 Trends
A la carte CSA
Bike-power
Co-operative marketing
Diversification
Ethnic
Farm to Barrel
GAP
Hyperlocal
Intensification
Juicing
Kids
Loss leaders
Mushrooms
Nutrition info
Online marketplaces
Performance-based
Quick Greens
Relays
Sampling
Targeted revenue
Units
Value add
Winter micros
X-treme weather
Yardsharing
Zero waste

SPIN Farming’s 2017 Star Members
Mary Ackley, Little Wild Things City Farm, Washington DC
Caroline Barrington, Clean Spade Farms, Swift Current SK
Keri Fox, Green Sister Gardens, Moose Jaw SK
John Greenwood, JNJ Farms, Macomb IL
Annabel Khouri, Bay Branch Farm, Cleveland OH
Brian Kowlaski, Murray Meadows Farm, Portugal Cove NL
Rob Miller, Trefoil Gardens, Woodstock GA
Adithya Ramachandran, Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens, Dundurn SK
Marcus Riedner, Happiness By The Acre, Calgary AB
Eric Stoffer, Bay Branch Farm, Cleveland OH
Brenda Sullivan, Thompson Street Farm, Glastonbury CT
Brianna van de Wijngaard, Puddle Produce, William Lake BC
Justin Vandenbroeck, Fleet Farming, Oakland CA

sf-photo-blog-star-performers

WANT TO GROW WITH THESE PRO’S?

There are two options  You can purchase membership here, to participate in our online support group and get access to all past and future Member Meetups as well as monthly instant learning sessions conducted by SPIN-Farming’s creator, Wally Satzewich.

If you are committed to starting a business, purchase one of our programs here which also comes with a trial membership.Be on trend and in the money in 2017!

SPIN Farming Ten Years Down the Road

Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA

Since its launch 10 years ago, SPIN-Farming has come to mean many things. While it embodies lots of food and farming trends, it’s practitioners know it as a profit-driven production system coupled with a business model. That’s what it is meant to be.

If you have come to know it by hearsay, you might be surprised to learn it’s not all it’s said to be. Here are 10 claims that should be taken with a grain of salt.

# 1. SPIN-Farming teaches you how to farm.
It doesn’t. It teaches how to make money growing food. Rather than duplicating existing farm education programs that focus primarily on agricultural practices, SPIN-Farming provides a financial and management framework for having business drive the agriculture, rather than the other way around. It works much like a franchise, without the cost, conformity or complications.

A common complaint from beginning farmers is they invest years of training for a job that barely pays. SPIN’s online learning programs and membership in its online support group is a low-cost, low-risk alternative. You can find out quickly if you’re cut out for farming without taking on the traditional farm commitments of owning lots of land, investing piles of money and making a big lifestyle change. You get just what you need to know to start, without being overwhelmed by knowledge that is more appropriate to acquire later in your career. The money you save from not having to commit to more elaborate programs can be invested in your farm infrastructure, which, following the classic SPIN approach, is simple and affordable.

By making farm startup fast and easy, it opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

By making farm startup fast and easy, it opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

# 2. SPIN-Farming is urban farming.
It doesn’t have to be.  SPIN-Farming can and is practiced wherever there are markets to support it. It greatly reduces the amount of land needed for commercial crop production, so the land base a farmer needs is no bigger than some backyards, front lawns and neighborhood lots. In fact the land base for many SPIN farmers is backyards, front lawns and neighborhood lots. It is also non-mechanized and does not use harsh chemicals. So it is particularly suited to densely populated areas since it eliminates the conflicts posed by larger scale agriculture. However, its core concepts of relay cropping, land base allocation, workflow practices and direct marketing are practiced on suburban and rural farms as well.

spin-photo-gail-manitoba

Rural plots can also be used in SPIN farms. Some SPIN farmers even own a tractor!

#3.  SPIN-Farming is Square Foot Gardening.
Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Square foot gardening.

Square foot gardening.

SPIN-Farming on 2,500 sq. ft.

SPIN-Farming on 2,500 sq. ft.

To turn garden-size spaces into farm-size income you need to maximize your growing space in order to produce significant volume.

But SPIN-Farming goes far beyond space utilization. It also includes professional grade harvesting and post-harvesting practices, operations management framework and a business model. Its aim is to achieve progressively higher levels of revenue, with key
benchmarks provided.

# 4. SPIN-Farming is just annual plants.

Perennial crops are frequently used on SPIN farms. They are used in areas that might be difficult to put into annual production, such as perimeter areas. Perennial crops are usually low maintenance so they are also used on multi-locational farms that are over extended. If you have a lot of land in play these types of crops reduce the amount of labor needed, and make overall farm operations much more manageable. Many can be sold through multiple sales channels, and can be worth a lot of money – $1000+ per segment. Examples of perennial crops include horseradish, mint, rhubarb, raspberries, sunchokes, strawberries. There are many, many others.

That is the point – to have as many options as possible, and be constantly changing them up. SPIN farms are comprised of annual, perennial, and even foraged crops. Crop planning is mix of both strategy and serendipity To be successful you need to be a reality-based farmer, not a rules-based farmer.

There are many reasons to include perennial crops like rhubarb in a SPIN crop repertoire.

There are many reasons to include perennial crops like rhubarb in a SPIN crop repertoire.

# 5. SPIN-Farming uses set pricing of $3 per unit or 2 for $5.
There is no set pricing in SPIN-Farming, but there are pricing strategies which are outlined in the learning series. There are two other rules of thumb to keep in mind on pricing:
>>>80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers

>>>If 20% of potential customers don’t pass you by complaining your prices are too high, you aren’t charging enough

The exact percentages above aren’t important, but the points are:
>>> you need to capture whatever percent of the market that is willing to pay you what your produce is worth, not the largest percent of the market

>>> you need to charge pricing that makes being in business worth your while, and hold to it (of course you have to back it up with quality products)

An important point to understand when it comes to SPIN concepts and processes is that practice overrules orthodoxy. SPIN farmers are master rule breakers – especially rules of their own making!

With SPIN's mix and match pricing, customers can grab and go...just ask Rex Landings of Cackleberry Farms.

With SPIN’s mix and match pricing, customers can grab and go…just ask Rex Landings of Cackleberry Farms.

# 6. SPIN-Farming is yardsharing.
Yardsharing is an option outlined in the SPIN-Farming system, but it is not a defining a component. To remove the main barrier to entry for new farmers, SPIN-Farming outlines a multi-locational model that has been used by SPIN’s founder, Wally Satzewich, for over 15 years. It is the same as yardsharing – a farmer secures the use of backyards or front lawns or unused lots instead of having to invest in farmland. Terms and tenure vary. The number of plots that comprises Wally’s farm have ranged from 11 to 25, with the total never more than 2/3 of an acre, or around 30,000 square feet. Terms of use have varied, and plots have come and gone, depending on various circumstances.

The point is that SPIN farmers can make cropland wherever they happen to be. Many SPIN farmers, however, have sizeable properties and do not have to resort to yardsharing. And those who start out yardsharing sometimes move on to a singe plot of land or buy traditional farms.

A SPIN-Farming land base is very dynamic. It can be scaled up or down,and can be owned, traded or leased, based on whatever the farmer’s needs are at any given time.

A SPIN-Farming land base is very dynamic. It can be scaled up or down,and can be owned, traded or leased, based on whatever the farmer’s needs are at any given time.

Here are negotiating points that should be addressed if you decide to do yardsharing. Its benefits are many – it is low- risk, and high-profile if the yard is visible to passersby. It can turn out to be a great way to market your produce!

# 7. SPIN-Farming is market gardening. 
SPIN-Farming’s scale and growing practices are no different than market gardening. What is novel is the SPIN-Farming system which standardizes how a market garden is planned, created and run. It provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business concept, marketing strategy, pricing guidelines, financial benchmarks and a detailed day- to-day workflow. In creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonald’s.

While most market gardening learning programs focus primarily if not exclusively on agricultural practices, SPIN emphasizes the business aspects and provides a financial and management framework for having revenue goals drive the agriculture, rather than the other way around.

While other market gardening learning programs address growing, marketing and management,the SPIN-Farming system ties them altogether to keep you focused on what matters most to generating steady, consistent, progressively higher higher cashflow so
that you have more control over outcomes and income. It also provides specific benchmarks to measure progress, so that you know if you are under or achieving.

Now that local foods represents an $11 billion+ industry, according to the USDA, the practice of market gardening is becoming professionalized and competitive. The SPIN-Farming system quantifies exactly how lucrative and rewarding success can be.

SPIN-Farming takes market gardening to much smaller plots of land and much higher levels of profitability.

SPIN-Farming takes market gardening to much smaller plots of land and much higher levels of profitability.

See these related posts:

Performance-based Farming: How Well Are You Doing?.

Revenue Is The Benchmark To Beat

# 8. SPIN-Farming requires tilling.
SPIN-Farming recommends the use of a tiller because in a business time is money, and a tiller makes very fast work of prepping and replanting. But using a tiller is not always practical or possible in some cases. And it is a significant investment. We are also aware of the fervent opposition to tilling among some growers who believe that it damages soil
structure. SPIN does not dictate any one method of soil prep or maintenance but recommends using local inputs and composting if you can. It is a production system, not a belief system.

mod-2-bed-prep-3
See related posts:

What Is The Best Way To Prep Land?

Working The Soil Is What Farmers Do

# 9. SPIN-Farming is a movement
Food and farming-related movements have sprouted like weeds over the last 10 years, and SPIN-Farming can be used to advance many of them. It’s a tool, not a cause. Whether it’s used as a mission, a business or for self expression, we’ve never heard a bad reason to grow food. SPIN’s only role is helping people find the business opportunity in something they feel passionate about and love to do.

sf-photo-movement-logo-fleet-farming-photo

No matter your purpose, it just makes sense to pay the bills by proving your cause.

# 10. SPIN-Farming is sustainable
This is a specious statement, as are any claims to sustainability. The reality is, Who knows?

Whether, and how, anything can be sustained can only be known in hindsight. To truly prove this claim you need to take the long view and base the answer on practice, not theory. It’s encouraging and gratifying that SPIN is helping to channel some of the new found enthusiasm for getting your hands in the dirt into new farming businesses. But the mark of success for SPIN will be how many of these growers have staying power. Check back to see how many SPIN farmers have started – and stayed – in business in another 10 years.

sf-photo-blog-ghotst-farm

Looking forward to seeing you in another 10 years….

 

 

How to Get Big Sales of Big Onions

Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK

One way SPIN farmers make bigger sales is by using a mix and match multiple unit pricing strategy – $3/unit, 2 for $5, 5 for $10. We sell our onions in mesh bags, and this fits this strategy well, with small onions making up about a half pound bag. But what do you do with large size onions that weigh a half pound or more? They can’t be plugged into this strategy.

What works for me is marketing them in braid form. The large onions sell at well at $10 a braid. Each braid has 5 onions and are about 3 lbs. per braid. I also test marketed an upscale version with garlic and dry peppers. Those go for $20. This customer bought one of each, for a nice $30 sale.

In addition to capturing more value from certain crops, braids make your stand more inviting and help differentiate you at market.

In addition to capturing more value from certain crops, braids make your stand more inviting and help differentiate you at market.

Some come to SPIN expecting hard and fast rules, like always following a set pricing strategy. But that’s not how farming works. When it comes to pricing strategies an important point to understand is that practice overrules orthodoxy. SPIN farmers are master rule breakers – especially rules of their own devising! So be creative not just with your braiding, bu also in your marketing and pricing strategies.

GET MORE PRICING AND MARKETING TIPS FROM THE PRO’S IN SPIN’S ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP COMES WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY GUIDE. 

 

SPIN Farming May Not Be All You Think It Is

Courtesy of Roxanne C. , Philadelphia PA

Since its launch 10 years ago, SPIN-Farming has come to mean many things. While it embodies lots of food and farming trends, it’s practitioners know it as a profit-driven production system coupled with a business model. That’s what it is meant to be.

If you have come to know it by hearsay, you might be surprised to learn it’s not all it’s said to be. Over the next 10 weeks we’ll do a countdown of some of the claims that should be taken with a grain of salt. Here is # 1.

# 10. SPIN-Farming is sustainable
This is a specious statement, as are any claims to sustainability. The reality is, Who knows?

Whether, and how, anything can be sustained can only be known in hindsight. To truly prove this claim you need to take the long view and base the answer on practice, not theory. It’s encouraging and gratifying that SPIN is helping to channel some of the new found enthusiasm for getting your hands in the dirt into new farming businesses. But the mark of success for SPIN will be how many of these growers have staying power. Check back to see how many SPIN farmers have started – and stayed – in business in another 10 years. sf-photo-blog-ghotst-farm

Looking forward to seeing you in another 10 years…..

# 2. SPIN-Farming is a movement
Food and farming-related movements have sprouted like weeds over the last 10 years, and SPIN-Farming can be used to advance many of them. It’s a tool, not a cause. Whether it’s used as a mission, a business or for self expression, we’ve never heard a bad reason to grow food. SPIN’s only role is helping people find the business opportunity in something they feel passionate about and love to do.

sf-photo-movement-logo-fleet-farming-photo

No matter your purpose, it just makes sense to pay the bills by proving your cause.

# 3. SPIN-Farming requires tilling.
SPIN-Farming recommends the use of a tiller because in a business time is money, and a tiller makes very fast work of prepping and replanting. But using a tiller is not always practical or possible in some cases. And it is a significant investment. We are also aware of the fervent opposition to tilling among some growers who believe that it damages soil
structure. SPIN does not dictate any one method of soil prep or maintenance but recommends using local inputs and composting if you can. It is a production system, not a belief system.

mod-2-bed-prep-3

See related posts:

Working the Soil is What Farmers Do

What is the Best Way to Prep Land?

# 4. SPIN-Farming is market gardening. 
SPIN-Farming’s scale and growing practices are no different than market gardening. What is novel is the SPIN-Farming system which standardizes how a market garden is planned, created and run. It provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business concept, marketing strategy, pricing guidelines, financial benchmarks and a detailed day- to-day workflow. In creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonald’s.

While most market gardening learning programs focus primarily if not exclusively on agricultural practices, SPIN emphasizes the business aspects and provides a financial and management framework for having revenue goals drive the agriculture, rather than the other way around.

While other market gardening learning programs address growing, marketing and management,the SPIN-Farming system ties them altogether to keep you focused on what matters most to generating steady, consistent, progressively higher higher cashflow so
that you have more control over outcomes and income. It also provides specific benchmarks to measure progress, so that you know if you are under or achieving.

Now that local foods represents an $11 billion+ industry, according to the USDA, the practice of market gardening is becoming professionalized and competitive. The SPIN-Farming system quantifies exactly how lucrative and rewarding success can be.

SPIN-Farming takes market gardening to much smaller plots of land and much higher levels of profitability.

SPIN-Farming takes market gardening to much smaller plots of land and much higher levels of profitability.

See related posts.

Revenue Is The Benchmark To Beat

Perforrmance-based Farming: How Well Are You Doing?

# 5. SPIN-Farming is yardsharing.
Yardsharing is an option outlined in the SPIN-Farming system, but it is not a defining a component. To remove the main barrier to entry for new farmers, SPIN-Farming outlines a multi-locational model that has been used by SPIN’s founder, Wally Satzewich, for over 15 years. It is the same as yardsharing – a farmer secures the use of backyards or front lawns or unused lots instead of having to invest in farmland. Terms and tenure vary. The number of plots that comprises Wally’s farm have ranged from 11 to 25, with the total never more than 2/3 of an acre, or around 30,000 square feet. Terms of use have varied, and plots have come and gone, depending on various circumstances.

The point is that SPIN farmers can make cropland wherever they happen to be. Many SPIN farmers, however, have sizable properties and do not have to resort to yardsharing. And those who start out yardsharing sometimes move on to a singe plot of land or buy traditional farms.

A SPIN-Farming land base is very dynamic. It can be scaled up or down,and can be owned, traded or leased, based on whatever the farmer’s needs are at any given time.

A SPIN-Farming land base is very dynamic. It can be scaled up or down,and can be owned, traded or leased, based on whatever the farmer’s needs are at any given time.

Here are negotiating points that should be addressed if you decide to do yardsharing. Its benefits are many – it is low-risk, and high-profile if the yard is visible to passersby. It can turn out to be a great way to market your produce!

# 6. SPIN-Farming uses set pricing of $3 per unit or 2 for $5.                                 There is no set pricing in SPIN-Farming, but there are pricing strategies which are outlined in the learning series. There are two other rules of thumb to keep in mind on pricing:
>>>80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers

>>>If 20% of potential customers don’t pass you by complaining your prices are too high, you aren’t charging enough

The exact percentages above aren’t important, but the points are:
>>> you need to capture whatever percent of the market that is willing to pay you what your produce is worth, not the largest percent of the market

>>> you need to charge pricing that makes being in business worth your while, and hold to it (of course you have to back it up with quality products)

An important point to understand when it comes to SPIN concepts and processes is that practice overrules orthodoxy. SPIN farmers are master rule breakers – especially rules of their own making!

With SPIN's mix and match pricing, customers can grab and go...just ask Rex Landings of Cackleberry Farms.

With SPIN’s mix and match pricing, customers can grab and go…just ask Rex Landings of Cackleberry Farms.

# 7 SPIN-Farming is just annual plants.
Perennial crops are frequently used on SPIN farms. They are used in areas that might be difficult to put into annual production, such as perimeter areas. Perennial crops are usually low maintenance so they are also used on multi-locational farms that are over extended. If you have a lot of land in play these types of crops reduce the amount of labor needed, and make overall farm operations much more manageable. Many can be sold through multiple sales channels, and can be worth a lot of money – $1000+ per segment. Examples of perennial crops include horseradish, mint, rhubarb, raspberries, sunchokes, strawberries. There are many, many others.

That is the point – to have as many options as possible, and be constantly changing them up. SPIN farms are comprised of annual, perennial, and even foraged crops. Crop planning is mix of both strategy and serendipity To be successful you need to be a reality-based farmer, not a rules-based farmer.

There are many reasons to include perennial crops like rhubarb in a SPIN crop repertoire.

There are many reasons to include perennial crops like rhubarb in a SPIN crop repertoire.

#8 SPIN-Farming is Square Foot Gardening.                                                                       Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Square foot gardening.

Square foot gardening.

SPIN-Farming on 2,500 sq. ft.

SPIN-Farming on 2,500 sq. ft.

To turn garden-size spaces into farm-size income you need to maximize your growing space in order to produce significant volume. But SPIN-Farming goes far beyond space utilization. It also includes professional grade harvesting and post-harvesting practices, an operations management framework and a business model. Its aim is to achieve progressively higher levels of revenue, with key benchmarks provided.

# 9: SPIN-Farming is urban farming.                                                                                    It doesn’t have to be. SPIN-Farming can and is practiced wherever there are markets to support it. It greatly reduces the amount of land needed for commercial crop production, so the land base a farmer needs is no bigger than some backyards, front lawns and neighborhood lots. In fact the land base for many SPIN farmers is backyards, front lawns and neighborhood lots. It is also non-mechanized and does not use harsh chemicals. So it is particularly suited to densely populated areas since it eliminates the conflicts posed by larger scale agriculture. However, its core concepts of relay cropping, land base allocation, workflow practices and direct marketing are practiced on suburban and rural farms as well.

spin-photo-gail-manitoba

Some SPIN farms are in rural areas. Some SPIN farmers even use a tractor!

# 10: SPIN-Farming teaches how to farm.
It doesn’t. It teaches how to make money growing food. Rather than duplicating existing farm education programs that focus primarily on agricultural practices, SPIN-Farming provides a financial and management framework for having business drive the agriculture, rather than the other way around. It works much like a franchise, without the cost, conformity or complications.

A common complaint from beginning farmers is they invest years of training for a job that barely pays. SPIN’s online learning programs and membership in its online support group is a low-cost, low-risk alternative. You can find out quickly if you’re cut out for farming without taking on the traditional farm commitments of owning lots of land, investing piles of money and making a big lifestyle change. You get just what you need to know to start, without being overwhelmed by knowledge that is more appropriate to acquire later in your career. The money you save from not having to commit to more elaborate programs can
be invested in your farm infrastructure, which, following the classic SPIN approach, is simple and affordable.

By making farm startup fast and easy, SPIN-Farming opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

By making farm startup fast and easy, SPIN-Farming opens up the profession to many more people who otherwise wold not think it was an option for them.

 

Grow Backyard Crops To Fund Home Improvements

Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK

The advantage to backyard farming is that you can ramp it up or down, depending on your financial needs at any given time. If you  don’t use it to provide your full-time income, you can use it to fund a short term goal.

Say you are looking to put in a hot tub in a corner of your yard. You can apply your farming skill to grow a crop that will fund it.

SF photo theme garden squash 500 sf $500

Here’s that corner where the future hot tub will go. It’s about 500 square feet. That’s half a SPIN segment.

If you plant 20 to 30 squash plants in that sub-segment you can sell it to friends and neighbors or to another farmer who can sell it to their customers. A good type to grow in this context is Golden Nugget winter squash, which is a prolific bush type plant that doesn’t vine out like other squash, so it’s good for compact spaces.

SF photo fb Suqash GoldenNugget

FIND OUT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER CROPS THAT CAN EARN THEIR KEEP IN GARDEN SIZE PLOTS IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. GET FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY SPIN GUIDE.