WHEN: April 13, 2017
REGISTER: Save your seat here.
LEARN FROM THE BEST MINDS IN FARMING TODAY. LIKE CALE SPRISTER, IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WHEN YOU PURCHASE ANY SPIN GUIDE.
WHEN: March 16, 2pm ET
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)
>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
$$ Pro 2 (includes 2.0 concepts) – Apprentice ($1,000 average gross/week)
Covers: >Equipment investments
>Land base allocation
>Extended marketing period
Graduation requirement: present the plan that generated $1,000 average gross/week in revenue – crops grown, unit amounts, sales channels, pricing, number of marketing weeks
completion of this level signifies an apprentice farmer
$$$ Pro 3 – Experienced ($2,000 average gross/week)
Covers: >Work rate
>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)
Covers: >Maximized 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
MEET MORE OF OUR MEMBERS IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. GET A TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY SPIN GUIDE. GROW AMBITIOUSLY.
WHERE: Online. Free.
WHEN: Thursday January 26, 8:30 m ET
REGISTER: Save your seat here
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
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.
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
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
Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK
If my email is any indication, 2017 might produce another bumper crop of new farmers. Those who are finding their way to me for advice come well-equipped with best practices and lengthy to-do lists. Very little of it has to do with making a go of it as a business. My advice is to keep an open mind about the farming industry’s sacred cows. Here are five that first-year farmers sometimes spend far too much energy on.
Composting is a multi-year process. Segment size production areas will need hundreds of pounds of finished compost. Larger areas, even more. You can start the process in year 1 if you have the space, but you certainly should not feel like a failure if you don’t. And you certainly shouldn’t aim to meet all your soil prep needs by closing any loops. Other soil natural amendments can be used before your composting gets up to speed, and fine tuning your operation’s inputs versus outputs equation can’t be figured out in your first year. You can ease into composting with a modest setup which might include four
or five 4 ‘ by 4 ‘ by 4 ‘ feet bins. Wooden packing crates you can get for free will get you off to a great start.
Seed saving is another worthy practice, but it takes years to develop substantial amounts of seed. Again, you can learn the process and pick up on other’s experience, but for your first few years don’t create extra pressure by trying to aim to become your own seed supplier.
This is an obsession that has grown in recent years. But starting out you should beware of anything that will add complexity to your operation – and structures that require significant expense and specialized expertise make production more challenging. Instead, try extending your season with strategic crop selection – choosing crops that do well in cool weather conditions, timing of plantings, frost tolerance. You will be surprised with how far “simple” growing will take you.
Rain water harvesting
Rain water harvesting is another worthy practice, but consider this. Elaborate water harvesting systems can increase efficiency – until they break down or malfunction. And they require investment, specialized knowledge and time to set up. It’s better to start simply and perfect more sophisticated systems over several years. Very basic watering methods using only a hose and some hardware store valves is all you need to start.
Cover cropping can be important for weed control and soil building. But on typical SPIN-scale plots, it really isn’t practical. On larger areas it can also be difficult to work the crops back into the soil if you don’t have the right equipment. So proceed slowly, getting familiar with various techniques. In the meantime, use alternate methods that are much
simpler, like scuffle hoeing an area when the weeds are still at an early stage for weed control, and use local “feed store“ fertilizers like alfalfa pellets, blood meal and oil seed meals for soil building.
What should be the priorities of a first year farmer? There’s only one. Production. You need to develop the ability to grow consistently, in significant volume, at commercial grade. Few master it in year 1. If you also try to make your farm a showplace for all the latest and greatest farming practices, you might never master it at all. And a farm that’s not
producing is just a heap of compost. So keep those emails coming. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll end up with a shorter 2017 to-do list than what you start with.
GET MORE IDEAS ON HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTION IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. TRIAL MEMBERSHIP COMES WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY SPIN GUIDE. GROW AMBITIOUSLY.