Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA
Opening up the farming profession to those who would not otherwise think it was possible for them has taken us down a lot of garden paths because that’s where a lot of new farmers can be found. Robert Rodale, a founder of the organic movement, wrote shortly before his death in 1990 in his book Our Next Frontier:
“The highly productive home gardens of tomorrow will, I think, be the sprouts from which many new small farms
will grow. The small-scale farmers of the future can hardly learn their craft in the land-grant colleges,
which preach bigness in almost every way. These new farmers will start as gardeners and grow from there. I
think that we will see the size of gardens increase, so that the distinction between a large garden and a
small farm will become blurred.”
It was around the same time that Canadian farmer Wally Satzewich began his experiment in downsizing that he eventually codified into the SPIN-Farming online learning series, trading his 20 acre farm in the country for garden-size plots in the city. None of his growing methods were breakthrough – they were typical of what many backyard gardeners use. What was breakthrough was the amount of income he could generate, without a lot less stress, labor and overhead of a traditional farm.
In the 30 years since Rodale’s prophecy and Wally’s first SPIN farm, it’s become more apparent to more people why local food has value. The current pandemic is making it even clearer, and the business opportunity stronger. While SPIN eliminates the two big barriers to entry for new farmers – land and startup capital – there’s one barrier that’s even tougher for many gardeners to overcome. It’self-doubt.
Any new endeavor involves tentativeness, but farming’s mystique makes it appear especially daunting. For generations it’s been viewed as only for those possessed of lots of land, an agrarian legacy and magical abilities. None of that is necessary. Who is the typical SPIN farmer? They are those who are looking for a business opportunity they can develop right in their own backyard. They are people who, instead of opening a dry cleaners, or a hair salon, or a printing franchise, think instead that they like working outdoors, they like physical work, they like the idea of producing a product everyone wants and needs, they see lots of people flocking to the farmer’s market and local groceries, so they think they would like to try farming
to see if they can make a buck providing their community with a product that everyone wants and needs.
If you want to make money growing food, don’t psyche yourself out thinking you have to bet the farm. All you need is some old-fashioned elbow grease and a new way to learn, and practice, farming.
RELATED POSTS: Why and How Wally Developed SPIN-Farming
FIND OUT HOW TO JUMP START A BUSINESS GROWING FOOD IN YOUR BACKYARD, OR THE YARDS OF OTHERS FROM THOSE LIKE WALLY WHO ARE DOING IT EVERY DAY IN THE SPIN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP. FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP WHEN YOU PURCHASE ANY SPIN GUIDE.