Courtesy of Roxanne C., co-author, SPIN-Farming, Philadelphia, PA
SPIN-Farming is frequently regarded as an urban farming application,and its advantages there are clear. It greatly reduces the amount of land needed for commercial crop production, which makes it easily integrated into the built environment. It is also non-mechanized and organic-based, which makes it compatible with densely populated areas.
But one of SPIN’s basic concepts – land base allocation – is of benefit to all scales of farming operations. Land base allocation is an exercise in allocating your land base to three different areas of cropping intensity and using the 1-2-3 layout to plan your production. The 1 area of your farm is the least intensive and is devoted to single, lower-value crops per season like melons or squash. This area does not typically use beds. The 2 area of your farm is devoted to bi-relay crops in which 2 higher-value crops, per bed, per season, are grown sequentially. And the 3 area of your farm is where you are doing your intensive relay cropping in which 3 or more high-value crops per bed, per season, are grown sequentially. Each of these areas contribute a different amount to your total income, with the 3 high- value area obviously contributing the most. The larger your land base, the larger the 1 and 2 areas will be. The smaller your land base, the larger your 3 area will be.
With the SPIN-Farming system you determine how much money you want to make, which is your revenue target, and then determine how to use the three areas of your land base to produce that amount.