Skip to content

So, just how much food can you grow on 1/8th acre???

November 15, 2010

This weekend we decided to be done for the season. We still have produce in the ground, and we plan to harvest what we can and have given away some veggies to family, friends and loyal customers, but we are also tired and ready to move into planning mode for next season. We learned a ton about what it takes to be urban farmers and just how much could be grown on less than 5,000 sq. ft. Actually, our calculations are going to be slightly off since we didn’t account for all the food we enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) throughout the season. Here’s a brief snapshot…

Sales goal: $5,000
Actual:
$4,637 (if you extrapolate this out to cover a one acre plot, the income potential is about $42,000….totally unscientific, but interesting nonetheless)

So, you may be wondering how could two people afford to live on that? This income represents what we earned working part-time (about 20 hours/week) on the farm. We both work full-time right now, but the plan is to eventually farm full-time. Of course, the amount of money we can earn farming will likely pale in comparison to what our day jobs bring in. We intend to significantly scale back our lives, grow our own food and supply our own sustenance through the food we produce.

Selling at the Lakewood Farmers Market

Where we sold (in order of sales volume)

  • Lakewood Farmers Market: 14 Saturdays (about 50% of sales)
  • Restaurants and CSA programs: Fat Cats, Bar Cento, The Root Cafe, Farm Share (30%)
  • Friends CSA: 26 weeks of pick-ups (20%)

Best sellers

  • Lettuce – 18% of sales
  • Arugula – 15%
  • Radishes – 13%

The above are the quick cycle, high margin crops, so this outcome is not too surprising. However, given the summer heat, we did end up composting a few beds of lettuce, so this figure could have been a bit higher had we been able to sell everything we grew.

Harvesting

Plans for next year

We are eagerly looking forward to next season (after some much needed rest!). Part of the goal this season was to determine whether we want to continue down this path towards being full-time farmers. We are encouraged by what we were able to accomplish this season and intend to continue, hopefully with additional growing space next year. Collaborating with other area farmers has been great for our learning curve and also motivating. Those who are working to transform vacant city lots into thriving agricultural landscapes have a beautiful vision of growing real food for local people. We are happy to be among this group. While we have much to learn, we are hopeful that this trend towards homegrown will lead to healthier and more vibrant communities. Based on our experience, demand outweighs supply, so there is a need for more farmers. Know your farmer, know your food….

About these ads
4 Comments leave one →
  1. bickle sister permalink
    November 16, 2010 6:58 am

    Can you up your CSA sales? Seems like a source of guaranteed income. I love being on the receiving end of my farmer.

  2. Tim Maher permalink
    November 16, 2010 10:22 am

    So, How many 8 Gig mem sticks can you harvest in a season.
    I show the video of the Bee Hive all the time.
    Looking forward to a sail in the Chrysler Buccanneer next year.

    Good Luck Tim

  3. December 15, 2010 1:29 pm

    Great results and very nice looking beds – great dark soil! Keep up the outstanding work – yard scale farms will be critically important and partnered with self reliant entrepreneurial work ethics it is very inspiring. Thanks for Being the Change!

    One Straw Rob

  4. March 3, 2012 12:45 pm

    Liked and linked, on the assumption that that’s OK, at Blogspot. I’ll remove the link if you want it removed, but think this post qualifies as “Good News” and some readers may even be able to support what you’re doing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 279 other followers

%d bloggers like this: