Start market gardening with our Bootstrap Approach

Free report - If you have a small farm, or a mini-farm, or even a micro-farm that's less than one acre, you can start a successful market garden business.

Click here for your Free Market Gardening Start-up Guide

For Further Reading . . .

Gardner's Secret HandbookFree Gardener's Secret Handbook

Work at Home Masters CourseFree Work at Home Masters Course

Bootstrap Market GardeningBootstrap Market Gardening

Raise Meat ChickensPastured Poultry

Raise Pigs on Pasture Raise Pigs on Pasture

Food4Wealth Book and VideosFood4Wealth Book and Videos
Why did we create our bootstrap model to start market gardening? Well, one dictionary defines 'bootstrap' this way:

v. To promote and develop by use of one's own initiative and work

Adj. Being or relating to a process that is self-initiating or self-sustaining.

I think those definitions are the essence of our small farm approach. Suzie and I found a way to start up our market garden without a lot of money or equipment. In fact our customers helped us with money to launch the business! You can do the same thing if you follow our approach.

But is this a good time to start market gardening?

You know that farmers have been getting lots of bad news lately; everything from mad cows to falling commodity prices to food scares to the threat of imported food products. And the cost of everything from fuel to fencing wire keeps going up. Lots of my 'city friends' wonder why I want to be a farmer with all this negative stuff going on.

Here's my reason - the absolute satisfaction I get from finding a way to do something I really like (i.e. growing stuff) and then getting paid for it!

I get a sense of fulfillment when I'm walking around my small farm that no other 'job' has given me. So I have to make a profit to pay for my 'addiction' to farming! There are worse addictions to have.

Here's the good news: your small farm is worth more than you think. A few years ago I read a really great book titled 'How to Make $100,000 Farming 25 Acres', written by a gentleman named Booker T. Whatley. This book (and a few more like it by Eliot Coleman, Andy Lee, Joel Salatin, Gene Logsdon) inspired me to think differently about my small farm.

It inspired me to think that I actually could make my little place profitable, perhaps even provide a full-time living. And having done this for a few years, and figured out the system we now follow, I believe that $100,000 (or even more) is achievable on even 2 acres!

Suzie and I are on that path right now. We are building a small farm business that will provide us a good full-time living. And when we are ready to 'hang it up' we will be able to sell that business to help fund our retirement (no rush, though, I like doing this stuff!).

Along the way we won that ‘Premier's Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence’, so I guess we are doing something right. By the way, I hate the term 'agri-food'; where else would food come from except agriculture? But they gave me a nice plaque (and a nice cheque) so I will live with it.

In my 'straight job' I do strategic planning and process analysis and design, and I'm considered an expert in performance management (I once wrote a book about that topic). So it was natural for me to want to document what we were doing, and to want to pass it along to others.

I honestly believe that ANYONE can adapt the things we have done and make their small farm (or even a big back yard) profitable. Of course this does not mean it's easy; farming will always be work. But I have not found any job that is more satisfying.

So, what is Bootstrap Market Gardening?

Let me show you the key elements of the New Terra Farm Bootstrap Market Garden that took us from ‘beginners’ to ‘winners’ in one year.

The first element to understand is that our customers pay us in advance for vegetables they will receive. In effect they subscribe to our farm; you may have heard this kind of farming referred to as Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. In return we deliver them a basket of farm-fresh veggies every week throughout the season.

This is a guaranteed cash flow; essentially all our produce is sold before it is grown! This advance payment lets us buy equipment and seed, construct a greenhouse, and hire farm help, with no out of pocket expense! And we will show you how to do the same thing to ‘bootstrap’ your market garden!

The second key element in our model is the order in which you do things! If you want to be successful, there are three activities you must undertake before you start throwing seed in the ground:

1 – Planning: setting goals and targets

2 – Marketing: finding customers and get your message out

3 – Management: putting the processes in place to make your own Bootstrap Market Garden a success

We harp on this a lot, because this process if what separates a 'hobby' from a 'business'. One of the major strengths of our bootstrap model is the ability to establish a demand for your produce before you grow it!.

And all your other decisions - what to grow, when to grow it, how much land you need, now much help to hire, how much equipment you need etc. are driven by this demand. Powerful stuff!

NEXT: Farm business planning consists of setting targets for sales and projecting cash flow and expenses. You also need to establish a price for your produce that will ensure you can make a profit more . . .

Why my farm needed a website (hint: I needed more income, and a way to retire. Here's why your farm needs a website, too