Sadly, I figured out a long time ago I was NOT an intellectual superstar. I was well-read, and through long experience I was competent in a bunch of areas. Note 'competent', not 'spectacular'.
One of my competencies was understanding and synthesizing and applying information created by people smarter than me. Because if you can't BE a genius, the next best thing is to learn from one (or a bunch). This got me through a lot of jobs over the years.
So when we decided to launch our farm for real in 2006, I did a LOT of reading and research. There are some real geniuses engaged in the business of farming, and I wanted 'stand on their intellectual shoulders', so to speak.
All that reading brought me to a conclusion:
In the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model customers subscribe to your market garden , paying in advance to receive a share of vegetables each week throughout the growing season.
This advance payment let's you BOOTSTRAP your garden i.e. start up without a lot of cash of your own. When I figured this out, I was actually able to start my business with just $300 for some promotional flyers - and I put that on a credit card!
In fact, I was going to call this book 'No-Money-Down Market Gardening', but 'Bootstrap' was catchier!
Here's something else my research found: CSA gardens typically have the highest net income of all garden types. For example, that $300 worth of mail-out flyers got me my first customers, and brought in over $13,000 my first summer.
And, that first garden was less than a quarter-acre in size!
Over time the garden got bigger, and we subsequently grew to serve more than 90 families.
This concept is easy enough to grasp. But... you still need to know 'the details' of what you are doing, or risk failure.
Launching any business is a serious undertaking. You have probably heard the statistic that '95% of businesses fail within the first five years'. And that failure is caused by neglecting the 4 essential elements of business success (more about those in a bit).
But you can beat those odds by following a proven system. Because, if SOMEONE did it, you can too, by doing what they did.
In other words, if you aren't a 'business genius', it's a good idea to COPY one!
That's how franchises work, and why there seems to be a Starbucks on every corner.
So I set out to assemble a system that can empower anyone to:
YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.
You can have a step-by-step plan to start-up, market, and manage your market garden business laid out and ready to launch quicker and easier than you might think. Even if you are a beginner without a lot of growing or business experience.
Hundreds of people have bought this material and used it to build a real market garden business of their own.
So I'm confident anyone who wants to build some financial freedom can benefit greatly from this course.
*Bootstrap: "To promote and develop by use of one's own initiative and work".
Times are tough for a lot of people right now. Many businesses have closed, or operating under restrictions. Through no fault of their own, people are out of work or underemployed.
But there is a silver lining. Adversity can create opportunity. This can be a great time to start a business on your small property, growing great food for appreciative customers.
Because no matter what, people need to eat!
In the next few minutes I'll share with you how I came to build a real business on my small property. And how I did it without a lot of money or resources of my own to start. You can even start part-time and make a great 'side hustle' income.
And, if you want real independence, you can grow to a full-time business, even on a small property.
If you have 1 acre or 10, or even as small as a quarter-acre, you can start-up, market, and manage a successful market garden business.
On this somewhat-long page I'm going to explain the 4 things every entrepreneur (or 'want-repreneur') needs to do to make a new business a success. I'm going to show you how I created this system to launch and run my own profitable business, doing something I loved anyway - growing great food.
"Dan and I found your book inspiring and
helpful. In fact, it took us from "hmmm...this might be for us"
to selling five garden shares 3 weeks later!
We are 3 weeks or so from wrapping up year one and looking forward to year two and 25-30 shares!
Thanks so much for your helpful programs that make planning our business almost a breeze.
Dan and Jenn S.
Itty Bitty Acres
Way back when we first launched our Bootstrap CSA Market Garden, the Ministry of Agriculture in Ontario was running a contest for innovative farming ideas. Suzie talked me into writing about our business model for this contest. The contest judges decided we had something valuable in this model and lo and behold, we won!
I don't tell you this to brag; I really just put a bunch of ideas from OTHER PEOPLE together in an organized way, to present a 'picture of success' for CSA.
You can see in the snapshot below that Suzie grabbed the award plaque, because she said it was her idea. I snagged the $5,000 cheque ;-)
So not bragging (much) but rather a way to share with you the idea that a couple of 'newbies' could create and apply a successful, repeatable model to put more money in our pocket from our market garden.
If a forty-something couple who were NOT born farmers could do this, you can too!
There is more to a successful market garden business that just being a good grower:
I learned this stuff over a couple decades of experience both on the farm and in the business world.
Bootstrap Market Gardening can give you a head start on this learning curve!
What's Unique About Bootstrap Market Gardening?
Bootstrap Market Gardening is not some 'theoretical' model. I'm only sharing with you what I've actually done. I know this will work for you too... if you apply your own brains and motivation.
This course was built by me based on more than 20 years' experience as an award-winning organic farmer and a business consultant specializing in building and improving business processes. This course brings together what I've learned and practiced in both those fields over the last couple decades.
I guarantee you won't find this practical information, designed specifically for market gardeners, anywhere else.
I can show you, step-by-step how to start-up, market, and manage a successful market garden business, even on a very small property (and a very small budget).
Lots of other people have, by following my plan. More than 1,900 people have bought my practical farming and gardening books. And I know a number of them that have gone on to create successful CSA market gardens of their own.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Take your time to go through the material, up to 12 months if you like. If you feel that Bootstrap Market Gardening is not what you expected, you can use the ‘100% No Questions Asked Guarantee’. I'll refund your money in full without asking any questions. Just send me an email, and I will be happy to refund your money immediately.
The basic idea is simple, and can be applied to just about any business - but you might be surprised at the businesses that never figure this out. My Bootstrap Market Gardening success system can be laid out in 4 steps:
1. PLANNING is the fun part: you decide how much money you want to make from your market garden, and how many customers you need to make that happen;
2. MARKETING is reaching out and finding those customers and telling them what you have to offer and inviting them to buy. TIP: there is an easy, non-sleazy way to get your customers to sign up. And, they pay you in advance for the season!
3. MANAGEMENT means answering a few questions about how you will run your market garden business. How much space will you need, and where to find it? How will you organize garden work? TIP: you can find space for your garden even if you don't own a farm.
4. PRODUCTION means laying out your garden efficiently and growing, harvesting and processing your delicious veggies for appreciative customers.
This is key: if you want to be a successful market gardener... then planning, marketing and management are just as important as growing great veggies!
When it's set out like this, it's pretty easy to see the system I'm suggesting for you. In fact the whole concept fits on one page (just like this).
The all-important details are listed just below in the table of contents for the book and the complete course outline so you can see exactly what you're getting with Bootstrap Market Gardening.
You will understand why I said there is no course like it, built 'from the ground up' just for the new or soon-to-be market gardener!
Resource 1. The Bootstrap Market Gardening Book 2022 Edition. This is your 'course textbook', it lays out for you, step-by-step, how to start-up, market and manage an organic market garden based on CSA principles.
This book has helped hundreds of new and soon-to-be market gardeners learn how to launch their own successful small farm business.
The best part is, you can start part-time and build a great 'side hustle' income - I know a young lady who paid for college in the fall by running her own CSA market garden through the summer
Or build up your experience over time to make a good full-time living on your small property.
Resource 2. The Bootstrap Market Gardening 'Get Ready' Checklist. This is your 'countdown guide' giving you schedule for all the major milestones and preparations necessary for a successful launch of your Bootstrap Market Garden.
Important: Read the 'Get Ready' checklist FIRST to make sure you don't miss any critical steps in your launch.
Resource 3. The Bootstrap Market Gardening Mind Map. This is your 'big picture' guide to the whole Bootstrap Market Gardening system. The Mind Map puts all the pieces in context and shows you exactly how planning marketing, management and production fit together to build your Bootstrap Market Garden.
Use the Mind Map and your 'Get Ready' checklist to see the important details that make up a successful Bootstrap Market Garden.
These 9 workbooks expand on the material in the book. You get more than 100 pages of additional information, questions, forms, and exercises designed to help you put the material into practice. Here's an outline:
You might have noticed in the modules above that 4 custom-designed farm planning and calculating spreadsheets are included, to help you figure out pricing and income and expenses, and to plan garden production.
These valuable resources were designed and built by me, and I use them every season to help me plan and manage my market garden.
My basic rule is, if I have to do a calculation more than once, I build a tool to make it easier!
Here's what's in this software bundle:
The Garden Planner will help you schedule your plantings, and calculate how much space you will need for your garden.
We use this one A LOT in the spring.
The Gross Sales Calculator helps us figure out the value of each customer, and how many customers we need to make our sales and net income goals.
We use this tool to set targets for sales and income before every season.
Its pretty cool to be able to figure out exactly how much money you want to make, then build a plan to get there!
The Harvest Schedule and Value Calculator is the tool we use to help figure out prices and quantities of crops we plan for the upcoming season.
Work with this spreadsheet and the Garden Planner to plan and manage your whole season.
The Farm Budget Sheet is the tool we use to track income and expenses for our market garden.
If you want to keep your accountant and the tax guy happy, get a good handle on your finances with this tool
Bootstrap Market Gardening is my "master class" on starting up, marketing, and managing a successful market garden, based on CSA principles. Almost two thousand people have bought in to this model.
Because... this is not just a gardening course.
This is a course about building a successful, sustainable market garden business.
Reality check time: market gardening is real work.
But if you agree that some hard work is worth the reward, my course can show you how.
I want you to have all the time you need to read and USE my Bootstrap Market Gardening Course.
That's why I'm going to give you a full 12 months to decide if this is for you.
If for any reason, or no reason at all, you are not 100% satisfied simply send me an email, and I'll refund every penny of your investment . . .
No questions asked!
Buy Bootstrap Market Gardening securely using your credit card or your PayPal Account
You will be able to access Bootstrap Market Gardening right away and start planning your own Bootstrap Market Garden. When you buy the my course securely using PayPal or your credit card, you will receive a download link, no waiting for a physical book to be shipped.
The Premier of Ontario paid us $5,000 for valuable information, but you can get it for quite a bit less. Click on 'Add to Cart' to start working on your successful market garden business right away.
p.s. Over more than a decade and 1,900 sales, I've been asked for a refund exactly once. Which I promptly and happily issued. So I am pretty confident you will find a lot of value here.