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Lean Urban Farming [Permaculture
Posted on April 15, 2015 @ 08:24:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Diego at Permaculture Voices is doing weekly podcasts with Curtis Stone, owner of Green City Acres urban farm. These podcasts will follow Curtis Stone through a season of growing, harvesting, and selling his crops on his successful urban farm. Curtis Stone has been urban farming for 5 years now and last year was averaging around $3000 a week in sales from small urban plots. Not a bad living and with enough margin to keep growing his business.

In these podcasts Curtis Stone and Diego offer many practical insights into what urban farming is and how to do it successfully. Urban farming has tremendous disruptive potential because of the proximity of the farmer to a potential customer base. You can't grow all crops on an urban farm but you can grow enough to be very profitable provided you do it right and this podcast series is an excellent resource for learning how to do it right. As in any farming endeavor, there are startup costs and they are not insignificant (cold storage, tiller, greenhouse, compost, soil amendments, seeds, irrigation, plastic, hand tools, etc...). I expect we will see more avid home gardeners making or seeking investment to take their passion to the next level to become urban farmers possibly at scales larger than Curtis Stone is operating at. It is important to know, however, whether your market is big enough to sustain whatever size you decide to grow to. At this time, urban farmers don't generally have alot of competition from other urban farmers so it is probably a good time to consider market entry.

As of today, two podcasts have officially been released. The week 1 podcast is It's Winter, Know the Farm Numbers. You can listen to it here:

The week 2 postcast is called The Setup Phase.

The week 3 podcast is not officially released yet on the site, but is available on SoundCloud and is called Going No-Till.

Even if you are not interested in becoming an urban farmer, these podcasts are interesting because Curtis Stone is a savvy and innovative businessman. He excels at marketing his business, listing to his customers and adjusting his operation accordingly, and is an innovator within his urban farming niche. He is a good case study for how a lean startup/business conducts itself.

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