Chelsea Green Publishing

The Lean Farm

Pages:256 pages
Book Art:Full-color photographs and illustrations throughout
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603585927
Pub. Date September 16, 2015

The Lean Farm

How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work

Categories:
Farm & Garden

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
September 16, 2015

$29.95

A practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation

To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable. By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.

Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Booklist-

"The concept of ‘lean' manufacturing originally began during the 1980s in Japanese auto factories, such as those owned by Toyota, and it embraces a work ethic of eliminating as much waste as possible to give consumers the best value for their purchase. Using his own Clay Bottom Farm in Indiana as a proving ground, Hartman adapted this lean philosophy to support a thriving business, growing and selling enough specialty produce to support himself and his wife by harvesting only a single acre of land. In this lucidly written, well-organized guidebook, Hartman lays out the fundamentals of lean farming for any grower hoping to follow his example, from limiting materials and transportation needs to more efficiently using staff member talents. Along with many useful charts and photos, Hartman includes 10 case studies from his own farm, illustrating how trimming away unneeded practices led to big production gains. Although Hartman’s target audience here is organic, small-scale growers, anyone involved in a larger agribusiness owned operation will find his advice remarkably useful and ultimately very profitable.”

“Ben Hartman is diversified farming's Dean of Lean. He walks the talk, sharing insights on how lean principles helped his farm and how they can help yours. ‘Lean’ is the epitome of efficiency, an essential ingredient of any successful farm.”--Richard Wiswall, author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook

“With lean principles, what’s good for the farm is even better for the farmer. As we invite new farmers back to the land, into vacant lots, and onto rooftops, we have to give them the tools for success and the ability to sustain. ‘Lean farming’ won’t leave you trying to turn a farm into an automotive factory, but you will get a whiff of what it means when the rubber hits the road.”--Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed 

“Farming is not just a business, but it's still a business, and Hartman's application of Toyota's efficiency principles to the farm is nothing short of profound. As I read this fantastic book, my mind literally skipped from procedure to place on our farm with new ideas on how to create efficiencies. The Lean Farm should be dissected, digested, and discussed--then applied--on every single farm: big or small, wholesale or retail, livestock or produce. It would make all farms more profitable, productive, and pleasurable.”--Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm, author of You Can Farm and Folks, This Ain't Normal

“Anyone who thinks lean is only for a factory should read this book. Ben Hartman, with simple but eloquent prose and delightful figures and photos, demonstrates how all aspects of lean can apply to farming, a process of growing and selling living things. The mysterious uniqueness of farming under constantly changing conditions became clear as Ben learned to understand his customers and his value streams to increase value and eliminate waste. And lean reinforced, rather then replaced, the strong social values of the Hartman farm.”--Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way

“Farmers are good at farming—it is what they enjoy doing! At the same time, planning, organizing, and working out everything most efficiently is often not done as easily. The Lean Farm will help us all easily increase flow, production, and income. It is a treasure trove of possibilities without the need for increased investment!”--John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables, executive director of Ecology Action, and developer of sustainable, biologically intensive mini-farming

“If you want to see, right now, what food farming will look like in the coming years, this is the book for you. Using the kind of super-efficiency that new-age manufacturing has perfected, author Ben Hartman describes, in great detail and with superb illustrations, how he and his wife reduced their farm size from three acres to one and still make a decent living on it.”--Gene Logsdon, author, The Contrary Farmer

"We give every new employee a copy of Ben’s writing to study. Adopting lean principles has been critical for bringing organization, focus, and harmony to our 100-acre fully diversified vegetable farm. ‘A place for every thing, and every thing in its place’ is a refrain we repeat over and over."--Pete Johnson, organic farmer and owner of Pete’s Greens, Craftsbury, Vermont

“Clay Bottom Farm is a gem of a place in northern Indiana, where we are repeatedly told that you need a thousand acres to make a living as a farmer. Ben Hartman and his wife Rachel disprove this ‘conventional wisdom’ every day by managing a thriving farm business, not on a thousand acres, but on just one. In The Lean Farm, Ben explains how their elegant approach can be applied by anyone. His writing, like his farm, is clean, well organized, and easy to follow—but his ideas are revolutionary. The Lean Farm is one of the most original and innovative books on food and farming to come out in the last decade.”--Steve Hallett, Professor of Horticulture, Purdue University, and author of Life without Oil and The Efficiency Trap

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Hartman

Ben Hartman grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana and graduated college with degrees in English and philosophy. Ben and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers market, and through a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana’s Reader’s Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben’s first book, won the Shingo Institute’s prestigious Research and Professional Publication Award. In 2017, Ben was named one of fifty emerging green leaders in the United States by Grist.

AUTHOR EVENTS

December 04, 2017

Ben Hartman at Market Gardner Tool Summit

Market Gardner Tool Summit, Selmer, TN | Ben Hartman

See all Events by this Author

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

By Ben Hartman

At Clay Bottom Farm, author Ben Hartman and staff practice kaizen, or continuous improvement, cutting out more waste—of time, labor, space, money, and more—every year and aligning their organic production more tightly with customer demand. Applied alongside other lean principles originally developed by the Japanese auto industry, the end result has been increased profits and less work.

In this field-guide companion to his award-winning first book, The Lean Farm, Hartman shows market vegetable growers in even more detail how Clay Bottom Farm implements lean thinking in every area of their work, including using kanbans, or replacement signals, to maximize land use; germination chambers to reduce defect waste; and right-sized machinery to save money and labor and increase efficiency. From finding land and assessing infrastructure needs to selling perfect produce at the farmers market, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables digs deeper into specific, tested methods for waste-free farming that not only help farmers become more successful but make the work more enjoyable. These methods include:

  • Using Japanese paper pot transplanters
  • Building your own germinating chambers
  • Leaning up your greenhouse
  • Making and applying simple composts
  • Using lean techniques for pest and weed control
  • Creating Heijunka, or load-leveling calendars for efficient planning

Farming is not static, and improvement requires constant change. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables offers strategies for farmers to stay flexible and profitable even in the face of changing weather and markets. Much more than a simple exercise in cost-cutting, lean farming is about growing better, not cheaper, food—the food your customers want.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

Ben Hartman

Paperback $29.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

A video introducing The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, a book by Ben Hartman and published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2017. Hartman's first book, The Lean Farm, described the lean system for farmers. This new book is a companion how-to manual that reveals in detail how Hartman uses lean thinking to grow his vegetable crops.

The Lean Farm

A video introducing The Lean Farm, a book by Ben Hartman and published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2015. The book tells the story of how Clay Bottom Farm used lean concepts to boost profits with less work and it describes how any farm can use the system.

Home Is Where the Farm Is

The "farm-to-table" dining experience is thought to be the best way to eat fresh food. Ben Hartman and Rachel Hershberger, owners of Clay Bottom Farm, believe that cutting out the table and going straight to the farm is even better. Get the inside look of local food in this Goshen Common's feature story.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Organic Grain Grower

The Organic Grain Grower

By Jack Lazor

The ultimate guide to growing organic grains on a small and ecological scale, The Organic Grain Grower is invaluable for both home-scale and commercial producers interested in expanding their resiliency and crop diversity through growing their own grains. Longtime farmer and organic pioneer Jack Lazor covers how to grow and store wheat, barley, oats, corn, dry beans, soybeans, pulse crops, oilseeds, grasses, nutrient-dense forages, and lesser-known cereals. In addition to detailed cultivation and processing information, Lazor argues the importance of integrating grains on the organic farm (not to mention for the local-food system) for reasons of biodiversity and whole farm management. Including extensive information on:

  • The history of grain growing and consumption in North America
  • The twenty-first century and the birth of the local-food movement
  • Considering your farm's scale and climate
  • Understanding soil fertility and structure
  • Planting your crop (including spring vs. fall cereals and preparing your soil)
  • The growing and ripening process (reproductive, milk, hard-and-soft dough stages)
  • The grain harvest
  • Preparing grain for sale, storage, or end use (drying, cleaning seed, grain handling)
  • Seed breeding and saving
  • Machinery, infrastructure, and processing (both home-scale tools and larger farm equipment)
  • Grinding grains for livestock rations (including how to put together a ration based on protein content) and sample rations for dairy cows, pigs, and chickens
  • Processing grains for human consumption
  • Additional resources and information for new grain farmers, and more...

Beginners will learn how to grow enough wheat for a year's supply of bread flour for their homestead, and farmers will learn how to become part of a grain co-op, working alongside artisan bakers and mills. Never before has there been a guide to growing organic grains applicable both for the home-scale and professional farming scale. This will be a classic for decades to come and a crucial addition to any farmer's, homesteader's, gardener's, agronomist's, or seed-saver's library.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

The Organic Grain Grower

Jack Lazor

Hardcover $45.00

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

By Joel Salatin

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is written by an honest-to-goodness-dirt-under-the-fingernails, optimistic clean good farmer. His goal is to:

  • Empower food buyers to pursue positive alternatives to the industrialized food system
  • Bring clean food farmers and their patrons into a teamwork relationship
  • Marry the best of western technology with the soul of eastern ethics
  • Educate food buyers about productions
  • Create a food system that enhances nature's ecology for future generations

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven has an overriding objective of encouraging every food buyer to embrace the notion that menus are a conscious decision, creating the next generation's world one bite at a time.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan

Paperback $17.95

Fresh Food from Small Spaces

Fresh Food from Small Spaces

By R.J. Ruppenthal

Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens—all without reliance on energy-intensive systems like indoor lighting and hydroponics.

Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food.

With this book as a guide, people living in apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes will be able to grow up to 20 percent of their own fresh food using a combination of traditional gardening methods and space-saving techniques such as reflected lighting and container "terracing." Those with access to yards can produce even more.

Author R. J. Ruppenthal worked on an organic vegetable farm in his youth, but his expertise in urban and indoor gardening has been hard-won through years of trial-and-error experience. In the small city homes where he has lived, often with no more than a balcony, windowsill, and countertop for gardening, Ruppenthal and his family have been able to eat at least some homegrown food 365 days per year. In an era of declining resources and environmental disruption, Ruppenthal shows that even urban dwellers can contribute to a rebirth of local, fresh foods.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Fresh Food from Small Spaces

R.J. Ruppenthal

Paperback $24.95

The Suburban Micro-Farm

The Suburban Micro-Farm

By Amy Stross

Reduce your lawn and your grocery budget. Take gardening to the next level!

Would you like to grow healthy food for your table? Do you want to learn the secrets of farming even though you live in a neighborhood? Author Amy Stross talks straight about why the suburbs might be the ideal place for a small farm.

In these pages you'll learn:

  • How to make your landscape as productive as it is beautiful
  • Why the suburbs are primed with food-growing potential
  • How to choose the best crops for success
  • Why you don't need the perfect yard to have a micro-farm
  • How to use easy permaculture techniques for abundant harvests

 If you're ready to create a beautiful, edible yard, this book is for you.

The Suburban Micro-Farm will show you how to grow your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables even on a limited schedule. From seed to harvest, this book will keep you on track so you feel a sense of accomplishment for your efforts.

You'll learn gardening tricks that are essential to success, like how to deal with a 'brown thumb', how to develop and nurture healthy soil, and how to manage garden pests.

Although this book has everything a new gardener needs to get started, experienced gardeners will not be disappointed. With helpful tips throughout, you will love the in-depth chapters about permaculture and making money on the micro-farm.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Suburban Micro-Farm

Amy Stross

Paperback $34.95