Chelsea Green Publishing

Farms with a Future

Pages:306 pages
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584388
Pub. Date January 10, 2013

Farms with a Future

Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business

By Rebecca Thistlethwaite
Foreword by Richard Wiswall

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
January 10, 2013

$29.95 $19.47

What makes a farm sustainable and successful? And what special qualities and skills are needed for someone to become a successful farmer?

Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this uniquely important book, which is a must-read for anyone who aspires to get into farming, or who wants to make their farm business more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Over an entire year, the author and her husband-experienced farmers themselves-took a sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers. Along the way they learned about best practices, and a whole lot about what doesn't work.

Farms with a Future shares this collective wisdom in an inspirational yet practical manner; it will help beginners avoid many of the common mistakes that first-time farmers make. Just as importantly, it discusses positive ideas that can help make any farm enterprise vibrant and financially profitable. Profiles of more than a dozen representative farms help round out the invaluable information and encourage farmers to embrace their inner entrepreneur. Younger growers, in particular, will benefit by learning about "the right stuff" from both their peers and longtime experts.This book provides a useful reference for beginning and experienced farmers alike. While many other books address agricultural production, there are very few that talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future offers an approachable, colorful take on building a triple-bottom-line farming business.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Farms with a Future should be handed out to every budding young farmer in America. Thistlethwaite guides us through the daunting process of creating a viable small farm by sharing hard-earned lessons of her own, and from experienced farmers she met while researching this book. Indispensable!”--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

“What is so great about Rebecca Thistlethwaite’s new book, Farms with a Future, is that it is not a generalized treatment about how to succeed in the new farm and food revolution, but a detailed and complete description of how some fourteen farms of various kinds have done it. This book does what books are supposed to do, that is, it gives the reader on-the-ground experience that would otherwise take years to gain.”--Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer and Small-Scale Grain Raising

"Farms with a Future is an important book. If you are new to farming, read it now. If you've been in the business for a while, read it every year to keep yourself on track.”--Shannon Hayes, author of Long Way on a Little and Radical Homemakers

"Farms with a Future should be added to the reading list of anyone getting into farming. Easy to read and full of practical information, it will help those entering agriculture avoid many common pitfalls."--Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms

ForeWord Reviews-
As a farmer and sustainable agriculture consultant, Rebecca Thistlethwaite understands how important it is to share information about small farmers who have redefined success, finding ways to sustain their families, their communities, and the planet. The stories of innovative farmers who have embraced their 'inner entrepreneur' fill this collection and serve as ample inspiration for readers who are dreaming of their own farming ventures, as well as those who are searching for new approaches. With chapters organized around specific principles such as “Identifying Your Market Niche” and “Harvesting and Processing,” the emphasis of Thistlethwaite’s book is incorporating necessary tools for survival and profit in a family-based business. Each chapter contains photographs of the farms and farmers, which helps drive home for the reader that these are real people who have—through sacrifice, planning, and hard work—found ways to farm that supports their values. Additionally, each chapter ends with 'Take-Home Messages,' a bulleted summary of dos and don’ts that affirm much of what each family farm story demonstrates. A superior book for its information, organization, and examples, Farms with a Future is essential for dreamers who intend to be doers, and doers who are seeking more creative dreaming.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Thistlethwaite

Rebecca Thistlethwaite is the author of Farms with a Future (Chelsea Green, 2012). She runs Sustain Consulting, which specializes in food and farm issues, working with both nongovernmental organizations and for-profit businesses. Her website is http://rebeccathistlethwaite.com.

Rebecca also operates a small farm and a community farm stand in Oregon with her husband and coauthor, Jim Dunlop, and their daughter, Fiona. They previously owned TLC Ranch in Watsonville, California, where they raised organic, pastured livestock and poultry, selling to direct markets across Northern California.

AUTHOR EVENTS

February 13, 2016

Rebecca Thistlethwaite at Mid-South Farm to Table Conference

Eugene Woods Civic Center, West Memphis, AR | Rebecca Thistlethwaite
Rebecca Thistlethwaite will give two workshop presentations at the Mid-South Farm to Table Conference in Memphis, AR on February 13 and 16. Books will be available for sale and signing.

See all Events by this Author

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Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (DVD)

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Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What's required is farming smarter, not harder.

In this filmed workshop and interview, recorded at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Winter Conference in 2010 and at Cate Farm, longtime farmer Richard Wiswall shares his story, and offers detailed advice on how to make your farm production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit.

From his thirty years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm - as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one's own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming, and because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating - and often avoidable - losses. This workshop offers invaluable exercises for business-savvy farmers, including information on the costs of running a farm, office and bookkeeping management, creating a budget and crop enterprise plan, and getting down the the nuts and bolts of business management, that's easy to understand.

Through in-the-classroom footage and step-by-step guidance to "sharpening the pencil", as well as footage of Wiswall's fields, greenhouse, and barn, viewers will leave this "workshop" knowing how to achieve true profit, that will last for years to come. Also included is a bonus disc with downloadable spreadsheets for creating your own budget, marketing, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow.

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In this book and DVD set longtime farmer Richard Wiswall shares his story, and offers detailed advice on how to make your farm production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. 

From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one's own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming, and because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses. 

The DVD consists of a filmed workshop and interview, recorded at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Winter Conference in 2010 and at Wiswall's Cate Farm. This workshop offers invaluable exercises for business-savvy farmers, including information on the costs of running a farm, office and bookkeeping management, creating a budget and crop enterprise plan, and getting down the the nuts and bolts of business management, that's easy to understand. Through in-the-classroom footage and step-by-step guidance to "sharpening the pencil", as well as footage of Wiswall's fields, greenhouse, and barn, viewers will leave this "workshop" knowing how to achieve true profit, that will last for years to come. Also included is a bonus disc with downloadable spreadsheets for creating your own budget, marketing, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow.

Wiswall's book, The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook (Chelsea Green, 2009), offers more on all of this information, as well as a comprehensive business kit including:

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In this comprehensive business kit, Wiswall covers:

  • Step-by-step procedures to make your crop production more efficient
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  • Novel marketing strategies
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A companion CD offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planners.

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How can anyone from a backyard hobbyist to a large-scale rancher go about raising and selling ethically produced meats directly to consumers, restaurants, and butcher shops? With the rising consumer interest in grass-fed, pasture-raised, and antibiotic-free meats, how can farmers most effectively tap into those markets and become more profitable? The regulations and logistics can be daunting enough to turn away most would-be livestock farmers, and finding and keeping their customers challenges the rest.

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