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

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

March 10, 2018

Ben Hartman at Pikeville Farmers Market

Pikeville Farmers Market, KY | 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 Small-Scale Cheese Business

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

By Gianaclis Caldwell

There has never been a better time to be making and selling great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry’s newcomers are “farmstead” producers–those who work only with the milk of their own animals. Today, more than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer-cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.

Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion, and monetary challenge. In The Small-Scale Cheese Business (originally published in 2010 as The Farmstead Creamery Advisor), respected cheesemaker, instructor, and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:

    * Analyzing your suitability for the career;
    * Designing and building the cheese facility;
    * Sizing up the market;
    * Negotiating day-to-day obstacles;
    * Ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers’ experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Small-Scale Cheese Business will also appeal to the many small and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

Gianaclis Caldwell

Paperback $34.95

Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Permaculture

Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Permaculture

By Martin Crawford

Are you wondering which productive trees to plant in your garden? Or are you planning a forest garden? Perhaps you are planting an orchard but want a greater diversity of useful trees than is typical? Or you’d like to know what unusual fruit trees you can use? The answers to all these questions can be found in master forest gardener Martin Crawford’s new book.

Crawford has researched and experimented with tree crops for twenty-five years and has selected over one hundred of the best trees producing fruits, nuts, edible leaves, and other useful products that can be grown in Europe and North America. Each of the trees or tree groups includes details of:

  • Origin and history
  • Description and uses
  • Varieties/cultivars
  • Cultivation, pests, and diseases
  • Related species
  • European and North American suppliers
  • Color photos with every entry.

The appendices make choosing trees for your situation easy, with lists of suitable trees for specific situations, plus flowcharts to guide you. If you want to know about and make use of the large diversity of tree crops that are available in temperate and continental climates, then this book—by an internationally acknowledged expert—is both fascinating and essential reading.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Permaculture

Martin Crawford

Paperback $39.95

Grassfed to Finish

Grassfed to Finish

By Allan Nation

Grassfed to Finish is the first book to address all the factors necessary for a quality grassfed product. It lays a foundation of facts from Nation’s world travels, debunking the myths and misconceptions about grass-finished beef and showing that grain is totally unnecessary for a gourmet “killer” product, and actually lowers overall quality as well as nutritional character.

Nation tells how meeting grazing specialist and researcher Dr. Anibal Pordomingo in Argentina aided his understanding of the key components of an all-grass system. Nation includes Pordomingo’s production tips and innovative Forage Chain of grasses and legumes.

Chapters detail what researchers have learned about grassfed’s health benefits; how to get started with heifers and why; how to turn cull cows into gourmet products; how to integrate summer and winter annuals into a perennial-based pasture system; how to come up with a year-around supply of beef while only over-wintering cattle once; how different grasses can flavor meat; how to recognize a ready-to-harvest grass-finished beeve; how production errors can create tough meat; what educated, health-conscious consumers want and how to serve them.

The grass program explained here can be used equally well for replacement heifer development or mainstream stocker steers; however, the production and marketing foundation outlined here will serve you well if you decide to expand production and make grassfed beef your primary enterprise.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Grassfed to Finish

Allan Nation

Paperback $40.00

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

By Ben Falk

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition.

Ben Falk is a land designer and site developer whose permaculture-research farm has drawn national attention. The site is a terraced paradise on a hillside in Vermont that would otherwise be overlooked by conventional farmers as unworthy farmland. Falk’s wide array of fruit trees, rice paddies (relatively unheard of in the Northeast), ducks, nuts, and earth-inspired buildings is a hopeful image for the future of regenerative agriculture and modern homesteading.

The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more, complete with gorgeous photography and detailed design drawings.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is more than just a book of tricks and techniques for regenerative site development, but offers actual working results in living within complex farm-ecosystems based on research from the “great thinkers” in permaculture, and presents a viable home-scale model for an intentional food-producing ecosystem in cold climates, and beyond. Inspiring to would-be homesteaders everywhere, but especially for those who find themselves with “unlikely” farming land, Falk is an inspiration in what can be done by imitating natural systems, and making the most of what we have by re-imagining what’s possible. A gorgeous case study for the homestead of the future.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Ben Falk

Paperback $40.00