Chelsea Green Publishing

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

Pages:272 pages
Book Art:Full-color photographs and illustrations throughout
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586993
Pub. Date November 03, 2017

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

More In-Depth Lean Techniques for Efficient Organic Production

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
November 03, 2017

$29.95

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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“Ben Hartman and I share similar approaches to growing vegetables; we both run highly productive farms using efficient techniques and well-designed space and procedures. With this book, however, I believe Ben has taken our craft to new levels with fresh ideas and different strategies. The information here provides incredible value for any small-scale farmer seeking a compact, yet profitable farm model. I highly recommend this book.”—Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener

“All revolutions require a leap in consciousness plus a set of daily practices to sustain and gain the full benefits of the new consciousness. Ben Hartman is that rare person who could describe the lean farming revolution (in The Lean Farm) and then provide proven practices from his own farm in his new book, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, to help fellow revolutionaries grow good food in a lean way for the long term. Together these volumes describe all you need to know for a sustainable lean revolution on your farm. The rest is up to you.”—Jim Womack, founder and senior advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute

“This manual of growing follows the lean principles of Ben and Rachel’s farm, its pages are jam-packed with useful advice for efficient organic growing. ‘Lean’ is a great paradigm for directing your time and energy into a fully effective approach, whether in a large garden or small farm. I was fascinated to read all the examples of seeding, planting, and harvesting, and the gorgeous photos show the high productiveness of these methods.”—Charles Dowding, coauthor of No Dig Organic Home & Garden 

“Everyone strives for efficiency in vegetable farming, but Ben Hartman has actually achieved it. In his lean farming books, he provides a clear-headed approach to achieving efficiency of space, time, and resources. Every vegetable farmer who wants to be profitable and enjoy the farming life would do well to read these books closely.”—Lynn Byczynski, author of Market Farming Success and The Flower Farmer

“Ben Hartman is a true innovator for the small farm. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables takes the lean techniques from his first book even further with new innovations and greater detail. I have been eagerly awaiting this addendum so that I can start trying these practices on my farm. This book is a must for any market grower who wants to push the boundaries of profitability while finding life balance at the same time.”—Curtis Stone, author of The Urban Farmer

“Ben Hartman clearly illustrates how the continual process of lean thinking can benefit every farm. From targeted market planning driven by what customers truly value, to effective and efficient production from planning through harvest, and ultimately to putting money into your bank account, this book is full of practical and inventive ideas that will help your farm prosper.”—Richard Wiswall, author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook 

“This is a great book on the methods that make Clay Bottom Farm a successful compact farm, explaining the thinking behind those methods. Ben gives clear, detailed descriptions of the day-to-day systems, and further illustrates the concepts he first laid out in The Lean Farm. This companion, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, reveals a refined system that makes a great jumping off point for any aspiring grower, and gives seasoned growers ideas for how to improve their own systems.”—Josh Volk, author of Compact Farms

“Another gem from Ben Hartman. The Lean Farm introduced a dynamic new way of thinking about small farm businesses, pointing us in the right direction. Now, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables gives us the detail, specifics, and tricks of the trade that show us how to execute lean strategies on a small farm. Ben is a key entrepreneur in diverse, sustainable, small farm agriculture, and is emerging as the Midwest’s heir apparent to Eliot Coleman. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables is an indispensable resource for all small farmers, new or experienced, young or old.”—Steve Hallett, professor of horticulture, Purdue University; author of The Efficiency Trap; coauthor of Life without Oil

“Applications of lean principles to a new arena are often confusing and shallow. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables is clear and deep. This book is based on real-world experience, drawing on lean principles to develop a radically new approach to farming that gets you more for less.”—Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way

“I’m an impatient reader but always make time for Ben’s writings. Every time I found myself wondering about a nugget of detail in The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables it would appear within the next paragraph or two. This book fully explores production details that most authors skim over, and in vegetable production—as in any craft—details matter.”—Pete Johnson, founder, Pete’s Greens, Craftsbury, Vermont 

“If you liked The Lean Farm, you’ll love The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables. Ben’s first book was the big picture of what lean principles are and how they can be used to make farms more efficient. This book focuses in for the close-up, with specific examples of how to apply lean principles to vegetable farming and case studies from the author’s own farm experience. Ben’s discussion of kaizen, the practice of continuous improvement, reminds us we can all be more efficient. Read this book with last season in mind and you’ll be inspired with ideas of how to streamline next season. After reading this I have more than a few lean ideas I’m going to apply on my own farm.”—Andrew Mefferd, author of The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook 

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

January 26, 2018

Ben Hartman at Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference

Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, Traverse City, MI | Ben Hartman

See all Events by this Author

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

The Lean Farm

The Lean Farm

By Ben Hartman

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.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Lean Farm

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

Two Percent Solutions for the Planet

Two Percent Solutions for the Planet

By Courtney White

Two Percent Solutions for the Planet profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done.

As White explained in Grass, Soil, Hope, a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow. Best of all, we don’t have to invent anything new—a wide variety of innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable. They’re mostly low-tech, too, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more.

In Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, White expands what he calls the “regenerative toolbox,” to include holistic grazing, edible forests, biochar, weed-eating livestock, food co-ops, keyline plowing, restoration agriculture, bioenergy, aquaponics, animal power, Farm Hack, bees, bears, wildlife corridors, rainwater harvesting, native seeds, and various other projects from across the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Australia. These short, engaging success stories will help readers connect the dots between diverse, exciting, and pragmatic practices, and inspire them to dig deeper into each individual story and concept, energized by the news that solutions do exist.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Two Percent Solutions for the Planet

Courtney White

Paperback $24.95

One-Straw Revolutionary

One-Straw Revolutionary

By Larry Korn

One-Straw Revolutionary represents the first commentary on the work of the late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka (1913 – 2008), widely considered to be natural farming’s most influential practitioner. Mr. Fukuoka is perhaps most known for his bestselling book The One-Straw Revolution (1978), a manifesto on the importance of no-till agriculture, which was at the time of publication a radical challenge to the global systems that supply the world’s food, and still inspires readers today. Larry Korn, who apprenticed with Mr. Fukuoka in Japan at the time, translated the manuscript and brought it to the United States, knowing it would change the conversation about food forever. The One-Straw Revolution, edited by Korn and Wendell Berry, was an immediate international success, and established Mr. Fukuoka as a leading voice in the fight against conventional industrial agriculture. In this new book, through his own personal narrative, Larry Korn distills his experience of more than thirty-five years of study with Mr. Fukuoka, living and working on his farm on Shikoku Island, and traveling with Mr. Fukuoka to the United States on two six-week visits.  

One-Straw Revolutionary is the first book to look deeply at natural farming and intimately discuss the philosophy and work of Mr. Fukuoka. In addition to giving his personal thoughts about natural farming, Korn broadens the discussion by pointing out natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming. At the same time, he clearly distinguishes natural farming from other forms of agriculture, including scientific and organic agriculture and permaculture. Korn also clarifies commonly held misconceptions about natural farming in ways Western readers can readily understand. And he explains how natural farming can be used practically in areas other than agriculture, including personal growth and development.

The book follows the author on his travels from one back-to-the-land commune to another in the countryside of 1970s Japan, a journey that eventually led him to Mr. Fukuoka’s natural farm. Korn’s description of his time there, as well as traveling with Mr. Fukuoka during his visits to the United States, offers a rare, inside look at Mr. Fukuoka’s life. Readers will delight in this personal insight into one of the world’s leading agricultural thinkers.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

One-Straw Revolutionary

Larry Korn

Paperback $19.95

Gene Everlasting

Gene Everlasting

By Gene Logsdon

Author Gene Logsdon—whom Wendell Berry once called “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have”—has a notion: That it is a little easier for gardeners and farmers to accept death than the rest of the populace. Why? Because every day, farmers and gardeners help plants and animals begin life and help plants and animals end life. They are intimately attuned to the food chain. They understand how all living things are seated around a dining table, eating while being eaten. They realize that all of nature is in flux.

Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.

Whether his subject is parsnips, pigweed, immortality, irises, green burial, buzzards, or compound interest, Logsdon generously applies as much heart and wit to his words as he does care and expertise to his fields. 

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Gene Everlasting

Gene Logsdon

Paperback $17.95

Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century

Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century

By Stephen Leslie

With contributions from more than 60 contemporary draft-animal-powered farmers and equipment manufacturers

Now is a time of exciting new developments for live animal power. As the numbers of adherents to this way of life grow, ecologically minded farmers in their fields are developing efficient horse-drawn systems, and equipment manufacturers in small shops all across North America and Europe are coming forth with new innovations in ground-drive technology that have us poised on the cusp of another agricultural revolution—with working horses, mules, donkeys, and oxen at the heart of it.

Stephen Leslie’s first book, The New Horse-Powered Farm, presented an overview of the many facets of running a small, diversified farm with live horse power. Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century is focused entirely on the tools and methods required to successfully manage the horse-powered market garden with draft animal power. However, this is not a step-by-step how-to guide outlining one single system, but rather a manual that presents a range of options and approaches. Leslie examines the function and use of all the implements typically employed on a contemporary draft-animal-powered market garden and illustrates these points with insightful reports from the field, farm profiles, and home-built solutions contributed by over sixty draft animal-powered farmers from across North America and Europe. 

Each teamster’s story represents a patch in a quilt that is woven together with a narrative thread to guide the reader through the whole fabric of the growing season, from soil preparation to harvest. The book structure follows the seasonal progression of implements, beginning with several examples of contemporary draft-animal-powered produce farms; next an examination of the versatile utility of forecarts; then taking an in-depth look at fertility management on the farm; moving on through primary and secondary tillage, seeding and transplanting; then on to the multifold options for cultivators, tool carriers, and multipurpose implements, with technical harnessing and hitching details for the best use of the implements. For experienced teamsters and beginning market growers farming with horses, this is an invaluable and one-of-a-kind guide, sure to last forever in the agricultural canon. 

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century

Stephen Leslie, David Kline

Hardcover $45.00