Posted by: SmithaM | October 26, 2011

SPIN Farming

SPIN Makes Agriculture Accessible to Anyone, Anywhere

Image Source: SPIN – Farming

Small Plot INtensive (SPIN) farming is an intensive farming practice on small plots, sometimes less than an acre.

” SPIN-Farming is a non-technical, easy-to-learn and inexpensive-to-implement vegetable farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size…

…SPIN is being practiced by first generation farmers because it removes the two big barriers to entry – land and capital – as well as by established farmers who want to diversify or downsize, as well as by part-time hobby farmers.”

The SPIN – Farming website provides information about this type of farming, the price calculations for small businesses, examples of farms utilizing these techniques, and tips by farmers.

Tree-Hugger discusses SPIN:

“…SPIN was created by Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen of Wally’s Urban Market Garden in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada—who started growing in an urban environment, expanded to 20 acres in the country, and then rapidly realized that they made more money growing in town after all—and by Rozanne Christensen of Somerton Tanks Farm, who acted as an early test-bed for the SPIN concept and claims to have achieved $68,000 in gross sales from a half-acre plot in just 4 years. The creators have put together a series of SPIN online learning guides sharing their experiences and methodologies, covering everything from specific crops and business models to marketing and sales…

…we need to find practical ways for people to make a living, and for communities to feed themselves. This is not explicitly about ideology—but simply taking stock of the new political, economic, cultural and environmental realities we find ourselves in, and trying to figure out what we can do with the resources available to us to get by…”

Discussing the book SPIN-Farming Basics: How to Grow Commercially on Under an Acre, by Wally Satzewich and Roxanne Christensen, Viginia A. Smith writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer article:

“…While all about growing organic food, it emphasizes the nonagricultural aspects of farming – planning, marketing, financial benchmarks, day-to-day work flow…

…SPIN involves densely sowing crops in succession so the beds are always full; growing short-season, high-end greens and other desirables (by hand) that consumers will pay a premium for; making a modest start-up investment; creating efficient systems for washing, prepping, and bagging; and stretching the growing season…”

Rob Hopkins, originator of the Transition Town concept reviews the above mentioned book:

“…‘SPIN farming basics’ is just one of the books that SPIN produce. It isn’t a step-by-step growing guide, rather it is an overview book on how to run such an operation. I have no way of gauging whether their figures are accurate and how they might translate into the UK context. I’m also not sure what they do about slugs. There is also, I guess, a distant danger that should this really take off it might edge out more egalitarian forms of urban land use, such as allotments and community gardens. But even if they are only half right about their potential yields, it is still an impressive approach, and it calls for a powerful shift in focus for urban growers. In the wake of the recent riots in a number of English cities, I am struck by the potential of this approach to shift thinking about how to create viable social enterprises and a sense of purpose for young people…”

Read the original article by Rob Hopkins This article contains videos on SPIN farming.

SPIN has been adopted in number of cities, including Philadelphia. Minimal land requirement and techniques to extend the growing season lends itself to urban farming where land tenure issues are of paramount concern. Growing produce that sell faster in a particular urban market is also important for small farms to turn at least a marginal profit.

Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, W.B. Saul High School in Roxborough, Pa., and the farm of The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia have been recognized in this news article to be either SPIN farms or incorporate some of the core principles of a SPIN operation.



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