Ep 44. Josh Volk on Small-Scale Farm Profitability

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In this episode, I talk to Josh Volk who’s been involved in farming and urban agriculture for over 20 years. He’s a former mechanical engineer turned farmer and is the author of several farming books. We talk about a range of subjects including what makes small scale farming work, ergonomics, tools, labor, CSA, and urban agriculture.

In This Episode:

>> Josh’s journey from mechanical engineering to farming

>> A discussion of farm finances and why Josh uses dollars per labor hour as a benchmark

>> How different farming systems can work in various climates, geographies, markets, etc.

>> How ergonomics is about people’s health wellbeing and how fast they can do a task

>> Wash/pack efficiencies including proper lighting

>> A discussion about urban agriculture and small scale tools

Quotes from the episode:

“The thing that really pays is the marketing, not the production systems”

“Ergonomics is really the optimization of worker efficiency”

About the Guest

Josh Volk is an urban farmer and the author of the book, “Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less”. He has applied his background in mechanical engineering and interest in community food security to his own farming systems and has worked with farms around the country and abroad to help improve their sustainability and viability through ecological and equitable practices, sharing information he’s gleaned over more than two decades in the field. For the past 12 years, he has intentionally been farming part-time and spending the balance of his time to help other farmers.

Resources and mentions

Slow Hand Farm website

Slow Hand Farm on Instagram and Facebook

Josh’s newest book: Whole Farm Management: From Start-Up to Sustainability

Josh’s book Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less; Includes Detailed Farm Layouts for Productivity and Efficiency

Jac Smit and John Jeavans “How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible”.

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.