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The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

More In-Depth Lean Techniques for Efficient Organic Production

Categories:
Farm & Garden

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Hartman

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.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

Clay Bottom Farm Website
Clay Bottom Farm Facebook

AUTHOR EVENTS

August 29, 2017

Ben Hartman at Hawaii Agriculture Conference

1801 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI, 96815 | Ben Hartman

See all Events by this Author

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

The Lean Farm

The Lean Farm

Ben Hartman

Paperback $29.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

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.

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

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 272 pages, $29.95