Learning the Craft

Friday, December 9, 2016

How does a person learn the craft that leads to operating their own successful small scale market garden enterprise?

I will share my own experience as an example of what I recommend to prepare yourself for operating a successful small scale farm. For someone with no or very limited experience in growing vegetable crops, find the most successful small scale growers and go work for them for a year or two. This could be growers in your immediate area or much further afield. To find these growers visit farmers markets, visit farms who have CSA and farm gate marketing operations and arrange to interview the growers. Find customers of these growers and get their feedback.  You want to identify the best of these farmers so you can learn successful strategies immediately and get to understand what those are including the use of season extension techniques. Spend 2 or 3 seasons working for different growers with an enthusiasm to learn everything they have to offer. Commitment to complete a season with each so you can appreciate what is required to in terms of effort across a complete change of conditions. Learning to work as a team is a significant aspect of your training as you will not be able to operate a successful operation without involving several people in the process. Expect to be fairly compensated. That means being paid at least minimum wages for your contribution of effort regardless of your experience. It is up to the grower/manager to use your efforts effectively and profitably as long as you full engage in the process. Another key component in your training is to continuously research and read material on all aspects of growing, marketing and planning for small scale vegetable production.