SPIN Farming – Small Plot INtensive Urban Farming Production System

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In this video we meet Mark Voss from Voss Organics for a tour of his urban farm in Madison WI.

Mark first started out farming in 1993 on rented land and then purchased a home with a large lot and decided to become an urban farmer.

His urban farm business encompasses a 400 square foot hoophouse (greenhouse) and 300 square feet of certified organic raised beds on a city lot. He has since expanded his operation to 3 of his neighbours backyards and now makes a generous living as an urban farmer.

His markets include farmers markets, premier food cooperatives and restaurants.

Mark holds a BA in economics from the University of Illinois, is also an educator and is now using SPIN farming to not only farm but to train others.

SPIN farming stands for Small Plot INtensive and it is a urban farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land under an acre in size by growing common vegetables. SPIN urban farming provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business concept, marketing advice, financial benchmarks and a detailed day-to-day workflow.

It provides a non-technical, easy to understand, and inexpensive to implement farming system. It allows more people to farm commercially wherever they live as long as there are markets nearby to support them.

Why become an urban farmer?

There are twenty million acres of lawns in North America. In their current form, these unproductive expanses of grass represent a significant financial and environmental cost. However, viewed through a different lens, they can also be seen as a tremendous source of opportunity. Access to land is a major barrier for many people who want to enter the agricultural sector, and urban and suburban yards have huge potential for would-be farmers wanting to become part of this growing movement.

This video will to help you learn the techniques and business strategies you need to make a good living growing high-yield, high-value crops right in your own backyard (or someone else’s). Major benefits include:

  • Low capital investment and overhead costs Reduced need for expensive infrastructure Easy access to markets
  • Growing food in the city means that fresh crops may travel only a few blocks from field to table, making this innovative approach the next logical step in the local food movement. Based on a scalable, easily reproduced business model, becoming an Urban Farmer is your opportunity to minimizing risk and maximizing profit by using intensive production in small leased or borrowed spaces.

If you want to learn more about SPIN Urban Farming system then you could try reading the book SPIN-Farming Basics  or learn how to make $100,000 a year farming land you don’t own in Curtis Stones  book “The Urban Farmer”.



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How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms on Cardboard at Home in 5 Easy Steps

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In this video you will learn how to grow your own oyster mushrooms on cardboard.

There are many varieties of oyster mushrooms. Two good choices of oysters to grow first are:

  • Blue grey oysters. These are the easiest and one of the highest yielding. They also grow in cooler temperatures than some.
  • Pink oysters. As well as being a stunning colour, these are one of the fastest growing mushrooms, producing fruits in as little as three or four weeks. They are a tropical mushroom and need a warmer temperature. If you have a warm house you may be able to grow them in winter.

The video takes you through a 5 step process to grow your our mushrooms.

Step 1 – Pasteurisation

In order to give your oysters a good start, and reduce the risk of the card becoming contaminated with mould, you will need to kill most of the other micro organisms that are living on your cardboard. You can achieve this by soaking it in boiling water – a simple but effective technique known as pasteurisation.

Step 2 – Inoculate with mushroom spawn

After squeezing out any excess water from your cardboard, mushroom spawn is scattered between each layer.

Step 3 – Colonisation of the cardboard

In this step the mushrooms are left in a warm place for a few weeks to colonise the cardboard. This process will take 4-8 weeks depending on the species of mushroom.

Step 4 – Fruiting – first flush

Once fully colonised you can open up the bag and let the oxygen stimulate the mushrooms to begin fruiting. They also need some light (enough to read by) to grow. Keep them moist with a spray bottle and then after a few days you should start to see baby pin mushrooms that will grow rapidly to full sized mushrooms in just a few days.

Step 5 – Harvest your home grown mushrooms and enjoy




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