Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land
The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone is an inspirational yet supremely practical guide to setting up and running a market gardening business that provides sustainable, organic foods, locally to urban areas. It’s a blueprint based on real world knowledge and experience written by a man who has created, owned and managed a successful urban market garden.
If you have ever wanted to take growing to a new level and make a living from horticulture this book is the one to get.
The Urban Farmer assumes you have the basic level of knowledge and ability to grow crops. The book’s value is that it shows how you can start up, part or full time, an urban farm and make a living from it. A good living if you apply the lessons Curtis teaches.
It’s all very well to talk about local foods and sustainability but unless the farmer can make a living doing it, it’s not going to happen. Curtis Stone shows how to do it and in the most competitive market in the world.
Curtis is a Canadian and wrote the book from a North American perspective. But that doesn’t make it less relevant to the UK except in one area – finding land to grow on. Houses in the suburbs over there have much larger gardens than our postage stamp plots. However, that shouldn’t put you off. Land is available even here – although it may be harder to find.
Curtis Stone – the Author
He’s a natural communicator which has led him to having over 270,000 followers of his Urban Farmer YouTube channel and being in high demand as a consultant and lecturer all over the world. He also runs a subscription website – fromthefield.farm for urban farmers offering more in-depth videos and a mutual help forum.
Those communication skills are obvious in this book. It’s remarkably easy to read without being simplistic. He starts the book with his personal story. After 6 years as a rock musician his career was slowing so he looked around for something more fulfilling, undertaking a classic road trip by bicycle. This eventually led to his starting an urban farm despite having only a small amount of money to invest.
Despite inevitably making mistakes, he made a modest profit in his first year. He improved on that each year after, building the very successful Green City Acres market garden. The Urban Farmer explains those mistakes and how to avoid them.
Real, Detailed Information
The Urban Farmer is superbly structured, broken into sections and then chapters. Each chapter explains a different aspect of urban market gardening in detail. At no point does he gloss over any aspect of the business as so many ‘how to’ books do.
Having read and re-read a chapter you will understand exactly what to do; whether that be marketing, administration, crop planning or any of the myriad of things a successful market gardener needs to know. It’s well illustrated with line drawings, colour photographs and charts that complement the text.
With 263 pages densely packed with information, this is not just a book to read once. To get the most from it you’ll need to read it twice at least and be prepared to make notes. A reference work to keep handy.
I can’t oversell it – if you are seriously considering making a living by working for yourself in horticulture, you absolutely need to read this book.
Further Books in this Section
- Making Small Farms Work by Richard Perkins
- New Complete Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour
- Pest Control for the Smallholder by David Bezzant
- Starting with a Smallholding by David Hills
- Successful Smallholding by Jeremy Hobson
- The Smallholder’s Manual by Katie Thear
- The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone
- Tools and Machinery for the Smallholder by John Bezzant
- Viable Self-Sufficiency by Tim & Dot Tyne