The Urban Farmer – Book Review

This is book seven of my personal Top 10 Farm Books Of The Decade.

I’m presenting my Top 10 in order of publication.

Next up ,,,

The Urban Farmer

Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land

by Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone came to prominence because he was selling $60 000 of vegetables from 1/3 of an acre. He then released The Urban Farmer which was a complete manual of his system.

At first glance, there might seem to be overlap with some of the other books on my Top 10 list, but that just might be that it’s hard to ignore good ideas.

In addition to being the How-To book for anyone who wants to farm in an urban context, there are 2 areas where I really think this book contributes to the farming conversation:

1 – Crop Selection Matters: Curtis brought the concept that only growing high value crops will generate the highest gross sales per acre to an extreme. He uses a Crop Value Rating based on days to maturity, yield, price, harvest period and popularity to determine what he will grow.

2 – Working With Chefs: To my knowledge this is the first farming book that really tackled this topic in depth, As a grower with limited experience selling to restaurants, this book really helped me better understand that marketing world.

This book also explores one of my favourite topics: Work Smarter Not Harder. Curtis was the first person I heard discuss the Pareto principle with such gusto (that is that 20% of your work generates 80% of your results). His systems really illustrate culling that 80% of your work that is only generating 20% of his results.

These ideas might seem commonplace nowadays, but it’s books like these that have fuelled the discussions in the market gardening community and made them viable options.

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