The phrases urban agriculture and urban farming answer the where and the what, but not necessarily the why of food production. Some urban growers are producing for personal use (which could include sharing their excess bounty with friends, neighbors and coworkers) while other growers are producing food as part or all of their household income stream.
While these two groups take very different approaches to growing, watching Curtis Stone’s Profitable Urban Farming workshop intro showed me that the personal grower can learn from some of the strategies and efficiencies of the income grower. We are both working to grow food so a little cross pollination (pardon my pun) of ideas can be beneficial.
In this 42 minute video he gives an overview of his commercially successful urban farm in Kelowna, BC. For income growers, there are a lot of interesting ideas presented. He has an innovative strategy for land acquisition that is essentially OPP, other people’s property. He rents portions of front, back and side yards from homeowners in his city within a 1 1/4 mile of his home to grow his produce.
A very interesting strategy he uses that can be adapted for personal growers is how he categorizes crops as either “quick” or “steady”. Quick crops are crops that are ready to harvest in less than 60 days. Steady crops are those “cut and come again” crops that take longer but provide a more sustained harvest. With his 5 growing plots scattered across 1 1/4 mile, he grows his quick crops in the plots closest to him, since they need to be visited more often for planting, rotation and harvest. He plants his steady crops in the furthest plots to since they only need to be harvested once or twice per week.
Personal growers can adapt this concept and plant their baby greens and lettuces in the part of their garden closest to the house and plant the squash and onions in the far part of the garden since they need less regular attention.
For growers looking to build or expand their business, this video is packed with information. For personal growers, there are some great tips on layout, harvesting and drip irrigation that can be implemented in home gardens.
In addition to this workshop intro video, he has a lot of other videos on his YouTube channel worth perusing for both income and personal growers.