Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA
Farm tours are a hot ticket these days, especially ones that offer entertainment. Many SPIN farmers are hard pressed to provide hay rides, and their plots don’t provide an Instagram-ready backdrop for weddings. But they do show people how to make significant money growing crops in their backyards.Even those who are already familar with the concept of backyard commercial farming are astonished when they visit SPIN farms. Here’s some of the thrills and surprises in store.
So where is the farm? You are at it, on it and in it. It sometimes consists not only of the front and back yards, but also the garage, basement, sometimes a few greenhouses. Those who visit multi-locational SPIN farms also get some nice tours of several neighborhoods.
Where are the weeds? SPIN farms are disappointing in that regard. There really aren’t many. SPIN farmers pend about 6 hours a week initially weeding their various plots, and towards the end of the season they really don’t have to spend any time weeding at all. SPIN’s intensive production makes it hard for weeds to become established, so SPIN farmers really don’t have to pay them much mind.
Where is the compost pile? Out of respect for the neighbors, SPIN farmers compost very discretely, so their bins don’t have pride of place. They usually aren’t very big anyway because there is very little waste at backyard-scale SPIN farms to compost.
What’s the secret to the soil? Many SPIN farmers have been working many of their plots for many years and even though they are planted intensively, they really don’t have an exotic secret sauce to maintaining their soil. They spot fertilize just specific plots when they need it, depending on what is grown. At SPIN scale, they can micro-manage my soil, so it turns out to be not much maintenance at all.
The drive time to market is just 5 minutes? Yes, for some lucky SPIN farmers, they just roll out of bed, and they are there. For others they may have to drive across town or to the next town over. But under an hour is usually the norm.
But that’s not easy enough? Not for some.They have to haul produce from the car and keep it cool with ice packs. That takes time and can be onerous, especially if you have multiple markets per week. So some develop an online business to diversify and make delivery and fulfillment easier. It also allows them to match supply to demand precisely and develop close and lasting relationships with their customers. .
You use a tiller? SPIN farmers know tilling is controversial, and any discussion about it quickly morphs into big questions about the meaning of life, and the universe. It’s best discussed in a bar over a few cold ones, rather than at the farm. The farm to glass movement is starting to bear fruit so hops looks to be an interesting niche crop to develop if you have the right conditions. Combining a brewery with a SPIN farm does have its appeal.
TAKE A BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR OF A DIFFERENT BACKYARD FARM EVERY MONTH WITH THE OWNER/OPERATOR WHO EXPLAINS HOW MUCH MONEY THEY ARE MAKING, AND HOW THEY BUILT THEIR BUSINESS WITH A BACKYARD RICHES MEMBERSHIP HERE.