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The Lean Micro Farm: How to Get Small, Embrace Local, Live Better, and Work Less Contributor(s): Hartman, Ben (Author)

The Lean Micro Farm: How to Get Small, Embrace Local, Live Better, and Work Less Contributor(s): Hartman, Ben (Author)

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The Lean Micro Farm: How to Get Small, Embrace Local, Live Better, and Work Less Contributor(s): Hartman, Ben (Author)

ISBN: 1645022048    EAN: 9781645022046
US SRP: $34.95 US
Binding: Paperback
Pub Date: November 30, 2023
Physical Info: 0.6" H x 9.9" L x 6.9" W (1.45 lbs) 272 pages

"Ben Hartman is a true innovator for the small farm."--Curtis Stone, author of The Urban Farmer

It's time to think big about small farms. Award-winning author and "green leader" (Grist) Ben Hartman shares practical how-to tips, personal stories, and surprising examples of cutting-edge farmers and innovators around the world to show us how.

In the early 1970s, US Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz infamously commanded farmers to "get big or get out." In The Lean Micro Farm, author Ben Hartman rejects that disastrous suggestion and instead takes up the charge of the late agrarian thinker Gene Logsdon: "Get small and stay in."

Taking inspiration from the groundbreaking ideas of E. F. Schumacher and Mahatma Gandhi, The Lean Micro Farm shows how small, hyperlocal farms can be both ecologically and economically superior to industrial-scale operations geared toward export and commodity markets.

The Lean Micro Farm details the author's remarkable journey to downsize his farm from one acre to a third of an acre in an effort to prioritize family and community over work, all without taking a pay cut. In addition, Hartman profiles six innovative farmers from across the globe who embody this "get small" mindset. These pioneering farmers show all of us a path toward resilience in the face of supply chain disruption, globalization, and climate change. They model a gentler, more ecological approach to farming that produces less waste and uses less plastic, petroleum, and fertilizer.

Like his previous two books, The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, Hartman's The Lean Micro Farm doesn't just explain why smaller is better, it shows readers exactly how it can be done with step-by-step guides on how to turn a profit from a tiny, but productive, parcel of farmland. Readers will find not just philosophical justifications for a minimalist approach to agriculture but also actionable information for starting your profitable micro-farm, including:

  • A description of the "deep mulch" method for building fertility
  • Instructions on two-step bed flipping to increase production on a small footprint
  • A guide for choosing essential tools and technologies "with a human face"
  • An easy-to-follow process for making your micro farm lean and efficient
  • A detailed plan for selling $20,000 worth of produce from your backyard

It's time, Hartman makes clear, to pivot to a new kind of farming--one that builds upon ancestral knowledge, nourishes communities, and puts human joy, not technology, at its center.

"Hartman has revolutionized his methods, cut down his work hours dramatically, and shrunk the size of his farm, all while making a better income."--Civil Eats

Ben Hartman grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana and graduated college with degrees in English and philosophy. Ben and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana's Reader's Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben's first book, won the Shingo Institute's prestigious Publication Award. In 2017 Ben was named one of Grist's fifty emerging green leaders in the United States. Clay Bottom Farm has developed an online course in lean farming, which can be found at

"The Lean Micro Farm is a game changer for farming and food production. With well-thought-out principles and innovative techniques for planning and maintaining profitable tiny farms, Ben Hartman opens the door to a future of micro farms everywhere, rather than fewer and fewer large farms in rural locations only. This easy-to-read book is full of time-saving and ecologically sustainable techniques, such as flipping beds of both short and tall-growing crops with minimal soil disturbance so that multiple crops can be grown well each year in a small space. Ben's tested methods can be applied to gardens and homesteads as well as small farms. Thank you, Ben, for bringing the ideas of my hero, E. F. Schumacher, into the 21st century and showing that they are as relevant as they were when his book, Small Is Beautiful, was first published!"

--Helen Atthowe, Woodleaf Farm, Montana; author of The Ecological Far

"Ben is a shining example of the powerful ideas and efficient methods he describes. He has a way of making things simple and a simple way of explaining them! Small is beautiful and small makes sense, now more than ever. Ben's one third of an acre is understandable, achievable, and hugely productive of nutritious food. It's my pleasure to learn more about and endorse his approach. Here's to health with Hartman."

--Charles Dowding, author of No Dig Gardening, No Dig Cookbook, and No Dig Children's Gardening Book

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