This episode is a review of Growing for Market magazine.
Founded in 1992 by Lynn Byczynski, shortly after she and her husband stared market farming in Kansas, Growing for Market was a response to the lack of magazines available for small growers, and focuses mostly on practical how-to pieces. Some of the topics include vegetable production, cut flowers, food safety, tools and equipment, as well as growing, selling, and managing a business. You might say that this is a magazine for farmers, by farmers, with many of the authors contributing to the magazine in an ongoing basis.
In addition to editing the magazine, and her own farming, Lynn is also the author of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, and also Market Farming Success, both of which are published by Chelsea Green, the latter being released in a new edition in September 2013.
After the interview with Kirsten Reinford, where she recommended this magazine, I wanted to know more about this magazine so reached out to the editor, Lynn Byczynski, to see if there was a review copy available. Happily, she sent me an electronic copy, and I liked what was there. The main article, written by Ben Hartman a farmer from Indiana, was about applying the 5 principles of Lean manufacturing, a system developed by the Japanese manufacturing industry, to farming. In many ways this was a perfect article to start my exploration of the magazine because of how this system could be adapted directly, through Ben’s examples, into permaculture systems and how we manage tools and workflow for implementation. Just as Ben Falk recommended always having a something available to move materials around the landscape, Ben Hartman suggested having bins located throughout a property to put weeds in, or to have tools available in key storage areas so they are always at hand and allow for a consistent work flow, rather than having to stop and start. I think about my own wasted time going back and forth from my garage when I realize I should have brought my big saw to prune, rather than the small saw I slipped in my pocket.
This one example of equipment can be taken further by considering how to use these Lean ideas for organizing our various zones. Where is it best to store different types of tools so you can efficiently accomplish your work, decreasing the time in the garden? What tools should go where based on what you have planted? What are your patterns of use?
Zone 1 is our garden, that front door to car door, so maybe we keep a bucket with hand tools, a sun hat, and gloves in the entry way to our home to be picked up and taken with us when we go outside, with larger tools stored in a garage or storage shed for when they’re needed. Pruning tools, such as a bypass pruner, saws, and a pair of long-handled loppers, in a small covered area or storage box between Zones 1 and 2. If you’re keeping animals out in zone 3, as well as a wood lot, orchard, or other trees, if the animals have a shelter you can store a ladder, some other pruning tools, and harvesting supplies to be on hand to maintain the landscape conveniently. I could go on with this thought exercise, but as you may have noticed, I took a lot from this one article and how to apply that information to make the implementation of permaculture more efficient.
So before I go too down that path further let’s get back to Growing for Market. I’m thankful to report this magazine is filled with this kind of adaptable material. I say this because Lynn also provided me with access to the online digital archives. This one issue wasn’t a fluke that just happened to catch my attention in a compelling way. The back catalog, of some 1400 articles and growing, is filled with information you can use in your own practice, including contributions by Richard Wiswall. I mention him because of the number of guests who recommend his book The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook. With Growing for Market you can explore his writing style and decide if his book is valuable to you.
For a permaculture practitioner, I think this magazine is useful.
I say that because if you’re looking to begin your own farm or market garden, perhaps after listening to the interviews with Erin Harvey, Kirsten Reinford, or Wayne Herring, or after reading Peter Bane‘s The Permaculture Handbook, there’s a lot you can learn about how to start, run, and operate a small scale operation within the markets that are available, all written in language that isn’t overly complex or hard to understand.
If you’re already involved in landscaping or farming, and want to improve your business you can learn about that as well, while also reading about the practices of others all over the country.
If you’re looking to consult with farmers on ecological agriculture or broadscale permaculture, Growing for Market can help provide background knowledge on current trends, providing ways to leverage your knowledge to meet clients where they are at, and get their buy-in to the process.
With all that, if you’d like to check out Growing for Market, you can do so by going to growingformarket.com. If, after viewing the website, you want to subscribe, I’ve worked with Lynn to provide listeners with a $10 discount on a Full Access subscription, bringing the one-year price to $79. The Full Access subscription provides you with a digital copy of each new issue and the complete digital archives.
The coupon code is: PCP613.