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a lot of people email me asking they say

hey Curtis I don't have any money how

can I start a farm well I got some good

news and some bad news for you bad news

is you cannot start a farm without some

money the good news is you can start a

farm with a small amount of money and

that's what I'm going to explain to you

in this video ok so the key to starting

a small farm with very little money is

starting with the things that you that

you need like just starting with the

basics so I'm going to work within a

$5,000 budget range and explain to you

how you can start a farm on $5,000 and

then you can make some money and then

recapitalize that money to grow your

farm from there because you need money

to start a business and you need more

money to expand that business but why

not make money on your farm to grow your

business the one thing I like about

doing that is that you are sort of

organically testing the marketplace to

see what's working and what isn't and

there's one thing that's great about

starting on a small budget is it forces

you to make very calculated and careful

decisions on how you spend your money

I've worked with a lot of nonprofits

over the years and one thing I've seen

is that they often can kill an operation

of too much money because they have too

much money to spend they just try to

find places to spend it whereas when you

have very little money to spend you're

asking yourself do I really need that

thing maybe I don't maybe we can start

with this thing for now and then work up

to that and that whole process is a

great experience for personal growth but

also starting a business or having a

business grow because you get to test

things out and then see if they're

working if they don't you're not going

to continue them and if they do you're

going to double down on them and that's

that's been my strategy my entire career

from farming I started my farm on $7,000

but I did spend a lot of money at the

beginning that I didn't need to and I'm

going to show you the infrastructure

that you can that you that you should

absolutely start with in order to get

some production going first I just want

to talk about the land a little bit in

order to start making money on a farm

all you need is a small amount of land

you can literally

start with a yard like this so this is a

2,000 square foot plot when I say 2,000

square feet I'm including just a block

of land so I'm including the walkways

which I have 10 inch walkways I'm

including a few feet on the perimeters

around the edge so that block of land if

you're going to farm high-value crops

like I write about in my book and what I

do on my farm a block of land like this

can make $20,000 in a standard North

American climate so I'm in Canada I'm in

I'm in British Columbia southern British

Columbia and I can farm a plot like this

for at very least six months of the year

without any season extension without

anything complicated just a basic

growing season I can make twenty

thousand dollars on that land but the

thing that's important is I'm only going

to grow certain crops

I'm not going to grow potatoes I'm not

going to grow cabbage and onions I'm

going to mostly grow salad greens fine

herbs and baby root vegetables so if you

don't know what makes my profitable crop

list click up here and check that video

out I've talked about this many times

before there's sort of a criteria that I

follow so that is really important there

now when you're starting out you really

just want to focus on some simple market

streams maybe one Saturday farmers

market or you want to sell to a few

different restaurants so in this video

I'm not going to get into the specifics

of the production plan I'll save that

for a longer form video content we're

all kind of lay out what I think you

should plant in order to get started but

you know just start with something

simple start with something that's that

immediate cash flow you know that's

what's great about quick growing crops

is that from 30 days from seed to

harvest you've got something to sell so

that's really important so now let's

take a look at the infrastructure and

talk about the basic things that you

need to get started taking into

consideration that you've got at least

2,000 square feet right and so this

could be your grandmother's backyard it

could be your neighbor's backyard it

could be your backyard it's not that

hard to find a plot of land like this to

farm on just to start you can expand as

you go when I started my farm I started

with just one place and then I was

farming the neighbor's place and then I


getting more places from there and I'll

save how to find land for another video

but if you've got a small piece of land

whether it's urban or rural doesn't

matter all you need is something small

because if you're going to go big you're

going to need more infrastructure and so

I would really you know if we're talking

about starting with very little money

$5,000 we're not going to be put in any

heavy machinery into our budget here so

that means we're going to do everything

by hand and that's totally doable on a

small scale so let's check out some of

the tools I'm talking about so if you're

going to farm commercially you need to

have some kind of post harvest area this

is probably the most important place on

your farm it's where you'll store

vegetables it's where you'll wash things

you'll dry things and you'll pack things

like packing greens packing tomatoes in

containers whatever it is the post

harvest area is very important so I'm

going to go through each piece of

infrastructure here and explain it you

can start really simply you don't have

to have this kind of setup you can set

up a temporary canopy in your back yard

and that's how I've done it you can

start really simple okay you're going to

start farming commercially you must have

a walk-in cooler you can buy or build a

walk-in cooler relatively cheap I've

done videos on this before you can get

something like this for $1,000 or

sometimes way less so that is really

important that the thing that key about

a walk-in cooler is it allows you to

store produce for longer period of time

so you can market it but it also allows

you to get things off the field quickly

to get the field heat off so that that

product doesn't degrade so quickly and

it allows you to streamline top so you

can just get harvesting done when it

needs to be done opposed to doing it all

at once you need a walk-in cooler if

you're going to farm commercially this

is a washing table this is where we wash

root vegetables wash totes do pretty

much most of the wet work on the farm

you can build something like this for

$100 maybe a little bit more maybe a

little bit less dependant on them

available but all this is built with

two-by-fours I have two by sixes for the

leg and this is a half inch galvanized

steel mesh and basic washers to hold

hold it down with screws in there the

materials are not that expensive and it

has a rubber liner on the bottom that

directs the water into another bin and

then I pump that water onto my perennial

berries and bushes around my property

but this is an important piece of

infrastructure and it's really it's

really necessary in the post-harvest

area this is a bubbler this is our

primary green's washing station and it

works with a Jacuzzi pump underneath the

pumps air through these holes and it

creates a jacuzzi effect which shakes

off all the dirt and bugs on your greens

you can build this thing for around four

hundred dollars to buy a big tote like

this these are just kind of water

feeding feed troughs you can get an Ag

supply stores and this is all made with

PVC that is our Jacuzzi pump these are

our solid spinners I've done videos on

these before you can build one of these

for around three hundred dollars

sometimes even less because the

components are quite simple just go get

yourself a Maytag washing machine and

modify it I've done videos on this

before and I've been spinning salad

greens many different ways over the

years but this is by far the best most

efficient and fast this is our greens

drying screen this is important if

you're going to do a lot of salad greens

some people don't use a green drying

screen and that's fine I find that if we

blow dry our greens a little bit and get

any residual water off them they

increase the shelf life 2 or 3 fold so

it's been a worthwhile piece of

infrastructure for us there's not much

more than a couple hundred dollars of

materials here possibly even less these

box fans up there cost about twenty

dollars each so this is a relatively

inexpensive piece of infrastructure to

build now the quick cut greens harvester

this tools in many of my videos but even

if I was on a very very micros

I farm I wouldn't grow greens without

this tool it saves us it turns eight

hours into 45 minutes of work per week

so if you're going to farm on the very

small scale this tool is certainly worth

your while because on a small farm if

you're trying to make money at it you

want to be growing greens those are one

of the more profitable crops to put more

profitable categories of crops I should

say so I definitely wouldn't do it

without a quick cut green harvester you

know this tool runs around five hundred

dollars five to seven hundred dollars

and it's worth every penny

as far as soil work and planting goes my

primary cedar is the Jiang cedar that's

worth about $600 but I did start with

the earth way and that worked for me for

about two years so you can if you're on

a really tight budget start with an

earth way it's about a hundred dollars

the Jiang is six hundred dollars but

those are the either one of those tools

are going to be what you plant with so

you're going to need some kind of bin to

harvest produce into I use Rubbermaid

bins and you know you might spend about

$300 on getting a decent amount of these

to start with this is about a quarter of

the bins that I use on my third of an

acre farm so if you're going to start

really cheap these are the basic tools

you can you can use you can basically do

all of your bed prep manually with tools

like this you don't need to have any

machinery you can do all this by hand

yes it's more labor but if you're going

to be on just 2,000 square feet to start

you can pretty much do everything with

these tools so this shovel here you know

shoveling compost what-have-you

this is a bed rake this is for leveling

out your beds it's sort of a finishing

rake a good digging fork is to aerate

your soil to break ground essentially a

stirrup hoe is a great weeding tool but

it's also a good bed prep tool when

we're going between crops and we're

doing shallow till or no-till we're

shanking the crop out on the top putting

that residual stuff in the compost

and using that to scuffle up the top of

the bed and then a standard rake like

this you can actually use to get a nice

tilt in your soil and you don't need to

have a roto tiller or even a tilt er you

can do it with a tool like this and

again it is more labour but if you're

going to start really cheap these are

the tools that I would suggest you start

with so that's the basic stuff if you

want to start really cheap you got to

start small and you need to keep things

simple and they are going to be more

labor intensive but it's totally

possible so I'll do further videos on

more of the production side of this but

this is the basic infrastructure that I

would suggest if you're going to start


with basically very little money you

know and you can also go even cheaper if

you can find a lot of this stuff used

you can do garage saleing you can find

cheaper alternatives just to get the

ball rolling because the important thing

is just to get some production going

start making some money once you start

making money then you can reinvest and

grow it as you go