Gardeners trying to establish a new market vegetable garden or farm may not take the time or have the expertise for the business side of their operation. They spend most of their time building the soil, planting a wide variety of interesting crops, maintaining, and harvesting. While all these aspects of gardening and farming are important, the business side of the farm is sometimes neglected. Many farmers work harder than they have to and sometimes fail at their new enterprise altogether.
A new book by Richard Wiswall helps new and existing farmers and market gardeners avoid some of these pitfalls. The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook (Chelsea Green, 2009) emphasizes the business decisions that a farmer/market gardener has to make for the most efficient and profitable operation. Relying on his 27 years of farming and marketing gardening experience in Vermont, Wiswall's handbook goes through advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems. It also includes novel marketing strategies, what to do with your profits, business spending, investing, and planning for retirement. A companion CD offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planner. If you're thinking of getting into farming and market gardening or are struggling to make ends meet with your existing operation, this handbook might be very helpful.
For more information on this book and to watch a free 30 minute interview with Richard Wiswall about organic farming, go to: Chelsea Green.
Article published on October 20, 2009.