David takes a deep dive into the cooperative direct-to-consumer marketing arrangement Abundant Acres has with a few select food producers in Halifax, including how they use that storefront to host the free-choice CSA. And David digs into how he and Jen manage inventory and supply for the off-farm free-choice CSA, including everything from record-keeping to how that informs their planting choices.
Abundant Acres uses several different production systems, including tarped, deep-compost fields for high-value crop production, tractor-based row crop and plasticulture vegetables in rotation, mobile caterpillar tunnels, and heated greenhouse space. We take an especially in-depth look at the investment and returns on the deep-compost system, discuss the engineering behind the mobile caterpillar tunnels, and get some insights into the lessons-learned in the plasticulture system.
According to David, the farm succeeds in large part because of its reliance on radical delegation to employees. We discuss how David and Jen set expectations, guide their workers, and give and get feedback to improve performance so that they can rely on employees to take leadership and responsibility for the production on the farm.
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Quotes from the Show
Our crew is busy all the time harvesting and planting and marketing, and as every vegetable farmer knows there's a time where you have to get weeding done. If you can't get it done on time it's not even that hourly labor cost, it just doesn't get done.
I just kind of buzz around helping people and discussing things, and hoping to catch inexperienced mistakes they make before it ends up costing us.
I really believe in trusting young people and giving them a chance to soar. You know, that's like for me what farming is all about. It's all about the fabric of society. It's about believing in people. It's about creating space where people can feel healthy and strong and that's what energizes us.
Hoops for the Hanley-style hoop house are available from Multi Shelter Solutions on Ontario.