Sattin Hill Market Farming Course Module 4: Finding Land and Farm Design (FSFS242)

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Episode Summary

This episode of Farm Small Farm Smart features the fourth module in the Sattin Hill Market Farming Course, where Josh Sattin talks through points to consider when choosing land to farm on, as well as some recommendations about how to design your farm’s layout to maximize efficiency.

Today’s Guest: Josh Sattin

Josh Sattin is a farmer at Sattin Hill Farm in Raleigh, North North Carolina. As an educator and professional videographer, Josh has published hundreds of educational farming videos on his YouTube to help make a difference in the local farming and foodscape.

            Josh Sattin – YouTube | Instagram | Website

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • Accessing land to farm on (01:30)
  • What to consider when looking at properties (02:45)
    • Amount of open space (02:55)
    • Soil type and soil testing (03:56)
    • Water: source, amount, location on property (05:00)
    • Electricity (06:25)
    • Road access (06:50)
    • Structures on the property (07:10)
    • Slope of the land (07:54)
    • Trees (08:18)
    • Wind (08:47)
    • Neighbors (09:29)
    • What was the property previously used for? (10:08)
  • Farm design (10:35)
    • Set up field blocks based on irrigation (12:05)
    • Minimize footsteps (12:42)
    • Easy access walkways (13:14)
    • Drainage (14:48)
    • Tunnels and tunnel orientation (16:40)
    • Standardizing bed length and bed width (19:20)
    • Tool storage (21:00)
    • Dedicated composting area (22:35)
  • On-farm material handling: delivery and storage (23:48)
  • Recommendations and considerations for wash stations (26:00)
  • An on-farm farm stand (27:20)
  • Employee considerations (28:05)
  • Main takeaways for choosing land and designing your farm (28:35)

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FSFS242 (SHFC 4)

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Thanks for listening to this special edition of Farm Small Farm Smart. Today, we're continuing on with Josh Sattin�s Sattin Hill Farm Course module four: finding land and farm design. If you want to watch the video from this module, you can do so on Josh's YouTube channel using the link below.

[00:00:19] And if you want to find additional resources related to this module, think the cliff notes version of this module, you can do so at paperpot.co/josh, or using the link. As always, thank you for listening and let's get into it with farmer Josh Sattin.

[00:00:38] Josh Sattin: Welcome to module four of the Sattin Hill Farm Course. This module is all about finding land and farm design. And before we get into it today, I want to have a huge thank you to the sponsor of this entire course, Paperpot Co. Without them, none of this would be possible, but more on that later.

[00:00:52] As I mentioned, we'll be talking about finding land and farm design, and there's a lot of things that are important to think about, not if you're just, if you're looking to buy a farm, but maybe you already have land, or maybe you're already have a farm, you're looking to think about ways to improve the design and the systems and the efficiency on your farm.

[00:01:07] And those are the kinds of things I want to talk about today. So we'll talk about big picture stuff, things you want to consider when you're looking at a property, but also get into some specific design features that I've implemented. And I think it's really important to take the time to think through your systems and your farm design and layout, so you can be as efficient as possible day to day, week to week and month to month.

[00:01:30] This first section, I want to talk briefly about just access to land in general. I think a lot of us have this idea that we need to save up and wait until we have that perfect piece of property, that 10 acres, that 20 acres, a 50 acre-property that you've been dreaming about starting a farm on. If you want to start growing food and selling to your community, you do not need a lot of space.

[00:01:48] For example, this farm here, which I've said before, this whole farm here is an eighth of an acre. And I live on a two-acre, suburban lot in Raleigh, North Carolina. This property should not have a farm on it. This is not an ideal place to put a farm in. I'll talk about some of the design features and stuff and work arounds that I've had to do for this property.

[00:02:05] But if you don't have access to purchasing land, if you don't have opportunity yet, don't let it stop you. You can lease land, you can barter, you can make some sort of arrangement with other organizations like maybe a church, I've seen that before. Maybe a school, maybe another farmer that's got a couple acres they're not using, and you can take over a quarter of an acre.

[00:02:23] And work with them and maybe they can help sort of apprentice you a little bit and serve as an incubator. So there's a lot of options out there when you are looking to farm, but don't let land access be the trouble. If you really want to start growing food, there are ways to do it. You just have to get a little bit creative sometimes.

[00:02:45] When you're looking at a piece of property and trying to figure out if a farm is the right fit, there's a lot of things to consider. And so this is, these are the things that I look for and ask people when they're considering a piece of land for a property. The first thing you want to be looking for is open space.

[00:02:58] And I think this is kind of an obvious one, but for example, here, this area of this grassy area up here, this was covered in trees when we bought the property. And again, we didn't think we were going to start a farm here, so that wasn't really a consideration. Now, we did have a lot of trees taken out and it's tricky because first of all, it's very expensive and it's also very, just disruptive to the soil and all the biology that's going on here because they came in here, they cut all the trees down.

[00:03:25] They had excavators to pull out the stumps and basically all the topsoil got inverted, and we had to basically like regrade it and killed everything that was here. So there was a little bit of a disruption there, but we did that because at the time, I was using this for grazing chickens, and I often need to get more sunlight into the beds because this is sort of south facing.

[00:03:45] So we needed to get more sunlight in here, so you can take property that has trees on it and convert it, but it is a big expense, and it will take a lot of time and effort. So if you can find space, that's already open, that's going to be absolutely huge. Also consider your soil type and you can get a tested, which is great.

[00:04:02] But think about is it clay? Is it sand? Like, what are you going to have to do to remediate the soil? Also think about how many rocks are there. Like do some digging around and you can if you have a lot of rocks, it's going to be really hard to grow food there. Now, here, as I said, this is a farm that really shouldn't have been a farm.

[00:04:20] This property should not have been a farm, but we have solid clay soil here. So that's been a challenge. Everything is doable, but you want to make sure you understand what you're getting into before you get started. And those sorts of things. Also think about soil contamination. So if you're in a more urban area, you definitely get your soil tested.

[00:04:38] There's a lot of situations where there was buildings or other structures or things there ahead of time, which may have contaminated the soil. You don't want to have anything that would poison the food. And in not just urban areas, but you know, if you're in a rural area, maybe there was conventionally grown food.

[00:04:51] There might be a lot of pesticides and herbicides and stuff like that in the ground. So get your soil tested and check that out. Consider sources of water. And you're going to need this for two things. You need this for irrigation, but also for washing. So in terms of irrigation, make sure you have water available.

[00:05:06] That's it's good quality water. It's clean, but it also has enough water for your farm. Now there's some considerations I've had to make here because I'm running off my house well, which is awesome because the water is basically free. But I only get so much water out of my well, and that's a limiting factor for how much really, how much food I can grow.

[00:05:24] There's some things and workarounds there and I'll get to that more in the irrigation module, but keep in mind, like if you're going to try to run a one-acre farm on five gallons a minute, like that ain't gonna work, you need more water than that. So not just in terms of irrigation, the amount of water you need, but also where it is on the property and getting it to where you need it.

[00:05:42] And that might be also tricky. You can also dig more wells, but they are very expensive and they're not guaranteed, depending on what's around in your area, but also think about the water that you need for your wash station, because you're going to need to have, again, potable water there to clean and wash your vegetables.

[00:05:58] And that's going to be�you're going to need that very easily accessible as well. So keep in mind about the cost of water, because if you're in the suburbs or you're in an urban area, you're on city water, it can get very expensive in some areas, so you want to consider that, too.

[00:06:15] So it's not just how much water, but also the cost of it cause that'll factor into your business plan. For me, as I said on well here, I don't have to pay for water, which is absolutely great. You know, the other thing you were going to think about is electricity, because you're gonna need electricity for a few things.

[00:06:29] My tunnels here, I mean, my nursery does need power, but my tunnels don't, and my timers and stuff run off batteries for my irrigation, but you're gonna need power for, if you have anything fancy in terms of other greenhouses, or you want to charge tools, things like that, but also for your wash station.

[00:06:45] So you make sure you have electricity for that �cause you're gonna need that for the things in your wash station. So keep in mind where electricity is. Also think about road access. So how are you going to be getting in and out of the farm? How are materials going to be handled? Like, think about trucks coming in and out, those kinds of things.

[00:07:00] It's really important to think about how you going to get deliveries if you're going to be getting equipment, tunnels, compost, wood chips, like how has that stuff coming in and out? Are there buildings on your property? Can you use those for things? Can you use one for a wash station? Can you use that one to hold events?

[00:07:15] Maybe there's a building on the road that you can use for a farm stand or a farm store, like think about all the structures and how they might be used. Also, if you're going to have animals, that's a whole other thing to consider. And another thing if you're looking to buy a property is, are you going to be living there?

[00:07:30] Is there a house there that you can live in? Is it livable? Are you sacrificing too much for the land to get a crappier house? You know, those are the things you need to think about when you're looking at a property. It's very easy to look at a piece of land and think this will be a great farm, but consider living there.

[00:07:47] How is that going to work? Is your spouse cool with that? Like think about all the things involved with the property if you're looking to buy it. The slope of the land is also important. I have a pretty fierce slope here, hence Sattin Hill farm, and there's a lot of things I've had to deal with with that.

[00:08:01] And I'll get into that a little bit later, even in this module, but having a slight slope is actually good. I don't think I'd want a completely flat piece of land because when the water hits it, it just sits there. So having a slight slope is advantageous and allows the water to drain out when you have heavy rain, so keep that in mind.

[00:08:18] Trees. They can be good and bad. Trees are great cause they block wind, but they can also provide a lot of shade and it can be again good and bad. But generally, you want to have trees far, far away from where you're growing to limit the amount of shade influence on your beds.

[00:08:33] So that has been an issue here because I've squeezed this farm in amongst the trees here and I do get a lot of shade at times when it can be tricky, especially you know, when the sun is low in the sky in the shoulder seasons and in the winter. Wind is a consideration. So as I mentioned, the trees can block the wind.

[00:08:50] We had a problem with this at Raleigh city farm, where most of the winds were coming over one side of the farm, where it was just a softball field there. So the wind just whipped across. Now, wind can be harmful for a bunch of reasons. One is obviously if you have a storm, it can cause damage to tunnels and crops and things like that.

[00:09:05] But when heavy wind that's not blocked by anything, you have trouble with overhead irrigation, the soil dries out very quickly. And sometimes the crops can just straight up get beat up. So keep that in mind about wind protection. A lot of people will put in hedge rows and things like that, but a lot of that stuff will take a lot of time.

[00:09:22] So if it's going to be really windy there, you have to think about that. Are you up on a Ridge? You know, those kinds of things. Neighbors. So I am in the suburbs here and you have to consider that not just neighbors or people that live around you, and they might not like what you're doing.

[00:09:38] Especially if you have animals, you want to consider that as well. Or if you're in the city, people get really worked up about stuff. So if you're in an urban area, really think about that, not just in terms of like people and how they might experience your farm, but also think about your neighbors. Like if you're in a more rural area and there's conventional farms around you that are spraying pesticides and herbicides.

[00:09:59] Think about that. So that could have an impact of where you can plant stuff and borders and things you want to be careful about. And think about also what's on the property now, what's going on there. Was there a conventional farm there before? Were they using pesticides and herbicides?

[00:10:15] Because that might affect how you grow things and also might affect your organic certification if you're applying for that, so lots of things here to think about when you're looking at a piece of land and trying to decide if it'll work as a farm.

[00:10:29] Now that we went over all the ways to evaluate a property to use as a farm, let's start talking about the overall picture here and ways that we can design a farm or have the main layout of the farm. And there's a lot of considerations here. First of all, when you're talking about the overall layout, just make sure you recognize what all the constraints on your property are.

[00:10:45] Some things we already mentioned. You know, roads on your property, trees, buildings that are there, the slope of the land, where the electricity and water is and how are you going to get those things to where you need them to go, and recognize the constraints and keep all that stuff in mind when you're considering your plan.

[00:11:01] At Raleigh city farm, we had a lot of constraints that we couldn't move. Like there was a road that went through the middle of the property. Our greenhouses were in one area. The wash station was another area. We were doing our field growing was another area. So that was all kind of laid out, but there was a couple things in there that we had to consider when we were making decisions.

[00:11:16] Here on my property, I have the slope on the back of my house. That's where I'm gonna be growing my food. I have material handling how that's going to work and my wash station. So, and water and electricity, all the things I just mentioned. You want to keep all that stuff in mind.

[00:11:28] Now, when you're deciding about your field blocks and how you set them up, I really recommend setting up field blocks and there's a few reasons for that. And a field block is just a group of beds put together in one block. So at Raleigh city farm, we decided to put them in eight bed field blocks. And there was a few reasons for this. The main one was that turned out to be 32 feet, which is the width of one silo tarp. They come in different widths, but the one we had was 32.

[00:11:50] And so I was able to tarp one whole block at a time, that helped when we were not only prepping the area for building beds, but if we ever needed to just like cover a whole block over the winter, or if weeds got out of control in the summer or anything like that, we had that opportunity. But the other big thing was I recommend to set up your field blocks based on your irrigation.

[00:12:08] I think a lot of people set up their farm and then think about how to irrigate it. But I think you should think about it the other way around. We were using overhead irrigation there and one row of wobbler sprinklers was going to cover one field block and that worked out pretty well.

[00:12:23] And so I recommend that you set up your farm based on the irrigation, based on silage tarps, and those sorts of things because then you're gonna have a lot less friction moving forward. You can have a very efficient farm.

[00:12:35] So keep that in mind. A lot of the stuff that you want to set up is based on irrigation and tarps and keeping things standardized. One of the biggest things I can't stress enough on a farm is minimizing footsteps, so that's by putting things closer to where they need to go.

[00:12:49] I waste so much time walking around farms when you forget something or whatever. So keeping things as close as possible to where they need to go minimizing footsteps because you'll waste so much time just walking on a farm, you'd be amazed how quickly that adds up. Make sure your main walkways are well established and mulched.

[00:13:07] I highly recommend mulching them, so you eliminate mud. I know some places you can maybe manage it with having grass growing and other things, but having main walkways that are designated for easy access, where people know where to walk and you can move materials through is super helpful.

[00:13:22] We jump in here real quick. Talk about our sponsor, Paperpot Co. Huge thanks to Diego and Pedrad co for making this entire course possible. I'm really excited to be partnering with them for a few reasons. And I want to talk about that with you right now. First of all, the tools and supplies they offer are awesome.

[00:13:36] They're really high quality, and they really focus on the efficiency for the small-scale farmer. They have great customer service and they're just a reliable place to buy things from the other. Diego is a podcaster and a YouTuber and his podcast is absolutely incredible and he is really committed to farm education.

[00:13:54] So go check out farm small farm smart. He's interviewed hundreds of farmers, including myself a few times. And there's a ton of great information about there in there about all sorts of farm related stuff, but also farm business stuff. So I highly recommend you check that out. Also, there's a great resource page that Diego and his team are developing for this course.

[00:14:09] You can check that out at paperpot.co/josh. Back to the module.

[00:14:17] Now let's go over some farm design details, and I'll talk here on the farm and show you about some of the decisions that I made and why I made them. And those sorts of things. Now, the first thing with this property that was the most tricky was the slope. And what I've learned was drainage is like the most important thing.

[00:14:34] And this was important, not only here, but also at Raleigh city farm, we had some problems with drainage that we didn't really address, and it caused a lot of trouble. So this is one of the things that I've talked to so many farmers about in consultations and just informally talking to farmer friends.

[00:14:49] You have to figure out about drainage because especially in my context here in the south and other parts of the world, too, you get very heavy rains. And when you don't tell the water where to go, it will go where you don't want it to go. And I had this problem big time when I had my original farm here because I didn't think about that. I didn't have ditches for where to tell the water where to go.

[00:15:12] I had a big, heavy rain, just finished some beds, and I lost a lot of soil, and it was devastating. We also have this private Raleigh city farm. We got to heavy rain and washed a lot of the soil out and destroyed a lot of the plants, so keep that in mind.

[00:15:24] We've put a lot of energy into telling the water where to go here by digging ditches and trenches. I have no idea what the difference is. I'll probably use those words interchangeably, but when we set this up here with these tunnels, we purposely put them off contour.

[00:15:38] Contour is when you put the ditch or trench with the slope of the land or basically parallel with the slope of the land and what that does in a lot of situations, and you do want this in some situations, is that it will store water and will act as a swale, and it'll store water when it rains and incorporate that water into your beds over time.

[00:15:58] Now that's great in areas that don't have a lot of rainfall, when you're trying to store as much water as possible, but here, we get big, heavy rains. And when it rains, we need the water outta here. So what we did is we put these tunnels off-contour so that when the water comes off the tunnels, it drains down the ditches and away from the property.

[00:16:16] So we spend a lot of time thinking about how the water was going to flow off of tunnels, come down these ditches here and then away and down off the property. Now, on my property here, one of the considerations was also that a lot of water from my neighbor's house and property comes off through here down to a drainage dip.

[00:16:34] So we had to think about how the water is going to move through the property because when those heavy rains come in, that can be devastating. So really keep that in mind. If you're going to be doing tunnels, which I'm a huge fan of, as you know, you got to think about where they're going to go, and I think a lot of people stress out about orientation.

[00:16:51] I don't think it really matters so much. I've heard both cases of east-west and north-south. So personally, I don't think it matters a ton. I think the only situation what really matters a lot is if you're in a very Northern climate, and you're going to be focused on winter growing, I would say put your tunnels east west so that you get the maximum sun exposure to heat up the tunnels as quickly as possible.

[00:17:09] Otherwise, I really don't think it matters. Mine are like, northeast-southwest ish. They're not really�it just how it fit on the property. I think for me, it's more important to think about how they fit on the property, how the water is going to flow off the tunnels. Now keep in mind with tunnels, it's like a house. Think of how much water comes off a house.

[00:17:27] All that water is going to come off the house. And then get, and it's got to go somewhere and if you don't have a ditch to take the water away, then it's just going to sit there and you're going to get a whole bunch of water inside your tunnel, and that's going to be really problematic. So here I am, between two of my tunnels and here's that drainage ditch.

[00:17:43] And this was one of the main things, and I can't stress that enough about before we even started the farm, we built these ditches and this determined how the whole farm was laid out. I made a video about when we did that, and I'll leave that link down below for you to check out. The reason I did it this width, this is three and a half feet wide.

[00:17:59] The reason that is I was trying to get as many tunnels as possible into this space, and I had to keep it as tight as possible. The other thing about three and a half feet was I could use a four foot piece of landscape fabric to cover this. This has worked okay. It's been fairly low. Obviously, I have a few weeds.

[00:18:14] I gotta pull out here and there's some staples coming up. I need to adjust it every once in a while, but in general, it's pretty low maintenance, and I can't stress enough about how much water comes off these houses. Because when you're in a ditch here, you're getting half of this house and half of this house, equivalent of getting a whole house�s worth of water in this tunnel.

[00:18:31] And when it's raining hard, the water is running through here. And one of the biggest advantages of moving the water away is the fact that when I dug these trenches out, I essentially created raised tunnels, like instead of raised beds, like my whole farm is now sort of elevated because I dug around them and this has been absolutely crucial.

[00:18:49] This was something that we put a lot of thought into when we started, we planned out where these ditches were going to go before we did anything, we dug these out, and that was been, that's worked out really, really well. So keep in mind on your farm, where the water is going to go, and you need to make sure that it goes around your beds.

[00:19:05] Because when it rains hard, it will just wash through your beds. You're going to lose soil. You're going to lose crops and you're going to be really, really upset. So keep that in mind. I can't stress enough about how important proper drainage is.

[00:19:19] One thing I've been a huge proponent of is standardization for bed width and bed length is super important for so many reasons. Make sure whatever you decide on, you keep them all the same. I like the 30 inch bed with there's a lot of different options out there. I know people like 36, some people like 48 inch beds. For me, 30 inches is kind of the standard in the market garden world.

[00:19:41] And I don't know where that really started, but I think a lot of it came down to the fact that now a lot of the tools are based on a 30-inch system. So people just use the 30-inch system. For me, I like to be able to straddle the bed, and I've tried 36 inch beds and I physically was not very comfortable with it.

[00:19:57] So 30 inch works very well for me. We'll get into walkways and all that stuff in another module, we start talking about building beds, but keep the bed length the same for all of your beds. And for me, I like 50 feet just in terms of crop planning and harvesting and succession planning. But for me, these tunnels are a hundred feet.

[00:20:15] So my beds are actually 48 feet long, but they're all 48 feet long. Now, why is it important? It standardizes everything. So if it's drip tape, row cover, insect netting, harvesting, and planting, all that kind of stuff, if you go to do a bed, they're all going to be the same. So if you need so many transplants for a bed, it works on every bed.

[00:20:34] Now I would say that if you have a weird property and you're trying to squeeze something in, I would say, try to keep most of the beds the same. Of course, if there's a couple outlying beds, you can get a little bit more growth out of, do it, for sure. I wouldn't say you should sacrifice growing space if you're tight on space just to standardize everything, but whenever you can, standardize all of your beds and it'll make a huge advantage to just making things run efficiently.

[00:21:00] Tool storage is something you want to consider. Not only to keep your tools organized and clean and easy to access, but make sure that wherever you're keeping the tools there as close to the beds as possible, some of these tools are a little bit heavy and you don't want to be lugging them around the farm. You want to minimize that.

[00:21:15] And I said earlier, you really want to try to minimize the footsteps on your farm. I noticed at Raleigh city farm, when I had to walk across the farm to go get something, it would take me. And I'd get distracted, and it would turn into 15 minutes because someone to talk to me or something else would come up or whatever.

[00:21:28] So keeping your tools as close to your beds as possible. We'll go through all the tools and stuff in another module, but you can see they're all right here. The ones, a couple of tools that I keep out of the weather, which is like my tilther and my seeder, but everything else is right here and it's super accessible.

[00:21:43] So we got this nice, simple tool rack here with a cover on it. And then over here, I call this the cart port. I don't know, we just keep the wheelbarrow and the cart under here to keep it out of the weather. But again, super easy to access these tools from the farm, minimizing footsteps, saving time and energy, which is all super important.

[00:22:01] And Raleigh city farm, when I got there, the tools were kept behind the wash station, the pavilion. And so we moved that to the shed that was in the middle of the middle of the farm. So it was literally right next to the beds and that made a huge difference just in terms of getting things to where they needed to go.

[00:22:16] So keep in mind, you want to have a space to keep your tools as close as possible. If you have a bigger farm, I probably recommending have more having more than one of these setups for your different areas and having multiple tools just to save yourself and your employees, time and energy, getting tools to where they need to go.

[00:22:35] Having an area dedicated for composting is super importnt. You're going to have crop residue. You're going to have field crops. You're going to have to deal with the waste coming off the farm. And the best thing you can do is keep it on your farm and it turn it back into compost and turn into soil. Now we'll get into the basics of that and this whole system here in a future module.

[00:22:51] And I did make a video about how to build this, so I'll leave that link down below, too, but having an area that's designated for it. And for me, it's been really helpful to have this close to where I'm working, so it's not an effort to go put waste material in there. And having here is great now that you don't need this sort of system.

[00:23:07] You don't have to build all this, maybe the size isn't right for you. You might need a bigger system than this if you have a bigger farm. I know a lot of farms will just have piles around, but having a tidy and not be an eyesore, I think is also nice. And there's a lot of, as I said, benefit to just keeping the farm looking nice and making it easy to work in.

[00:23:26] So this is something that's been working out really well for me. This is literally right next to the beds here. So when I'm pulling stuff out, it goes right in here, and I can compost it. This five system, five bay system here is more than enough for this little farm. And I also compost all the food waste from our house.

[00:23:40] So keep in mind, you want to have an area designated for composting, make it easily accessible.

[00:23:48] As I'm standing out here in my driveway, I want to talk about material handling. This is something that often gets overlooked, and it�s a crucial part of the operation of the farm. There's a couple of things here that we need to talk about. First of all, how are trucks going to be able to get into your property?

[00:24:02] Because you're going to be getting deliveries of things like compost and wood chips, but you might also be getting deliveries of pallets of potting mix or other supplies or tunnels. Like how has a truck gonna be able to get in if you're in a very remote area maybe a tough. You know, driveway or something like that.

[00:24:19] Like maybe trucks won't want to come back there and you might have trouble getting materials back there. So a lot of companies, their policy is that they won't take their dump trucks off of a driveway or off of a road, so you'd have to keep that in mind. Maybe you convince them to drive across the field if it's not too muddy, but you can't bank on that.

[00:24:33] So I do have access here to get materials in, but there's a couple of things that are not great about this, which I want to talk about. First of all, the material behind me, which you can see, this is a pile of wood chips, and I have some compost there under the tarp. It's a little messy right now, but this is my main inputs here that I'm bringing onto the property.

[00:24:51] And this is far away from my tunnels, which is in the back of the house, which you guys obviously know. And so I have to then bring all this back by hand, so wheelbarrows and carts. So there's a little bit of labor there, but it's literally only way that I can get things delivered. So you have to keep that in mind, in an ideal world, you'd have a place where they could drive up and drop the materials very close to you or where you're working.

[00:25:13] At Raleigh city farm, this worked out great. We made a dedicated area for the compost, which is right in the middle of the farm and a dedicated area for the wood chips, which was also in the middle of the farm, so that helped out a lot. So these are the things you have to consider when you're you have to have access, a place to store them.

[00:25:26] As I mentioned earlier, one of the tricky parts for me is that I have to move all this material by hand in the back. The other problem here is that if I want to get more compost delivered, I have to get rid of all the wood chips, get the compost delivered, put the tarp over the compost and then get the woodchips delivered.

[00:25:41] I don't have enough space to have both accessible by a truck because this is my driveway, and we need places to park our cars. So. These are the constraints I've had to work with. And again, I just made it as best as possible, but it is easy for trucks to come in and drop things off. And don't forget about that because it's super important.

[00:26:00] Another thing to consider with your farm design is going to be your wash station. Where are you going to have it in the things that you're going to need to have a good wash station. So I've made a lot of videos about this in the past, and I will make a very detailed module about my wash station and then how I use it and how I harvest and wash vegetables.

[00:26:14] But keep in mind, as you're laying out your farm design and thinking about where this is going to go, there's a couple of things you need to consider. I highly recommend you find an area for your wash station that's out of the weather. There's a lot of days you have to be harvesting and washing vegetables that the weather is not ideal.

[00:26:30] It's either really hot, so you want to have some cover from the sun. It could be raining, so you want to have cover from the rain. If you can get out of the wind, it's extra good if you can heat it at all or cool that space at all, it makes you or your employees much happier. And when you�re thinking about your farm design and where your wash is going to go.

[00:26:48] You're going to need to have electricity for running all the equipment in here and refrigeration. You need to have potable water for washing your vegetables, and you have to think about where that water's going to go. You have to make sure you can drain the water out of there. And the other consideration is location of your wash station to where you're growing your vegetables.

[00:27:08] And for me, this is not ideal because my vegetables are in the in the back of the house. But once everything is harvested then and washed and packed, it's very easy for me to load my vehicle to go do delivery. So that is a benefit.

[00:27:23] If part of your business is going to be running a farm store or a farm stand, you need to consider where that's going to go on the property. Maybe you need to have a building. You're going to have electricity, you're going to have refrigerators, but keep in mind also about parking, right? If people are coming by to pick up food, there needs to be a place for them to park.

[00:27:38] It needs to be easy, accessible, not only just as an experience for the customer, but also you need to make sure you're managing the property well. A lot of people have asked me before, why don't you just set up a farm stand? Well, At the end of a very quiet street. I got no traffic here, which I love, that's where I like to live.

[00:27:51] But keep in mind, if you're looking for a property where you want to have that as part of your business plan, keep that in mind and keep in mind where you're going to have that part of the business set up and the things you're gonna need for that. Also, if you're going to be having employees on your farm, right.

[00:28:08] Your farm may be a little bigger, keep in mind, where are they going to park? You know, where are there the things that they need, bathrooms, places them to hang out and take a break, get out of the sun, get out of the weather. Also, if you live there, do you want to have a little bit of separation from your house and where everyone else is going to be?

[00:28:25] So these are all things you need to think about when you're looking at all the details on your farm.

[00:28:33] As we wrap up this module, here are the main takeaways for finding land and farming. The biggest thing is to take your time with all of this. So if you're trying to decide on land that you're going to use for farming, you want to be careful with this and really think it through because you're going to be putting a lot of time, energy, and money into this property, and it could be working there and potentially living there.

[00:28:51] So that's a big thing to consider. And in terms of farm design, as I said, a big theme throughout this course is going to be about efficiency and workflow and trying to be really productive. And so that is a huge part of your farm design. And you really want to think through your plan.

[00:29:06] I would definitely have someone come by for a second or third opinion or fourth opinion to come by and check out your farm. It could be friends of yours, better yet, a consultant or a nearby farmer. You can barter with them, pay them, owe them a favor or whatever. Have someone come and look at your property. You're going to see stuff that you didn't see and you can bounce ideas around.

[00:29:21] So that's going to be another benefit before you get started. I know a lot of us really want to jump into farming and start building beds, but the more thought you put in upfront, the better things are going to be. One of the biggest things I found to be helpful is minimizing footsteps on the farm like I talked about earlier.

[00:29:36] Keeping things as close to each other as possible, because I waste so much time just walking around the farm, you would be amazed if you actually sat there and thought about that. So that's a big consideration. Standardization is also huge, so keeping all of your beds, the same length and with your field blocks standardized as well, so you can sort of move things around the property and everything is very flexible.

[00:29:53] I think that's super important. Hopefully enjoyed this and got a bunch out of it. And if you have questions, remember leading live Q and a sessions on Monday at 3:00 PM. Eastern hope to see you there. We'll be seeing you next week with the fifth module, which is about prepping soil and creating beds.

[00:30:14] Diego Footer: Thanks for listening to this special edition of farm small farm smart. If you want to watch the video of this model. You can do so on Josh's YouTube channel. And if you want to find additional resources for this module, think cliffs notes you can do. So at paperpot.co/josh or using the link below.

[00:30:34] Thanks for listening until next time. Be nice. Be thankful and do the work.

 

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