The Profitable Mini-Farm – Site Selection (E02) (FSFS265)

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Episode Summary

The Profitable Mini-Farm is a new series hosted by Diego Footer and Jodi Roebuck to take a deep dive into the technicalities of farming—from designing your farm’s layout to crop planning to treating your soil.

In this episode of The Profitable Mini Farm, we’re taking a look at site selection: what goes into choosing a property for your farm. What are some key things to consider when choosing the “right” location? Should you prioritize your proximity to your market? How far is the property from your support system?

Today’s Guest: Jodi Roebuck

Jodi Roebuck is the main farmer behind Roebuck Farm and is a John Jeavons alumnus. He has been teaching sustainable bio-intensive growing techniques all over the world for over 20 years with the aim of creating sustainable food systems while bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.

            Roebuck FarmWebsite | Instagram | Facebook

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • Diego introduces the episode on site selection (00:00)
  • The importance of finding the right market garden site (01:36)
  • Start small with the end in mind (03:13)
  • The most important site characteristics to consider (04:28)
    • The easiest site to design (05:35)
    • Climate considerations and bed orientation (06:23)
  • How to start working on sloped property (08:30)
    • Is your site your forever site? (11:42)
  • Choosing between proximity to market and the ideal site (12:01)
  • Planning for extremes from a design perspective (12:46)
  • Getting rid of excess water in wet climates (17:03)
  • Putting in the necessary time that will pay you five, ten years in the future  (21:02)
  • Minimizing mistakes by getting a visual look on a farm’s design layout (26:32)
  • Other considerations when choosing a site (30:47)
    • How far away is your support? (31:07)
  • Formulating your income potential based on your land and crop choice (33:34)

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FSFS265 (TPMF02)

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Welcome to the Profitable Mini Farm. I'm your host, Diego. DIEGO. In this episode, we're gonna go deep into site selection. When you start a farm, what factors should you consider when picking your farm site? Things like, should you pick good soil over a good market? How far away from a population center should you be?

[00:00:24] And what about the topography in terrain on that site? Jodi has a very challenging site at his farm, Roebuck Farm in New Zealand, so he is gonna share a lot of his experience that he's learned building his farm there. He's also consulted with a ton of farmers over the years, so he'll lend some experience from all those consultations.

[00:00:46] Before we get into today's episode, a word from our sponsor, my company, Paperpot Co. Paperpot Co is your source for high quality farm tools. From the paper pot transplanter to the industry leading, Kwik Klik Seeder. We have a variety of tools to make your jobs on the farm a whole lot easier. There's a lot of new tools coming in 2023.

[00:01:08] So follow along and learn more at And if you're listening from Jodi's part of the world located in Australia or New Zealand, check out Active Vista link to in the description below for quality farm tools in that part of the world. With that, let's get into it. It's episode two of the Profitable Mini Farm: Site Selection with Farmer, Jodi Roebuck.

[00:01:36] When you think about all the things that somebody has to consider when starting a market farm, from tools to crops to grow, to market streams to the site itself, how do you view the importance of finding the right site to have the farm on?

[00:01:52] Jodi Roebuck: Usually, we look at proximity to market as a beginning point, but I think your soil and the aspect of your site is where I'd like to start today.

[00:02:02] There's a saying you can't change your aspect, but you can change your soil. So our aspect is open, wide valley and it's a sun trap protected by the trade winds. So we were very sheltered, but we didn't have any top soil when we started. We're on a sub-soil, so we knew that we could improve the soil, but that was gonna take time, and it was gonna be work.

[00:02:27] And we also exposed to the easterly wind. That's a real challenge for us. Also, with us in our excess rain. We need to let the excess out so that that's key as well. So I think the site, ideally, as you expand over the years and you are able to expand as your market stream allows. That's been our journey, the beginning with the end in mind.

[00:02:54] So starting out small and knowing that we can expand and also will come to standardization in another show, but beginning so that as you develop over time, you're just expanding with the same standardization so that everything still fits.

[00:03:13] Diego Footer: So the thought process would be, right now to start small, I'm gonna start with a quarter acre, but over time, I could conceivably see myself down the line doing up to two acres.

[00:03:25] I'm gonna find a site that allows me to start on a quarter but gives me the option to potentially expand up into those two acres. Should I wanna go there? Assuming you can make that work financially. And the site aspect itself works. That's how you begin with the end in mind. Like you vision down the line, where could this go? And then start small to give yourself the optionality to get bigger?

[00:03:50] Jodi Roebuck: For sure. And we took a leaf out of Curtis Stone�s book, we started with the fast crops first before we expanded. On average, we put in 10 new beds a year, which is not much new area. I'd like to really kind of suggest that the faster the crops grow, the more profitable they are.

[00:04:11] And so we started just with that framework of our crops that are fast and year-round. In summer, we grow more, more diversity, but we'll also it takes time to develop your market streams and that really drives everything back on the farm.

[00:04:28] Diego Footer: When you think about site characteristics themselves, there's a few things to consider that you've alluded to.

[00:04:36] One would be the slope, which allows water to drain off. There is also the shape of the land, meaning, how can you best orient beds to take advantage of the sun as it hits your property? You might have winds that come in from a certain direction, and they may vary seasonally. Given the type of climate you're in, how do you rank these in terms of what do you think is the most important?

[00:05:05] Jodi Roebuck: We usually don't look at soil too much. Obviously, don't want, you know, ginormous rocks everywhere. The sites that I'm designing, generally through a Zoom meeting, sometimes onsite. The flatter it is, the easier your life's gonna be, the easier everything is. All the movements you do on the farm, youe access, everything's gotta come in, whether that's fertility and everything's gotta leave your production and all the movements around the farm to achieve that production.

[00:05:35] So we're the easiest site for us to design is very close to flat. A few degrees of gradient is nice to let that excess water out. I wouldn't recommend farming in a scallop where the water can't leave. One day you're gonna come in trouble with that. Yeah, it's like a big square, open paddock. Is a beautiful site to start with and a lot of people I see want to purchase a title that has characteristic.

[00:06:02] It has some nooks and crannies and bits here and bits there. You can develop all of that over time with your planting. With all the trees on our property we planted, there was nothing then when we started, so we're generally looking for a flattish site. Ours has a slight lean, but very little, which makes everything easy.

[00:06:21] And then your bed orientation, we're also really considering the climate there. Our particular climate, we have very little sun for half as a year, and because we grow year-round, we prefer to orientate our beds north-south, so that as the sun tracks over the beds, basically each side of the bed has even sun, and it gives us very uniform production.

[00:06:45] The beds that we do have running east west, they still work, but because the long edge of the bed faces the sun, and when the sun is low and we don't have much sunshine, one edge of the bed dries out and the other edge is wet. So there's a little more variation in the growth on those beds. And then for us, we're in the southern hemisphere.

[00:07:05] If we have a bed on the south of an infrastructure, like a greenhouse, those beds have a lot more variation in them. So they, this is a East-West bed and some of the sun's very high. We don't get the afternoon ocean Breeze on those beds. And so they're, they're very hot. You can grow, you know, your warm season crops there beautifully, but in winter they go into permanent shade.

[00:07:28] So we just have to crop accordingly with those few beds that we have that are east, west and shade it during winter. So we really notice a much more even production in the north-south beds. And again, it just comes back to your climate. I know there's a lot of growers out there that have a lot more photosynthesis than us, a lot more sunshine.

[00:07:47] And so then the next kind of conversation is what happens when you have a rain event? Do you choose to go along the contour? Generally, I find this more difficult. Your soil tends to move, it spreads downhill on the pubs. You've gotta push it back on. And we prefer to have a slight gradient. At maximum, and we've actually sited our beds downhill to let the excess rain out via the paths.

[00:08:15] But remember, we have 2.30 centimeters of rain. There's a lot of different factors in here, and there's no, there's no right or wrong. It's just really reading your site and looking at what's gonna be best for your context.

[00:08:30] Diego Footer: Not everybody's been blessed with flat land, and around the US and maybe this is the same around places around the world, the land that is most affordable is the non-desirable land, which means it's not gonna be flat, the soil's not that great.

[00:08:45] And we can talk more about soil later and in another episode. So for land that's not flat, like sloped, say, there is no flat portion on the land. You could do a bunch of earthworks, try and terrace it out. That's intensive. That's expensive. For somebody that has a decent slope, like it's not flat, it's not a cliff or a mountain, how would you work on sloped property?

[00:09:13] Jodi Roebuck: The market gardens that I've visited and that are sloped, I think it's fair to say it's more work, especially bringing product from the farm. You know, if you're doing heavy veg, root veg and stuff like that, there's gonna be a bit more lifting. There's gonna be a bit more work in your access, bringing stuff in.

[00:09:33] The narrow beds for sure. And generally, I'm seeing people, you know, if you've got contour going across the contour, and you're just gonna�I would be looking back to the workflow where, you know, ideally, you'd be pulling, bringing your fertility in from above and bringing your product downhill to the wash and pack.

[00:09:54] And access is a big one, too. We, you know, even vehicle access, access to bring in all the materials in there to build the farm. Our original access, Diego, to was shocking. It was a loose gravel, super steep drive with a hairpin bend, and it dropped to the river. It was so bad. I used to have dreams on visitors actually going off the bend down into the river.

[00:10:17] It was that much of a stress for us. Eventually, we put in a new access from behind the farm, and now we can have truck and trailer units come in. They can turn around, they can leave. It's just a dream compared to the early days. But when we started, we just didn't have the money to put in.

[00:10:36] Our new, our new access was about 25,000. That's just been a game changer for us. It's de-stressed me because we can bring product in and out of the farm, and we are flat, but I think you can make it work anywhere. And that's the kind of the attitude that you know, what's that saying? Just get it done.

[00:10:53] If your site is what it is, like ours and you've just gotta work with it. So I began suggesting, well, I'm seeing more people going across the contour. And quite often, depending on if it's, you know, not flat, you're probably having to break up your field blocks a bit more based on the contours that you have, rather than if you're flat, you can just standardize everything. So it's super simple.

[00:11:25] There's just trade offs of the site that come with each site everywhere. I'd also look for experience working on other farms, seeing how they work first before you launch into your own market garden. If you're starting from scratch, and then I guess this is a big conversation too, but is the site your forever site or are you, are you leasing?

[00:11:42] That's a big conversation, but if you're setting up on a lease, you wanna plan everything to be mobile, to be able to move. And I know there's a lot of very successful growers that have moved multiple times, or leased until they've had a savings to buy their own, you know, forever farm.

[00:12:01] Diego Footer: If somebody has the choice between a great site and proximity to market, which is something we haven't touched on yet, how would you weigh the two? Would you prefer to have the better site and drive further to get to market? Or would you give up on the site to be closer to market?

[00:12:26] Jodi Roebuck: I think I would be going for the first option, Diego. Great site. I wanna farm until I'm as old as possible and wanna do that as I wanna be as comfortable as I can with that. We are close to our proximity, but I would happily travel further and having the easiest site, that would totally be my preference.

[00:12:46] Diego Footer: You mentioned, plan for extremes and the weather's crazy now. I've gotten so many emails from farmers who have really cold springs this year. There was fires last year.

[00:13:00] There's been heat waves. There's droughts in the Northeast as we speak right now. California's had a really dry year. When somebody looks at a site, I think a lot of their vision is they plan for when things go well, but nature's gonna make it when things don't go well. You're gonna get some point, get more rain than you ever thought you would get.

[00:13:25] You might go without rain for longer than you ever expected. How do you approach planning for extremes from a design perspective?

[00:13:38] Jodi Roebuck: Wow. Big question. So, that's it. You go to plan, you go to plan to the extremes, and I'm not trying to suggest I know everything, but I farm in a very wet climate, and I've done extensive travel, and I've farmed in some of the driest parts of the world and what I've been seeing after years of drought�

[00:14:02] One place in particular have just had six months of rain. So following three years of drought, fires, covid, hail, two year, two summers of hail, they've now got the complete reverse. Just quickly, with my experience across dry climate and wet climate, or brittle and non-brittle, we could call it, what I'm seeing is the site quite often in the extreme dry climate. People choose a site, and they get farming and they're very successful.

[00:14:33] And then when they have those record rains, quite often they can come into trouble because the, my take is if you're market gardening, you need to let the excess out no matter how wet you are or how dry you are. And I've seen a lot of sites this year. And it�s devastating where the water is sitting and it's not just a couple of centimeters, it's up to a meter and it's so destructive.

[00:14:59] It's a massive stress when you lose infrastructure and your crops on top, and you've gotta rebuild from day one. And my take is that it is always the fast crops that get you outta jail quick. We'll come back to that. But yeah, you've just got to plan for the extremes. Like if you're farming in a scallop, and the water's just gonna build up, and you're gonna have a lake sitting there, it's just a matter of time.

[00:15:23] Might be six years away. And then also if you've got rainfall, but you go through an extensive drought. We just had our driest spell ever. Late summer, autumn, probably in 20 years. Our driest spell, even though we have 2.3 meters of rain, we chose our top, our site because we have a river boundary.

[00:15:46] We're 20 meters above that river and there's water that runs year in, year out, and we can pump to a header tank, and then we have gravity from there. So even though we're in a wet climate, we still chose water security. And we only use irrigation five months of the year. And then the dry sites, too.

[00:16:08] You've just gotta plan for those extremes. And I think coming back full circle, I really think the future in small scale agriculture, and it's a bit harder to do this large scale, is farming with covers. We're always gonna have those extreme.

[00:16:27] Diego Footer: For wet, that's something a lot of people have to deal with, and there are different strategies to getting water to go away, from creating a natural slope via ditch on the more permaculture side that swales, so that's a ditch on contour. There's deepening your soil through plant roots and techniques like sub soil plowing or keyline plowing. People will put in drainage tiles to just physical tubing underneath the soil to help shed water away.

[00:17:03] You get a lot of rain, what's your strategy for making that excess water go away? Because ideally, like if we look at permaculture, we wanna stack functions, so we want water to go away, but we wanna also get the most benefit from how we're getting that water away. So if we just send it through a tube down somewhere, we don't get any benefit from, say like, if we deepen the soil and let it drain away through the soil. How do you guys actually deal with all the water that you have?

[00:17:39] Jodi Roebuck: So firstly, I look at the weather forecasts everyday, and we appreciate it change. We there's a saying here in New Zealand, four seasons in one day, so it's so changeable.

[00:17:51] We don't have Monday to Friday regime on the farm. Generally, we like to harvest and replant every day we can. When it's crazy wet, we have very little windows where we can actually get out and direct seed cultivate or direct seed. So we just have to choose our moments and, and be on the spot with that.

[00:18:14] I'm really big on deepening your soils first through intervention, whether that's a plow broad fork. We've developed a fork that is like half of a broad fork and we do a rip, let's say, with the broad fork first to deepen the soil before applying our surface amendments, compost, and amendments that come from your soil test.

[00:18:42] What we've achieved on our sub soil compact mountain ash, no organic matter. We've pretty much got world-record infiltration due to the transformation will be made with our source. So when we have those massive rain events, the beds are still covered. Direct seeded crops, they've got a 70% shade net placed on top of them that's protecting the surface of the soil.

[00:19:12] Existing crops have insect nets over hoops that softens the torrential rain. And what we see in the really big rains is that the beds absorb all of that water. There's no pooling or water surf sitting on the surface. And the paths let the excess out so we're capturing as much as we can and holding onto that and then just getting the excess out.

[00:19:37] We, and I appreciate every site's different, but we're not sending that excess water somewhere to retain it, to reuse it. We have a river, we chose to be next to that, and we also have 2.3 meters of rainfall, so it's all context. If I was in a crazy dry site, absolutely, I'll be looking at key line design and sending all over excess through.

[00:20:02] Let's say, and I'm not gonna pronounce this right, but your roadways then become designed on contour, and the ditch on the side takes all the excess water from your agriculture into a dam, and then you can send that back somewhere like to a header tank and reuse it. So yeah, ideally the drier you are, you want to retain your excess on farm and the wetter you are�

[00:20:27] What's we, even in summer, in our wet climate, Diego, we choose to irrigate late and early, not often we do during the heat of the day. We might just hand water a couple of beds that are direct seeded, and using a shade net on top of the beds really helps moisture retention, promotes germination, stops birds taking your seed and saves water.

[00:20:53] So even though we have a stupid amount of water, we're still looking at water conservation and it's just a big conversation. It's just so different everywhere.

[00:21:02] Diego Footer: What are your thoughts on this: a lot of people, they get the farming bug. I'm excited. I wanna farm. I listen to the podcast, I watch Jodi's videos and I wanna do this.

[00:21:15] The first step I think people do is like, I'll just go throw some beds in in my backyard because I want to get growing. I wanna get selling. How do you balance the need to get growing so you can practice? Get selling so that the business can make some money to pay for the stuff that you need to do with setting yourself up for success in the beginning, building a solid foundation.

[00:21:54] You know, this is what anybody would do in life is if you wouldn't just start running a marathon tomorrow if you wanted to, you'd really struggle. You'd train for months, and you'd work your way up to it and eventually you'd get the big payoff. You'd do a marathon, and then you could, the next one would be easier, and the next one would be even easier than that.

[00:22:13] So all this stuff that we're thinking, you find the site, you lay out the beds, that all takes time, and it's not time that's gonna pay you back right now with dollars coming in, but it's time spent that pays you five years from now, 10 years from now into the future. So what do you tell somebody who's just starting that there's a bunch of work at the beginning. You might not view it how important it is now, but you will later.

[00:22:38] Jodi Roebuck: I like the analogy of the marathon. I think the key word in the idea that sends out to me as training. Upskilling. The cheapest education I really believe are the market Garden Books. Elliot Coleman, the new organic grow has winter growing book is magic, John Martin Fourier, Curtis Stone, both of Ben Hartman's books.

[00:23:00] I know there's others. Those books are so cheap, and I reread them regularly. I even write lines under stuff that stands out to me each season. I see that content differently. The podcasts I'd like to do a big shout out to the work you did, I know I've spoke about it already, but the 2016 series with Curtis Stone Farm Small Farm Smart, so much content in there.

[00:23:25] And so the training partly you can do, you can upskill a lot of that, plus the online courses. You can upskill yourself by studying, but for me, there�s no better value in the experience that I gained by working on other farms, working in Curtis Stone�s washing pack, Jean-Martin Fortier�s wash and pack.

[00:23:47] They're both very different models. When I came home from that trip in 2016, it took me 30 minutes to design my expansion of the farm, the location, and the style of the wash and pack. And I think this is a way we like to run things out on the farm before you even begin, but we just get an electric fence.

[00:24:10] Run it out on the ground with your treads or your standards and mark things out. That's a really nice way to be able to see what's it gonna look like. How big do we go on the greenhouse? How big do we make our access way past? Which way do we orientate the beds? And you can visually see that map, take a bit of time and think about it. We just run through this process with our new expansion we're undertaking.

[00:24:34] Diego Footer: So you take the fence post, put 'em in, and you run your fencing in. So the fencing's standing vertical, like it's three dimensional coming up?

[00:24:43] Jodi Roebuck: No, it's just on�the electric fence ribbons just running on the ground and we're using the treads just to hold it so we can run the ribbon around everywhere.

[00:24:52] Diego Footer: Got it. So you schematically lay out the beds using the electric fence ribbon is just, it's a visual site to say, here's what I'm envisioning. This is what it could look like.

[00:25:03] Jodi Roebuck: Yep. Super easy way to walk around, measure out is it takes the guesswork out and I never rush things. I contemplate, I look at it in the morning, I look at it in the night. I think, where's the sun? What's the rain doing? What size beds might work? How much area do I have? When you take away access paths, what kind of access works best? Although we've got two standardized beds, everything comes to the, what I call the mother path. So everything's gotta make it to one path that heads to wash and pack.

[00:25:39] And as we're expanding, our wash and pack is central, very similar to lag. So the, there's the shortest distance from our furtherest beds on the farm to the washing pack as possible. They're all, all of those distances are very, very similar and the main accesses, but just been great. We use trolleys for everything.

[00:25:57] We're not lifting nothing around the farm. It's a really easy way. It's cheap. It takes very little time. And then I just literally do sketches and think it through. And yeah, it's an easy way to see what is it gonna look like? How many beds will we have? What makes sense for your bed length? And how many beds in a field block, where's the greenhouse going? And rarely where's the access. Cuz access determines all your movements. And the less movement you can do, the better off you get, you are.

[00:26:32] Diego Footer: Yeah, I really like that idea. And a while back, earlier in the spring, I was watching, I think it was Dragon's Den Australia, so it's in your neck of the woods, that's like Shark Tank, Australian version.

[00:26:43] And there was a company that came on and they pitched this idea of, what they were actually doing was they took House blueprints and they rented out of Big Warehouse, they had their own warehouses and they took the house blueprints and they projected them from the ceiling. Onto the warehouse floor. So, and it was at scale, realistic scale.

[00:27:05] So now potential people building their own house could come in and walk through the blueprints of their house and say, okay, well I go from the kitchen to the pantry. I actually, you know, I take 10 steps. So, it translates this thing that you're seeing on paper into reality. And they said something like, inevitably, everybody who does this changes something.

[00:27:31] The placement of a door, the orientation of a countertop, all these little things. So, I've actually never heard anybody mention this of what you said in terms of laying out a farm layout with some sort of, whether that's surveying ribbon or string line, or the electrical fencing ribbon, so then you can put it down and say, huh, what does that look like if I harvest my last tomato over here?

[00:28:01] And the refrigeration unit is way over here, that's a long way to go. Or if my wash pack is on this side, and I pick my last lettuce bed way over here, how far am I going? My tools are stored here versus where they're being used. I think if most people did that with kind of everything they built, laid it out and walked through it and experience it with not just them, but they got a second opinion of a partner or anybody else, so many mistakes would go away.

[00:28:34] Jodi Roebuck: I really like, Diego, the second opinion too, my father and my mother, they work on the farm every Saturday. And mom is a very good homesteader. She weeds our problem areas, and she loves it and she's good at it. Dad won't garden, but he's a trades, he's an electrician. He's always been a trades person.

[00:28:53] Dad builds everything for us, and it's always my dad, all my trades people that I look to for that secondary advice. And I always use a bit of time in my design process, too. I never rush, never rush anything. Never like to have a deadline. So, yeah, the people that do the trade, you know, like if you, we just build a tiny home.

[00:29:14] I asked the electrician where to put all the lights �cause they put in lights for a living. They understand what you need to do in there based on your context and what's gonna work, where to put 'em, how to wire them, rather than just telling 'em, I want a light here. Cause you get a bit of result, you usually that cost a bit less.

[00:29:33] And yeah, just having other input, other insight, other people have always got different ways to look at things and things that you would never consider quite often.

[00:29:44] Diego Footer: So if we think about where we're at now in the design process and the site choice, we've identified a location where we've prioritized aspect over soil, we're not really prioritizing proximity to market.

[00:30:08] Ideally, we'd wanna be as close as possible, but we'd rather have a better site than proximity to market. We now are on that site, we think about how we're gonna lay out our beds. We're gonna think with the end in mind. We're gonna consider extreme events. If we have too much water, how's it gonna go away?

[00:30:17] If we don't have enough, how can we maximize the water that we keep? We visually lay out what our farm�s gonna look like. At this point of the process, is there anything else people should be thinking about with regards to site selection in this early stage design process? This is before anybody's put a shovel or a BCS, time in the ground.

[00:30:47] Jodi Roebuck: Oh, I guess off the top of my head, some considerations. How far away from your market stream are you? That's a con always in consideration, but how far away is your support? If you have young children, how far away are your parents? How far away is your community? You know, from my experience, you need to have a strong relationship with possibly a fencer, someone that makes a fence on the farm after your contractors.

[00:31:15] Your plumbers, your builders, you need to know a metal worker, a woodworker, and these people become a big part of your community because they're gonna be there for the long game as you reinvest and get through the phase of building your infrastructures. And for us, we're in our sixth or seventh season marketing now. We're just about to put up our biggest greenhouse, and we've got the relationships with the greenhouse company.

[00:31:45] We've got the relationships with our builders. We understand what needs to happen and who the people are that are gonna support us with that. So yeah, the people. The people is a real big part of that, your support. And that's one of the things I ask in my consultations early on in the piece is where's your support?

[00:32:03] And we're kind of, you know, we are also asking, well, what kind of turnover do you need to do to be able to live? You know, how much money do you need a week to comfortably live? Some people have big mortgages, some have none, et cetera. Some people have savings coming into it, and we say to the people that have the savings, maybe not some experience, don't do nothing.

[00:32:25] Don't spend any money, work on this process. Mark out your beds, mark out your farm. Don't run out and buy all the tools. And then we back design everything. So we look at what your market streams are gonna look like, what your crop choices will be, and then we, we come back to what's an appropriate bed size based on your crops and your site.

[00:32:45] And then we are back design. And we say if you're doing a veggie box scheme, for example, you're gonna have a very different wash and pack than someone that's doing a mixed salad business. Your greenhouse size. And so we're really pushing washing pack greenhouse micro production earlier in the piece. And in saying that, when we started, Diego, we just had no time, no money.

[00:33:07] So we weren't in that position to come at it. We had experience, but we didn't have cashflow to invest. So we definitely treat the farm like a business these days, and we are heavily reinvesting to make it better for the future. I do want to continue farming as I become old, and I think the one really pivotal tool that I come across is a calculator, but.

[00:33:34] I heard it way in the back of a podcast from Curtis somewhere. Once you've formulated your bed design, it's pretty easy to formulate your income potential from your given area and your crop choice. I'd just quickly like to jump on this. Let's say you are a 50 foot bed, that's half of a standard bed.

[00:33:54] Generally in the US, that's roughly what we are. We like to pull $400 every time we harvest one bed. And so if you have, well, here's here's the formula to work out your potential income with your outdoor beds. And I appreciate everyone's climate's different. But if you're not under snow in winter, and you're growing year-round, if you can grow four times a year in that bed and you have a hundred beds.

[00:34:25] You just do the multiplication with how many beds, 100 times how many times you plant it a year, four, times your conservative income per bed, $400. So we've got a hundred beds planted four times a year, get my calculator. A hundred beds planted four times a year, $400 coming off. There's $160,000. And what we've found is this is remarkably accurate.

[00:34:56] Just to add to that, with our greenhouse production, we simply do the multiplication of six crops a year, and then on top of that, you've got your microgreens production from as little as a 30 square meter custom greenhouse just for micros, and you add that on top and suddenly you've got a profitable model from a very small area.

[00:35:19] And so we are tracking this each year and I'm amazed at this planning tool. It's just a game changer for us and for supporting other growers too. So once those electric fences are run out, you can run through this simple calculation and look at, well, is that gonna be enough for us to survive? Do we need more area?

[00:35:44] Do we need to focus on more higher income crops? You've got a plan to start heading towards.

[00:35:52] Diego Footer: There you have it, Jodi Roebuck on site selection. If you enjoyed this episode or you wanna hear more about a specific topic, let me know on Instagram by hitting me up at Diego Footer. I'd love to find out what you wanna hear more about in future episodes.

[00:36:09] If you wanna learn more about everything that Jodi's doing, you can follow him on Instagram at Roebuck Farm, which is also linked to below. And if you wanna help support this podcast and all the other podcasts we do, take a look at today's show sponsor, Paperpot Co. Paperpot Co. is your source for high-quality farm tools from the Paperpot transplanter to the Jang Seeder, Paperpot Co. carries a variety of tools to make your jobs on the farm easier and faster.

[00:36:47] Check out some of their new tools coming in 2023. Follow along and learn more That's all for this one. Stay tuned for more with Jodi next week. Until then, be nice, be thankful, and do the work.


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