WNC CRAFT visits Green Toe Ground Farm to learn about small-scale biodynamic farming.
As my AmeriCorps Project Conserve service with OGS winds down, I have a lot of fond memories of the food and farm folk I’ve met in the last eleven months. One such opportunity was the Gardens of Fairview Tour in June. The tour has grown beyond a focus on food security to include arts and crafts as well as presentations on community gardening, attracting butterflies, caring for bees, green building and permaculture, and year-round gardening. It’s a shared vision creating community around food and the places in which people grow it. Love it!
We asked CRAFT members to bring their thoughts on their favorite sources of farming information, and be able to provide insight on how they put that information to use. Most participants had read The Lean Farm, which was the focal point of the discussion.
Vanessa had suggested this be a ‘farmer book club’, largely centered around the book The Lean Farm.
We asked CRAFT members to bring their percentage of expenses to gross income, then a further breakdown of expense categories as a percent of gross. Some useful categories we asked them to include were be labor, utilities, supplies, repairs, and any new projects or improvements. We also discussed how folks deal with large purchases (such as new equipment) when looking at their numbers. And lastly, how folks approach budgeting for the year.
Ben & Cedar of Goldfinch Gardens, our facilitators for the evening, shared with us a technique for thinking about expenses: If all of your expenses are a circle or “pie”, the whole pie represents the farm “gross income”, where as (ideally) half of the pie represents your expenses and profit (or “net income”). There was much discussion on on-farm income that is reflected in taxes, vs. the reality of on-farm income. The general theme of the night was that there’s a lot of ways to look at numbers, and the answer is to simplify. It was interesting to see how similar percentage of expenses vs. percentage of profit was for each of the farmers involved in the discussion. Read below for highlights. Some of the farmers present attended our Holistic Financial Planning Workshop earlier in the year, which very much added to our discussion.