Urban Farming for Beginners: How to Earn More Money on Less Land

Here’s the naked truth about urban farming especially for beginners:

There are way too many people in the Agribusiness sphere today who think to make a living farming, one requires huge tracks of land.

They say, “if only I can get a huge track of land in the rural, I’d naturally become a millionaire when I start my Agribusiness.”

And to some extent, they are right:

But here’s the deal:

There’s a better way!

More...

If you’re serious about growing your own local food, rich in nutrients, and start a business around it, you need to be very systematic in how you approach it.

What’s more, your success is not based on whether you own a big piece of land. It’s not even based on whether you live in the rural. Heck it’s not even whether you have a small space or short on money!

What is it based on then? You ask:

Well today I’m going to share with you kind of urban farming 101 that almost guarantees that you earn hundreds of thousands in cash growing food on a ¼ piece of land or less.

Learn How to Select High Value Crops

download a free checklist that will help you to choose crops that will give you more cash.

Keep reading to learn how…

Urban farming for beginners that want to earn more money on less land

In 2015, the vertical urban farming market was valued at approximately 1.01 billion dollars.

According to Urban Vine, projections indicate that the global vertical farming niche of the urban farming market will be worth 3.88 billion dollars in 2020.

That’s huge growth bearing in mind that vertical farming is just a sub niche under urban farming.

So, what’s pushing all this growth over the roof?

Before I discuss strategies that you can use to get your share of the revenue, let me first answer this question.

6 Reasons why urban farming keeps growing at a high rate

1. Market access

In any business, the market is by far the most important aspect.

It’s not different in agribusiness:

Urban setting provides a huge number of potential customers by default. Selling to them is cheap since one doesn’t need to travel for long distances to reach them.

Restaurants and farmers market are ideal market outlets for your fresh produce and with time, the produce will ultimately sell itself without you having to lift a finger making it a very attractive business.

2. Low start up and overhead

To start a backyard farm, you don’t need huge capital investments required to purchase land or to buy machinery.

You don’t need a tractor for example neither do you need acres and acres of land.

If you require some tools and equipment, it’s very easy to hire in an urban setting as opposed to purchasing new ones yourself.

Similarly, given the proximity of a market source it won’t cost much to distribute your produce to the market.

3. Better growing conditions

Urban centers and cities provide better growing conditions than rural areas.

Scientifically, it has been proven that cities and urban areas are much warmer than the rural counterparts. A scenario described as heat island effect.

These warmer conditions promote conducive and rapid growth for crops grown in cities.

4. Reduction in social crimes

Majority of urban dwellers are struggling to make ends meet. Most of them results to crimes and unacceptable social behaviours.

However, urban farming presents a solution to such challenges. With zero barriers to entry, anyone can start a small urban farm and thrive.

Moreover, it’s estimated that; urban farming can generate one job every 100 sq m garden in production, input supply, marketing and value-addition from producer to consumer - FAO

5. Pest and weeds

Urban farms experience infestation of pests and weeds but it’s not as prevalent as rural areas.

The reason is simple:

There’s good room for better management practices. Besides, the indigenous host plants that harbour pest in rural areas are rarely present in towns and cities.

Weeds on the other hand can also be managed easily by using growing media that is free from weed seeds.

6. Protecting the environment

Going round major cities around the globe reveals heaps and heaps of trash damped in various parts of those urban areas.

This presents a health risk and nasty eyesore within human inhabited environment. Urban gardening solves this problem by encouraging composting of such trash.

Instead of throwing waste food and other trash away, it’s turned into something valuable – compost!

All you need is some basic knowledge on how to make your own compost.

It's also possible to buy affordable composting bins which can easily do the work for you.

A good example is the Yimbly Tumbler Composter that helps you avoid digging and mixing your compost pile by hand. The tumbling design makes mixing easy and efficient.

​The good thing about this design is that, in hot sunny conditions and with a proper balance of ingredients the compost can finish in as little as 2 weeks.

Compost is later treated and used to produce more food without the need to use synthetic fertilizers which have also proven to pose some risks to the environment.

Urban farming for beginners

Composting eliminates waste generated from urban activities

I can certainly go on and on about the benefits of urban farming but I won’t because I’m sure you’ve got the idea.

Let’s now discuss on where you need to begin when starting a backyard farm.

The only way anyone can start an urban farming business and succeed is by understanding the kind of crops to grow.

Remember most backyards are limited by the amount of space available. We don’t want to waste that limited space growing crops that won’t yield maximum benefit.

Below I explain in detail on how you can select crops that will yield higher and give you more money on your small piece of land.

Let’s begin:

Choosing the crops to grow in your urban farm

First and foremost, I hope that you’ve already downloaded my free checklist to help you score various crops. If you haven’t scroll below this points and download your checklist.

We’re going to go through the list one by one based on the parameters below;

1. Days to maturity

As a rule a rule of thumb, choose crop types that have shorter days to maturity. In your checklist tick all crops that have a maturity of 60 days or less.

Any crop that exceeds this mark is left out of the list.

For example, tomatoes take approximately 65 days or more to maturity, so they don’t score on the list.

On the other hand, radishes are 25-30 days while the spinach takes only 45 days.

That means that both radishes and spinach will score very well on your list.

The reason for doing this is to get a return on your investment as soon as possible.

When space is a luxury you can’t afford, it makes great sense to be selective with what you choose to grow.

Make sure you understand how long it takes for a crop to mature based on your area because maturity sometimes varies depending on the geographic location.

You can start by visiting Iowa State University for maturity days of some veggies.

2. Yield per unit of production

The next parameter to subject your crops is the yield.

Select crops that have higher yield per unit area.

For example, a cabbage takes around 60-90 days to mature. When the plant is at 75% maturity, it takes up around two square feet in a bed; all of that space will yield only one item that is sold once, at a relatively low price.

In comparison, radishes are ready in 25-40 days, and in the same space as one cabbage, you could harvest eight bunches. The general idea is that you should get maximum value for your space.

Generally, most garden plots can be up to 15 times more productive than rural holdings.

An area of just one square metre can provide 20 kg of food a year.

That’s what we want.

3. Price per kilo

We’ve checked crops that takes few days to mature and yield higher per unit area.

Now we need to take it a little further:

What is the monetary value per unit?

Set your limit of how much you want to sell your produce per unit. Anything sold below your acceptable standard is scrapped off the list.

For example, let’s assume a kilo of radishes goes at $2 and that’s your bare minimum. You can decide not to grow anything that you’ll sell for less than $2.

You can get this information by surveying your local market to understand prices of different commodities before filling the checklist.

4. Harvesting duration

We’ve actually made very good progress up to this point.

We know what to grow based on the days it takes to harvest, the anticipated yield per unit area, and how much we can sell per unit!

Now the next question on our agenda:

For how long are you going to reap the benefits of your hard work before you start all over again?

Well, look at the harvesting period or duration.

Most crops can be harvested continuously for as long as four months while others are just harvested once.

For instance, like I mentioned before, a cabbage head will be harvested once while something like kale can be harvested several times throughout the year.

That’s a really good thing because it means that you’ll keep your cash flow as constant as possible.

Customers like consistency and soon you’ll become their favorite supplier of fresh produce making you earn even more.

5. Demand and the popularity of the crop

Of all the other parameters, the crops popularity to the target market is the most important point them all.

Most often than not it means that there’s a demand for that given commodity.

Ensure that the demand is higher and that market is not saturated with the given crop.

Otherwise, you’ll have to compete based on price which is the single most killer of all agribusinesses.

Like they say, you can grow pieces of gems in your backyard but if the market doesn’t think so, you’re doomed.

You can grow pieces of gem in your #backyard but if the market doesn't think so, you're doomed!

Click to Tweet

Sadly, that’s the route taken by most beginning urban farmers.

They trust their gut feeling and grow what they have experience growing only to realize they are worth absolutely nothing.

It’s important that you select crops to grow based on perceived value, demand and popularity.

Kale is a perfect example of a crop that might not be the highest value per kilo — but it’s very popular and you don’t have to work too hard to sell it.

It might not have all of the criteria listed above, but it scores overall because of its popularity.

Get instant access to download a free checklist that will help you to choose crops that will give you more cash.

Learn How to Select High Value Crops

download a free checklist that will help you to choose crops that will give you more cash.

Conclusion

Urban farming business model involves understanding your market, starting small, growing high value crops, and expanding gradually.

Urban #farming business model involves understanding your market, starting small, growing high value

Click to Tweet

Based on the principles I’ve discussed above, it clearly shows why some crops are better suited for urban production than others and why you really need to pay great attention to selecting the right crops.

Don’t forget that crops will score higher or lower based on your location.

For example, what is popular and valuable in New York City might not be the same in Nairobi.

Similarly, what is on demand in Johannesburg might not be true in Sydney.

Therefore, the key takeaway is for you to actually do the research required.

With this post, you’re much closer to the urban farming fortune than you think.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments​

One comment

Leave a Reply to citypower Cancel reply