Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study

While urban farms are located within easy reach of consumers, they tend to be confined on small plots that create challenges with achieving financially sustainable “micro-farming” operations. This research trial primarily examines the question of how much of the cultivatable space used during the main season in an urban micro-farming operation also needs to be dedicated to fall and winter production in unheated high tunnels to make the entire operation sustainable.

Results of this trial indicate that winter production using a high tunnel is possible, albeit with region-specific challenges. In assessing how to coordinate winter production with main season production, envisioning one extended season was found to be most practical for planning purposes. In addition, an assessment of how much space is necessary to dedicate to winter production to make the entire farming operation sustainable revealed that a 1⁄4 acre of cultivation space, with half under tunnel production, and the use of intensive intercropping, are all factors required for a micro-farming operation to be financially sustainable.

Subjects for future research include an examination of intercropping yields to assess the effectiveness of the technique. Also, if intercropping is not used how much additional cultivatable space would be necessary and how would the financials of the operation need to change in order to accommodate the increased space while maintaining financial sustainability.

The complete report on the Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study is available in the PDF files linked below:

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Table of Contents (20.0 KiB, 97 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Report (114.6 KiB, 117 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix A (2.6 MiB, 65 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix B (13.1 KiB, 82 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix C (6.2 MiB, 48 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix D (2.4 MiB, 67 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix E (11.5 MiB, 48 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix F (5.4 MiB, 75 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix G (3.3 MiB, 56 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Appendix I (3.3 MiB, 72 hits)

  Small Farm Financial Sustainability Study - Acknowledgements (9.9 KiB, 44 hits)