Since 2010, he has been successfully farming on multiple urban lots in the city’s downtown, and will demonstrate to you, that you can farm on very small plots of land without the debt burden of a mortgage or the high capital expense of the infrastructure needed on bigger farms. This will be the first time of having Curtis in New Zealand to help build the culture of local food and urban farming here.
You will learn about strategic production techniques that focus on high value crops with short growth cycles as well as specialised and niche market streams such as restaurants, and co-operative CSA’s. You will also learn how to use modern technology to better manage your business that will save you time and money.
Curtis wants to show you how you can shave off two to three years of mistakes, that he made, and get you off to a strong start now, making a great living doing something you love.
A day with Curtis
A farm in the ‘burbs
- Why (sub)urban farming
- A quick breakdown of economics
- An urban farmers place in the community
A viable business on a half acre or less
- The zones of the farm and your life
- Crops better suited for the city
The business of urban farming
- Starting small Market streams
- Working with chef’s
- Crunching numbers
- Self promotion
- Community connection
- Finance options
Finding the right sites
- The urban advantage
- Scouting for land
- The suburbs
- Single site
- Urban soil & Fertility
Building your farm, one site at a time
- Your first site
- Satellite farms
- Converting a lawn
- The perimeter
Infrastructure and equipment
- Base of operations
- Tools Nursery
- Inexpensive season extension
- The 40 hour farm week (work flow)
- Structuring the week
- Bed turn over
- Urban pests
- A standardized bed
- Extending your season
- Determining outcomes
- The base plan
- Quick succession planting
- The flexible farm plan
Before starting Green City Acres in 2010, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening.
A bike tour down the west coast of North America, where he visited various permaculture farms, off-grid eco villages and urban farms, was the catalyst that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions.
With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, provided everything he needed to start a farm. After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the SPIN farming model + techniques, that he has now expanded upon, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those with no experience.
Green City Acres (est. 2010) is a multi-locational urban farm operating on less than an acre of land. They use front and backyards, rented from homeowners, to grow vegetables for local distribution. In exchange for the use of their land, their landowners receive a weekly basket of produce throughout the growing season. This mutually beneficial arrangement saves them the burden and cost of maintaining a lawn, while reducing their food costs and providing GCA with growing space.
All their produce is grown with natural methods, meaning that no chemical fertilizers, sprays, or pesticides are used. In fact, they barely use any fossil fuels at all. Their operation is largely pedal powered, with the occasional use of a small flat bed truck that is as low emission and fuel efficient as a smart car.
Curtis’s book, The Urban Farmer, will be available at the worshops.