SG560: Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk

Josh Volk is a farmer turned inventor and author.  In his book, Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less, Josh profiles the winning strategies and systems that transform these unique compact spaces into successful growing operations.  During our chat, Josh personally guides us through every single farm - all while introducing us to the inspiring folks who represent the heart of each market farm. 

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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk
Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk
Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk
Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk

Interview Questions

Before we start to review your book and dive into the 15 farms you profiled, why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Time Stamp: 28:45

What motivated you to write a book?

Time Stamp 29:50

Well Josh, your book is divided into three parts. The first is tittled ‘Why Farm Small’ and you share some strategies here. I’m curious what are some of those that stand out in your mind?

Time Stamp 34:15

On page 2, right when you start to talk about compact values and strategies, there’s an image of someone setting bull traps. I’m curious about the hoop structures that are in the ground?

Time Stamp 37:15

You’ve got a lot of different row coverings that I see throughout your book. What’s your favorite row cover and where do you source it?

Time Stamp 39:25

Part one also features a profile of John Jeavons, director of Ecology Action. I’m assuming his work was inspirational to you and wondering if you could tell us a bit more about him?

Time Stamp 42:15

I’m very curious how you found the compact farms across the country that you profile in your book. What was your method, how did you find them, and did you visit all of them?

Time Stamp 45:15

Before we dive into each of the 15 farms, I have to ask you about your illustrations. Each profile has an illustrated map of the farm. Who is responsible for this fantastic maps?

Time Stamp 48:20

Well, you start first by profiling your own farm, Slow Hand Farm on .15 acres. Is this the smallest farm featured in your book?

Time Stamp 52:40

Burn out is a real factor for people on these farms, correct?

Time Stamp 58:15

Well, let’s go down the list. Farm number 2 is Four Season Farm.

Time Stamp 59:30

Cook’s Farm

Time Stamp 1:06:25

Harvest Moon Flower Farm

Time Stamp 1:11:45

Peregrine Farm

Time Stamp 1:15:45

Liberty Gardens

Time Stamp 1:19:55

Kealaola Farm

Time Stamp 1:22:50

Les Jardins de la Grelinette

Time Stamp 1:28:20

Groundswell Farm

Time Stamp 1:32:00

Mellowfields Urban Farm

Time Stamp 1:38:15

Full Plate Farm

Time Stamp 1:41:35

Flywheel Farm

Time Stamp 1:45:20

Leap Frog Farm

Time Stamp 1:47:20

Cully Neighborhood Farm

Time Stamp 1:51:20

Brooklyn Grange

Time Stamp 1:54:15

Education is a big part of a lot of these compact farms, isn’t it?

Time Stamp 1:57:10

What do you commonly tell folks who want to give compact farming a try?

Time Stamp 1:58:25

I love the final paragraph and thought it’ll be a great way to close up the interview today. Could you read that for us and share some closing thoughts on your book?

Time Stamp 2:04:15

Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk


Josh Volk

Slow Hand Farm

Farm Hand Carts



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Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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  1. Press for the book – Compact Farms on March 7, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    […] SG560: Turn Compact Spaces into Successful Market Farms with Josh Volk […]

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