December 04, 2015 - 10:37 AM
KELOWNA – A Kelowna man has just published a book that teaches everything you need to know about starting your own commercially successful farm in your backyard — or frontyard.
The Urban Farmer is Curtis Stone's first book and is based on a the concept you don't require a large amount on land to be a successful farmer.
“Our farm is a third of an acre and it can generate $75,000 of farm revenue, which is unheard of in agriculture,” he says. “A lot of that lends itself to direct consumer market streams; selling directly to restaurants, farmers markets and generally selling a higher value product.”
Stone doesn’t grow onions, potatoes or winter squash, instead he grows salad greens, baby root vegetables and other niche market items. He says there is no need to have a background in farming or agriculture to make his system work.
“I have a background in music composition,” he says. “Anybody who is driven and has a passion can do this anywhere.”
The book covers everything from selecting crops, forging relationships with customers, delivering the crops, tracking inventory and bookkeeping.
He says the Okanagan is a prime region for urban farming because of the growing food culture, a demand for local and organic food and very optimal growing conditions.
“We’ve got an eight month season that’s ideal because we have lots of heat and lots of sun,” he says. “It lends itself well here but I’ve trained people all over the world to do this.”
Stone was a working musician in Montreal when he decided he wanted to make a change.
“I just got sick of it and started feeling like I wasn’t contributing to anything positive,” he says. “I wasn’t making the world a better place I felt like I was just an entertainer."
"I got really interested in farming and the more I got into that the more I saw how difficult it was to buy land. Owning land seems like the kind of thing you have to do if you want to be a farmer but I was totally wrong about that.”
Stone says most people could generate thousands in revenue just by replacing their lawns with soil and growing the right crops.
“When I started to see this opportunity it just clicked,” he says.
The book took him 18 months to write and is in presale online. Although it’s not yet available in stores, you can pick up an autographed copy at the official launch party tonight, Dec. 4, at the Black Box Theatre in Kelowna starting at 7 p.m. You'll also have a chance to meet Stone and ask him questions.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
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