Initial investments minimum

 Getting started with an agricultural project certainly involves buying tools and equipment, but just starting on a small intensively cultivated area, it is possible to greatly reduce the cost of capital initially that we must invest. So here is a list of investments that I deem necessary to operate optimally one less market gardening amount (in Canadian dollars) is approximate and reflects the purchase of the material and new tools which should last for considerable life.

The total is $ 39,000. That might sound like a lot of money to someone wanting to start. a micro-farm. However, to properly judge the magnitude of this amount, it is necessary to consider some elements.

First, a bank loan of $ 39,000 spread over 5 years at 8% interest equals an annual investment of approximately $ 9,500, which represents a more than acceptable expense when compared to the potential income of a market garden. Good of course, this sum is not the only expense business. It does not include certain essentials such as a delivery vehicle, the costs of lease of land or mortgage, and all other variable costs (inputs, administration costs, supplies, etc.). Despite everything, the initial investment remains relatively low, especially when compared to the cost of the equipment required for mechanized market gardening.

Second, in addition to being able to obtain some of these items in used condition, these purchases can be done gradually. We had the chance to find used tunnels that we paid a fraction of the price of their value to new. Some tools, such as the rotary harrow and the weed burner, were only integrated into our production system after a few years. During our first two seasons of production, we had made commitments for 30 and 50 ASC baskets. The harvests were done the same morning deliveries, which saved us from refrigeration vegetables. A cold room has become unavoidable when we went to 100 baskets and that we needed a whole day to harvest everything.

That being said, while some of the tools on this list are not essential to start the business, they make the job so much more efficient than their contribution quickly pays for them.

It is moreover this observation that has always held us pushed to try new tools. When we started, crops that do not lend themselves well to transplantation - like carrots, radishes, and mesclun - were sown by hand. A fairly long job all the same. When we adopted the seed drills described in this manual, we have been able to sow planks two to three times longer in five times less time. Taking into account the overloads implicit in the first years of establishment, the optimization of operations must be a priority and, in my opinion, buying good equipment is not must not delay too long.

In most countries, there are different forms of government assistance to the next generation which can finance part of the purchase of equipment during an agricultural establishment. We had the chance to receive financial assistance when we have started the Jardins de la Grelinette. With such support, the chances of success of market gardening in a small area are greatly improved. But, with or without subsidies, one thing remains: start a business project with low initial investment decreases financial risks and allows the profitability of the company in the long term. It's a business formula winner.

Production costs minimum

Income - expenses = profits. It's an equation simple that must be kept in mind. The people do not settle in agriculture to become rich. However, profitability should not be neglected of an agricultural project, because ultimately, this is what ensures sustainability. Good profitability allows not to be constantly worried about financial worries, to save for retirement, and to avoid having recourse to off-farm income during the winter. The idea of ​​a micro-farm often responds to an ideology or a search for meaning, but a garden a market gardener is above all a business and it is important to make a good deal of it.

In the agricultural environment, the common way proposed to improve business income consists in increasing its turnover and producing more to make its equipment profitable. In a market garden, it is important to look at these things differently. Indeed, despite all the means used to maximize the spaces in culture, the yield is limited by the model of production. So to come back to the equation of start, if income is limited, a good profit involves low expenses. It's this logic that a gardener-market gardener must respect; it is necessary to run your farm with low operating costs.

To achieve this, reducing the investment costs required for start-up is a very good first step. Do without mechanization and costs specific to machinery (purchase, fuel, maintenance, etc.) is another. But the biggest step is to limit its dependence on external labor, which generally represents 50% of the costs of production of a diversified vegetable farm *. In a market garden, the majority of the work is

carried out by owner-operators, assisted by one or two seasonal workers, depending on the surface and the number of greenhouses in cultivation. The main operating costs have therefore reduced the purchase of inputs (soil improvers, seeds, phytosanitary products, etc.), which are generally weak.

Over the past 20 years, Lynn Byczynski, the editor of the American magazine Growing for Market, had the chance to meet several market gardeners working on a small surface. In his book, Market Farming Success, she discusses potential income from this farm model and indicates that the net profit margin of most of these farmers is around 50%. This means that out of a total income of $ 80,000 in sales, about half is allocated to operating costs, including external labor and fixed costs. She specifies that these percentages, although circumstantial, are still quite common, regardless of turnover. These

ratios, similar to those of our company, are enlightening on the profitability of a market garden. They show that we can produce a lot, little cost.