Growing Better Not Bigger

by: Sara on 01/15/2014
Posted in: Gardening

As local organic agriculture continues to flourish, a new cohort of young professional growers are leading the way with innovative ideas about farming.

Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches are the founders of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, a micro-farm located in Eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, they are able to feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands, as well as supply vegetables to dozens of local establishments.

One of the barriers to new farmers is start-up cost, including land and expensive equipment. Jean-Martin wrote Le jardinier-maraicher to demonstrate how adopting intensive methods of production can allow the grower to concentrate on growing better instead of bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

The French edition Le jardinier-maraicher was published, by Écosociété in 2012 and has since sold over 15,000 copies. The organization FarmStart, which aims to encourage and support a new generation of entrepreneurial, ecological farmers, hosted an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to translate the book into English. Now, New Society is proud and excited to publish the English edition: The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

Instead of a tractor and mechanized growing systems, Jean-Martin and Maude-Hélène opted to stay small-scale, relying on hand and light power tools. Jean-Martin says: "After much research and many discoveries, our journey led us to what is now a productive and profitable micro-farm. Every week, our market garden produces enough income to comfortably support our household. Our low-tech strategy kept our start-up costs to a minimum and our overhead expenses low. The farm became profitable after only a few years."

The author’s farm and innovative growing methods are increasingly recognized as providing an alternative model that is inspiring young farmers. The book is hands-on, clearly illustrated and narrated by an expert in the field of small-scale organic farming.

Jean-Martin will be on tour in Ontario and BC, giving workshops on the techniques found in The Market Gardener. To find out if he will be in your area click here.

There is still time to pre-orderThe Market Gardener and receive a 20% discount.

 Listen here to a podcast from Ruminant with Jean-Martin.


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