The concept of self sufficiency in a small space is very appealing as more and more horror stories circulate regarding the use of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides in commercially produced food. Brett Markham’s book, MiniFarming, offers an overview of how to produce food on small lots so that you can enjoy healthier, tastier meals for less money, and in fact, make money by selling extra produce. Drawing from several methods of intensive agriculture such as Biodynamic, Grow Biointensive, French Intensive, and Square Foot, Markham develops an approach that can satisfy the goal of people looking for either increased production or self-sufficiency with minimal effort.
The goal of Markham’s approach is to produce 85% of an average family’s food on a quarter acre of land and earn $10,000 in cash annually. The underlying principles of mini-farming are developed through the consideration of such topics as making raised beds, saving, buying, starting and selecting seeds, maintaining and improving soil, preventing and eradicating pests and diseases, composting, crop rotation, organic methods, extending the growing season, growing and pruning fruit and nut trees, raising chickens for eggs and meat, preserving foods, and selling the excess. These topics are basic to any farmer or gardener wanting to produce food but Markham presents his own special approach based on research as well as experimentation. Some topics are covered in considerable detail while other are treated lightly but there is new information for everyone.
If you have ever considered producing your own food, this book offers a good approach. Can you really grow 85% of your family’s food and make money selling the excess? Markham makes it sound possible but, of course, there is no guarantee. The concepts presented, however, are sure to make food production in a small area a rewarding endeavor.