In 2011, one of our CSA customers approached us with the idea of applying the lean methods that he uses in his trailer factory to our farm. We were skeptical at first. We wanted to farm, not run a factory. But we liked to idea of getting rid of waste, so we gave it a try. The result: we've cut our growing area from three acres to one, gotten rid of half the tools we used to own, and work far fewer hours. Every year that we've gotten "smaller," we've grown more profitable. The Lean Farm describes the lean system in plain terms for any size and type of farm. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables is a field guide companion for small-scale vegetable growing, showing in detail how we grow our crops with lean thinking. Together the books make the case that small scale farming can still be a viable career for young people wanting to farm.  


The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables are available anywhere books are sold, including through the following links:

Chelsea Green
Barnes and Noble

The Lean Farm is also for sale locally at the Goshen Farmer’s Market, Better World Books, and The Maple City Market.


Praise for The Lean Farm

If you want to see, right now, what food farming will look like in the coming years, this is the book for you. Using the kind of super-efficiency that new-age manufacturing has perfected, author Ben Hartman describes, in great detail and with superb illustrations, how he and his wife reduced their farm size from three acres to one and still make a decent living on it.
— Gene Logsdon, author, The Contrary Farmer
Anyone who thinks lean is only for a factory should read this book. Ben Hartman, with simple but eloquent prose and delightful figures and photos, demonstrates how all aspects of lean can apply to farming, a process of growing and selling living things.
— Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way
Farmers are good at farming―it is what they enjoy doing! At the same time, planning, organizing, and working out everything most efficiently is often not done as easily. The Lean Farm will help us all easily increase flow, production, and income. It is a treasure trove of possibilities without the need for increased investment!
— John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables
His writing, like his farm, is clean, well organized, and easy to follow―but his ideas are revolutionary. The Lean Farm is one of the most original and innovative books on food and farming to come out in the last decade.
— Steve Hallett, Professor of Horticulture, Purdue University, and author of Life without Oil