Pillar 4: Building kick-ass farm production systems that support your farm lifestyle goals!

Have you ever had great intentions but have failed to follow through? Or perhaps you are like me and get very excited about making great improvements, but you lose interest and motivation after a couple of weeks? Do you find yourself doing work that is either redundant or that could have been avoided with the right preemptive actions?

Using the first 3 pillars, you know clearly what outcomes you want to produce, you’ve planned out how to get there, and you’ve made the decision to focus on the actions that get the greatest bang for your buck… now what!?

The key lies in the consistency with which we take action. In this context, farm production systems serve 3 outcomes:

  1. To support us to take action with greater ease by reducing reliance on ‘willpower’ and memory;
  2. To ensure that each action or task works synergistically with the other components of the farm thus reducing overall work;
  3. To allow us to effectively delegate to our employees and thus reduce the degree to which you are the bottleneck in your farm operation and free you up for focusing on your unique abilities, for working less, and living the lifestyle you would love to live.

What is a system?

A complex system is a self-perpetuating arrangement of interconnected parts that form a unified whole…” (The Personal MBA) and work to achieve a common outcome.

In the context of a small-scale organic vegetable farm, we could literally define dozens of systems. However, there are the 5 essential systems that must be in place:

  • Information Flow System
  • Soil Management System
  • Weed Management System
  • Harvest and Post-harvest System
  • Marketing System

Designing and optimizing farm systems:

Over the course of the fall and winter, we will be looking in depth at each system with the goal of identifying and implementing the key adjustments to support you in achieving your lifestyle goals for 2019.

To start with, here are some seeds I would like to plant in your brain for your consideration


  • What is the desired outcome of each system?
  • What are the key elements of each system?
  • Map out the system: How do materials and efforts flow through the system? (Both conceptually and physically. Pay particular attention to where the bottlenecks or weak links are.
  • What synergies exist between systems? For example, great weed control greatly increases the efficiency of harvest.
  • Are the processes and procedures clearly communicated in writing accessible to the whole crew?



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