Ryan Mason’s urban farm startup story is now a cliché: Well-traveled, university-educated idealist takes up pedal-powered farming to address society’s ills. But what he’s accomplished is exceptional, and one of the biggest untold stories in farming today. It illustrates what SPIN-Farming has been pioneering for over 10 years: starting out urban and small, greatly increases the chances of success. Because once you master production on a small space, establish sales channels that can continue to be serviced at greater scale, and start making a little money, you greatly increase your odds of figuring out how to scale up to make even more.
Following the SPIN-Farming system, Ryan surpassed the crucial five years in business milestone last year, and he was ready to move on to reclaiming his family’s 50 acre farm. Reclaim Urban Farm became Reclaim Organics. His plots are now way bigger,and he’s added several zeroes to his revenue, but many of the intensive growing techniques he used in the city have stayed the same. Ryan’s gone from the rallying cry of “No more empty lots!” to managing payroll and driving a Hino truck. The irony? He had to leave his family farm before he could come back to save it. The lesson? You don’t have to move to the country to learn farming. And you may end up better off if you don’t.
Learn how to start, and scale up, from the successful farmers, like Ryan Mason, by purchasing our learning programs on turning small plots into cash. If you’re not ready to go all-in just yet, get a taste of what starting a backyard-scale farming business is like from our members with a month-to-month membership here.