Patrice Gros farms on just a half an acre of beds in northern Arkansas without ever tilling the soil. And while it sounds like gardening, he’s definitely farming, grossing $80,000 a year from the crops he grows. Founded in 2006, Foundation Farm builds on ten years of experimentation with various methods for growing organic vegetables, and markets produce through farmers markets, retail stores, and a small CSA.
It’s worth noting that Patrice keeps a pretty sharp pencil, and rakes in a 70% profit margin doing all of his farming in just three mornings a week with a small crew. And I do want to emphasize, the no-till farming that Patrice does isn’t just an occasional no-till crop here and there. He doesn’t own a tractor or a tiller, and doesn’t even use a broadfork on his soils.
We dig in to – or rake in to – the details of how he manages his system, from scheduling and weed control to fertility management. Along the way, we explore how Patrice has planned his farming operation around his family’s needs, how he evaluates crop profitability, and his efforts to balance productivity and quality of life with his employees.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.