The Lean Farm Bookshelf

The Lean Micro Farm

Ben Hartman's newest book is a guide for micro-scale and urban growers who want to make a living from a tiny piece of land. It is also packed with lean tips for the home gardener.


The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables is a field guide for market growers, describing how Clay Bottom Farm utilizes lean thinking to grow their specialty crops.


The Lean Farm

The Lean Farm tells the story of how Clay Bottom Farm stumbled upon the lean system to turn their small farm around. It is the winner of multiple awards, including the prestigious Shingo Prize. 



The Lean Farm Story

In 2011, one of Clay Bottom Farm's CSA customers approached Ben and Rachel, the owners, with the idea of applying the lean methods that he was using in his trailer factory to their farm. The result: the two farmers cut their growing area from five acres to less than one, got rid of most of their tools, and started to work far fewer hours. Yet every season that they downsized, they grew more profitable. Together, The Lean Farm books make the case that farming can still be a viable career for anyone willing to farm "smaller and smarter."  

What Others Are Saying

"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

"Ben Hartman is a true innovator for the small farm. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables takes the lean techniques from his first book even further with new innovations and greater detail. I have been eagerly awaiting this addendum so that I can start trying these practices on my farm. This book is a must for any market grower who wants to push the boundaries of profitability while finding life balance at the same time."

Curtis Stone
author of The Urban Farmer

"All revolutions require a leap in consciousness plus a set of daily practices to sustain and gain the full benefits of the new consciousness. Ben Hartman is that rare person who could describe the lean farming revolution (in The Lean Farm) and then provide proven practices from his own farm in his new book, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, to help fellow revolutionaries grow good food in a lean way for the long term. Together these volumes describe all you need to know for a sustainable lean revolution on your farm. The rest is up to you."

Jim Womack
founder and senior advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute

"Ben Hartman and I share similar approaches to growing vegetables; we both run highly productive farms using efficient techniques and well-designed space and procedures. With this book, however, I believe Ben has taken our craft to new levels with fresh ideas and different strategies. The information here provides incredible value for any small-scale farmer seeking a compact, yet profitable farm model. I highly recommend this book."

Jean-Martin Fortier
author of The Market Gardener

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