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About Josh Volk
Josh Volk has been farming in the Pacific Northwest for 20 years and before that he worked on farms in California, the Southwest, and Northeast. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and got into farming because he saw it as a way to combine his interests in social justice, care for the environment and eating well. He currently runs Cully Neighborhood Farm, a small urban CSA farm in Portland, Oregon, and also consults, writes, and teaches workshops on vegetable production around the US and in Canada under the name Slow Hand Farm. He is a regular contributor to Growing For Market and the Author of the book Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less.
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Volk begins with the basics, such as setting up a workshop and understanding design principles, mechanical principles, and materials properties, then presents plans for making 15 tools suited to small-farm tasks and processes. Each project includes an explanation of the tool’s purpose and use, as well as the time commitment, skill level, and equipment required to build it. Projects range from the super-simple (requiring a half-day to build) to the more complex, and include how-to photographs and illustrations with variations for customizing the finished implement. Along with instructions for building items such as simple seedling benches, a mini barrel washer, a DIY germination chamber, and a rolling pack table, Volk addresses systems design for farm efficiency, including how to design an effective drip irrigation system and how to set up spreadsheets for collecting important planning, planting, and market data.
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