Josh Volk, author of the best-selling Compact Farms, offers small-scale farmers an in-depth guide to building customized equipment that will save time and money and introduce much-needed efficiencies to their operations.
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.