Is it Possible to Gross $1 Per Square Foot?
Researchers at Virginia State University (VSU) are trying to demonstrate the profit potential of small acreage vegetable farm operations. The research effort has been dubbed the 43,560 Project, noting the number of square feet in one acre. The goal is to gross one dollar per square foot.
This story was reported recently in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can be done if a person is willing to work,” said Cliff Slade, a 59-year-old retired agricultural extension agent and one of the researchers on the project.
A return of $43,560 per acre might be four times the return of a typical large-scale commercial vegetable farm. Though Slade notes that while many farms will figure out the production side, the problem might ultimately be finding the right marketing outlets.
Likely outlets for produce from farms using the 43,560 Project model would include pick-your-own, farmers markets, independently owned restaurants, and through shares in a community supported agriculture program.
Is VSU’s project truly novel, or are there many small farmers already managing these types of farms? Are you farming like this commercially right now? If you’re not, would you like to? Let us know what you think.