30 – The Lean Farm | Benjamin Hartman – Claybottom Farm

Our guest today is Ben Hartman from Claybottom Farm in Goshen IN, and author of The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide To Growing Vegetables. Together we’ll discuss how he started farming, what lean thinking is, and how it became implemented on Claybottom Farm.

Listen To The Episode


Show Notes:

  • Claybottom farm is sustained on less than an acre of Produce
  • All their producer is delivered within a mile of their farm
  • The goal of the farm is that every seed turns into cash
  • Ben grew up on a 500 acre corn and soybean farm, and his wife in town.
  • They started farming as an occupation after graduating college
  • Ben was on track to become a teacher at a University, but instead decided to farm
  • Ben and Rachel started off as Urban Micro Farmers
  • The size of American farms have been doubling, but the number of farmers have decreased
  • There’s an increasing trend of young people eating local, good food, but at the same time, people are eating more in restaurants.
  • The first lean practitioners were actually rice farmers
  • In a nutshell lean is a coin with two sides, first it involves value, which is determined by the customers.
  • Customers define value by asking, “What foods do they want?” “When do they want it?” “How much?”
  • Every Winter Claybottom Farm goes to their Chefs and asks them these questions.
  • The second side of the coin is waste. After you define the value, whatever you do on the farm that doesn’t contribute becomes waste or “Muda”
  • Some kinds of Muda are unavoidable, from ordering seeds, doing your taxes or mowing your lawn
  • Examples of Mudas: Over production, motion waste
  • Some Mudas cannot be eliminated, but there are type 2 Mudas that can be eliminated, such as defective production
  • 5S Organizing system to minimize mudas
  • 1. Sort – Eliminate unnecessary tools
  • 2. Set in order – A place for every tool
  • 3. Shine – Work spaces are clean and well lit
  • 4. Standardize – Perform the task the same time every time
  • 5. Sustain – Apply regularly and keep the system going – Claybottom Farm uses photos to illustrate exactly what is expected
  • Lean principles were applied in writing The Lean Farmer’s Guide to Growing Vegetables by examining what it was that the potential readers were looking for

Ben’s Links:

Learn Lean from Benjamin Hartman – https://www.theleanfarmschool.com/

Claybottom Farm – http://claybottomfarm.com/

The Lean Farmers Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/119257068669186/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheLeanFarm/