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US (IN): Grower takes a page out of Toyota's book

Over the last nine years, Ben Hartman’s farm in northern Indiana has become more efficient and profitable following the techniques developed by an unlikely source: Toyota.

By adapting the production techniques developed by the car manufacturer—commonly referred to as “lean manufacturing“—Hartman has revolutionized his methods, cut down his work hours dramatically, and shrunk the size of his farm, all while making a better income.

In his 2015 book The Lean Farm, Hartman detailed how lean manufacturing techniques could be broadly applied to agriculture; in his new follow-up, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, he goes deep on the specifics of adapting the principles to vegetable growing, from starting seeds and plant spacing to making compost and using specific tools to cut out waste.

Civil Eats recently spoke with Hartman about setting up his new farm, how his latest book came about, and how Hartman doesn’t feel like he’s adapting lean thinking to agriculture at all, but simply going back to its source.

Publication date: 2/13/2018

 


 

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