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.
About the Author
Josh Volk is the best-selling author of Compact Farms and the proprietor of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, Oregon. He has been working on and managing small farms around the country for the last 20 years, studying the systems that make them efficient. He travels in the United States and abroad, consulting with farmers and researchers, teaching farm apprentices and new farmers, presenting workshops at agricultural conferences, and writing articles for publications, including Growing for Market magazine.
“Tools are such an important aspect of how we farm, why not build your own! This book is a little gem.” — Jean-Martin Fortier, farmer, educator and award-winning author of best-seller The Market Gardener
"Our sovereignty on land is intertwined with our reclamation of land based skills - farming, preserving, forestry, carpentry, and yes, tool making. In Build Your Own Farm Tools, Volk shows us affordable and accessible ways to make the work of feeding ourselves and community more efficient and elegant. Even the novice builder will find the instructions clear and attainable. Let yourself be inspired to reclaim agency and creativity in your relationship to tools." — Leah Penniman, Co-Founder of Soul Fire Farm, Author of Farming While Black
“It’s a rare person who has mechanical aptitude AND writing ability. Josh Volk is talented at both -- plus he’s a small farmer with real vegetable growing expertise. He builds useful tools, including many you couldn’t buy if you wanted to, then explains the process so it can be replicated by even a DIY novice. He’s also a pro at clearly explaining the hows and whys of everyday farm necessities such as drip irrigation. Every small farmer should read this book when getting started...it will make you more competent at the non-horticulture aspects of farming.” — Lynn Byczynski, founder of Growing for Market magazine; author of The Flower Farmer and Market Farming Success; owner of Seeds from Italy
“Growing food as a livelihood requires self-reliance, ingenuity, and a range of skills that is staggering. We need all the help we can get. The tools we require often do not exist, are too expensive to purchase, or do not fit the scale or particulars of our farms. Josh Volk’s Build Your Own Farm Tools is an essential guide for all of us who depend on a range of tools to feed our communities. The detailed instructions and drawings, the innovative designs, the awesome information on everything from the sheer strength of common materials to cultivating and office tools are both simple and revolutionary. This book will inform and inspire you to re-think basic farm tasks and empower you to create the tools to do those tasks more intelligently and efficiently.”— Michael Ableman, Farmer and author of Street Farm, From the Good Earth,On Good Land, and Fields of Plenty
"A wonderful resource for any farm! This book is loaded with useful and creative solutions and is guaranteed to save you a ton of money! " — Bil Thorn, Owner/ Farmer at Sky Island Farm
“The right tool can remove drudgery, increase productivity, and make farm work enjoyable. Josh Volk knows good tools, and here he generously shows us how he makes them. Experienced and new farmers alike will relish what’s inside this book.” — Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables
"Are you in need of a hoop bender, germination chamber, drip irrigation system or hand truck pallet but are too strapped for cash to buy one new? Oregon farmer Josh Volk offers DIY guides for small-scale farmers to build their own customizable tools. With 19 different affordable and accessible projects that have been tried and tested, Volk highlights efficient equipment and systems that will help smaller producers compete with larger growers. Each includes a list of materials needed and step-by-step instructions for assembling. He also offers notes on how to modify tools to better meet your farm’s needs." — Modern Farmer