Kelowna-based urban farmer blueprints his path to success

Behind tidy rows of bagged veggies and herbs, Kelowna’s Curtis Stone looks like any number of the vendors at the farmers’ market ...

Situated behind tidy rows of bagged veggies and herbs, Curtis Stone looks like any number of the vendors at the Kelowna Farmers’ Market—a source for healthy local food, at a reasonable price.

What his inauspicious Saturday digs don’t indicate, however, is that he’s a man whose time has come.

Stone has been singing the praises of urban farming practices he uses to make a living for years.

He’s been a fixture with local news organizations looking for an angle on a worldwide phenomenon and a guest speaker on the topic at forums across the globe.

Now he’s adding author to his list of accomplishments, with a book set to be released next month.

“I’ve written a technical manual intended to be a blueprint for what I do on my farm because there’s a lot of interest around the world,” he said Saturday, as people milled around his stall at the farmers’ market.

“People look at my farm, because it’s profitable for its size, and think, ‘I want to do that.’”

With 1/3 of an acre, Stone takes in $70,000-plus in seasonal returns.

“That’s unheard of in farming, and that’s really what the book is about—production and business methods of urban farming,” he said.

His particular method to urban farming takes a leap from the Spin Farming method he once was an instructor of, going into deeper detail about how to set up irrigation systems, turn over land and find a steady supply of customers.

It’s a message he believes many will want to hear not only because of its financial returns, but also because of the precarious place western civilization has found itself in.

“There has never been a time in history that we know of, where there have been fewer farmers in the world,” he said.

“Fewer than two per cent of people know how to farm, and the average age of a farmer is 60 years old…Farmers are dying and there are no people to replace them.”

The replacement issue comes down to the fact that becoming a farmer is increasingly expensive.

The challenge for new farmers, he explained, is surmounting financial hurdles. Land, especially in B.C., costs a mint and supplies required to farm are also cost-prohibitive.

“So I have shown people that you don’t need to buy land…get that whole thing out of your head, that’s the first barrier we get past,” he said. “Then we look at scaling down the farm and concentrating on profitable crops and crops that grow quickly using small-scale infrastructure.”

With that method, a person can start a farm on $5,000 and turn it into a growing business every year.

It’s a method that would look different in each area it’s applied.

For Stone, the restaurant industry is where he finds the most steady source of income, but in other cities there are other methods.

“It’s not saying there’s a specific blueprint, it’s showing examples of direct consumer revenues because that’s where the farmers get the most returns,” he said.

The book, which took Stone 18 months to write, was published by New Society Publishers and will launch at an event at the Black Box theatre, behind Kelowna’s Community Theatre, on Nov. 6. The event is free, features several speakers, and starts at 7 p.m.

For more information on Stone go to

Just Posted

Stargate armour debuts at Kelowna expo

The Kelowna Fan Experience will feature Jaffa armour from Stargate SG-1

Okanagan athletes among those celebrated with Aboriginal awards

Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport handed out

Okanagan makes Top 5 of least affordable home markets list

The Okanagan is the fourth least affordable place in Canada to buy property on a single income

Kelowna summit will connect employers and immigrants

A session will be held tomorrow from 12 to 3 p.m. at the downtown library

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Americans blank Rockets in playoff opener

Patrick Dea stops all 39 shots to lead Tri-City to victory in Game 1 in Kelowna

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

Kamloops landlord dealing with aftermath of firebombing

Kamloops landlord claims tenant to be a nightmare

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read