Welcome

Welcome to the new look for joshvolk.com

This site is my way of sharing what I’ve learned about food production and maybe sparking others to share on their own sites as well.

Recently the format of the site has changed. I used to have Q&A and Reviews sections and I’m leaving the old pages up for a little while, but my plan is to move those articles into a searchable section of the blog. The articles there are my attempts to answer questions that I’ve gotten from other growers and to let folks know what I think of the tools and resources that I’ve seen out there. The links page is specifically geared towards web resources, but there are a few other items there as well – it’s far from complete and I’ll try to keep adding over time.

I do this site on my own dime but I appreciate small donations, and emailed notes of appreciation and/or useful feedback. At the bottom of most pages you’ll see a little donation link where you can make a credit card or pay pal donation if you find the site interesting or useful. A big thank you to those of you who have already donated!

please email me if you have questions or comments

Thanks for visiting! – Josh Volk

Seed Cleaning Tools

Some of Allen's equipment
Some of Allen’s equipment

I can’t remember when I first came across Allen Dong’s hand drawn directions for converting a chipper shredder into a bean thresher, but it was a long time ago. He has shared a large number of other designs over the years for small scale, DIY farm tools. His designs look, and are, straightforward to build, with mostly common, inexpensive or salvageable parts and without the need for overly special tools. The designs are very well thought out to serve their purpose, something that is not completely obvious without looking at the details and in some cases seeing Allen demonstrate the simplicity with which they work.

I felt very lucky to be at the OSU Small Scale Equipment Field Day last month where Allen was demonstrating his bean thresher, several winnowers and a hand operated screen, and a vacuum packer for storing seed. I took a few photos and I’ve put a link to them up on the photos page. Make sure to click on the thumbnails to get larger versions.

Farm Hand Carts

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I made some long overdue updates to the Farm Hand Carts website today. Building the hand carts and working on improvements and accessories is a project that is currently stalled, but that I’m hoping to get back to soon. The updates to the site include adding a few more recent photos, photos and links to other folks carts, and putting a little sign up for a newsletter that will let folks know when things really get back up and running.

This blog is also long overdue for some posts. I’ll see if I can’t remedy that in the near future.

Making Wood CSA Boxes (update)

CSA box showing new lid design
CSA box showing new lid design and what happens when you screw up the screen printing, oops.

I just made an update to the page on making Wooden CSA Boxes. This includes an update to the lid design which makes them a little cheaper and easier to assemble, and should make them much stronger and more functional. I walked Louis (whose hands are featured above) through the full process of building the boxes and I was really glad I had my old post to remind me how I did it the first time. After two years we’re building 63 more of these boxes and we’re finding more uses for them around the retail end of the farm.

How I Make Wooden Boxes

Wooden Box

When I made our CSA boxes last year I took a bunch of photos of the process, fully intending to write up the process. This was partly for myself so that the next time I go to make them I remember what I did and partly to share. I’ve finally gotten around to it, partly inspired by Carri from Pitchfork and Crow asking about them last week after I posted a photo on Instagram. You can read about the details of how I made them on the Q&A page here.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Like always I’m hoping to get around to putting more articles up on the site soon and giving more updates through the blog. I’m also working on updating the workshops page soon. Most of what I’ve been up to lately is scaling up the vegetable production at Our Table Cooperative. I write short weekly posts on the CSA shares over there so that’s my most regular outlet right now.

More on Planning

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You might recognize the photo above from a post in January where I linked to the spreadsheets that I use for mapping and planning. I just posted versions of articles I wrote for Growing for Market back in 2010 on the same topic. The articles are in the Q&A section of the site.

One other note of interest: I also made a minor update to my slowhandfarm.com site. And, you might notice that the header photos at slowhandfarm.com and joshvolk.com now match. It’s not me in the photo (I took it, as is the case with practically all of the photos on the site, including the ones of me) but it is the new farm site at Our Table.

 

Lots of Tool Photos

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I just added four new photo journals to the site:

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while and is still somewhat incomplete but will have to do for now. It was inspired partly by a class I’m teaching at Clackamas Community College on farm tools and I wanted to make sure folks in the class had access to the photos I’ve been showing in class.

They are all photos I’ve taken over the past few years. If there are mistakes in the captions, or omissions, or if you have comments please let me know.

The Bullitt One Year Later

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It’s been a year and 5000 miles since I started delivering with the Bullitt cargo bike. Last year after a test ride I wrote a review with my initial impressions. I’ve written a second review with what I’ve learned since then. It’s still a great ride and I’m excited to see what another year looks like.

I also made a minor update to my review from last year on the Biologic Case for the iPhone. It’s great for the bike and works well around the farm as well.

I’m also working on getting a few farm equipment slide shows up on the site. Look for those soon.

Strawberry and Asparagus Approaches

Zoë

Usually I just post about my own experiences but today I added two pages to the Q&A section that are responses to my own questions that I asked my good friend Zoë. Zoë and I worked together for several seasons a bunch of years ago before she moved home to the South Coast of Oregon and started farming there on her mom’s land. I love visiting her amazing operation, tucked in a beautiful valley just up from Highway 101. She, her sister, and her mom all combine their marketing efforts under the name Valley Flora Farm.

My questions were about her use of weed cloth, also called weed mat, in strawberries and asparagus. Her answers were concise and very helpful for me. I thought they might be helpful to others as well so I asked if she minded if I posted them and luckily she didn’t.

Cargo Bike Review

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Riding to the farm with a big load of boxes

I got to test out a Bullitt cargo bike with electric assist for the farm a couple weeks ago and I’ve finally gotten around to writing up a review which is here or you can get to it through the review tab above. It’s an amazing bike and one that will replace my car for farm deliveries soon!