A special cart-building workshop for market gardeners will be offered Dec. 2 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Workshop participants will each build and take home their own cart that can be used for a wide variety of tasks in the market garden or small farm, including transplanting, weeding, and harvesting. The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $100. Lunch will be provided.
“Tools that increase labor efficiency and help boost profits are vital for smaller-scale vegetable, berry, flower, and herb growers,” says Bob Meyer, of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. “Specialized carts reduce the fatigue and discomfort of prolonged kneeling to transplant, weed, or harvest crops and let market gardeners harvest more quickly.”
The cart design for the workshop comes from the Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits Project in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, aided by extensive input and field tests by vegetable and berry growers. The cart is adjustable to fit different people and different field uses. For example, the seat can be raised or lowered to accommodate people of different heights and clear crops of different heights. Field tests show the cart reduces the time it takes to harvest crops such as spinach, and decreases strain on knees, back, hamstrings and torso.
Bulk purchasing for this workshop produced substantial cost savings on materials. The cart would cost more than $150 to build on your own, not including specialized tools and labor. Participants will have access to the UW-Madison engineering lab and staff to quickly and efficiently build a quality cart.
The workshop is offered in conjunction with The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Gardeners, a program that gives students a realistic picture of what it takes to run a successful small-scale produce operation.
For more information about the workshop or the School for Beginning Market Gardeners, contact John Hendrickson at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems: (608) 265-3704, firstname.lastname@example.org