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Ben Hartman

Ben Hartman

Author, Lean Farmer, Clay Bottom Farm

Ben Hartman is the author of The Lean Farm, a 2016 winner of the Shingo Institute’s Publication Award.  He and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, IN, where they use lean management principles to grow specialty produce for restaurants and consumers on less than one acre of land.

Clay Bottom Farm is recognized as a pioneer in how to apply the lean production system to farming. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana's Reader's Choice Award. Hartman, a contributor regularly to Growing for Market magazine, was appointed to the 2017 Grist 50, a list of emerging green leaders in the United States.

Hartman grew up in LaGrange County, IN, on a corn and soybean farm. After graduating from Goshen College with degrees in English and Philosophy, he lived and grew vegetables on several farms before starting Clay Bottom in 2006. The farm incorporates lean practices into every step of farming, including start-up, harvesting, selling crops, and training employees.

Articles by Ben Hartman
Ripe for Change: How a Half-Acre Farm Built on Lean Principles May Be Sowing Seeds of Disruption
Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Ben Hartman disrupted farming. Granted, not on the scale of the first three industries but the Indiana farmer, author of The Lean Farm, has planted the seeds of a radical transformation in our food system. More »
The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits -- with Less Work
Farming may be the next industry ripe for disruption. For example, Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and soybean farm where success meant getting bigger every year – buy a bigger tractor, rent more land, build another grain bin. Today, applying lean principles, Hartman has a one-acre farm that is more productive and profitable than a five-acre spread. More »