Sample Business Plan
Urban Farm Stand
Individuals are becoming aware of the implications of modern industrial food production on the health of their communities. Residents in the Bay Area have started to turn to urban farms as a more sustainable and economically viable option for reinvigorating their local food system and providing their communities with healthier food choices. Urban farms cultivate and produce food within a particular urban area and then sell and market food to customers living within that area. The time is ripe to establish an Urban Farm Stand in the Bay Area. An Urban Farm Stand will assist in building and maintaining the urban farms, community gardens, and other forms of farming that have sprung up across the Bay Area.
Business Description and Vision
Urban Farm Stand is a startup specialty nursery and farm supply store to be launched in the summer of 2012 in Berkeley, California. The storefront will serve a wide variety of urban homesteading supplies to medium and high income residents of Berkeley, California and its surrounding towns.
Urban Farm Stand’s mission is to encourage urban farming by providing residents of the Bay Area with the resources and knowledge necessary to grow their own healthy and sustainable produce.
Urban Farm Stand supports the growth of urban agriculture in the Bay Area and seeks to empower all Bay Area residents to take control over their food.
Urban Farm Stand will measure its success by its ability to achieve the following outcomes:
- Build sales to $80,000 annually within three years
- Achieve cash flow break-even within six months
- Become profitable by the second year of operation
Interest in farming and food production by city-dwellers newly fascinated by the origins of their meals has grown swiftly. In places like Oakland, California city officials are updating the zoning codes to accommodate the sudden increase in urban farms. Although official numbers don’t exist to quantify the interest of Bay Area residents in growing their own food, it is obvious that the local food system is slowly transforming in support of growing food locally in urban areas.
Currently an urban farm supply store does not exist in the Bay Area that meets the needs of urban farms or the needs of those growing food more recreationaly. There are a few stores in the local area that provide limited or specialized supplies. For example, there is a bee keeping supply store in Berkeley. The growing interest in urban farming and the lack of access to urban farm supplies provides an opportunity for an urban farm store to open in the Bay Area. The store will serve the needs of a growing customer base and tap into the shifting food culture to inspire additional customers to create backyard gardens of their own.
Description of Products and Services
Urban Farm Stand will provide the following products:
- Urban farming classes
- Soil and fertilizers
- Seed starter kits
- Gardening tools
- Chicken pens
- Bee hives and bee kits
- Irrigation materials
- Vegetable plants
- Fruit and other trees
- Bedding plants
- Sprouted plants
- Books on gardening
- Other specialty supplies
Organization and Management
Urban Farm Stand will be a sole proprietorship with Melissa Cannon as the founder and owner. Melissa will be funding the business with a $50,000 investment of her own. Owner Melissa Cannon will oversee and manage all aspects of the operation. Melissa will be responsible for the ordering of supplies, maintenance of the greenhouses, overseeing staff, and working with contractors. Melissa will hire two full-time employees and one part-time employee. The two full-time employees will be responsible for customer service, teaching urban farming classes, plant maintenance, and some ordering of supplies. The part time employee will work during busy business hours and provide customer service.
Melissa has a B.S. in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. After graduating from UC Davis, Melissa worked at a non-profit in Oakland, California where she became interested in issues of food access and health disparities. In 2011 Melissa completed a dietetic internship through Hunter College and in 2012 Melissa passed the qualifying exam to become a registered dietitian. As part of her dietetic internship Melissa interned at City Harvest, a non-profit that supports affordable access to nutritious food in low-income communities and at the Food Bank for New York City.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
Urban Farm Stand intends to market to Bay Area residents who currently have an urban farm plot, residents who have an urban garden, residents who are interested in planting an urban garden, residents who are interested in planting a few plants, and residents who are interested by the local food movement. During the first year, the surrounding neighborhood and interest organizations will be asked to participate in a number of promotions to raise awareness in the community of what the Urban Farm Stand will offer. The following events are planned: a tree planting and opening ceremony, web promotions including social marketing, marketing communications, direct contact with chefs at local restaurants, word of mouth marketing, advertising through fliers, and teaming up with a local CSA to establish to store front as a CSA distribution site.
Goods sold at the store will be sold at prices similar to neighboring farm supply stores. The volume of goods will be kept at a low volume in order to keep initial costs down and in order to assess buying trends in the market community.
The project has already secured a $50,000 initial investment from Melissa Cannon. $10,000 of financial support has been acquired through funding made available through the California Endowmet to support the infrastructure costs of starting the project. The farm stand also received a grant in the amount $15,000 from the California Institute of Environmental Conservation for administrative support.