Partnership for Sustainable Communities Urban Farm Business Plan

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As part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities efforts, EPA led an effort to help a distressed area in center city Toledo. With partners such as the City of Toledo, University of Toledo, and others, a local community development corporation wanted to develop an urban agriculture business on a 3-acre piece of land they owned in center city Toledo. SRA/VN worked with the CDC and determined there were no tools to develop a business plan for an urban farm. The project’s main objective was to develop a tool communities or others developing urban farms or other growing systems could use to plan their farm business. This tool was necessary for a number of reasons including: the need to raise funds for capital, the need to match market with product and a number of other issues identified while working with Fernwood. The tool is a complete business planning tool.

The tool provides guidance in three categories: Market, operations, and finance. It provides a series of worksheets for the urban agriculture entrepreneur to use to develop a complete investment business plan. As part of the development of the tool, SRA/VN surveyed best practices and urban agriculture enterprises around the country.It has been used across the country in Canada as communities plan their urban agriculture enterprise. Once the tool was developed, SRA/VN worked with the CDC to diversify its income streams by developing a multi-faceted farm and identify customers. In addition to identifying crops that could be grown easily on pavement, we identified opportunities for purchase forward contracts with local institutions. The Fernwood Growing Center continues today.