Case 7: Farm to Retail "Micro Farm" Development
Problem: Our current agricultural economy is based on large scale specialized farms and long supply chains to market. Developing smaller local farms with sustainable practices and on farm processing requires considerable investment, quality control and training. Micro Farms sought to address these needs providing a source of needed capital and on farm processing and training.
I have enjoyed working with Sustainable Innovations for the last two years to get the Farm Organically certified and design optimum crop rotations, and livestock operations."
University Agriculture Professor
- Create a new class of farm under sustainable principles called Micro Farms.
- Micro Farms can be operated simply for grow out purposes and located on smaller land footprint and as a supplement farm income.
- Link a supply network of these farms to a sustainable supply chain, and provide needed shared services that provide needed farm inputs and services.
- Find customers and markets for the sustainable products within gourmet and natural food retailers.
Graham helped us define a plan for Micro farms complete with support services, research and development, and outreach to communities and customers. Sustainable Innovations has been instrumental in attracting corporate partners and grants and are building a path to self funding to support our business programs."
Micro farm project manager
Background: Local family farms face financial risk, complexity, and a lack of human and monetary resources. In addition small local farms have a hard time moving into new sustainable IPM practices and growing new crops or livestock without establishing a breeding and feed program. This transition requires considerable process and quality systems to reduce business risk. Micro Farms reduces these small farm business risks, provide a source of needed capital and farm process to grow out livestock. The business challenge to design sustainable farm practices and processes that new farmers can use, create a structure to provide shared services that reduce the risk and support their efforts.
[Micro farms] are developing not only sustainable fresh produce, but also meat proteins (chickens, beef and pork). We have already had the produce and meat teams look at the programs and there are definitely opportunities for WFM to win with this local arrangement in expanding organic product."
Produce Buyer at Southeast Region of Large Super Natural Chain
Results: Test farms are in progress for two Micro Farm Pilots and two Local USDA meat processors have been contracted close to farm site. A national food retailer has committed to test sales locally in several regional stores. Sustainable Innovations™ - partnerships for a better tomorrow.
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