If you want to sell your produce to the campus dining hall or at a farmer’s market, you need a business plan.
Before you start, you want to ask yourself: What is the goal of your farm? Is it to grow to sell, or to grow to educate? That’s going to make for different types of operations and funding requirements. Some campus farms prefer to focus on education — showing students where food comes from. If that’s your dream, talk to your university administration, relevant academic departments, and even your campus food service provider to see who would be willing to help fund you. For many farms, ongoing costs can be funded through the sales of produce. If your farm is large and well-staffed enough to produce a significant volume of fruits and vegetables, chances are that produce sales could be enough to sustain your farm’s operations after a couple of growing seasons. Visit the CF Google Drive for sample business plans, and check out our own document called “What To Do With Your Food” for a breakdown of business and donation models for handling your bounty. Whatever your scale, you want to make sure that your food gets eaten. Avoid wasting what you grow by utilizing different outlets for your produce, which you can learn about here.
Is your farm online? Farming is more about weeding than websites, but you do need an easy way to tell people about when to volunteer at community work days and where to buy your produce. Consider starting a Facebook page, or if you have the time and skill, build a simple website using free website design options like WordPress or Weebly. Check out other student farmers’ profile pages for links to their websites and Facebook pages!
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES:
- The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall
- You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise by Joel Salatin
- Sell What you Sow: The Grower’s Guide to Successfull Produce Marketing by Eric Gibson