You have wide repertoire of plants to work with from herbs, onions, garlic, to strawberries and even fruit trees.
Products and Services
Besides your urban farm, you can generate another revenue line in your business through providing seedlings and compost. With a growing market for environmentally friendly products and services, many are starting to look at waste in a new way.
Composting today is no longer a method of disposal in rural areas. It is fast becoming a common way to manage waste and produce a usable product- creating a viable business opportunity. Your customers could be landscaping companies as well as fellow urban farmers.
Hydroponics is the process of growing crops with nutrient-rich water kept in contact with the plant roots without using soil. This process is touted to significantly reduce the risk of wastage and pollution that can harm the produce and cause diseases, making it popular to health-conscious consumers.
A well-designed hydroponic system is characterized by less wastage of water and nutrients than soil-based farms. Both water and nutrients are fed directly to the root structure of the plants and recycled through the hydroponic system. This also eliminates the typical land and water pollution possibilities due to overland flow and runoff.
Mushrooms are relatively easy to cultivate. A profitable mushroom will depend on knowing which mushroom strain to cultivate and how to maximize your production. Growing mushrooms doesn’t require a full-time commitment.
You can still have a full-time job, and produce enough to become a steady supplier to other businesses. Mushroom farmers harvest an average of 25 pounds of produce per square foot every year. Prior to harvest, contact local restaurants and take orders from them for a quick sale.
Beekeeping can help you produce extra products for you, as well as having other indirect benefits like making your existing crops better pollinated. Having bees around your vegetable plants will dramatically increase your yield.
You will however need to do a thorough research before embarking in apiculture. You will need to consider the size of the bee colony, the health of the work force, weather conditions, the availability of nectar for the bees to collect will affect your bottom line.
Rooftop Tea Gardens
Finding the right amount of space is often a challenge in cities. Rooftop gardens provide a solution for those with an inclination towards trying their hand at urban farming but don’t have a plot of land to use. By starting a rooftop tea garden, you can grow a variety of aromatic and medicinal herbs and greens to sell directly to your customers.
Urban Chicken Farms
Backyard chicken keeping is an easy and popular way to get into urban farming without spending a lot of money or the need for a lot of space for gardening. Chickens require relatively little space for the number of eggs and meat they produce and are easy to care for. Therefore you can initially start by investing in a modest chicken house in your background and gradually grow in capacity.
Generally speaking, organic farming is a method of raising crops and livestock and has evolved into a niche of its own. A growing number of restaurants and supermarkets market specifically for organic produce.
These businesses rely on organic farmers to supply them with organically grown fruits and vegetables and organically raised, or free-roaming livestock. Organic farming is highly sought because they provide customers with safe, wholesome food from a toxin-free environment.
If you know your roses and lilies well and have a green thumb, perhaps you should look into growing flowers. There are ample avenues you can pursue from selling to florists (cut), for nurseries, direct to the public and others. Growing flowers can also dramatically increase the yield of your land.
If you live in a state where cannabis use is legal, you might take advantage of the available space and start your own small cannabis business. If you have a large backyard it can helps keep your investment low, while giving you a flexible space with which to work. You can also grow your business by building a small greenhouse.
Beyond selling simply farm produce, you can also venture into value-added products. By transforming the raw farm products into food, personal care, craft products and more. Value added products can help boost your income and expand the market season.
Deciding to get involved in creating new products generally calls for a long-term commitment in that it requires additional capital for infrastructure, compliance with food safety and labeling requirements, liability insurance, and marketing.
|Type of Urban Farming
|Potential Revenue Streams
|Mixing flowers and vegetables throughout the garden.
|Investment in tools for tilling soil or containers.
|Sale of a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
|Products and Services
|Sale of seedlings and compost as an addition to the urban farm.
|Facilities for composting and seedling production.
|Revenue from sale of seedlings, compost, and waste management services.
|Growing crops with nutrient-rich water without soil.
|Initial investment in a hydroponic system and nutrients.
|Sales of nutrient-rich, pollutant-free crops to health-conscious consumers.
|Cultivation of various types of mushrooms.
|A suitable environment for growing mushrooms, knowledge on mushroom strains and cultivation.
|Sales of mushrooms to local restaurants and businesses.
|Keeping bees for honey production and pollination.
|Beekeeping equipment, knowledge of bee behavior and colony management.
|Sales of honey, other bee products, and benefits of better crop pollination.
|Rooftop Tea Gardens
|Growing aromatic and medicinal herbs on rooftops.
|Rooftop access, planting containers, and initial investment in plants.
|Direct sales of unique aromatic and medicinal herbs to consumers.
|Urban Chicken Farms
|Raising chickens in urban areas for eggs and meat.
|Modest chicken house, feed, and care equipment.
|Sales of eggs and chicken meat.
|Raising crops and livestock without artificial inputs.
|Organic seeds, natural pest management solutions, and organic-certified inputs.
|Sales of organic produce and meat to restaurants and supermarkets.
|Cultivation of various types of flowers.
|Initial investment in seeds or bulbs, knowledge of flower cultivation.
|Sales to florists, nurseries, or direct to the public.
|Growing cannabis for medicinal or recreational use.
|Cannabis seeds, suitable growing environment, and knowledge of cannabis cultivation.
|Sales of cannabis to licensed dispensaries or direct to consumers.
|Creating value-added products from farm produce.
|Additional infrastructure, compliance with food safety and labeling requirements.
|Sales of processed food, personal care, and craft products.
Urban Farming Takeaways
To start an urban farming business, you don’t necessarily need a background in urban farming. All you need is to educate yourself on the abundant resources on urban farming found online. Today there are many small businesses popping up across America focusing on urban farming. The demand is not only for green thumbs but also for people with sales, marketing and other skills in the value chain.
If you can reach large production capacity look towards a business to business farming model. This is a business method that farmers use when producing agricultural products to supply business clients. Businesses prefer to deal with farmers directly for the low cost and quality by getting produce directly from the source. Examples of business clients are grocery stores and restaurants that re-sell these products in their original or processed form to customers.
The key to profits is creating a niche for your business. While creating your business plan, be sure to include opportunities to get small business grants to help fund your new venture. For this reason, always look towards diversifying your revenue streams and build strong relationships with your customers.
Urban farming is all about making the most of the space you have. You can start off using your own garden to start growing food, and may eventually expand and start growing on other plots in your area.
Having an urban farming business can be particularly satisfying as you get to make your own contribution to making the world a better place as well.
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