Finding funding is one of the tougher parts of setting up a sustainable agriculture startup or farm. The good news is that the range of options are no longer just bank loans, angel investors or venture capital as a plethora of new approaches have flourished over the past few years. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
Historically, microloans – broadly defined as loans under $35,000 made to individuals who couldn’t usually borrow from a traditional bank – have been an emerging market phenomenon, with the work of Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank seen as leading the way. Since the economic downturn, it’s become a more popular approach in the US, and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation estimates that there are now 400 or so microlenders in the nation.
What if growing your own food was as convenient as running out for your morning cup of coffee? SeedTabs co-founder Wyatt Roscoe hopes to make it just that easy by selling organic seeds at popular locales like coffee shops, bookstores, and grocery stores.
According to Roscoe, SeedTabs owes its existence to a several pound seed order that was a bit excessive for his small garden. Roscoe and his brother Will decided to share their abundance of seeds and began passing out small bags of seeds to all of their friends. At first glance, says Roscoe, people were hesitant to accept these small bags of seeds. “These drug-like baggies of seeds received confused looks that quickly morphed into smiles of appreciation.”
Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference to Examine Unique Concepts of Sustainable Farming VisionariesSeptember 30, 2013 | seedstock
News Release: LOS ANGELES, CA—DaVinci, Einstein, Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs – each one a visionary whose unique view of life prompted innovations and inventions that – whether in art, science, industry or technology – continue to shape the evolution of our world. Today, faced with challenges of global warming and water shortages, visionaries in sustainable agriculture are creating unique farming concepts, products, and practices to address the food needs of a growing world population while at the same time developing viable local economic opportunities for entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and investors.
To learn firsthand from these agricultural innovators how a sustainable future can improve life for us all, plan to attend the 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – Farming: Fundamentals and the Future Tuesday and Wednesday, November 5 and 6, at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
It’s 5 pm on Thursday, milk is running low, and the kids polished off the last of the peanut butter the night before. Working parents everywhere, stuck in traffic, are scrounging for a healthy dinner.
Enter Door to Door Organics, an online organic grocery retailer that delivers fresh, organic groceries at a competitive cost with traditional brick-and-mortar grocers.
The company, which was founded by David Gersenson in 2004 in his 300 square-foot Boulder, Colorado garage, now serves 9 states, operating out of five centralized hubs in Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Missouri.
Since 2005, Cultivate Kansas City (Kansas City, Kan.), formally known as the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, has helped farmers manage urban farms. The organization started small and has steadily grown over the past eight years. Cultivate KC now manages two farms, and helps support multiple urban farmers and gardeners.
I recently spoke with Ami Freeberg, community outreach coordinator at Cultivate Kansas City, about the organization. Freeberg discussed how Cultivate KC has evolved and how the organization continues to help urban farmers thrive.
CLEVELAND, Sept. 21, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced over $9 million in grants to organizations across 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to initiatives that bolster the connection between agricultural producers and their consumers while improving access to healthy food and strengthening local economies. Merrigan made the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) awards announcement while speaking at the Project for Public Spaces Annual Public Market Conference.
Making Most of Vacant Building, Urban Farming Org Hopes to Create Viable Indoor Food Production ModelSeptember 21, 2012 | Missy Smith
With the increasing rise in popularity of the local food movement in cities across the country, many people are getting creative about the spaces they use in order to bring fresh food to urban communities. Rooftop and community gardens have become major trends in recent years, but some people are thinking beyond outdoor spaces to include buildings that might otherwise continue to sit vacant.
FoodChain is one such organization that is thinking outside of the box, or garden plot, bringing an educational and demonstration facility—that will be teaching aquaponics, food processing and more—to the diverse downtown community of Lexington, Ky. The organization makes its home in the former Rainbo Bread Factory building, which operated downtown as early as the late 1800s and stayed in business for about 100 years.
Over its three year life span, Kickstarter, a crowdfunded donation site, has become quite the boon for sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs, raising $9.1 million in funding for 846 food projects. Indeed, many of the startups profiled here at Seedstock, such as Freight Farms, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm, and Bitponics are Kickstarter graduates.
Until recently, there wasn’t a great deal of data to tell us what works when putting together a Kickstarter campaign. The company has been criticized for not publishing the success rates of projects, and a number of blogs made valiant efforts to calculate these in the absence of official numbers. In June, Kickstarter began tracking statistics, and this, along with the increasing maturity of the site, has led to a plethora of advice to would-be fundraisers.