Part. 1 - "I Dream of Greening" (Intro/Romance/Ideation Phase)
So you have ownership of, or access to, a vacant plot of land in a primarily residential or commercial urban area. One day, a flick-scroll up on your Instagram explore feed lands on a post of a dense, mouth-watering fruit & veggie mini-farm utopia that takes your breath away. A little impulsive thumb-tap research reveals that this mini-farm exists inside the city limits of a major metropolitan area - and that the concept of urban farming is a burgeoning "thing" with a huge following.
A light bulb flickers on in your head, and that inner drill sergeant starts screaming that you are the biggest slacker in the world and needed to have launched an urban farm business of your own, like yesterday...
Congrats on being bitten by the urban ag mosquito!
Since this was literally me about a year ago, I know that at least some of these exact initial thoughts have rushed through your mind:
"I'm gonna start a farm, grow fresh organic food to feed myself, friends & family, and sell the rest to my community or anyone else that wants it!"
"Healthy eating is the biggest trend these days, this is a no-brainer! Business will boom and this will be an instant hit!"
"This is exactly what this area needs...so many people are gonna want to be help...so many doors will open...this is gonna be so easy!"
"A farm?! How cool is that! How didn't anyone else do this already?!"
What I did (in this exact order):
1. Initially with the intention of making a traditional real estate investment with zero direction, plunked down significant capital and obtained control of a vacant 1/4 acre lot where an abandoned house once stood in my hometown (ie locked myself in personally/financially as an individual)
2. Brainstormed ideas of things to do with the land other than building a house on it
3. Decided that growing food would be cool, Googled/YouTubed "starting urban farm on vacant lot," and was exposed to some elements for key consideration
4. Randomly reached out to 10-20 local urban ag businesses & professionals in search of general direction on getting started; Also reached out to mayor of my town for thoughts & feedback on the idea.
5. Adopted a kamikaze approach to engaging in the urban ag space...non-stop immersion in as many networking/volunteering/learning opportunities as possible to help refine planning strategy and early execution.
If you or someone you know can relate to being bitten by the urban ag mosquito...please like/comment/share this post! And be sure to check back for parts 2 & 3!
- Doug Adams, New Brooklyn Farms