The Small Farms Research Center at Alabama A&M University has witnessed a surge in requests for business planning and marketing education assistance from producers interested in urban agriculture and community gardens. These individuals often lack basic knowledge about production requirements, post-harvest handling and processing, and marketing. They also lack business planning knowledge and skills to start a viable community or urban garden. Urban gardeners are usually inner-city youth seeking agricultural experience or retirees wanting something to do in their retirement age. They also include migrants or older minority groups, usually less educated, with limited resources and/or access to knowledge and technical assistance. However, these groups of individuals are usually responsive to material assistance appropriately adapted to their specific and individual needs. This poster presents preliminary lessons and observations from a business planning and marketing education project funded by a grant from USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project addresses the unique business planning and marketing education needs of urban community gardeners, inner-city youth and beginning producers, some of whom are transitioning and/or converting to urban vegetable production. The belief is that a business plan is a critical risk management tool as it ensures producers have aligned their marketing, production, and financing capacities or strategies in ways that minimize risks. This project is currently providing targeted marketing education and business planning training to 58 urban gardeners in and around Alabama’s four metro centers (Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile).
|Conference||2016 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|