As mentioned on the farm page of this website, I do not currently make any money with this website. I have not received money for this work in years. I have sold a few copies of my book and recieved a few donations, but not enough to support the work I want to do. I do this work for free because I believe information should be free, but I cannot move forward in the ways I have to without support. Please consider donating to this website or to the nonprofit farm. Every bit helps. All donations can be made to AGoldstein221@gmail.com via paypal. You don’t need a paypal account to donate. Paypal allows you to use a credit card without an account. You can also send physical donations to my parent’s house or send donations via bitcoin. Please ask for my address if that is your preference.
I wrote the following business proposal for the farm with the intention of sending it to different organizations that offer grants, but it has been very hard to get a grant. Ideally, I would love for this farm to be supported by angel investors and readers who believe in these ideas alone. I could get a loan, but it would mean more uncertainty. I may have to do that, but I am saving that as a last resort. I can only make this community farm where it is needed and wanted by the community. I can’t build it alone. You can show your support for this farm by donating or by writing a comment and telling me it is wanted and needed in your town or that you are willing to lend a hand. This is not a charity by law, but the farm could save many lives, increase biodiversity, and sequester large amounts of carbon pollution while adding oxygen to the atmopshere. This business proposal consists of the eight following sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, service, marketing and sales, funding request, and financial projections. This proposal is copywritten and cannot be used without my permission. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you are as passionate about this idea as I am.
We face a crisis with our food system today. The Farm Bill and other legislation have consolidated the power of big agribusiness companies that do not value the land or the crops they produce. Most of the food grown in the US is made for our livestock. Most animals are raised in unsanitary, cramped conditions, (CAFOs) fed GMO products, and injected with hormones. Consumers and the animals alike suffer as a result, but animals can be raised humanely and sustainably for their resources and they have been for thousands of years by those who recognize the importance of doing so. Only big agribusinesses and unsustainable farmers stand in the way of more environmentally conscious farming. These farming corporations mechanize agriculture and produce identical life-forms in an attempt to reduce labor costs, which results in lower quality food and less job opportunities for hardworking people.
Many farms in the US also rely on one center well, which extract too much water from underground, lowering water-tables, pulling salts to the surface, and eroding the land. This has destroyed much of America’s beautiful land and hurt hardworking Americans just to make money for big agribusinesses. This is not at all sustainable. However, permaculture farmers have realized the need to respect the land and all life on it to keep it healthy and capable of producing enough nutritional food to feed the world. The only reason why big agribusinesses still exist is because they are supported by subsidies and consumers. Monopolies are dangerous, but possibly none are more dangerous than those on food and other essential, life-giving resources.
Corporations that make billions of dollars are often seen as “assets,” regardless of their human or ecological impacts. But this is nothing short of misanthropic. They tell us they are necessary and many still believe them just because they still us they are and they turn a profit. But I am convinced Americans and people worldwide would only buy healthy, organic food if it was just as available and cheap as current “frankenfood.” Organic foods from corporations like Whole Foods are cost prohibitive to some, but these corporations still see massive growth because the demand for real, ethically produced food is still so great.
In America large farming corporations just rent or buy land until they have extracted as much value as they can from it. They then sell it, move, and repeat the process. The US has seen many of its farmlands and pastures turn into deserts because of this mismanagement and exploitation of the land. Crop rotation isn’t employed by big agribusinesses. They don’t usually compost either. Biomass is often not properly composted, but instead dumped into rivers, polluting our waterways and robbing the soil of natural nutrients. Expensive synthetic fertilizers are unnecessarily added to compensate for the lack of nutrients that are taken from the soil, but this too is unsustainable. Monoculture also creates a feeding ground for pests that can evolve to synthetic pesticides, and it keeps us on the so-called “pesticide treadmill.” Most of the food grown in America is genetically engineered and it is grown in mass, sprayed with pesticides, and processed. Healthy, nutritional, organic food is less widely available in America due to the lobbying power of big agribusiness corporations like Monsanto that rely on GMOs and unsustainable farming practices. They spend millions just to prevent legislation that requires the labeling of GMOs because they know they will lose business if their products are honestly labeled. They are too invested in unsustainable practices to want to change. However, this can easily change, so long as permaculture receives the funding it need and we refuse to support these corporations that truly help no one.
I have been farming for most of my life and I have spent years researching sustainable agriculture, ecosystems, and pollution. I studied sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson Farm College and worked on the garden crew there, which was a very valuable experience overall. I have also volunteered many times at nonprofit farms like Gaining Ground in Concord Massachusetts, which grows 50,000 lbs of food every year for free for food banks, schools and homeless shelters. I have also interned on a CSA in Vermont. I have learned through my research and experiences that food and water are not distributed based on need, but instead they are distributed to the highest bidders who are often more concerned with profit than ecological or human well-being. This is largely why so people still die of malnutrition, water-borne illnesses, and dehydration. According to Environmental Science (2014): “1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation services, and more than 1.8 million deaths are traced to waterborne diseases (mostly in children under five).”
I want to change this as much as I can. What I propose to meet this goal is to construct a model non-profit community farm that would employ the most disadvantaged portions of the population and rely on volunteers within the community. I will employ individuals who are homeless, unemployed, disabled, disadvantaged, former inmates, those dealing with substance abuse problems, and anyone else pushed to the fringes of society who needs a “hand up.” I will also employ those with farming backgrounds and knowledge who refuse to work at corporations like Monsanto because of their lack of concern for sustainability and ethics.
Food For All will offer free organic, heirloom produce and seeds to those most at a disadvantage and the same will be offered for sale to those with the means to pay for them who want to support the nonprofit and those it will support. The farm will also offer the free opportunity to learn more about sustainable permaculture and aquaculture. I want to initially build a series of very small dwellings on the land for under $1000 each using as much natural materials as possible, so that those who need housing and are serious about the project will have a place to stay on the farm. Regardless of the size of the farm, sustainable growth, permanent ecosystem health, and thriving biodiversity that would meet the needs of others without compromising the needs of future or current generations would remain the primary goals.
The farm will not use any gas-powered equipment, but instead use only solar panels for electric energy. Polyculture and partner planting will be employed instead of monoculture to form symbiotic relationships between plants. Fruit and nut trees will also be planted by the hundreds. The farm will use no-till and low-till techniques (using hand tools and electric tillers) to decrease compaction of the soil while maintaining a healthy underground ecosystem. All biodegradable waste produced on the farm will be composted though the emphasis will always be on producing as little waste as possible. Only natural predators like ladybugs and natural pesticides like neem oil will be used to control pests. The farm will generate zero pollution and, in fact, it will reduce pollution by sequestering carbon.
The farm I am proposing could serve as a model that could branch out to multiple regions of the US and abroad to feed and employ those in need. Asheville, North Carolina may be the ideal location to build this farm. The community there (rich in biodiversity and agricultural schools) supports small farmers and organic permaculture. I also know students at Warren Wilson Farm College and graduates of the school who have expressed interest in volunteering and working in various positions if I can get funding for this project.
We will offer free lessons at the farm, which will be open to anyone interested in learning about how we can sustain ourselves. Eventually, the priorities of the farm will become broader. I want to strengthen connections between individuals within the community committed to human and ecological wellbeing. Some have contacted me about this already and shown interest but since this is at a building stage at the moment, nothing about the location is certain. Ultimately, the location will be determined by where there is most support and need for this project. If I receive the most funding and support in America, then I will make the first location in America, and after a few years of establishment and building, hopefully the resources will exist to create new locations around the world. If I cannot build this in America, I will go elsewhere.
This farm will not just support those who need help, but those who do and are willing and eager to help themselves and their community. The farm will be very much based on the principles of experiential education, ecological stewardship, mutual respect, collaboration, nonviolence, and humanism. There will be no formal leaders or teachers. But the owners of the land will reserve the right to terminate anyone’s position at any time should the land or people be disrespected. (Of course, arguments will occur inevitably, which won’t be grounds for termination necessarily but the group should be extremely cohesive and supportive.) This opportunity will require no formal qualifications, only a very open mind and a willingness to help, teach, and learn. We will all be students and teachers. We will all play different, but important roles.
Eventually, I hope that the farm will have the resources to open a farm-to-table restaurant on the land as well. On the farm, only organic produce and trees will be grown. The farm will compost any GMO weeds or “volunteers” on the land spread from GMO pollen, so that every lifeform on the farm should be organic. Aside from organic fruit and nut trees, the farm will grow timber (for construction and paper), bamboo, peanuts, rice, grapes, hops, herbs for tea, cocoa, other staples, edible mushrooms, and perhaps even tropical plants and trees should the climate be able to support them. I may also have a small book press there that uses paper made on the farm to distribute open-source, free textbooks to those in need. This would be a joint effort with the Foundation for a Free Education.
The farm should attract a variety of wildlife that will not be hunted, so it will work to conserve life and not just extract. The farm will be very vegan and vegetarian friendly, but we will humanely raise some chickens, turkeys, boars, lamb, and perhaps a few buffalo that will be fed mostly a diet of organic produce grown on the farm. All animals will be allowed to roam in as large a pasture as the land can provide and they will be moved to regenerate the soil and to give the animals freedom. Peanuts will be grown because they are high in protein and essential fatty acids, and peanut paste will be made to offer direct emergency food relief for those in need.
I would like to grow coconuts and other tropical trees like bananas because they are high in electrolytes, which are essential for brain function. Coconut water rehydrates the body and it also replenishes some of the body’s electrolyte supply. This is why I think coconuts and peanuts are essential foods to grow to reach the farm’s goal of saving lives. Organic produce from Food for All will be offered to the most reputable local food banks and shelters, working to provide emergency food relief. (Some produce will also go to public schools that need food aid.) I hope an NGO will eventually form out of Food For All that can provide these essential foods to the most food and water insecure regions on Earth. However, nothing from the farm (except seeds) will be shipped overseas because this is an unsustainable way to provide relief. (Shipping peanut paste and electrolyte water is more resource intensive than creating these products right where they are needed.)
Food for All, a collaborative, community farm will intend to feed all in need in the community and eventually provide food and water aid to other regions. It will focus heavily on efficiency, biodiversity, sustainable growth, and human and ecological wellbeing.
The market is growing hugely for organic foods and hormone-free, humanely raised livestock. But community supported agriculture is being undercut by big agribusinesses that don’t care about our health. Markets like Whole Foods have shown there is a massive demand for organic food worldwide. However, even markets like this cater mostly to wealthier consumers, whereas this farm will be open to all people and offer cheaper organic, nutritional food to more people and animals in the community.
Organization & Management:
Food for All will be a democratic collaborative. There will be no formal workplace hierarchy. Days will start with a half hour meeting about the current concerns about the farm, weather, ways to improve (yield, efficiency, sustainability, etc.), and upcoming projects. All employees will have equal say, but merit and experience will be respected. Money available for personnel will be allocated to employees based on their effort, the estimated monetary value of their work, and its benefit to the community, which will be judged by all members in a meeting at the end of the day. Members of the farm community will be allowed to nominate one other member as the hardest worker of the day. The person with the most votes will receive the highest compensation. The person with the least votes will receive the least. However, individual need will always be taken into account. Some may only want food and housing as payment, and these workers will be prioritized over others. Need and want will be balanced. Members will be incentivized to improve to help the cause and others, as opposed to beng threatened with “losing” potential earnings. There will never be any punitive pay cuts. Violations of farm rules would instead be discussed with all members in a meeting, and actions will have to be approved by the majority.
Food for All will meet the demand from the community for organic, pesticide-free produce and humanely raised livestock. It will appeal to consumers looking for nutritional food, those looking to support a charitable cause, hungry people, and those who care about the land and sustaining it.
Marketing and Sales:
Food for All will be advertised largely by word of mouth and community outreach. The farm will be advertised in local newspapers and college newspapers. Electronic brochures will also be distributed to inform potential consumers and volunteers about the farm. The use of paper advertisements will be avoided as much as possible. My blog also has a page about the farm and it will be used to keep those interested updated about the progress.
To make this ambitious project a reality I estimate I will need $155,000 in funding. I know this is an ambituous goal, but this may be what is needed. If I can raise this much, I will allocate $100,000 to the purchase of land, $20,000 for chickens, lamb, turkeys, and buffalo, $12,000 to pay initial personnel before the farm generates revenue, $10,000 for building materials, $5000 for solar panels,, $5,000 towards a building program that would acquire and preserve new land donated or bought, $1,500 for hand tools, (shovels, rakes, tillers, and so on) and $1,500 towards the purchase of non-GMO, organically grown seeds. (If you would like to donate one or more of these, please let me know.) I already have a collection of heirloom, organic seeds, so this will likely be the smallest expense. I plan to do community outreach and marketing on a volunteer basis. I also plan to open a farm-to-table restaurant at the initial farm as stated, which would generate more revenue that could be used to expand. This will also help pay back investors, but my hope is that the farm can be funded by angel investors alone.
After acquiring a piece of land, the next few months will be devoted to preparing soils, planting seeds, and construction. The farm will not generate revenue during this time, except by donations. By the fourth month, the farm should be generating revenue and by the end of year, depending on the size of the land acquired, the investment could be returned within two to three years. Over the first five years, we should be able to sustainably alleviate hunger in the community. Seeds will be selectively bred throughout the year and this should give us some very stable and prolific cultivars to work with.
Our member base should be large enough to expand to other regions by the third year. I would like to set up more community farms in poor regions with hunger and water insecurity like the Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, India, Nepal, Tanzania, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Tibet, the Philippines, and many others. I want to improve human and ecological wellbeing worldwide. The financial projections aren’t as important as the lives that could be saved with this project. It could be a seed for incredible change.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and considering investing in this project. This project is a dream of mine, but it could become a reality with the funding. I very much hope you can help build this dream. Sincerely,