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EPA: Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook

Partnership for Sustainable Communities

United States Environmental Protection Agency
September 2011
77 pages

The Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook provides a framework for any organization or community interested in developing an urban farm on cleaned brownfields or vacant lands, food access, or community development challenges. The handbook provides guidance on how to assemble marketing, operating, and financial strategies to communicate your urban farm project to potential partners and funders. Questionnaires related to each section as well as financial spreadsheets are also included in this toolkit.



As urban farming moves towards income-earning or food- producing activities, it is important to develop a plan for the start-up and operation of the business regardless of whether it is intended to be a for-profit business or a non-profit business. A business plan provides a road map that not only serves as an internal planning tool, but can be used to provide information to external stakeholders important to the successful start up and operation of the business such as investors and funding sources. It is used to map out the strategies for the start up and operation of a business and to track progress of that business against its goals.

Through EPA’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, technical assistance was provided to support the development of a business plan for an urban farm in Toledo. The technical assistance was intended to support the Toledo Community Development Corporation (CDC) in achieving its vision to reuse a two-plus-acre former industrial site as an economically viable and accessible source of fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, jobs and job training, and education on growing and preserving fresh produce and improved health through better diet for the community.

The project resulted in the development of two products that will be used in Toledo, but also have wider application to brownfield and other communities working on land revitalization across the country that are seeking alternative sustainable reuses that can improve access to fresh and healthy food, and related food shed economics and market conditions in local areas:
Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook. Urban Farm Business Plan Worksheets.

Read the complete report here.

1 comment

1 Bob McKeand { 09.28.11 at 9:40 am }

The food in the stores, yes the food that is killing us, is
being grown to government specifications.
We all know how well central planning works for agriculture because of the wonderful examples from the old Soviet Russia and China.

Now the US government wants to play with my garden?
Just how are compost, mulch and earth worms going
to cause a problem?

Peace, Bob