I am participating in the QEDC StartUP! Business Plan Competition. I have named my business Nourishing Cities and the deadline for competition entries is March 1st. I wanted to share the executive summary here so all of you can get a peep into what I have been working on lately. Enjoy and please comment below, I would love to hear some feedback from some of you about this!
Nourishing Cities is a for-profit enterprise created by Gil Lopez that seeks to create decentralized urban agriculture foodsystems while addressing issues of pollution and water management in New York City’s Borough of Queens. Offering design, construction and maintenance of edible landscapes, the company is addressing pressing global and regional issues on a local, site specific basis.
A growing realization that the current state of industrial agriculture cannot be maintained in perpetuity is mounting. This is due to its reliance on an array of petrochemicals, soil degrading nature, and waste throughout the entire process. At the same time global population and hunger is rising exponentially, especially in urban areas. People are paying more attention to their physical wellbeing, demanding better food for their families and voting with their food budgets for local and organically produced products. Major cities are acknowledging the benefits of increased food production within their urban limits as a means of increasing food security for urbanites, adding green spaces to the concrete jungle and the importance of green infrastructure as a viable alternative to lighten the load of aging grey infrastructure.
New York City is gearing up to be a global leader in addressing some of these very issues. City Council has recently unveiled a list of strategies for increasing urban food production which encourage the utilization of existing space and supporting farmers among others. In concert with these recommendations the City has also recently released highly incentivized plans for the implementation of green infrastructure throughout the entire City.
Business services will first be marketed to property owners in “garden districts” located in Queens, where sufficiently sized yards or rooftop space is readily available. Subsequent marketing will be directed at property owners and managers with larger properties or rooftops as the enterprise scales up. Since the area of operations will focus on multiple property owners in these “garden districts” to create pockets of activity and maximize operational efficiency, it works to the company’s advantage that the target market consists of a large cross section of individuals and businesses. Anyone from those dedicated to an eco-friendly lifestyle, busy professionals, families who want to eat better but keep grocery bills in check and those who simply want to save money on lawn maintenance are all included in the potential client list.
Through incorporation of the SPIN (Small Plot Intensive) farming model the enterprise can focus less on garden calendars and more on effectively managing areas designed for garden plots. Other areas will be created and managed using permaculture design principles that focus on increasing the yield of a property over time while decreasing the amount of effort required for managing and harvesting the crop over time by incorporating woody perennials like fruit and nut trees, shrubs and vines. These techniques aim to increase yield and market sales.
Nourishing Cities is a division of the parent company Verdant Infrastructure. As a client base is built and a solid reputation is established, Nourishing Cities will expand into other urban markets and Verdant Infrastructure will diversify into other construction related industries while design services will be marketed to a larger and broader range of business clients. All company activities will remain focused on growth sectors that repair social and environmental problems, replace polluting industry and provide valued services in an increasingly competitive business environment to educated and responsible clients, both individual and corporate.