Business Plan


Tree Thinker Ltd

Business plan

 

Company number: 10884934

Email: shane.kelly@treethinker.org

 


Two Minute Pitch


Executive Summary

TreeThinker is converting 10 acres of pasture lane into an organic, permaculture farm raising animals and growing organic, edible fruit and vegetables in accordance with permaculture principles. The farm will also act as an education centre, passing on theoretical and practical skills relating to permaculture principles and techniques.

Organisation aims:

  • Convert 10 acres of grazing land into a sustainable, permaculture farm
  • Rescue farm animals from unethical conditions, to become free range, organic animals who live happily whilst providing food for sale locally
  • Provide organic food for sale locally
  • Educate people on changes that can help them to live more sustainably
  • Promote permaculture techniques and encourage people to grow their own food

Director’s Background

Shane Kelly is a member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grass-roots sustainability groups including sustainable farming organisations.

Shane works full time as a project manager for a renewable energy company. He has experience of project management within his current and previous roles. He also has experience of farm design including designing the visitor farm at the Earth Trust site in Wittenham. Shane provides workshops on sustainable living and renewable technologies, he has experience of teaching one-on-one and to groups.


Value Proposition

TreeThinker’s offering can be split into two main categories:

Products

Sale of ethical produce including eggs from free range, organic chickens, hay, vegetables and fruit. These will allow customers to purchase ethical produce grown locally, meaning minimal impact on the environment. Prices will be in line with local shops making the produce available without the premium attached by competitors. Partner shops and restaurants will be able to sell organic food which has been grown locally, helping them reach customers who are increasingly concerned about where their food is coming from.

Services

Underpinning the mission of TreeThinker is the provision of education; sustainability and permaculture workshops which will be offered to organisations and individuals. TreeThinker will offer an opportunity for people who want to live more sustainably to learn on a working farm. This will be supported by educational resources available online which will enable TreeThinker to have a far wider reach.


Products & Services

The following produce will be offered:

  • Free range, organic chicken eggs: £3.60 / 6 eggs
  • Jerusalem artichokes: £2.50 /kg
  • Asparagus: £5.12 kg
  • Watercress £10.0/ kg
  • Veg boxes £15 / box
  • Blackcurrant jam: £0.85 /100g
  • Dandelion Jam: £1.84 / 100g

The following services will be offered:

  • Education workshops on growing and harvesting food according to permaculture principles: £5 per hour per person
  • Education workshops on sustainable living: £5 per hour per person

Customer Analysis

Direct shoppers – Those looking for produce grown with minimal impact on the environment, this can be difficult to find locally. The produce will not be exclusively for ethical consumers, with prices similar to other local retailers, the produce will also be appealing to those simply wishing to purchase produce.

Shops/Restaurants – Those looking for produce to sell to customers who are increasingly concerned about where their food is coming from. They will be able to market their food as organic and as being grown locally using the ‘Farm to Table’ logo.

Those looking to grow their own produce – Who would like to know how to grow produce in a sustainable way, this would require a lot of research and experimentation, practical workshops allow people to experiment and learn first hand so that they can repeat the process to create their own edible spaces.

Those looking to live more sustainably – Who would like an alternative to produce sold by supermarkets that is often grown in an unsustainable way. Who would like sustainable food without much more effort /expense – increasing the ethical produce available locally not only provides a greater quantity to meet demand, but also reduces prices due to increased availability and increased competition.


Marketing

Direct Shoppers: Produce will be sold face to face at farmer’s markets, and via the internet using sites such as Gumtree. Repeat customers will be achieved by delivering exceptional produce with excellent customer service. Feedback will be taken from customers and made available to other potential customers via marketing material, both online and printed.

Shops/Restaurants: Partnerships will be sought with stores and restaurants, who will be able to market their food as ethical and who will receive a 10% discount on the direct sale price as well as free delivery. These organisation will be reached by direct marketing. Partners will be able to make contact via phone and email if there are any issues with the produce which will be addressed as soon as practicable.

Those looking to grow their own produce: Workshops will be advertised online through the Treethinker.org website and social media, as well as through the website of the Permaculture Association and local CAGs (Community Action Groups). The workshops will also be advertised through event websites such as Eventbright and DailyInfo.

Those looking to live more sustainably: These will be a mixture of attendees at workshops and users of the published online resources. Educational resources will be provided at no cost on the TreeThinker.org website and through partner agencies including the Permaculture Association. As well as providing a valuable resource, this will also attract people to the workshops.

Customer will be asked for feedback and reviews (on Google, Facebook etc) which will be shown on the TreeThinker.org website and any printed media, and thus, will be shown to prospective new customers.


Customer Relationships

Direct Shoppers: Sales at farmers’ markets and arranged local delivery, will be sold face to face and so will rely on personal relationships, to this end friendly sales staff and good customer service are of the highest importance.

Shops/Restaurants: Partner shops and restaurants will be able to order weekly by phone or email, they will be able to choose from seasonal produce. Shops/Restaurants will also be able to visit the farm and will receive 10% off direct sales prices, free delivery and free participation in workshops.

Those looking to grow their own produce: These people will meet face to face via the workshops, a good relationship will be maintained by providing good communication before and after the workshops as well as a positive and supportive experience at the workshops.

Those looking to become more sustainable: These will be a mixture of attendees at workshops as users of the published online resources. As such the relationship will sometimes involve personal contact (at workshops) and sometimes be via the website and email support.


Key Partners

Countrywide farm supplies – For physical resources including seeds, compost and tools. Simple market transaction. Chosen because they are local and have knowledgeable staff.

Farmer’s markets – Will have contract for repeat attendance, required for face to face sales.

Shops/restaurants – Agreements via contract for the regular purchase of produce.

CAG / community groups – Provide support in the form of skills share events and advise as well as support for marketing.


The Market

TreeThinker will sell products at local farmers markets; an existing market with opportunities for new suppliers and with reliable income.

Current data shows competition are currently selling similar products for:

  • Eggs: £3.60 – 4.50 / 6 eggs (source)
  • Jerusalem artichokes: £2.50-3.90 /kg (source)
  • Asparagus: £5.12 /kg (source)
  • Water cress: £10.00 /kg (source)
  • Veg boxes: £16.50/ box (source)
  • Blackcurrant Jam: £85.3-1.36 /100g (source)
  • Dandelion Jam: £4.50 / 245g (source)

Underpinning the mission of Tree Thinker is the provision of education; sustainability and permaculture workshops are offered to organisations and individuals, TreeThinker will work with these organisations and offer an opportunity to learn on a working farm. Workshops will be advertised online through the Treethinker.org website and social media, as well as direct marketing and marketing through local CAGs (Community action groups).


Finances

Income

Sources of income will include:

Income from sales of produce:

  • The following produce will be offered:
  • Free range, organic chicken eggs: £3.60 / 6 eggs
  • Jerusalem artichokes: £2.50 /kg
  • Asparagus: £5.12 kg
  • Watercress £10.0/ kg
  • Blackcurrant jam: £0.85 /100g
  • Dandelion Jam: £1.84 / 100g

The following services will be offered:

  • Education workshops on growing and harvesting food according to permaculture principles: £5 per hour per person
  • Education workshops on sustainable living: £5 per hour per person

Expenditure

Fixed costs

Initial costs:

  • Chicken Coops: £500
  • Tools: £200
  • Raised beds £100

On-going costs:

  • Affiliation / certification: £100 / year
  • Insurance: £120 / year
  • Marketing: £60 / year
  • Market stall: £70 / month

Variable cost

  • Seeds
  • Chicken feed, hay etc
  • Product packaging
  • Materials for workshops

Financial forecast:

Year 1: The first year is expected to be one of investment and investigation; with expenditure exceeding income as finances are invested in preparing the site, including chicken coops, sowing seeds, planting crops and purchasing chickens, tools and systems for the future. The grass area will be used mainly for hay which will be baled and sold, three test beds will be planted to see which crops do well, and the first of the chickens will be brought to the site.

An understanding of the site will be obtained through monitoring trials of different crops, including companion planting. This will enable an understanding of the intricacies of the particular site, particularly what grows well – both naturally and when cultivated, so that it may be worked with and improved upon, using permaculture methods, in the future.

Year 2: Year two is expected to be one of signifiant growth, now that a thorough understanding of the site has been gained, crop planting will be be for saleable yields. By the end if year two, it is expected that over an acre of the land will be converted to producing produce in accordance with permaculture principles. Income is expected to have risen to, and exceeded the level of expenditure as crops and chickens begin to produce saleable yields. Workshops will begin to be run at the farm, generating additional income and providing education on organic, permaculture farming.

Year 3: By the end if year three, it is expected that half of the area of land will have been converted to producing produce in accordance with permaculture principles. Yields are expected to continue to grow and workshops will now be regular. TreeThinker will work with the permaculture association and other bodies to provide useful resources relating to organic and permaculture farming.

Year 5: By the end of the fifth year, it is expected that sales will have progressed beyond weekly farmers markets, to include local restaurants and agents. Workshops should also produce a dependable contribution to income.