Business Plan


Tree Thinker Ltd

Business plan

Tree Thinker Ltd

Company number: 10884934

Email: shane.kelly@treethinker.org

Web: http://www.treethinker.org


Two Minute Pitch


Executive Summary

TreeThinker operates Sharney Bridge Farm; converting 10 acres of previous pasture land TreeThinker Ltd, which grows produce in accordance with permaculture principles, mainly teas and tisanes.

The farm also acts as an education centre to pass on theoretical and practical skills relating to permaculture principles and techniques.

Organisation aims:

  1. Grow tea and other produce sustainably
  2. Educate people on changes that can help them to live more sustainably
  3. Promote permaculture techniques and support people to grow their own produce
  4. Rescue animals from unethical conditions, to become free range animals who live happily at the farm

Director’s Background

Shane Kelly is an engineer (BEng (Hons), MSEE), specialising in designing for a sustainable future. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grassroots sustainability groups.

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 renewable technologies and has experience of teaching to groups.


Value Proposition

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

Products

Sale of ethical produce including teas and teas and tisanes, jams and eggs from free range chickens. 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 cafes will be able to sell organic produce which has been grown locally, helping them reach customers who are increasingly concerned about where their produce 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:

  • Black Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Nettle Tea
  • Mint Tea
  • Dandelion root Tea
  • Free range, organic chicken eggs: £3.60 / 6 eggs
  • Dandelion Jam: £1.84 / 100g
  • Blackcurrant jam: £0.85 /100g
  • Hops: £2.50 / 25g

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/cafes – Those looking for produce to sell to customers who are increasingly concerned about where their produce is coming from.

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 produce 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/Cafes: Partnerships will be sought with stores and cafes, who will be able to market their produce as ethical and who will receive a 10% discount on the direct sale price as well as free delivery. These organisations 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/Cafes: Partner shops and cafes will be able to order weekly by phone or email, they will be able to choose from seasonal produce. Shops/cafes 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/cafes – 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.

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:

  • Black Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Nettle Tea
  • Mint Tea
  • Dandelion root Tea
  • Free range, organic chicken eggs: £3.60 / 6 eggs
  • Dandelion Jam: £1.84 / 100g
  • Blackcurrant jam: £0.85 /100g
  • Hops: £2.50 / 25g

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

plants

  • SeedChicken feed, hay etc
  • Product packaging
  • M
  • aterials for workshops

The Organisation’s year runs from 26th July to 25th July.

Year 1 (17/18)

Overview:

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 purchasing tools and materials for the future.

An understanding of the site will be obtained through careful monitoring and small scale 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. This will demonstrate ways that the site may be worked with and improved upon, using permaculture methods, in the future.

The main proportion of the site will be rewilded to encourage wildlife diversity and recovery of nutrients in the soil.

Site Development

The following site developments will be made to help the future growth of the organisation:

  • Erect fences at boundary of site – To mark out site whilst maintaining existing routes for wildlife

  • Build chicken coop for 6 chickens

  • Build temp storage/workshop building

  • Establishment of first beds

Produce production

During the first year, four test beds will be created to establish which crops do best at the site.

The first 6 chickens will be brought to the site to allow us to learn how to best take care of the animals before more are brought.

By the end of the first year, 2 acres will be cultivated for chickens, vegetables and pathways.

Education

The TreeThinker website will be created, containing blog post about permaculture.

TreeThinker will make contributions to the educational material of the Permaculture Association.

Sales

Outgoings are expected to be in the region of £3,000.00 with a negligible income from sales to friends and family. A loss of approximately £3,000.00 is expected over the first year.

Year 2 (18/19)

Overview

Year two is expected to be one of growth, once a thorough understanding of the site has been gained, crop planting and encouragement of existing plant life will be for saleable yields. By the end if year two, it is expected that over 3 acres of the field will be converted to grow produce in accordance with permaculture principles. Income is expected to have risen to around £1500.00 as crops and chickens begin to produce saleable yields.

Site Development

The following site developments will be made to help the future growth of the organisation:

  • Cold frame – For seed propagation

  • Clear woodland path – To enable access for woodland management

  • Small agricultural barn

  • 10m Polytunnel

Produce production

  • Plant 1/2 acre of field for produce

  • Encourage 2 acres of natural plants for harvesting for saleable yields

  • Cutivate ½ of woodland for produce

  • Rescue and maintain a total of 30 chickens

  • Rescue goats

Education

The website will be expanded to include guides on permaculture principles

A small amount of sales will be made via the website.

Occasional workshops to be conducted on permaculture principles and practices.

Sales

A reasonable level of sales to begin in the form of sales at local farmers’ markets and website sales.

Profit/loss

Income from the site is expected to be in the region of £1500.00 with outgoing being in the region of £2000.00. a loss of approximate £500.00 is expected.

Year 3 (19/20)

Overview

By the end if year three, it is expected that 3 acres of the field and ½ acre of woodland 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. 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.Workshops will begin to be run at the farm, generating additional income and providing education on organic, permaculture farming.

Site Development

The following site developments will be made to help the future growth of the organisation:

  • 20m of polytunnel

  • Increase woodland by ½ acre

  • Create a large pond/lake to increase wildlife diversity

Produce production

  • Plant 3 acres of field for produce

  • Increase variety of produce grown & sold

Education

Web content to be be increased to the level of a reliable, searchable permaculture resource.

Regular workshops to be conducted on permaculture principles and practices.

Sales

Sales in local farmers’ markets to continue.

Additional sales contracts to be made with local restaurants.

Profit/loss
Expenditure is expected to be in the region of £1000.00 with expenditure expected to be around £6000.00. Profit is expected to be in the region of £5,000.00.

Year 4 (20/21)

Overview

By the end of the fourth year the area of existing woodland shall have been increased from 3 acres to 4 acres with the additional acre being for growing food in accordance with permaculture principles. The area of field which is used for produce production is to be 3 acres, with the remainder being for animal grazing. The site will provide useful educational materials on both a local and international scale.

Site Development

The following site developments will be made to help the future growth of the organisation:

  • Maintaining site

Produce production

Maintain site production.

Education

Online resources and workshops to be maintained.

Online webinar series to be prepared to support permaculture education on a wider scale.

Sales

Sales at local farmers’ markets to increase by increasing the frequency of attendance.

Regular workshops to be conducted on permaculture principles and practices.

Profit/loss

Profit is expected to be in the region of £10,000.00.

Year 5

Overview

By the end of the fifth year, 6 acres of land will be used for the production of food crops in accordance with permaculture principles. The remaining 4 acres will be used for the production of hay and to support local wildlife. The site will provide regular educational workshops on permaculture and organic farmers and will be financially self sufficient.

Site Development

The following site developments will be made to help the future growth of the organisation:

Maintain site

Produce production

Increase planted/cultivated area to 8 acres of combined woodland /field.

Education

Online resources and workshops to be maintained.

Sales

Sales at local farmers’ markets and restaurants to continue.

Regular workshops to be conducted on permaculture principles and practices.

Profit/loss
Profit is expected to be in the region of £30,000.00.