11 March 2013
Three months ago, I wrote about my experience over the first year and a half working on VertiFarms and our vision for New Orleans. The last three months have been an attempt to narrow our focus on this vision.
For a quick reminder, our vision is for cities that grow a large percentage of their salad greens and other vegetables sustainably using water-efficient hydroponic growing systems.
We believe that accomplishing this vision will improve the quality of food available for all citizens across New Orleans; it will create farming employment opportunities; and we will establish a replicable model for other cities across the country and abroad.
I remember in the first Propeller meeting we discussed the Hedgehog and its innate ability to focus on one idea and zoom forward. Focusing in on our goals and enabling this vision includes creating a viable system for commercial agriculture in New Orleans.
During the last three-months we have hit some amazing milestones, all of which include several pieces of the puzzle for realizing this vision.
- Paco Roberts, our Propeller consultant has aided us in releasing a new version of our business plan by helping us tie in our financials to understand how this farm is going generate a profit. If an investor were to ask me about how profitable our hydroponic urban farm will be, I could tell them exactly what they are looking for.
- Around the end of December, projects we are involved in surpassed 1,000 pounds of fresh produce grown within New Orleans.
- When we first began to work on our rooftop garden at Rouses, our partner told us that we would essentially be ‘writing the book’ on supermarket rooftop farming. Well we have officially finished the “The Book”, and are proud of it! Our operations book will play a crucial role as we scale up and provide our services to more and more members of the New Orleans community.
- We have solidified a space and a primary distributor for our farm.
Begin raising the money for this farm. The help I have received from Propeller in pitching to others will be most valuable. Additionally, the direct help and coaching we have received from Propeller volunteer Stephanie Rogers puts us in a place ready to take these big steps and assume the role of the hedgehog over the course of 2013.