The Business Case
What if you could . . . .
- Working together on 100 acres of land in you could create a food system innovation district generating $10,000,000 in annual revenue and 220 jobs and over $100,000,000 and 2,200 jobs over the next 10 years?
- Provide access to fresh produce to your congregations?
- Provide an education to the community and employees while providing a living wage to the 220 people employed by your business?
- Use STEM education?
- Create the existing community around the industry and the industry around a community?
Would you do it? So if you answered yes, it is important to remember to build community there has to be a concerted effort. The effort has to be systemic. A key characteristic of an impoverished community is scarcity. The systemic approach I am proposing is tied to these three interrelated concepts: (i) Innovation Districts; (ii) Food Systems; and (iii) Urban Agriculture.
Local Business Strengthens Community
Using the above assumptions and the below graph, for every dollar generated through a locally owned business one can anticipate recirculating 48 cents. So $10,000,000 ends up placing $14,800,000 into the economy. Working together actually increases the sense of community and strengthens the economy!
Gaining Traction Rebuilding Local Community
Cities have a critical role in rolling back antiquated zoning regulations to allow urban agriculture as a use by right. Broken communities need pathways to jobs, to food, work skill development, and legal entrepreneur opportunities. Urban agriculture provides pathways to all of these needs. The community needs local leaders to take ownership of urban agriculture and ask for participation. Education institutions need to have programs in place to support a comprehensive support network of developing the needed skills to produce local food. And finally, the local faith communities can band together around urban agriculture to provide the needed level of participation to make the innovation district around urban farming take off to establish a local food system.