Type: Four Season Vegetable
Years in operation: 4
Annual revenue: 50k-100k
(Average over last three years)
Flint Ingredient Company started four years ago with the purchase of 9.75 acres of vacant County Land Bank property. We started selling our produce at the Flint Farmers Market a year round market. Flint Ingredient Company began with a flock of 20 chickens, 6 sheep and vegetable production in a 48 ft hoophouse. We now focus primarily on vegetable production in four hoophouses and outdoor fields producing product year round on 1.5 acres. Franklin Pleasant and Erin Caudell are the primary operators with several part-time staff joining during peak season. In December of 2015, we opened a Michigan focused grocery store named The Local Grocer where we stock our produce. Later this summer will add a mobile vegetable market (with other community partners) to bring fresh local produce into the neighborhoods of Flint.
Inside the Farm
How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
Our business model has always been focused on collaboration with other beginning farmers. Flint Ingredient Company sells with 5 other area farms under the umbrella of 'The Local Grocer'. We work together to determine group guidelines for quality control, pricing, and crop selection. As the business expanded into a grocery store added meat, poultry and local product producers into the business model.
How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Collaboration is the key to making the biggest impact on our local food system. We focus our farm production on high value products like leafy greens, salad mix and heirloom tomatoes. We go as far as we can to diversify our revenue streams to keep business flexible. We currently run a Community Supported Agriculture program, sell to restaurants and in store. With the store we are able to utilize produce to for catering and cafe sales, greatly reducing waste.
How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
Expansion of our produce into grocery store and mobile market sales requires considerably more transport. We also plan to work with more small farms and some community gardeners to increase availability of local products. In order to maintain quality we would use funds to purchase a trailer and a refrigeration conversion. We have also been farming at our current site for 4 years without electricity. The remainder of the funds would go to installation of power and nudge our farm into modern times.
Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
We are as passionate about our hometown, Flint, as we are about farming. Navigating our way through the water crisis of the past year has been tough for our community. And while nothing can be done to erase the effects of lead exposure to the youth of our community caused by our municipal water system, we know that eating fruits and vegetables, particularly healthy greens, is an essential part of managing the impact. We are using the multiple aspects of our farm and store to flood our community with as much restorative nutrition as we can. Our focus on Michigan made and grown produce is also giving us the opportunity to encourage other local farmers to do the same. Our long term goal is a healthier community based food system where area residents work together to meet each other's needs.
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