Business Planning

A business plan is basically a road map for your business, and writing one is important for helping you reach your goals. Business planning resources are included in this section as well as additional information about funding your operation.

Writing a Business Plan
Writing a business plan can be a long process, but these resources will help you out:

  • Penn State Extension provides many resources from an agriculture perspective. Visit the Creating a Business Plan page, or Start Farming, which is a comprehensive resource hub that covers the entire scope of production, business and state/federal regulations for those new to growing for profit.
  • Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook - This business plan handbook is specifically for urban farms and takes you step by step through each part of a business plan with many worksheets. 
  • Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses - Although rural is used in the title, this almost 300 page resource is helpful for anyone planning a farm. It breaks business planning into 5 main tasks and goes into detail from there.
  • Ag Plan is a free business planning tool that provides template and a step by step guide for individuals to create and think through any ag, food or small business business endeavor. Users can invite friends or business partners to collaborate, comment, and edit. There is a toll free number to ask questions during the process.

In addition to these agriculture focused resources, there are many general small business planning resources out there. For assistance, contact one of the Small Business Development Centers in the area: University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, SCORE Pittsburgh. The Carnegie Library has also published a Small Business Contact Directory that lists the many offices and organizations a new business may need to contact. 

Finding funding
If you seek additional support for your food growing activities, there are local, state and federal resources available depending on the scale, scope and focus of your operation. Resources can range from community-based crowdsourcing website that encourage neighbors and friends to support of your community food garden to federal grants to support increasing access to healthy food and healthy communities or growing our local food system. There are a variety of private foundation grants, private loans and other resources you can explore listed below:

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