Thesis

Feasibility Study of a Vertical Farm as a Social Enterprise in Pomona, California

This case study is a proposal for an urban vertical farm as a social enterprise, in Pomona, Los Angeles County, California. The goal of the study is to create a detailed and focused plan on how to start and maintain a successful social enterprise. The approach takes the two most common types of urban agriculture and combines them into a hybrid organization. A community garden (nonprofit) model it’s combined with a vertical farms (for-profit) model, creating a hybrid model (Kaufman, 2000). Utilizing the strength and minimizing weaknesses, it is projected to lead to the formation of an economically sustainable and socially conscious enterprise. The opportunity for innovation lies on the fact that both current models have challenges. Part of the study focuses on the reasons why to establish a social enterprise model in an urban setting. A full business plan is also provided to expand the possibilities of the model and it also includes strategies on how to target intended markets. Using case studies, a financial analysis provides information on the break-even point and the required financial goals. Financial analysis also includes the first six years balance sheet, providing necessary data to determine ROI Return on investment. It analyzes social challenges: lack of jobs, good food; affordability, availability, education and community involvement. The study is intended to be a tool for investors, entrepreneurs, city planners and residents researching the possibilities of a vertical farm as a business and/or a social benefit or a combination of the two. The study evaluates and analyzes potential strategies proven to have worked in other studies and real-life models.

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