Our goal. Our goal is to graduate up to 16+ small businesses over the next three years from the incubator who have the entrepreneurial and farming skills to succeed as small, urban agriculture business owners. As a business service provider, NEXT Steps goal is to help develop and support local small businesses as they experiment with different farm enterprises. Much of the food products will be sold directly from the farm through our SWOOM Pure Foods Farmer’s Market, online, and through our training classes and culinary industry channels.
To date, we have begun working with the following start-up businesses that sell through the SWOOM Atlanta Market Project (farmer’s market management company):
In addition, NEXT Steps will be mentored by the Volunteer Skill-Based Consulting Team from Deloitte on how to make our signature CIGS Organizational Model the framework for establishing Atwood Community Gardens & Urban Farm as the anchor for a community of farm-based enterprises.
Southwest Atlanta has been no stranger to the urban agriculture movement in Atlanta. The upsurge in the excitement around local and sustainable food production gave life to the role Atwood Community Gardens and Urban Farm would play in this community. In urban and suburban areas where land is expensive, children, youth, and adults have little access to larger pieces of land where they can begin to test the market and the ground for specific varieties of sustainable food. It’s an important part of planning a farm and planning a farming career. Therefore, incubator farms provide ground in which farmers can grow (Source: Just Means, 8/2/2010).
Atwood is becoming a model site that demonstrates how urban gardening is the sensible, stylish, and community-focused transition for urban spaces and vacant lots. Moreover, for people who decide to pursue farming as a career, Atwood eliminates many barriers for start-up operations (i.e., high land prices, entry into market, distribution, soil conditions, production uncertainties, etc.) As an incubator and training farm, Atwood Community Gardens and Urban Farm helps support growing sustainable food businesses.