You can feel it. There is a growing sense that our food supply, while generally safe and the envy of the world, is fraying at the edges. With cost going up, E coli outbreaks, food shortages, etc. it’s enough to make you want to grow your own. It all sound so wonderful. Your garden producing an abundance of organically grown, safe food, harvested fresh for dinner. The problem is the vast majority of people just don’t have the skills necessary to do it themselves.
Where does one gain the skill necessary to grow the families’ food crop? If you have to think of that for awhile, and still cannot come up with an answer here’s what you could do. Start a garden center. Not you typical garden center filled with flowers, shrubs, trees, and lawn seed, but a place where the community can gather to learn the best methods for feeding their families. Every community needs a trusted resource for something this important. If your local Master Gardeners, garden center, or box store are not doing it, I believe you have a business opportunity.
There is a new type of garden center emerging to meet the challenges of feeding our families. It’s something of a hybrid between the old fashioned seed supply or farm supply, and nursery. There tends to be less emphasis on flowers and ornamentals, and more emphasis on edibles. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for nurseries that specialize in flowers or ornamentals. There just won’t be as many going forward. The ones that do make it, like Annie’s Annual’s have built a following for unique plants found at few other places. They have a niche that would be hard to compete with. Since they are the leader in that niche better not to compete with them, but come up with a completely different niche you can excel in.
The niche for us in our area going forward is consumables. Since we are in a rural area having a gorgeous front yard is less important than in other more suburban, or rural areas. It would be a good idea to look in your area of influence and see if the niche for supplying information and supplies for consumables is open. The time is coming when every community will have a trusted resource for this important aspect of our lives. When you are dealing with peoples food supply they tend to become serious gardeners. Serious gardeners listen and learn.
To meet our goal we have started planting fruit trees in our display gardens. We’re dedicating a 25 x 35 area to high density fruit tree gardening. In that small area we will be growing upwards of 20 different fruit trees. Once the fruit orchard is complete we will build a demonstration vegetable garden. We have the space for it and people need to see what it is that we talk about. These demonstration gardens will be used for workshops where you can learn how to feed your family with food you have grown.
There will always be a place for flowers and ornamentals. We are still providing perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees. We just won’t be carrying the same stuff you get at the box store. Want a bunch of growth-regulated marigolds? Not from us. Need northern California native plant’s, we have them. Need weed and feed? Not from us. Need organic fertilizers that will nourish your plants, we have that. Want to work with an un-interested nursery person who is only working there because they provide medical insurance? Not here. Looking for an enthusiastic expert that really cares about your success, then you have come to the right place. No one else is doing this in our area so we are jumping in. Is anyone doing this in your area? If not, you might be able to build a business around this idea. The “home grown” movement is going to grow exponentially as more and more food chain concerns arise. This is only the beginning.