ORGANICS OF CHICAGO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Organics of Chicago’s Urban Farm
Organics of Chicago intends to establish approximate 4,000 SF of micro-controlled greenhouse space. This facility will utilize a patented vertical aeroponic and hydroponic food production systems. This system is specifically designed for urban farms, rooftop gardens and commercial growing operations. The size of this facility will allow the company to sustain profitability while servicing the community and providing the necessary capital to further the growth identified in the business model. This greenhouse has the inherent capacity to produce approximately 8,500 to 11,500 pounds of produce monthly. While showcasing optimal conditions the average monthly revenues of this facility could exceed $30,000 - $40,000 in gross dollars.
Funds will be used to purchase a patented vertical aeroponic food production system, a state of the art Hydroponic NFT (nutrient Film technique) system, establish a research and development center within the facility, a retail store front, shipping department, corporate offices, leasehold improvements to the facility and provide for working capital needs. Currently, Organics has a property under option that meets the desired criteria. However, the management team of Organics is completing due diligence on other locations for the initial center in the Chicagoland area. Organics may initially buy this facility as opposed to a long term lease depending on the financing model for the first center and timing issues that will be taken under consideration.
Early introduction and exposure to healthy living and sustainability will fuel the minds and generations of tomorrow. It is important that we introduce urban farming and the sustainability movement to the next generation as they will be the food providers of our future. As an educational farm, Organics’ mission is to inspire and educate youth, the local community and the general public about growing healthy, sustainably grown food. The Company will offer a variety of opportunities for students and youth of all ages to experience the best vertical farming has to offer. At Organics, student farmers will learn about sustainable, urban farming — from seed to plant to plate, and back to soil. The on-site research and development department will give students, parents and teachers the opportunity to observe everything from the pH balance to proprietary vertical farming technology developed on site.
Teachers, parents or other representatives from downtown schools may bring their class to the farm on a weekly basis to receive various lessons in vertical horticulture and request to reserve their own vertical tower. Enrichment Visits are a great introduction to the farm for new or visiting groups. These generally last either 60-90 minutes and offer a whole-farm experience, including a mini-lesson and a hands-on, farm-based learning activity led by the Organics staff.
Children will also have the opportunity to experience the “farm” by attending any of the facility’s quarterly two-week sessions. During the visits, the students will spend time helping the facility’s farmers tend to the crops. They will learn the different species of plants on site, how to properly chemical balance the plant nutrients to yield the best crop possible, taste fresh vegetables, tending to their own vertical tower and be able to take home a portion of their yield. Additionally, the facility will offer a portion of their yield to local families who cannot afford the luxury of sustainably grown produce. Organics’ mission is to not only grow food for the local neighborhood, but to also provide a place where education and renewable sustainment are a priority.
Urban Renewable Energy Farm
A deciding factor in the final selection of the first location for Organics in the Chicagoland area is the ability to implement a portion of the facility to be used as an urban renewable energy farm. Phases in the build out of the farm will include adding electric generating wind turbines and solar panels, which will be located on the rooftop. Organics will also add an internal geothermal heating & cooling system. The organization hopes to supplement from 80% to 100% of the total electricity needed to operate the facility by utilizing these technologies. The farm will be used to not only provide relief to the most expensive cost of an urban farm – electricity – but will be used to educate guests on different renewable energy technologies.
Research and Development
The Organics’ facility represents not only the next generation for urban farming and vertical agriculture but also an approach to design which incorporates integrated and overlapping sustainable design features. More than just a vertical farm, it is a research and development center for sustainable design in an urban context. Organics plans to implement a cross over program where an on-site scientist will work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Organics vertical farming system. Additionally, Organics will utilize their research laboratory and scientist as a vehicle to teach local students the importance of urban growing and its technology. The combination of both the sustainability movement, scientific integration and political pressure will assist Organics in attracting grant and contribution dollars to implement its dynamic business model.
Community Development and Social Outreach Organics’ current facility under option contains 8 apartments, of which will be used to house domestic violence survivors and their families. Regardless of the final location selected by the team a key component in this selection is the ability to provide housing at the Center for challenged individuals. Organics has identified and established relationships with local social welfare programs in need of immediate housing for their residents and program inductees. These established programs will lessen the burden on Organics in providing this outreach arm of the company. A master lease strategic partnership with a well-established social welfare program will also provide immediate and lasting revenue to Organics.
Once relocated in the Organics center housing quarters these individuals will have the opportunity to utilize the facility for a termed period with the intention of saving capital for the first and last deposit for a future apartment in which they will be the sole and responsible party for maintaining. The facility will employ on-site, volunteer counselors and therapists with the intention to improve the mental health of the residents. There will also be an on-site gym facility available to the residents, giving the residents the ability to improve not only their mental health, but their physical health, as well. The residents will have access to the organically grown, healthy produce – farmed at the center, thus, promoting healthy eating habits.
In turn, the residents will be required to become contributing employees in the growing center of Organics. The organization will provide job training and education to the residents. In conjunction with local restaurants and for profit produce companies, Organics intends to foster a career path program for a future job or career in the organics and urban farming sectors of the market for the graduated residents.
In order to further reach the local residents, Organics also plans to establish a weekly farmers market. This community market will give the local residents the opportunity to purchase their weekly vegetation at a discount to market. Organics has reached out to the City of Chicago permitting department to allow a one day vendor permit to local residents who wish to sell various goods – an economic and entrepreneurial opportunity for local residents in a regressed economic environment. Other outreach programs may include a delivery service of freshly grown organic fruits and vegetables to church groups and other community organizations. Where a monthly fee will be paid to Organics and these items will be delivered directly to the homes and other commercial facilities. Hence, putting the farmers market on wheels and adding to the list of community members who wish to support the Organics program.