Food Forests

Business Planning

Planning a sustainable, multi-functional business

A key topic for all food forests is a business plan as it shows if the envisioned design is capable of sustaining the farmers livelihood. It might not be a favorite task of a food forester to work on excel table and numbers, but a thought-through business plan will give planning security  and can provide funding opportunities. It is a way to give partners like clients, land owners or banks an idea about the reliability and trustworthiness of the enterprise.

Such a plan differs for each site as plants and products as well as marketing channels are site specific and prices are context-dependent. Hence, this chapter will start with some general guiding criteria and questions. It will provide tools for (limiting) the plant list, doing market and plant research, planning efficiently, selecting promising products and services, etc. All underpinned with examples from our cases.

A great resource for business planning is the work in the Netherlands within their growing network in the context of their Green Deal Food Forests. It includes examplary sheets of business plans for different types of food forests, with e.g. productive, biodiversity or recreational focus.