Summary List Placement
Joanna Bassi was working as a product assistant on the hit show “How to Get Away with Murder,” spending LA’s sunny days trapped inside, when she re-evaluated what she wanted in life.
She desired more time outside and a way to support her community. Bassi didn’t have to look far; her unused backyard was 150 feet by 75 feet, enough space for an urban farm that could grow fresh produce for local establishments.
The founder of Rose Hill Farm located in the Montecito Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, had never been a serious farmer or gardener. “I literally just took the biggest risk knowing that I would love it,” she said.
Bassi started from the ground up in January 2018, and by the following year, she netted nearly $6,000 in revenue from selling at farmers markets and local restaurants, according to documents viewed by Insider.
In 2020, the pandemic temporarily closed Bassi’s restaurant clients and hurt business. She still managed to book nearly $7,000 by creating new revenue streams.
Here’s how Bassi built an urban farm from scratch and her advice for fellow farming entrepreneurs, including how to diversify your income to survive the tough times.
Start by defining your values and planning an irrigation system
Bassi started pulling weeds in January 2018, deciding early on that she didn’t want to use pesticides. She wanted to grow healthy food for the community, relying on nature’s ecosystem and beneficial insects to do some of the work.
Clearing the land was an arduous process, even with the help of her father and boyfriend. She cut pathways between plots, which act as irrigation rivers when it rains, and installed retaining walls.
In addition to the rivers, Bassi initially watered her crops by hand. That turned out to be unsustainable, she said. After learning more, she installed a drip system with timers that reduced her water bill in the long run and saved on labor. Instead of dousing a plant from above, the irrigation system periodically deposits a small amount of water directly onto the base of each plant.
“I’ve learned that the most expensive cost owning a business is time,” Bassi said. “Anything that can minimize labor creates savings long term.”
Choose what to grow based on sunlight and water resources
For entrepreneurs interested in sprouting their own urban farm, Bassi suggests they analyze their land before choosing their crop. Consider how much light the plot gets, the water resources available, and the soil — those factors will dictate what you can grow.
Bassi started by growing tomatoes, rationalizing that she was comfortable having grown them in smaller capacities before. She started with about 200 plants, turning the fruit into tomato sauces and sun dried snacks.
As she experimented with urban farming, she learned that microgreens — very young vegetable greens — were a nutritious, desirable crop for many restaurants. She built a greenhouse, installed LED lights, and, once her product sprouted, she hawked them at local farmer’s markets.
“Weigh the realities of whatever land you’re growing in,” Bassi said. “You have to be practical about …read more
Source:: Business Insider
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