Disabled veterans looking to grow and farm to give back to community and to heal from combat.
Disabled veterans looking to grow and farm to give back to community and to heal from combat.
Hi im dave Gevry, I am a disabled veteran and a cofounder of vets2farm. This project has been developing since 2010 when I was deployed in support of operation enduring freedom and since that point I have gained a wealth of knowledge, support and backing both by my community and by agencies like wounded warrior project and prestige universities on a national level.
Please read through the kickstarter page to find information such as a plan of attack with the funds raised on kickstarter, a business plan and information on how your contribution will directly impact the lives and communities of our nation’s heroes after funding is complete.
Now you may ask how 5,000 dollars will provide all these things listed on the business plan and to be truthful, it won’t be possible as there is hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for an operation of this size to happen. What this 5000 dollars will provide is the needed resources to create the pilot program which is needed by the grant backers to prove the need and successfulness of this concept.
So please read, educate and share this project with friends and family to make this dream a reality.
How your contribution will help the farm:
Every dollar donated has a use to the farm and the Veterans we will serve. These donations will be used to generate revenue to help continue to grow the program such as the sale of products like eggs and produce.
Many people see a donation as a onetime contribution, with our model and business plan, YOUR contribution will be exponentially beneficial in our efforts. Some examples of how YOUR contribution will be utilized are as follows:
$25 donated we will be able to fund our crop operation with the needed seed required for the veterans to be able to begin crop education.
$50 donated will help the veteran begin working with a small group of animals such as chicks and piglets to begin to learn the required skills needed to care and raise these animals.
$100 donated will allow a veteran the ability to start working with livestock such as calves. This donation amount will also be used to provide supplemental feed for pigs and chickens when not on pasture.
$200 contribution will create the ability to provide housing such as pens and coops for our smaller animals. For this donation we will be able to also provide feed for up to 100 chickens or 6 pigs for up to two months.
$500 donation will provide feed and materials for our larger animals such as calves and cows, goats and other ruminants. These materials will teach the veteran the skills of pen construction, planning and estimating material lists as well as project and farm forecasting.
$1000 will allow for construction of needed irrigation systems, needed machinery for crop cultivation as well provide additional resources for the individual veteran such as crisis outreach, mental health evaluations and course materials for the length of time in the program.
$2000 will allow for the purchase of materials for an onsite greenhouse which will not only extend the growing and educating times but will allow a veteran the ability to begin personal business growth on individual business ventures. This will act as not only an internship but also a launch pad for the veteran, when ready, to implement personal business plans they had developed throughout the program to become a positive member within the veteran and local business market.
A place for disabled veterans to heal, farm, grow and give back
In 2011, I returned from combat deployment as a disabled veteran. Since my return, farming has been both my hobby and an answer to dealing with the trauma of the war. I earned an education in animal science and a concentration in dairy science an agricultural business.
Caring for animals and growing food is a therapeutic way to address physical and emotional scars while providing food to the community we live in and families that reside in Little Falls, NY.
Vets2Farm’s goal is to provide farming therapy to other veterans. We will serve any veteran and their families who have the desire to learn farming or who are farmers who wish to help us give back to the community.
About Our Farm:
Our 15 acre all organic farm currently grows a full array of vegetables and raise chickens and turkeys. Our goal is to raise pork and beef in 2015. With your support our farm goals can be realized.
Farm To Table Operation Business Plan
Vets2Farm will be in a Limited Liability Company with focus both on a nonprofit entity that will use all aspects for strategic tax avenues as well as providing services for recently identified veterans that are in need of reintegration into society and to become a valuable asset not only to themselves and family but as an active member within the community the second stage of this operation will be a for profit in the form of a medium to high end dining establishment and produce sales location.
Keys to Success
Vets2Farm will use personal experiences of both owner/ operators as well as proven track record to create a need and market niche that will aid in growth of local economy and reestablish a “be local, buy local” mindset. The restaurant portion will use the prime produce from the farm aspect of the agency that will not only create a second to none experience but will also allow people in the community to feel proud to talk about and to take ownership of both establishments and to feel as if they are helping people at the same time.
Vets2Farm will focus on three different product set focuses: produce production, fine dining experience and health and welfare improvements for veterans. With these key goals taking priority in everything we do, positive results are not an option, they are a byproduct, thus creating a positive impact for both those directly and indirectly involved with the operation. The Farm aspect will take place on a 200 acre farm in the Herkimer County of Upstate New York that will have living quarters on site for veterans that are contributing to the farm effort. Through the use of the Owner/Operator experience within the Social Services arena and being licensed as a Clinical Social Worker, both individualized and group therapy sessions will take place on a daily level with no less than one week between group sessions. The second location will be within a twenty mile radius of the farm which will not only produce a fine dining menu that will draw clientele but will also offer an ale carte deli style Point of Purchase location which will allow patrons to enjoy favorite dishes and fresh produce even if time is limited due to a lunch break or having no time to prepare a meal between coming home from work and a get together at home.
Vets2Farm have three distinct customers: produce customers, High end dining patrons and quick serve patrons. Produce customers are looking for freshness and availability of product which will be a main focus of the operation. Fine dining customers are the clients that quality and exclusiveness are the primary determining factors of purchase decision not the standard price point approach. These clients are very loyal when they receive what they are in search of and will allow increase of customer base through word of mouth from these clients. Clients such as these are resistant to forms of advertising and discount methods of advertising, unlike the standard patron of many establishments in the area. Although this client base will be smaller compared to other entities of the enterprise approach due to the current state of local economy, it is projected that constant weekly repeat business will help create better profitability than other sections of the business. The Quick serve portion of the operation will be majority of revenue produced throughout the entire Enterprise. The quick serve will work in two key roles: Direct produce sales and ale a carte sales. The ale a carte section will feature key menu favorites that will be displayed in a deli case that allow patrons to purchase by piece or by pound and can eat in the attached bistro section or take it to go and allow clients to have good food without the wait for when they return to the office or home.
Vets2Farm will be lead by the husband and wife team of David and Heather Gevry. David brings a wealth of business, advertising management experience as well as a formal culinary and agricultural educational background with many other skills to the company. With majority of his experience being in leadership and marketing management David will use past experience to help develop brand identity and brand image first and foremost as this is a key loosing factor in many new businesses in the area and causes many new business failure. The focus of Heather will be both on the psychological wellbeing of the veterans as well as the mental health of all employees of the enterprise. Heather will use personal expertise on the understanding of the military mindset through the experience she has gained from working with David and other veterans with the transition back into civilian mindset and lifestyle.Heather will also use proven techniques to aid in the recovery from both physical and emotional injury that incurred while serving in a combat zone.
Vets2Farm has been created to solve a need identified by the owners within the county, state and country, where members return from serving overseas are left to not only identify personal deficiencies but also to pick life back up where they were prior to leaving. Key issues that will be addressed is financial independence, morale and healthcare, employability, and cope ability to things that have changed both to the veteran themselves and to their situation.
Vets2Farm has identified several objectives for the business:
1.Become a leader of industry of both farm production yield as well Reach the point of sustainable profitability.
2.Create a safe location that invites identification and healing both with the mental and physical health of employees and veterans alike.
3.Create an icon within the culinary industry that displays second to none freshness and culinary expertise.
It is the mission of Vets2Farm to provide a place for our nation’s hero’s to regain the tools and skillsets to return from service of country and to be able to provide for self and family regardless of deficiencies that were obtained during service while becoming an important part of the local and national economy.
1.3 Keys to Success
Vets2Farm will use the following keys to success:
1.Veteran health and welfare above all.
2.Providing an incomparable resource that helps the community and team members equally.
3.Lead the culinary industry in redefining freshness of product
4.Provide outlets for service members that are forgotten when in traditional physical and mental health wellness programs
5.Instill the “For Vets, From Vets” mentality throughout every part of operations.
6.Develop a self-supporting community that requires minimal outside aid.
7.Ensuring Standard Operating Procedures are upheld to ensure profitability in all level of operations.
Vets2Farm will be headquartered in Central New York, with operations expanding throughout the United States primarily within the vicinity of major military installations.
2.1 Company History
Vets2Farm has been created by a current member of the United States Army and a 100% combat disabled veteran who has numerous years of service in both the U.S. Navy and U.S Army. It is this experience that will help create a reintegration program for the men and women that return from service, which currently is neglected by current programs in place. These programs will address problems in a systematic, routine method that harbors a sense of normalcy and safety for many members that are used to a military lifestyle. Having many Combat Veterans on staff will help our teams not only relate to the service member in ways that people that have not lived the experience could relate and to help develop a trusting relationship which will improve quality of life.
Vets2Farm will have three separate but interrelated facets of operations: Health and welfare, Employability and skill identification, and culinary operations.
Health and Welfare- this section is the core of the business which will operate in a Non-profit capacity that focuses on the beginning stages of treatment that will work with veterans both personally as well in group settings. This is where the help of David’s Wife, Heather, and Co-owner will meet with veteran’s accesses needs and level of current issues which can range from reintegration into a non-hostile setting and work place, to learning how to cope and excel after physical handicaps such as blindness and limb amputation due to combat related injuries. Veterans will also work in an individual setting with members of staff on short term and long term goal setting, will receive help in processing any paperwork such as Veterans Administration, Social Security or other forms that are detail oriented and can often times overwhelm people.
Employability and Skill Identification- This section will work with veterans on finding passions they have had and would like to pursue and will also work with veterans that have new limitations that were caused by service. This will be partly in a classroom setting and will also focus on a hands on portion. Veterans can use skills previously learned from a civilian or military job to work with a fellow veteran that has that interest for future employment. This will give veterans that are unsure what they want or can do a chance to learn from someone that has industry experience and will allow the veteran to try out this job type before committing to a Vocational-Rehabilitation program. Many of these job functions would focus within the agricultural field as military members are familiar with operations and reliability that is needed for that industry, also there is a large demand and future success are key factors of the industry not to mention the therapeutic capacities farming offers. Depending on interest of veteran, skills learned can be more than just farming, we will have all assets of production from marketing and financial operations and management, to mechanical operations and energy production to landscaping and design. This section of the operation will prepare members for reintegration into society with the required skills and knowledge. Veterans will not receive pay in financial form but will receive not only the services from the previous section but will also have no cost: room and board and experience that can be used for as long as the veteran chooses. Many veterans will choose to stay while waiting for response from the Veterans Administration in regards to claims requested which currently takes between 18-30 months where a veteran may not have the ability to receive employment due to circumstances such as being caught between 2 worlds and not being part of one or the other: not wanted by the military due to mental or physical restrictions or not having the skills to reintegrate into the civilian job market.
Culinary Operations- The culinary operation will begin the For-profit section of operations. The basic building blocks came from a well-known operating company based out of Springfield Massachusetts, (Frigo’s http://www.frigofoods.com/) This will include both a sit-down establishment as well as a Quick-serve deli and produce point of sale operation. There will be television monitors in all dining segments that will display live feed video from the farming operation which will develop a strong feeling of security and food safety much like Stew Leonard’s did with their dairy operation.
Sit down- This will be the driving revenue producer for the Enterprise. It will use the produce and products produced from the previous section and will feature an exquisite black board menu featuring what was supplied by the farm that day. Although not having a “staple style” menu can be tricky, we believe we will be successful because the customer base may not know what is being served that day but they do know the brand enough through word of mouth or past experience they will feel more than confident they will have a great experience. The sit down portion of the operation will feature two dinner services which will be invitation or reservation only, this will create a sense of exclusivity and importance which will increase attraction of attendance and will ensure high end clientele patronage.There will be a set menu and course with selection option of main course with choice of three entrée selections. This management style will ensure proper supply of product and will also allow patrons to have a onetime only menu that will create a very intimate feel for clients.
Quick Serve- This portion of the operation will provide steady flow of profit with minimal profit margin that will cater to the general population through both a produce section as well as a deli style food where lunch break business people and on the way home and forgot about dinner crowed can have an restaurant quality meal without having to take the time to actually eat out. The menu will be set by staples in both customer recommendations and farm product availability.
Market Analysis Summary
Vets2Farm have identified three main customer groups: Large corporations within the commutable area; local and county figure heads; and local families. The customer segments are distinct enough to be able to target each one differently. The industry that Vets2Farm will attract and serve will be a market that has very little comparable entities.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Vets2Farm has identified three different target market segments which they will sell to:
This customer group will have the ability and financial standing to take advantage of not only the quick-serve option during lunch breaks and business lunches with clients and colleagues, but will have the ability to wine and dine potential clients with the sit down section where potential deals can be finalized or celebrated, office holiday parties will be attended and promotions and retirements will make the guest of honor not only feel appreciated but will feel the meal will match the distinguished career they have had.
Local and County Figureheads
These customers will have an invitation to frequent the establishment and local government will have a designated table permanently on reserve for last minute dinners used for socialization and political events as well. This will help not only draw these caliber clientele for business events but will also give them an exclusivity and feeling of importance when they have personal agendas such as birthdays and anniversaries.
This customer group will be the steady flow of business between the quick stop off to get and support a good cause and a local producer to grabbing a family meal that displays great taste and hard work in the kitchen for when dinner was forgotten or a surprise visit from in-laws.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Vets2Farm has chosen the three market segments based on the inherent need for quality craftsmanship in culinary cuisine that is on an upscale level while also being able to provide for everyday purchase capability that will expand the menu range from majority fast food or take out option.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
The food service and hospitality industry in the current arena is almost nonexistent with a small handful of pizza and sandwich shops and fast food locations. Although there are no real comparable operations in existence and only a handful of mid-fine dining operations in the area, there is some concern for initial profitability due to local populations tendency to be hesitant for new and change, this will beovercome by persistent marketing and public relations efforts that will undoubtedly draw business and interest.
The buying patterns of the different customers are typically based on these variables:
Strategy and Implementation Summary
5.1 Competitive Edge
Vets2Farm has a dual competitive edge:
Economic growth potential
5.2 Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy will work on both a public relations and a selective marketing approach. The dining operation will not start immediately, which will allow for management to ensure proper knowledge of both product availability and consumer trend patterns. This will also allow for word of mouth and local networking efforts to ramp up excitement and anticipation of opening to reach peak levels. The local infrastructure and government heads will receive an invitation to a soft opening two weeks prior to hard opening that will be invitation only and will be free of charge to guests. The following will be invited to the soft opening: city office staff to include judge and mayor, state office officials, chief of police and fire highway supervisor and the heads of both the area newspaper and television stations, local business owners as well as department heads of major businesses in the surrounding areas, and this group will have the option of having one guest as well. This will make sure the successful members of the community are in attendance to include publicity as well to ensure enough buzz about the establishment and service.
5.3 Sales Strategy
The fast serve section will allow people to sample the menu and quality of product which will draw additional reservations for the sit down section. Both culinary operation segments will drive produce sales as every customer will know that we only use what we grow and when experienced from our dining perspective will ensure clients will only purchase the freshest product and will notice the clear difference.
The value of Vets2Farm milestones is in creating a set of measurable activities that will be achievable goals. The achievement of the milestones will be closely monitored and the assigned person will be held accountable for hitting the milestones.
Vets2Farm management team is made up of the husband and wife team of David and Heather Gevry. David first studied at Westfield State University where he studied Business Management with concentrations in marketing as well as Finance with minors in Sociology and Economics, a small liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts, then later attended Connecticut Culinary Institute, a small private culinary school, From there David studied at SUNY Morrisville, and received a dual degree in dairy science and agricultural Business degree. David worked as a leader in the U.S Army where he exceled in his ability to teach and lead troops. After sustaining numerous injuries in Afghanistan David decided to helping and training service members in a different way. While being a member of his town zoning board as well as Aldermen he continued to improve the local economy by developing programs that helped city growth and employability percentages.
Heather has always been in the business of helping and caring for others from her work as a Victim Advocate for Women and Children to her private practice work within the LCSW arena, to being a caring mother of five children, Heather has made other peoples well-being above her own her priority which is why she is the perfect accent to the management team.
Playing to their strengths heather will manage the inside portion of the business and mental health care of veterans, while David handles the business operations as well as the culinary operations while playing part of the healing section in a group capacity.
6.1 Personnel Plan
- David: Operations including vendor relations, accounting, and some growing responsibility.
- David: Head chef and sales. As Chef he is responsible for supervising, scheduling, crop selection, growing schedules, fertilizer selection and application schedules, irrigation system development, and pest control. Because David has the technical knowledge regarding the plants and their culinary concentrations, he will be in charge of sales which will include all aspects of marketing.
- Livestock Manager: David will have the assistance of a full-time Livestock Manger in order to allow him to meet other responsibilities.
- Farm Manager: The laborer positions will be seasonal as there is more work required in the summer months, however, there will always be some laborers on staff throughout the year. Some of the responsibilities of the laborers are at the will of the farm manager.
Financial Plan to follow
Risks and challenges
As with any farm, the main obstacles are weather and feed concerns for the animals and vegetables. Our risks are mitigated through the training received in agriculture school.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)