A Rewarding Job
SGF Retail Enterprise is a Job Creator for Alabama
So Good Farms will be adding more than 400 employment opportunities for the surrounding community making a huge economic and social impact for the surrounding region and the state of Alabama.
There will be a variety of shops that provide goods and services such as a natural food store, coffee shop, farm-to-table restaurant, and shops that sell products made right at So Good Farms. So Good Farms volunteers, visitors, and employees will gain a truer understanding of the contributions that these Neurodiverse Young Adults (NYA – Autism Spectrum, Down Syndrome, and ADHD) can make as our Team Members, fulfilling orders and working with the public.
As in any village, there is a retail core. A gathering place. A place where neighbors have an opportunity to shop for goods and services as well as be entertained. In the center of the retail village will be a green space for events, such as, concerts, benefits, and fundraisers. And, when there are no events taking place, there will be seating areas for those who would like to sit and visit with their neighbor. This retail core is the heart of the So Good Farms' economic engine, its job creation power.
We Provide Meaningful Employment for Our Team Members
The organic farming program will offer a range of employment and occupational learning opportunities. These Team Members gain a sense of pride and ownership while providing meaningful benefits to their SGF Agrivillage and the larger community. Team Members will be provided the tools to support positive change, have their voices heard, and raise self-esteem while being able to engage, educate, and raise awareness.
Our Team Members at SGF will have the options to work in many areas of the organic farm. This also includes the merchants that make up the retail village. Retailers, service providers, and food service merchants will be asked that at least 10% of their staff be hired from our Team Member population. Each Team Member will earn at, or above-market wages for working at our Agrivillage whether it is in retail, hospitality, or organic farming.
SGF Team Members will have the option of working in all areas of our retail village including the farmers market, farm-to-table restaurant, the natural food and bee store, as well as employment with other retailers in our leased shops. They will be able to participate for a trial period at any business they are interested in. This allows them to make their own decisions regarding where they best see themselves thriving. We encourage our Team Members to be open-minded and experiment in areas where they have little to no experience, to help facilitate growth, and increase skill sets.
The layout of the community allows for a short walk between residences and Team Members' chosen employment opportunities, whether on the retail or farm production side of the property. For those that may need assistance getting to work, a shuttle service will be available. For others there will be a beautiful tree-lined walkway.
We Offer Workforce Training
So Good Farms will be a successful example of diverse people, neighborhoods, and partnerships that will change communities.
Our business service owners will work with SGF chief executive team to identify workforce development needs related to staffing hires.
Our plan is to hire approximately 400 people from outside of our community to fill various positions at the farm.
We expect hundreds of students from the various educational facilities to complete their continuing credit hours at SGF.
We also expect to onboard hundreds of volunteers from churches, youth organizations, and similar.
In addition to employment roles on the farm or in the retail village, other positions include:
Trail Hands / Therapy Walkers
Hosts at the Welcome Center
We will have a maximum of 225 Team Members.
Our goal is to provide above market wage employment.
Team Members will be scheduled wherever they best fit within the Agrivillage.
Team Members will be scheduled for a 20-hour work week.
We envision three to four hour shifts per day per Team Member.
Most jobs will have three Team Member shifts rotating in every three to four hours.
So Good Farms will be hiring roughly 400 staff from outside of our community to fill various full-time and part-time roles throughout our Agrivillage, in addition to the hundreds of volunteers from churches, scout troops, and students from their respective educational institutions. Whether they're stopping by on a weekend to help harvest carrots and feed horses or looking for full-time employment, our goal to sow an interest in a sustainable, healthy and productive lifestyle remains the common goal for all visitors and staff.
Leadership & Management
Our employment model is geared towards helping individuals reach their full potential in life, and having So Good Farms be their incubator. We encourage "tours of duty" to equip our staff with the skills and experience they need to pursue their passions in life – on and off the farm. Our vision is to be a catalyst for creativity and inspiration for all those who visit SGF and allow for our staff to take what they've learned and apply it to their chosen career path.
Our model will allow for leadership and management roles to be held by anyone with the requisite skills. Our goal is to facilitate professional growth and build confidence. A strong community is one in which its members feel a sense of responsibility and accountability and therefore we give everyone the sense of belonging.
Having a fully operational, working organic farm provides value to the local community by reducing commutes, adding workforce training for our Team Members, and high school, community college, and local university students.
So Good Farms volunteers, visitors, and staff will gain a truer understanding of the contributions that our NYA can make.
Our Multi-Faceted, Working Organic Farm!
SGF will have a multitude of avenues for our products, both on-site and to our local community. Nearly all of the produce needed for the farm-to-table restaurant will be sourced on-site from the organic working farm. The menu will change seasonally due to our varying crops.
We will be a certified farmers market in the state of Alabama and will be able to sell directly to consumers on-site, as well as at market locations throughout the state. Not only will customers be able to buy locally grown, organic produce; but also honey products, meat (lamb and chicken), and other homemade goods such as jams, jellies, salsa, marinades, and seeds.
Customers will also be able to purchase and subscribe to our “So Good Food" boxes, a 20lb box of different types of produce, honey, meat, and homemade goods for them to take home. We will also offer “Feeling So Good” boxes, which contain a recipe card and all the ingredients needed to make nutrient dense, immunity-boosting juices and smoothies.
Our customer base will also include local restaurants, craft breweries, schools, and families looking for an affordable, organic, and nutrient-dense alternatives to what they may be offered in a grocery store.
Our farm will emphasize the importance of biodiversity and companion planting, as nature intended, rather than monocrop commercial farms seen today. The dirt will always be planted with a crop that is benefiting the soil microbiology, pulling nutrients from the depths or fixating nitrogen from the air, reducing topsoil erosion, and supporting the growth of whatever is next to it, or coming after it.
SGF' organic agriculture production will include two acres of climate-controlled greenhouse production space, as well as nearly four acres of row crop production. Our focus will be on sustainability and producing organic, nutrient-dense tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, strawberries, leafy and micro greens, salad mixes, and herbs inside the greenhouse, as well as a variety of garlic, turmeric, ginger, carrots, asparagus, cabbage, and other produce outdoors.
Our greenhouse production space will utilize a variety of different growing methods. These will include vertical trellising for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and beans, as well as hydroponic systems for our leafy greens, flood and conventional benches for our herbs, strawberries and other products. All areas of our production space will be wheelchair accessible and open to residents and visitors for touring and educational workshops.
The fully enclosed greenhouse will allow us to grow continuously year round for our farm-to-table restaurant, residential café, farmers market, and local restaurants in our community. Our production space will be allocated based on demand from our end users and our market research. We will be focusing on specialized varieties that would normally not be available to consumers in our area, or would be too expensive to bring in from other areas of the country. Our closed-loop system will allow us to have complete control over our inputs and be a certified organic producer in the state of Alabama. We will have our own composting facility on site, allowing us to reuse waste from the farm-to-table restaurant, residential café, and other areas around the farm, and ensure sustainable practices are being implemented.
Greenhouse Tech and Equipment
Our state-of-the-art, climate-controlled greenhouse will be utilizing some of the newest technology seen in the industry today. With full control over temperature, humidity, airflow, irrigation, and sunlight, we'll be able to create the ideal environment year-around to produce some of the highest quality organic produce for our customers. Our vertical production area will be using soil-less grow bags with precision irrigation to maximize efficiency and reduce waste. The conventional production area will be using a combination of nutrient-film systems for our leafy greens, as well as rolling benches, sub-irrigation, and overhead systems for efficient watering and waste reduction.
Both sections will be equipped with independent shade curtain systems to control the amount of sunlight, as well as heat, reaching the plants during the summer months, ensuring the plants have just the right amount needed for optimum growth. The greenhouse will also be equipped with a heating and evaporation cooling system, insect netting and a centralized head house for processing and packaging.
Silvopasture and Orchard
Our orchard will contain multiple species of fruit and flowering trees. These will include apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, figs, nectarines, apricots, mulberry, persimmons, and paw paws. The flowering trees in our orchard will serve as an environment where honeybees and other beneficial insects will thrive.
We will be utilizing the orchard as a silvopasture system, enabling us to graze our livestock beneath the canopies. This allows for our animals to get a well-rounded diet by consuming our cover crop and grass mixes underneath the trees, as well as what fruit falls from the trees. The waste from our grazing livestock and chickens will also act as a natural fertilizer for the trees and the soil biology.
With rotational grazing, the livestock is introduced to a fresh, new paddock two to three times per week. Moving the animals enables us to manage soil health and vegetation recovery periods better, while also encouraging the animals to eat what is available to them in that paddock and not to choose favorites or overgraze a specific area.
The Equestrian Center
Our equestrian center will be designed as a therapeutic riding center where each Team Member will enjoy Equine-Assisted Therapy. Equine assisted psychotherapy is one of the most effective and innovative modalities for addressing a wide range of therapeutic needs.
Our Team Members (NYA) will enjoy the opportunity to learn animal husbandry or work as a therapy assistant for our fee-based day camps. Therapeutic day camps will be offered on a fee basis.
While caring for the animals and helping to run the daily operations of the farm, Team Members develop a sense of meaning and commitment to their work, the animals, and each other.
Beekeeping and Apiary
Beekeeping is used to teach life skills and enrich lives by giving Team Members an active role in the community, boosting self confidence and self-esteem.
Honeybee research will address sustainable bee health management issues, bee pollination, and foraging ecology. An important benefits of the apiary is the guaranteed, natural pollination of our organic farm.
Ten to fifteen percent of our farm space will be designated for bee sanctuaries and flowering gardens. We will have 150 hives throughout three specified bee meadows on the farm. Each of our hives will produce between 60-80lbs of honey per year, while also benefitting our pollination-dependent crops and trees around the farm.
The honey produced will be sold raw and also be infused with therapeutic herbs grown on site. It will be used at our farm-to-table restaurant, sold at our farmers market and SGF produce and retail store, and offered to local restaurants and retailers.
Farmers Market and Farm-to-Table Restaurant
Local, organic, and seasonal foods have become increasingly popular. We plan to offer both a farmers market offering raw organic ingredients and a farm-to-table restaurant offering our crops prepared in delicious dishes.
Our Team Members (NYA) will participate in our farmers market featuring our farm-grown, high quality organic goods such as vegetables, eggs, honey, fruit, flowers, plants, and more. Consumers will enjoy the fun and friendly atmosphere while supporting our worthy mission. The farmers market and restaurant teach our Team Members farming skills, money management skills, social skills/teamwork, accounting, order processing, and planning and organizational skills.
Both the farmers market and farm-to-table restaurant will provide ongoing revenue sources.
Botanical Research and Education Complex (BREC)
The So Goods Farms' for-profit Botanical Research and Education Complex (BREC), located on 460 acres near our main property, is also an organic farm providing employment and workforce training to our Team Members and students from various schools, colleges, and universities.
The property will provide 300 acres dedicated to growing megaflora trees for harvest every 5 years. We have secured a 35-year contract for this crop. Another one hundred acres will be dedicated to growing and processing bio-fiber flowers and composite materials for shipment to a FDA approved processing facility.
An additional thirty acres will be dedicated to the building of an organic pond for the growing of duckweed. Our duckweed is being processed into high-grade, FDA approved, organic protein powder for sale to various companies and manufacturers. The remaining acreage is for warehouses and processing facilities.
In addition, our research areas, in partnership with various universities, include:
Growing organic agriculture while helping farmers fight pests, disease and weeds
Carbon Negative Farming practices
Mitigating and adapting to climate change with resilient farming systems
Helping solve food insecurity by growing nutrient dense foods
All the while providing additional employment opportunities to our team members, staff, and the local communities.
It is important to note that all of the products being researched, grown and produced at SGF BREC already have off-take agreements in place.