Poverty is becoming more prevalent in Western New York, and not just in metropolitan areas like Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Poverty can be observed in all eight county regions that comprise Western New York.
Over 200,000 people in Western New York are deemed impoverished. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, that equates to one in every seven Western New Yorkers. While the national average poverty rate is sitting at 23%, Buffalo's poverty rate is nearly double that, at 40%. Buffalo also currently has the third-highest poverty rate among children, just behind Cleveland and Detroit.
People who are impoverished often suffer in a vicious cycle, where their low income also results in a lack of adequate nutrition and education, which leads to bad health and a lack of jobs or other economic opportunities.
This situation is not acceptable; all families deserve a better future. New and creative solutions are desperately needed to break the cycle of impoverishment, as poverty will persist unless something is done to address some of the underlying concerns.
Growing microgreens is a unique business opportunity for low-income families that could offer a solution to some of these issues. Growing microgreens requires minimal equipment or space to start, so costs are low. All you need is a tray, seeds, and growth medium, like regular potting soil. Microgreens, unlike most crops grown for food, have a short growth cycle and can be harvested in 10-14 days. Learning to grow microgreens is easy, and you don’t need any specialized agricultural knowledge to get started.
Microgreens, despite their low cost of production, command a premium due to their distinct flavor profile and high nutritional value. Microgreens cost about $2 per ounce on average, and each 10x20-inch tray can easily generate 10 ounces of finished product, resulting in a total profit of $18 per tray after subtracting the cost of supplies.
You can fit one growing rack, which can hold sixteen 10x20-inch trays, in about 8 square feet of space. And with a turnaround time of only 2 weeks, that’s roughly $600 a month in take-home income for an hour of work a week, and with very minimal equipment costs.
Families could also choose to consume some of the microgreens they've produced to complement their diet, making up for any nutrient deficiencies at a lower cost than produce from the grocery store.
Microgreens offer an opportunity to help fight against poverty and could help curb malnutrition in lower income households. If you are interested in learning more about creative and sustainable agricultural solutions, please contact us right away. We would love to discuss things with you further.
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