UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Farm E-Business Plan: Growing an Online Presence Clarke, Jacqueline; Fraser, Jordanna; Garrick, Glen; Gonzalez, Miguel; Max, Katherine; Quintanilla, Dixie 2006

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UBC Farm E-Business Plan Jacqueline Clarke Jordanna Fraser Glen Garrick Miguel Gonzalez Katherine Max Dixie Quintanilla  Growing an Online Presence  Overview 1.  Internal & external analysis z z  2.  E-business plan z z  3.  The firm The industry Benefits Approach  Implementation z z z  Marketing strategy Resourcing Challenges and constraints  UBC Farm  Current Farm Strategy z  Not-for-profit –  z  Have goals but no strategy  Focus on ‘products’ – – –  Education Research Organic Produce  Vision - Farm z  Centre of instruction, learning and research  z  Integrate principles of organic production and sustainability  z  Add to the quality of life of the local community  Current Operations z  Organic Farm – – –  z  Education – – –  z  Three acres in production with two large green houses Weekly summer market Production is only in the summer season no winter vegetables Educational exchange programs Summer internships Grade school tours  Research –  Research projects for various faculties at UBC  The Industry Product  Suppliers  Buyers  Potential Entrants  Substitutes  Organic Produce  Costs relative to total are low  Willing to pay a premium  Intensity of Rivalry – Low Barriers to Entry – High •High initial investment and low yield, certification complicated  Non-organic foods  Education  Educators required to run programs in low supply  International: many countries are interested in organic farming Schools: Only location in close proximity  •Internationally  Cruz) •Locally this it the only such location •Facilities, educators in low supply – high initial investment  At home or in school programs without a site visit  Must be students available and interested in completing projects  As organic farming grows in popularity (i.e. market grows) demand for relevant research will increase  Intensity of Rivalry – Low •Very few competitors in North America at present Barriers to Entry – High •Must have available location for research  Research  there are other options (Santa  Other institutions’ research  UBC Farm – Competitive Advantage z  Location – – – –  z  UBC brand name –  z  closely linked with that of the UBC farm  Barriers to Entry –  z  only existing urban organic farm in Vancouver proper soil type and regional latitude allow for specialized research proximity to UBC and grade schools availability of housing for international exchanges  location and UBC brand name  Inimitable competitive advantage  E-Business Plan - current Education Internships, grade-school program, international programs  Produce Market Garden Dates, times and produce offered  Website “Pulls” user in  Events  Research  E-Business Plan – why change? z  Raise awareness, generate interest – –  z  Educate –  z  Sale of research, market garden, advertising links (2nd stage), new sources of revenue  Increase prestige –  z  What is organic farming and why is it important?  Generate Revenue –  z  UBC has a farm? I can go there to purchase locally grown organic food? Support existing operations with online mechanisms (operational efficiencies)  Utilize web to highlight UBC’s research excellence  Build a stronger “community” –  Web-facilitated information sharing with learning institutions worldwide  E-Business Plan – Market Garden Recommendations: z Online ordering / payment processing for Market Garden products Rationale / Benefits: z  Enable online donations  z to and promote farm z Marketing Post free foodtool recipes cooking the classes –  collaborate with existing restaurant customers, explore cross promotion opportunities  z  Community building  z  z  Enhance links on UBC homepage / local businesses’ websites Generate revenue  z  Change existing website url  z  Online discussion groups and bulletin boards  z  Post ‘fresh alerts’ of produce specials for the week  E-Business Plan – Education Recommendations: Online registration / payment processing Rationale / Benefits: – school field trips and summer weeklong workshops z  zz Public and student Online volunteer signup z  education  Workshops catering to gardening community  zz Enhance a project’s profileUBC andFarm’s students’ Primary marketing tool to highlight international exchange program participation Post lectures and videos of annual symposium held at the farm – Partner with websites of other UBC departments, schools and institutions to promotion z Community building z  z  Highlight teaching exchange partnerships with other schools  zz Generate revenue Information on organic farming  E-Business Plan – Research Rationale Recommendations: / Benefits: z z  Online ordering of research projects performed at Networking UBC Farm  z z  Allow UBC students and faculty to post their own External Internal Community Building research,and including links to ongoing research projects  z  Generate EncourageRevenue UBC faculty and other schools to promote UBC Farm website and increase visibility  Implementation – Marketing Strategy Current Situation z z z  Marketing plan does not exist Email bulletin used to provide updates regarding organic produce Funds are extremely limited Website can be cost-effective way to achieve Farm objectives  Implementation – Marketing Strategy Product  Target Market  Marketing Program  Goal  Organic Produce  Organic produce consumers, Previous farm visitors, Adjacent communities, UBC residents  Flyers handed out at Farmers’ Market, Newsletter, Links to “share this page” Web address on menus  Build community Raise awareness of organic products Generate revenue Drive visits/repeat visits to farmers’ market  Education  University associates, Gov’t agriculture officers, interested public  Partner with UBC Administration and International Dept for email promotion, Community news  Raise awareness Generate revenue  Research  University associates Business interests  Partner with faculty administration for email promotion  Increase hits from search results related to organic farming research Raise profile of university as research centre  Implementation - Resources Resource People  Details One time cost  1.  Web designer and developer for initial application setup  –  Weekly cost – high season; monthly cost – low season  2.  Marketing coordinator in charge of updating the website Webmaster in charge of web analytics and proper site work  – –  Funding  z z  Keep utilizing UBC Faculty of Land & Food’s servers Hire Student - internship opportunity / portfolio building – –  Equipment  z z  $17/hr Thus – 8 to 12 week internship = $4,760 to $7,140  Apache/MySQL/PHP Server Open Source Content Management System  Big Picture Challenges & Constraints z  Challenges – –  z  UBC Farm occupies prime location Value of land as real estate far outweighs any land yield dollar for dollar  Constraints – – – – –  Moratorium expires in 2012 UBC bureaucracy: Decision making process is slow Lack of resources Farm staff has minimal business orientation Must ensure e-business strategy is aligned with core values of UBC Farm  Technical Challenges z  Website relies on hosting and server support from other UBC departments  z  Website maintenance follows oral tradition very manual  z  Content Management System (CMS) has high initial learning curve  z  With increased online capabilities, traffic, links, more maintenance time will be needed  Intellectual Property Challenges z  Process must be created to systemize the posting of proprietary information and obtain necessary clearances  z  UBC Farm must assume responsibility for making documents web compatible (design, file conversions, etc.)  z  Will require additional man hours  Organizational Challenges z  Limited resources  z  Highly dependent on support from Department of Land and Food Systems  z  Highly bureaucratic university system inhibits change  z  Zero redundancy - continuation of present farm initiatives would suffer if anything happened to current staff  Project Evaluation z  Difficult to quantify “intangibles” – – – –  Goodwill generated through partnerships Increased prestige of UBC programs and research Community which values sustainability Social interactions centered on land and agriculture  Project Evaluation - continued z  Our definition of success: – – – –  –  Economically self-sustaining Farm indispensable to local community Fosters strong values of sustainability UBC’s academic programs positioned as worldclass UBC leader in agro-ecological research  Thank You – Questions?  


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