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Results of the market study undertaken in this project indicate that restaurants in the Montreal area form the most interested purchasing group for the products of the greenhouse. Once underway, purchasing arrangements with high-end and health-food restaurants will likely be the most financially reliable. Additionally, marketing strategies in the retail sector should target the identified principal consumer group of women between the ages of 46 and 60.
Since the greenhouse will only be able to produce a given total of seedlings and herbs based on its space constraints and on the particular growing conditions required by organic production msnsgement will have to make the most of those products economically speaking. The relative weight assigned to each of these products in the greenhouse will necessarily cater to the specific concerns of the market, personal and environmental health, as identified by through the survey results as. In advertising for the products, special emphasis should be placed on the advantages provided by the greenhouse. By virtue of its urban setting the project cuts down on the transportation of goods and the associated costs to the consumer, and year-round production will make many of the proposed products available during winter months when they are not offered elsewhere.
The group furthermore recommends the acquisition of organic certification for the agricultural methods employed in the greenhouse. Certification is the final testament to the special quality of the products and will provide them with a competitive edge, especially outside of the conventional growing season, when fresh, locally produced, organic products are not available in Montreal. Certification will in this way act as conclusive proof that the greenhouse provides a unique product to its clientele. If possible, the group also recommends joining an association of organic producers. In becoming a member of such an association, the greenhouse will benefit from joint advertising and collaboration in other areas, such as information sharing on the nature of the market and the demand for certain organic products.
Open tours of the greenhouse with the option to donate will act as a form of cost-free advertising by increasing the visibility of the products and the enterprise. During a tour, participants may also purchase products associated with gardening, such as pots or composters, which will provide extra income for the greenhouse.
Findings of the research have indicated a strong interest for organic produce among surveyed consumers. It may be desirable to offer some produce for sale in the greenhouse in order to address that demand, provide a sideline of returns and demonstrate the quality of the greenhouse products.
Further research will likely be useful in drawing concrete plans for the greenhouse. Future directions of study may include consumer behavior and motivations according to parameters requiring additional specification, such as income, employment, education and travelling distance to obtain goods.
The text on these pages is drawn
mainly from the final research presentation, December 5th, 2002.