Ranch Relaxo Sustainable Farm

Environment
Rocky Mountain House, Canada
Jeff Gillies

C$0

Failed
Funded Of C$45,000 Goal
0% Raised
Environment Category
For Profit Type
- Days Left

Campaign Description

Helping families pursue health, happiness, comfort and security while exploring the beauty of sustainable living.

Details

Rancho Relaxo Resort is one of Alberta's first destination resorts to feature renewable energy systems, organic food production systems, water harvest, food storage, compost systems, greenhouse production, off-grid log cabins, and a plethora of other ideas that could help us move towards self-sufficiency, food security, and healthy people and communities.

 

Our five-acre permaculture demonstration farm has the potential to host events, workshops, and courses while offering affordable, comfortable, accommodations, complete with healthy meals. The resort creates a friendly, comfortable atmosphere that enhances social interaction, connections with the natural world, and confidence in themselves as an informed consumer.

Did you know that it is possible to grow all of your own food on a small plot of land?

Did you know that renewable energy can supply almost all of our energy needs?

Did you know that eating good food can help us lose weight and be healthy?

Come and experience the energy and excitement that comes from being a part of Rancho Relaxo Resort, a working permaculture demonstration farm. Our five acres of paradise is just minutes outside of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, and displays some of the best mountain views and pristine vistas in the area.

After years of research on the state of the word, Juli and Jeff Gillies decided that the best use of their land was to incorporate Permaculture Design into the property, and display a new way of living in harmony with natural systems. It was our families contention that taking the best ideas from around the world, in order to use resources and energy more efficiently, and produce food that is healthy, organic and abundant, under whatever conditions the world economy sets, was a responsible and viable choice, that we were more than willing to work towards.

Drawing from our experience as international travellers, we commenced re-designing our five acres in order to build it into a Permaculture Demonstration Farm which now produces organic food, solar energy, clean water, and is continually growing and producing sustainable ideas.

We are working towards the goal of producing all of our own energy, growing our own food for our family of six people, and then showing other people how to do it for themselves.

This farm encourages social interaction and discussion through integrated meeting spaces combined with events that draw a variety of groups from the local community and abroad. We also offer regular tours to exchange ideas with school groups, youth groups, government agencies, elected officials, service clubs, and many other that are interested.

Now that the farm is up-and-running, we invite families and groups that want to experience the 'off-grid' lifestyle to come and stay with us, interact, and learn all about renewable energy systems, organic food production, while enjoying the freedom, connection and beauty associated with this new way of living.

The hands-on environment enhances the experience and will provide customers with a new set of skills and confidence in making changes in their own homes.

In addition to “test-driving the lifestyle", patrons will also enjoy many on-site leisure activities with the option of venturing out to take in the greatest attractions that Alberta has to offer, all with friendly and knowledgeable guides.

Revenue from Rancho Relaxo Resort will be generated on a number of different fronts including comfortable accommodations, delicious home-cooked meals, informative hands-on workshops, and personable guides to escort them to and from the amazing activities and attractions that Alberta has to offer.

Revenue will begin in April of 2016 at a modest level and increase throughout the season as marketing plans come to fruition. Final touches will be completed on the log guest cabins and the two solar powered structures will be ready for rent in the spring of 2017, at which point revenue will increase significantly. Further construction of a commercial kitchen, classroom, and dorm accommodations in 2017 will push sales even higher for 2018, helping us reach capacity during the summer season. The fourth season of operation will see more full-capacity months as we further enhance marketing strategies to target winter activities, special events, and become more integrated into the local tourism scene.

We are seeking monetary investment into the project during the first two years of operation. This money will go towards completion of several construction projects that will both enhance the customer's experience, while increasing the resort's capacity for generating income. Total investment required is $500K.

Problem

People are waking up to the fact that industrial food has harmful effects on people as well as the planet, and they are seeing that their food security decreases every year as globalization causes more and more countries to outsource food production. The health of Canadians seems to degrade every year, as nutrient-dense foods are becoming a distant memory, only to be replaced by processed foods empty of mineral or essential nutrients. We have more malnutrition found now in obese countries than in starving countries.  

Energy security is no better in the future as fossil fuel supplies dwindle, and production is completely dependent upon several other energy streams. This makes a house-of cards scenario that provides ample cheap energy, but is not resilient to changes or shocks to the system. These energy production systems also cause harm to people and the planet through pollution at all stages in the process.

Water shortages combined with water contamination are turning out to be huge issues that used to only be a problem in places like Africa, but now California and Mexico are seeing the same problems. These geographic areas make up the majority of our food production as well, so the effects may start to be noticed in the near future.

Is there any hope for a new way of living that addresses these issues?

Solution

Rancho Relaxo Resort is one of Alberta's first destination resorts to feature renewable energy systems, organic food production systems, water harvest, food storage, compost systems, greenhouse production, off-grid log cabins, and a plethora of other ideas that could help us move towards self-sufficiency, food security, and healthy people and communities.

Our five-acre permaculture demonstration farm has the potential to host events, workshops, and courses while offering affordable, comfortable, accommodations, complete with healthy meals. The resort creates a friendly, comfortable atmosphere that enhances social interaction, connections with the natural world, and confidence in themselves as an informed consumer.

Our knowledge of the Alberta geography, events, inhabitants, and recreational opportunities will be invaluable to travellers that would prefer to have a home base with a personal guide to help them make the most of their time in this beautiful land.

Our experience, connections, and enthusiasm will be the icing on the cake for tourists looking for the ultimate experience here, helping them be comfortable, efficient, and happy.

Market

Our experience hosting travellers over the past 5 years has shown us that we can expect a large portion of our customers to be from Europe, specifically Germany, France, the UK, and Belgium. These countries seem to be keen to these ideas of self sufficiency, efficiency, and health. Europeans have a relatively valuable currency to spend here supported by an affluent economy that encourages international travel. The official statistics reflect this with European arrivals in Canada totalling over 500 million visitors per year.  

Our second largest market segment consists of American, Canadian, Alberta, and BC tourists. These tourists don't stay as long or spend as much, but they spent 15 million nights in commercial establishments in Alberta in 2014 alone.

In times of economic downturn, we can offer a low-cost alternative to foreign all-inclusive resorts, and have a business that thrives under situations of economic recession.

Competition

While Rancho Relaxo Resort features a new, innovative theme, we still have to compete against a variety of other accommodations and tourism operators. Our closest competitors are Bed and Breakfast operators who offer a very interactive, comfortable setting for their hosts, away from the busy tourist centres. Often the cabins and cottages are situated in landscapes with nice views, access to natural areas, and a reasonable drive from urban amenities such as restaurants.

Why Us?

Our advantage over other comparable accomodations is that we offer not only accommodation and high-quality food, but an environment conducive to learning and building interest in new ideas, new insights, and a connection with the natural world. We have many on-site activities, as well as walking trails, beautiful views, and several gathering places for people to meet and interact with other visitors.

Unlike many other providers of accommodation, we offer the opportunity for guided trips to a variety of destinations including hiking in the West Country, PowWows on nearby First Nations reserves, fishing in local lakes, wildlife viewing, and trips to premium mountain ski resorts to name a few.  

Our prices are competitive for room and cabin rentals, and as well we will offer low-cost dorm accommodations in the future, which are a popular option with backpackers and budget travellers. 

Goals & Objectives

The goals of this project are to promote the ideas of permaculture design, sustainable living, and healthy lifestyles. We would like to interact with people in such a way that they gain confidence in themselves, and are willing to make positive changes in their own lives following this experience. We want this project to be profitable, and show that eco-tourism is a viable and growing tourism market.

Our main objectives are to finish construction of the resort on schedule, meet the sales and revenue forecasts as set out in the plan, and to receive positive feedback on customer review forms. We will also get involved in tourism networks, encouraging more 'green tourism' ventures, using the number of eco-tourism operators as our metric.

Forecast

In our first year of business we will be investing into infrastructure, a website, and marketing plans. So although we will have revenue approaching $100,000 in FY2017, we don't plan to turn a profit until FY2018 when sales have increased and a majority of the infrastructure has been built.

We will need to be mindful of cash flow metrics in the first 2 years as revenue streams are not at full capacity and expenses are high for the above-mentioned costs. We may need to adjust scheduling of construction depending on available investment funds.

Our gross margin is high at 80%, and will yield about $95,000 in profits in FY2018, and then closer to $500,000 per year in FY2019-Fy2021. Dividend payments to investors will begin two years after the investment is received, and will be 20% return (annually) on the original investment.  

Going forward past the five-year mark, we don't expect huge growth in profits as the main income sources I have laid out will be at or near capacity. It might possible at that time to increase profits by bringing on new income streams if we so desire.

 

 

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