Marketing Research Proposal

Urban farming is said to be “the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in, or around (peri-urban), a village, town or city” [1]. The focus of urban farming is largely based upon a daily demand for food from customers within metropolitan areas through the utilization on intensive production methods, using and reusing natural resources and urban wastes to yield a diversity of crops and livestock. There are plenty of initiatives promoting urban farming around the world and now Arthur Hiemstra and Bethany Lord want to promote these initiatives in Western Australia (will be cited WA hereafter).

The overall objective of this report is to ‘assess existing urban farming and interests in urban farming in WA’. This objective will seek to solve the management problem of ‘what necessary steps should we take to set up a platform in support of urban farming initiatives in WA’. The results hope to deliver an overview of existing initiatives, an informed opinion on the different initiatives and what actions are needed to make urban farming appealing to people under the age of 25.

The proposed research framework will comprise of two main stages, comprising of analyzing secondary data and conducting exploratory research. We have chosen to conduct interviews using a questionnaire. The questions are targeted to find out information on whether people are already advocates of urban farming and if they partake in a community movement or by themselves at home, their attitudes on urban farming, their willingness to participate if given the opportunity and what would be the main deterring factor if they chose not to. Random unbiased sampling will be conducted in a few key locations to reach a variety of demographics. Learn the difference between scientific management and administrative management

The data collected will be analyzed and tabulated into graphs for easy understanding. The timeline given for this research project is six weeks with more than half of the proposed time focused on the analysis of secondary data and fieldwork.

Background:

An idea for the Urban Farmer’s Initiative has been put forward by Arthur and Bethany of WA who enjoyed planting vegetables and seedlings they decided to share it with others. Initially the mission statement was ‘to share in the excitement and fulfillment of growing your own food’.

They did some research and discovered there were many urban farming initiatives worldwide with a focus on the United States and the benefits urban farming initiatives have brought to communities support each other and ‘build’. They also found many global concerns regarding rising food prices and an inadequate supply of food in the future. Drought and other natural disasters have affected farmers in Queensland and other regions in Australia. Also helps individuals become more self-sufficient and less dependent on our farming and supermarket institutions.

Arthur and Bethany are determined to come up with something else, different and new to the existing urban farming initiatives worldwide in order to contribute more to these communities as they say ‘the wheel has been invented and reinvented enough’. Their mission statement is now “to provide a platform that enables, supports and develops Urban Farming initiatives in Western Australia”. In order to collect data and construct this platform, the following research proposal has been developed.

Problem Definition:

Management problem:

We define the management problem as: ‘what necessary steps should we take to set up a platform in support of urban farming initiatives in WA?’

Research problem:

We define the research problem as: ‘Assessing existing urban farming and interest in urban farming in WA’

Approach to the Problem:

The purpose of this study is to research and acquire information to on urban farming in WA. It hopes to deliver on the following research questions:

• What space is available

• Who is currently growing fruits vegetables etc.?

• What type of people are interested in growing their own food?

• What of the range of initiatives do they find appealing and helpful?

• What media are best suited to raise awareness?

It also hopes to deliver an:

• Overview of existing initiatives

• An informed opinion on the different initiatives

• And What is needed to make urban farming appealing to people under 25 years

Research Design:

The proposed research framework will comprise of two main stages, the first stage will include searching for existing secondary data readily available and seeing if any of the information can be useful in our study. The second stage involves exploratory marketing research to help give an in-depth insight into understanding what urban farming initiatives and interests are already established in Western Australia. And along with the preferences indicated in the survey, be able to plan the necessary steps that need to be taken to help create and spread awareness about the concept of urban farming in WA.

Research Methodology:

We have chosen to conduct interviews with a set of questionnaire questions as our primary research method. The advantages of gathering information using a questionnaire is that the responses are gathered in a standardized way, making it more objective, it is also easy to analyse and understand, the data collected can be tabulated and entered into the computer with many different types of software’s. People are also familiar with questionnaires and therefore will not be apprehensive when approached to conduct one, it is also less intrusive compared to a phone interview, if a person does not wish to participate in the interview they will simply walk away, if they oblige it would be entirely up to themselves .

In order to tackle the management problem, which is to investigate what actions should be taken to set up an urban farming initiative in WA, we need to know what approaches will and will not work. Thus the proposed questions in our questionnaire are targeted to find out information on whether people are already advocates of urban farming and if they partake in a community movement or by themselves at home, what are some of the types of food being grown, their attitudes on urban farming, their willingness to participate if given the opportunity and what would be the main deterring factor if they chose not to.

Population:

In order to reduce the chance of bias sampling, the survey will be open to respondents from all demographic groups. As it is Arthur and Bethany’s wish to promote urban farming to people across all ages and backgrounds, we will not place a restriction on the general demographics of our respondents. We plan to conduct our survey at a few key locations to get a diverse range of respondents. The locations are as follows; The University of Western Australia (to be able to get in touch with people under the age of 25 as Arthur and Bethany are very curious about this specific demographic group), at a Supermarket, Perth City Centre and Matilda Bay. We aim to carry out 100 interviews; this will give a spread of responses and the opportunity to identify any interesting characteristics and opinions about urban farming.

The questionnaire is a mixture of close ended and open ended questions. The close ended questions take the form of “Yes/No” and multiple choice questions. There is significantly more close ended questions to keep the scope of research objective and easy to quantify. Respondents will be asked a series of questions about urban farming followed by a set of generic demographic questions at the end for segmentation purposes.

Data Analysis:

Fieldwork/data collection plan:

The Qualitative data needed will be conducted by our own research team. Whilst any quantitative data used will be from secondary sources; secondary sources will be used in the instance of analyzing the success of other similar initiatives to help analyze and better understand issues regarding an urban farming initiative in Western Australia. These issues include those relating to enabling, supporting and developing an initiative in Western Australia.

We will ask respondents one on one with the aid of a questionnaire – this moves to facilitate an easy flowing exchange of responses and focused discussion on the topic of Urban Farming. Conducting research this way results in very minimal effort by the respondent and decreases dissonance and limiting false responses, while also being a fast and effective way to secure the accumulation of data.

Data analysis plan:

As the objectives of the research are broad and vastly unknown, we will be analyzing the data qualitatively. Using qualitative intercept interviews from our sample of 100 people, we will be able to extract answers to the proposed objectives.

This focused approach to extrapolating information will help us better understand the implications of our findings – understanding where the vastly untapped market lies in Western Australia – attitudes of consumers towards the prospect of urban farming and identify areas of interest – in relevance to the research objectives.