Devon Wilson, from Battle Creek, has over eight years of farming experience.
Devon Wilson, from Battle Creek, has over eight years of farming experience. He worked on several organic farms and graduated from MSU’s Organic Farmer Training Program while managing a two-acre urban farm for Sprout Farmers Market in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Battle Creek. Mr. Wilson purchased Sprout Farmers Market in 2020 and re-branded it as Sunlight Gardens, LLC.
When Mr. Wilson purchased the urban farm, his goals for the new LLC included to create an efficient, beautiful production space as well as an education space. He wanted to create an urban farm that increased sales in the three main distribution channels: production/direct-to-consumer and restaurant sales, educational and social events, and high-end fertilizer/compost production. After the purchase of the farm, Mr. Wilson didn’t have sufficient capital to achieve his goals, so he applied for the Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund (WHEF). This program gave him the opportunity to try to obtain additional funding and training in business ownership.
As part of the WHEF, the Southwest Michigan SBDC provided a twelve-week course to assist both existing and new entrepreneurs residing in Battle Creek’s Washington Heights Neighborhood, a largely African American neighborhood. This program walked participants through the process of writing a business plan to submit to Battle Creek Unlimited for a Real Estate Improvement Grant. In addition to 12 weeks of classes, Mr. Wilson received 20 hours of direct consulting with consultants of the Southwest Region to help develop his business plan.
Mr. Wilson’s business plan proposal was accepted and he was awarded funds to build a heated greenhouse, an event space, and to clean up the perimeter areas of the farm. The funds have enabled Mr. Wilson’s farm to supply produce for the South Michigan Food Bank (as well as to supply microgreens to some local restaurants). Mr. Wilson is currently scheduling a number of events throughout the summer to highlight Sunlight Gardens and the power of healthy eating.
Learn more about Sunlight Gardens LLC by visiting their Facebook.
Published April 2022