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How an Urban Farm in Dallas Creates Jobs and Provides Fresh Food for its Community Bonton Farms relies on purchasing insights to help streamline operations as it addresses barriers to good health, safety, and success.

Christina Childress Photography

The community of Bonton in South Dallas, Texas, is home to an impressive organization that has its sights on disrupting systems of inequity. Bonton Farms is a fully functioning urban farm, but it's so much more than that. They support the neighbors and neighborhood in redefining the norm in their community so they may have a fighting chance at life.

Bonton is miles away from a supermarket, categorizing its location as a "food desert"—meaning the community doesn't have access to healthy and affordable food options. Bonton Farms works alongside residents to address everything from providing rich nutrition, safe and affordable housing, opportunities for quality education, and career counseling.

Bonton Farms drives a lot of the work they do through what they call "social enterprises." They also help community members start small businesses, giving them real-world entrepreneurship experience that they can use to support themselves. Some social enterprises Bonton Farms has expanded to are a farmer's market, café, coffee house, and rental property ownership—all of which employ community members and provide the opportunity to learn how to run their own businesses.

From a business perspective, Bonton Farms must stretch every dollar to the fullest—the more success Bonton Farms sees, the more opportunities the community of Bonton and those like it can succeed. To help their own organization continue their ambitious objectives, the team at Bonton Farms turned to expertise from Amazon Business.

An admirable mission requires efficiency.

With so many moving parts, the team at Bonton Farms identified areas within the businesses that could benefit from purchasing efficiencies. "Prior to partnering with Amazon Business, there was no centralized ordering system for all businesses within Bonton Farms—everything was a stand-alone business operation," explains Bill Hall, COO of Bonton Farms. "People had individual Amazon accounts but were missing the tools to drive efficiency where it matters most."

Image credit: Christina Childress Photography

For instance, Bonton Farm's non-profit status qualifies it for various tax-free goods, which can be difficult to track for individual purchases. Amazon Business centralizes purchasing and data insights to one system.

"As organizations get flatter you have to distribute the purchasing responsibility across the organization to give people the freedom to run their businesses," Hall says. "Amazon Business permits that with controls and oversight. Reducing the number of trips to a store and buying reoccurring items when they can."

Saving time and working smarter.

Bonton Farms is leveraging Amazon Business to consolidate vendor and category spending and drive double-digit efficiencies across all their businesses. They now have access to spend visibility and cost savings help to further the Bonton Farms mission of sustainability and responsibility. At the same time, Guided Buying policies allow Bonton Farms to source the products and supplies it needs more agilely.

"When the nearest grocery store is a 20-minute drive, Amazon Business makes it easy to make a quick order and get back to business," Hall mentions.

Image credit: Christina Childress Photography

Whether the restaurant orders paper goods and general supplies, or the real estate group orders parts for maintenance, each business can make purchases through Amazon Business and properly code that information. Bonton Farms can keep track of metrics like who's making purchases and how much they're spending and ensure they're receiving appropriate tax deductions.

"Sometimes businesses must prioritize what they need to operate versus what they can plan using local retailers," says Gabe Madison, President of Bonton Farms. "I think there's room for all to play … Strategic opportunities can be planned out by diversifying vendors, but Amazon Business is a great opportunity for companies to use for those quick needs."

Click here to learn more about how Amazon Business can help your business simplify and improve your purchasing processes.