American Business Merit Badge

Click here for the official guidelines from the Boy Scouts of America for the American Business Merit Badge.

One of the requirements for the American Business Merit Badge is to run your own business for at least three months. The Boy Scouts of America recommend it be something simple, which can include the sale of things you’ve made or grown.

You can create your own business of building self-watering container gardens for private individuals in which you charge a fee for your time and expertise to build the gardens. If you have to supply the materials, you can charge back these expenses to your customers. Otherwise, you can build your own container garden and sell the fruits and vegetables you grow in it, or partner with several other gardeners and sell the fruits and vegetables that the group collectively grows.

In the section of the badge where you must explain how changes in interest rates, taxes, and government spending affect the flow of money into or out of business and industry, you can examine this with the food and grocery industry specifically in mind. Do the same in your examination of where proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations get their capital as well as the place of profit in business relative to the basic human need for food to survive. This is the kind of business research you need to do for a business oriented towards selling container gardening services and/or container-grown non-GMO, organic local produce.

Similarly, in the section of the badge where it calls for you to describe the roles of automation and unionization in industry, look specifically to the commercial farming industry, the distribution network that currently exists to move food from farms to supermarkets, and the retail food industry. The role of federal and state regulations are particularly pertinent to commercial food production and supply, which is something you must examine for this badge, as well.

One of the things you can do for this badge is choose three products from your local grocery store and tell your merit badge counselor how the packaging could be improved upon so that it has less impact on the environment. If you are doing a non-GMO, organic self-watering container garden in which you sell the produce, there is good opportunity to address this component of the badge, not only with respect to manmade packaging, but nature’s packaging, as well.

If you consider the skin on the outsides of our fruits and vegetables as a form of packaging, then you can discuss the issues of breeding fruits and vegetables to be more tolerant of being trucked across the United States at the expense of their flavor and nutritional value. Compare this practice to locally grown, non-GMO, organic produce that may not be rugged enough to withstand being manhandled across several states in the back of a tractor-trailer rig but retains its naturally occurring flavors and nutrition.

This can become a marketing argument for your own container garden-oriented business. The research you do to understand packaging issues as it relates to fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores is entirely relevant to your customers’ desires to grow their own food rather than buy it in the store or to buy the non-GMO, organic, locally grown produce that comes from your container garden(s). See also the Communication Merit Badge and the Entrepreneurship Merit Badge.

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