Now that Vermont farmer Walter Jeffries has raised $25,000 on Kickstarter to complete a new butcher shop at his Sugar Mountain Farm, hes working on the next $5,000to pour the concrete for the abattoir where we’ll be able to do on-farm slaughter.
Hes clearly taken with his success, and well he should be. Raising capital has traditionally been a very challenging task for most small businesses, and even more so for small farms. They just havent had the pizzazz of video game companies or businesses making some new iPhone gizmo.
But all that is changing. Not that the techie businesses are less attractive, but the farms, well, theyve got a new aura about them with the growing interest in wholesome and healthy food.
I was looking around on Kickstarter, and found any number of farm-related enterprises raising money. Theres a compost program in Buffalo, NY. A North Carolina vegetable farm is trying to raise $4,500 for a market van.
Kickstarter has even spawned its own ecosystem. As one example, there is something called Kicktraq, which projects how much a particular project can be expected to raise. For Jeffries, hes trending toward $38,000, says Kicktraq.
Grist reported recently that food ventures raised $2.8 million via Kickstarter last year.
As someone who spent a lot of time in a previous life advising small companies on writing business plans to raise money, I find Kickstarter very intriguing, one of those special outgrowths of the Internet age. The notion that businesses can raise financing without having to give up something substantial, like a significant percentage of ownership, or a lien on a home, is pretty radical.
Indeed, I don’t see it truly as a financing tool, or even, as the New York Times suggests, a way to float ideas and see if theres a market for them before they trade ownership of their company for money from venture capitalists.
For farmers, at least, Id say Kickstarter is a very neat promotion, expansion, and sales tool. What Walter Jeffries is doing is offering pork sausages, bacon, and other meat products as an incentive to people to fund a couple of important farm projects. So people like me, who back him, can get something we valuegood foodand feel altruistic at the same time.
It’s not been a slam dunk for Jeffries. He’s had to do aggressive promotion among his customers and friends, and get lots of Twitter and Facebook mentions. There have also been some nice media mentions, like on Vermont Public Radio.
All that is essential, because you only get your money if you achieve your entire goal. You get nothing if you only partially achieve your goal. Kickstarter says close to half of its 20,000 projects have achieved their goals.
When hes done, not only does he have the money for his project (minus 5 per cent for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon, which handles the transactions), but he has a list of future customers. And he still owns as much of his business and his land as he did before he went on Kickstarter.
A key to success appears to be the reward offered as part of a project. And here, farmers have a big advantage. Everyone loves good food. Put together the right combination of interesting project and food package, and it could work. Im just not sure Kickstarter is quite ready for raw milk rewards.
This whole Kickstarter fund raising system is very much a reminder of the recently passed ( April 5th )Obama Jobs Creation Act and its “Emerging Growth Company ( EGC ) ON-RAMP IPO program. This abreviated, less red tape, going to the public, to generate funds for growth is something on my mind. The OPDC team is attending a seminar on this very subject tomorrow.
As this site has been reorganized, if on a given day, there are eighty comments at
eight am and ninety comments at twelve noon, the additional
ten comments could be interspersed anywhere amongst the eighty? If
this is so, whereas under the previous design I could always go
straight to the end of the comments and read backwards until I hit one
I’d already read, thus covering the new ones, under the
present design a scan must be performed throughout the whole of the
comments to discover the comments that have been added as
comments to comments (in chronological order at that point, yes, (but
only there) breaking the chronology of the comments in toto)?
I will say, that at most websites this purely wouldn’t matter as I
glance at the comments (if at all) to get the flavor whereas
here I read the comments to follow thoughts, facts, and argument, a
very different kettle of fish.
I could use a search function, yes, but that is by the day, correct?
If I am covering two days that technique becomes choppy (not
Further, and importantly, if a comment to a comment is not placed as
such, then although it is a comment to a comment, it will be at the
very end of the comments and if you think that reading just below a comment
that you are getting all the comments to that comment, you
will be mistaken.
Perhaps the comment scheme should be simply chronological with each
comment being clearly numbered. Then, at the beginning of your
comment to (an)other comment(s) (interabang here) you can simply give
the numbers of the referenced comments. The compositional
technique in everyday use, to lead with a cogent reference to a
previous comment is very helpful in all cases.
Take away: I don’t have the time to rescan the entire comment section.
i.e. it ain’t gonna happen. c’est la vie
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
When I tried to post a comment, only part of my comment appeared, and that part was rather scrambled. When I tried to fix it, I discovered I couldn’t edit my own post. I guess I’m not ready for social media & blogs. 🙁
I love the way the NYT needs to reach for a corporatist spin. The corporate media sure does hate any sign of decentralization, bottom-up action, democracy.
I agree that the spacing is relatively cramped which makes it more difficult to read than similarly formatted threads at some other sites. I recommend looking first at the time posted for each comment as you scroll. Then it’s pretty easy to pick out what’s new.
I understand that some of you might raise your own pork so you don’t need the meat or the bacon, but still, support him. He offers all this plans as Open Source info so anyone who wants to do what he is doing, he will provide all the information necessary; building plans, materials lists, etc. For free.
Please be a backer. It is the right thing to do.
Our group, Michigan Land Trustees has been at it now for coming on 40 years-quietly working in the backwaters of Michigan. Somehow with few funds weve been able to jump start community gardens, a very popular Harvest Fest one of the largest in the Midwest (http://www.fairfoodmatters.org/harvestfest/ held at http://www.tillersinternational.org/ , these are very active and hands-on-practical organizations) )as well as educate new farmers and introduce people to the land. We are now trying to figure out how to match available land to new younger farmers .. Raising money is tough especially in tough times-that are getting tougher. We even have a newslettergrass roots published going back decades. Michigan Land Trustees also supported as amici the many legal appeals and lawsuits that have been discussed on these pages-to further our food rights-from the very beginings……….
One thing that has happened is that we now have a cluster of so to be six organic farms with adjacent properties comprising several hundred acres raising food for a wide area. Extending up along Michigans west coast and south to Chicago. The catalyst was the idea of a university sponsored Homesteading School in 1975small but from small efforts manymany lives are touched. And even meDr. Doom, sees glimmers of hope good people with .a few dollars for the right cause-with the right people at the right time can have an impact .
Id certainly like to hear more about these sorts of projects and encourage their support…..their is great hope and comfort in community.
For your reading pleasure, here is a blog entry that mentions the Wendell Berry lecture at the end:
This is how it should be….
To David and the webmaster, fyi:
The recent COMMENTS column doesnt rescue me from my time-spent-reading-comments dilemma because that column displays an extract of four lines and an ellipsis, and the opportunity to jump to the comment, yes, followed by the opportunity to jump back and forth between the recent COMMENTS column and the full comment. This jumping back and forth is both time wasting and distracting. The extracted comment format makes sense to me if this were in the galaxy of websites where the comments are essentially worthless, but, here, in the galaxy Substance, lets have the recent COMMENTS column show the entire comment. Or not.
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
Sorry you are having some difficulty with the comments. It does take a little getting used to, but it addresses complaints we had with the previous layout, that people couldn’t get into a dialog. The extracted recent comments seem to allow people to quickly scan what’s been posted since their last visit. No way I can see to handle it so it satisfies all desires at once. Appreciate the input, and welcome back.
Thank you for your word of welcome.
The extracted recent comments allows a quick scan of whats been posted since ones last visit. However if the length and quality of your sites comments are weighted appropriately, the present system is a worse fit, in my opinion. I always looked at the number of comments and if the needle had moved, then there was something more to read and I knew exactly where it was. Blocks of twenty comments at a time made things a little choppy getting to the new comments at the caboose when there were more than 60 comments, but increasing the comment block size to 100 has all but eliminated the bottleneck. Im brought up short by couldnt get into a dialog. Oodles of dialogs, it seems to me, have run through your comments section in the last 2 ½ years; I am not sure what to make of that as an issue. It would be disheartening to see the sites technical environment engender short, goofy, and useless commentary.
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
Pattie’s cow share. My Sisters Farm…..
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
Well, the doctor has certainly got that right, yet he ignores and fails to mention other key factors related to immune depression, such as, vaccines, birth control hormones and the routine indiscretionary use of antibiotics, etc.
Considering the above why does society persist in its relentless assault on organisms that are merely doing what is necessary in order to survive and maintain balance? It appears we are too involved with the details of a perceived problem and have failed to consider the situation as a whole, in other words we cant see the forest for the trees.
I don’t think it is totally ‘societies’ fault. I believe that those who rule are pushing the buttons and like the rat in the lab, they are quietly forcing the population to bend to their ways, thus allowing those who rule to become more powerful and the populaces to become more servile. People only know what they are fed. The govt along with the media feeds people lies and distortions.
Yes, people should take responsibility for themselves. In a realistic world, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. People are by nature slow to accept change, any kind of change. Even when they know something is harmful, they have great difficulty changing. Smoking is a good example. The healthier food movement is slowing growing. What is that saying? “When the student is ready, the teach will appear’ or something like that.
It was as if….he and I were on different planets speaking different languages.
He attacked raw milk and gave no quarter. All raw milk was extremely danagerous….no crack in the door at all….not even a little. No acknowledgment of the state of CA standards for raw milk or a tip of the hat to the history of safe raw milk in CA….nothing….nada!! He then went on to cherry pick data and report on just the last year of reported illness from raw milk and pasteurized milk…just one year. He would not address the 70 deaths from pasteurized milk since 1973 or the 7 dead kids from allergic reactions to pasteurized milk or the fact that there have been zero deaths from raw milk collected and placed into the CDC database. He refused to address the physiology of why pasteurized milk is the most allergenic food in America or the fact that this information sits nakedly on the FDA website for food allergens.
Dr. Cullor was clearly sent from GOT MILK? to throw a grenade to the ignorant….to scare people any way he could.
What a travesty of science. Especially when the Chief Vet for CDFA has publically said that there are differences between raw milk and pasteurized milks….and the state acknowledges these significant differences.
Dr. Cullor is a lost cause and clearly his scientific liscence and objectivity is bought and paid for. I think we call these types “PhD Science-Whores”. Distgusting at best….lying, stealing tax dollars, missleading the people and cheating the people for sure. He made statements that were completely unsupported by any data. A blatant lie!!! How can he sleep at night. Must be a nice fat paycheck.
When Got Milk? is desparate….they do stupid desparate things.
Disappointed that many of the others haven’t become backers. Supposedly we are all about free enterprise, thinking outside of the box, small family farms. Shrug.
“Propaganda must not serve the truth, especially insofar as it might bring out something favorable for the opponent.” That’d be one of Mister Anderson’s pals …. ( for a while) the most successful national socialist of them all = Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938
Everyone has a right to their own opinion here on TCP, but if you follow the happenings state by state, and the actions and reactions by all involved you start to see a problem.
Those of us who you say are conspiracy theorists (the new term is “informed individuals”), would love nothing better to be wrong about what we see happening in this country/world. Things are getting dramatically worse.
If you survived the 2008-09 supposed stock market crash unaffected and haven’t seen a change for the worse on many fronts you must be living a charmed life.
I truly wish you and yours all the best, but if all this conspiracy crap comes true, you can NEVER say you were not warned!!!