With bank loans hard to come by, many farmers are looking for alternatives, and one of the new models is online crowdfunding, a form of Internet-based donations, loans and investments. Many of the online platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, attract large numbers of entrepreneurs looking for funding.
According to Eileen Gordon, founder of Barnraiser, hers is the only crowdfunding platform devoted specifically to funding the sustainable food movement “one farm or healthy food business at a time.”
Speaking at a recent EcoFarm conference, Gordon told attendees, “We’re trying to connect with the 40 or more million Americans who care about sustainability, health and wellness, yet they don’t often know how to affect change. There are still many parts of the country where consumers don’t have the opportunity to vote with their forks at the grocery stores by choosing sustainable foods.”
Gordon asserts that crowdfunding is rapidly changing the way we drive innovation, personal aspirations, new products and social change.
“No group is more deserving than those on the front lines of the food movement, leading us toward health and sustainability,” she said. “Barnraiser is a place to meet and back the thousands of food and farming innovators and put better food on our collective table. When one farmer gets a new barn, the whole community gets better food.”
Gordon is also co-owner with her husband, Michael Chiarello, of Chiarello Family Vineyards in Napa Valley. About 12 years ago, she and Chiarello acquired a 100-year-old vineyard in the Napa Valley and converted the land into a sustainable farm. It was an old historic farm that had been planted before prohibition and hadn’t been farmed in over a decade.
“In the process of taking this old farm and rejuvenating the land and converting it to sustainable farming, we met some fantastic people in the realms of organic and biodynamic farming. As we saw our property come back to life as a healthy ecosystem started to thrive, this was incredibly exciting to us.” Continue Reading →