Ever thought about starting a farm? What about a collective honey exchange? Or maybe a food truck that brings sustainable, locally grown produce to schools?
At some point in their lives, everyone has dreamed up an idea, but often most of us stop at the “how will I pay for it?” part. If your project is food-related, you have no more excuses not to do it, because there’s a Kickstarter type platform just for you.
Aptly named Barnraiser, the website is a “community for the millions of people who want to ensure that sustainable food and farming becomes the standard.” Yes, please.
“There are 41 million Americans who align ourselves with health and sustainability,” Eileen Gordon Chiarello, the brains behind Barnraiser, told Civil Eats. “With Barnraiser, we can build the food system the way we want it to be. There are barriers for innovators, but not always big barriers. I love the idea of a lot of people giving a little money. It’s important for us to back the small, medium and large changes together, to help these innovators remake our food system. It doesn’t matter whether someone is moving the needle an inch or a mile, but together, we can all create a big wave of change.”
Why should food get its very own crowdfunding platform? Because as Barnraiser so succinctly puts it, “When one farmer gets a new barn, the whole community gets better food.”
There is also a “Stories” section, with all kinds of articles written about the sustainable food movement, proof that this is as much about empowering a community to be educated and band together as it is about raising money.
Launched in April 2014, the site has already gotten several projects off the ground; some barns raised, so to say. Some of the projects that have been successfully funded were one to create a Gold Rush era orchard to revive heirloom fruit and nut trees of California and one to build a bee exchange, a bee-keeping hub in Napa Valley to serve as a resource for local beekeepers.
As Barnraiser puts it, “it takes communities to shift our food systems.” What better time to start engaging with that community than right now? Read a story, fund a project, or even launch your own. You can already feel the food system shifting, can’t you?
Photo Credit: MELISSA MATHIES
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