Step aside, potato salad. If the recent mockery of Kickstarter has you wondering whether there's any good sense left in the world, you'll be happy to hear there is — and that there are plenty of people striving to better their communities and make their mark for longer than 15 minutes.
Barnraiser is the new kid in the crowdfunding game, soft launched on Earth Day 2014 with a handful of projects that celebrate sustainable food and farming. In fact, those are the only projects that Barnraiser supports: innovative ideas from the leaders and makers of the food movement that aim to influence how we farm and eat on a local and global scale.
While still in its fledgling stage, Barnraiser has so far funded a sustainable meat conference geared toward "conscientious carnivores," a company producing non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher and vegan nutrition bars that benefit the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, a multi-platform mobile app for foraging site Falling Fruit, and a "food kozy" aimed at eliminating the use of plastic bags, wrap and foil. All of these projects are simple, sustainable, and community focused. Some want to change the world; others want to inspire change with a ripple effect.
The site is a collaborative effort among farmers, gardeners, chefs, food artisans, community activists, social innovators, health-conscious families, educators, and other voices of the movement. In the tradition of raising barns, when one farmer gets a new barn, everyone gets better food — this in turn benefits each member of the community. Here are some of the most interesting
Eureka! Help Save Heirloom Fruit & Nut Trees of California's Gold Rush
Over a century ago, farms, ranches, and mining camps throughout the Sierra Nevada were brimming with delicious varieties of apples, pears, plums, and cherries, many of which most people have never heard of. Funding will enable the planting of a one-acre "Mother Orchard" at Heaven and Earth Farm (near Nevada City) with over 200 heirloom fruit and nut trees, roses, and grapes, preserving the best of the genetics before the original trees fade from existence.
The Farmers Guild: Building a Community of Free Farmers One Guild at a Time
The Farmers Guild is a California nonprofit based on a network of social and professional hubs in the state. The Guild is a place for farmers to connect, collaborate, and find the resources they need to thrive. Funding will help the organization establish a stronger community of Guilds through the availability of information, training, and other resources, and the establishment of a scholarship fund.
Building a Bee Barn: A Sustainable Honey Bee Exchange
The Napa Valley Bee Company is a sustainable honeybee organization that focuses on the selective breeding and treatment-free management of locally adapted bees to strengthen the honeybee population. The company hopes to establish the Napa Valley Bee Exchange to serve as a community and educational bee facility, bringing together local beekeepers and fostering local genetics.