We are pretty good at generating ideas and to do lists. Making those plans happen takes a bit longer. Our most pressing project is the root cellar and passive cooler that we’d like to build. We are hoping to make it happen this year.
One of the main barriers to actualizing many of our plans is lack of capital. Generally we’ve funded our farm improvements and projects through our own savings and two loans from the Farm Service Agency, which we are still paying back. We have grown our farm slowly, making lots of investments in fruit trees and bushes, and getting our mushroom cultivation started. These are investments with slow pay back, but the return will eventually come in the form of many years of food and medicine. At this point in our farm plan we do not have the cash flow to invest in large building projects, even though they would benefit our farm, and the surrounding community. That is why we are looking for help to make our root cellar/passive cooler happen this year, not 10-15 years from now.
We’ve turned to the crowdfunding model to make our root cellar/passive cooler plans happen. Wikipedia tells us “Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people…which has emerged outside of the traditional financial system.” We hope that our root cellar/passive cooler idea is important enough to a large number of people that they are willing to contribute a small amount of money that can add up to the large sum needed to make the project come to life. Our farm certainly has a lot to gain from having a root cellar/cooler, but there are also a multitude of benefits for our CSA members, and the local community accessing our produce. Carrying out the research surrounding the passive cooler concept has potential benefits for all sorts of small businesses that are in need of a cooler. These are the types of innovations that need to be tested out. If there is a simple way to refrigerate food without electricity and unnecessary burning of carbon, it can be of great benefit to our world.