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$265 pledged of $80,000 goal
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By Morris Gbolo
$265 pledged of $80,000 goal
backers

About

We're Moving to Our Own Farm - We Need to Buy Some Equipment!

Since 2009, I have been growing 7 to 10 acres of my favorite African greens, peppers and eggplants; ethnic melons and gourds; as well as tomatoes and okra, all sold pick-your-own (PYO) 

African customers feel right at home in my vegetable fields in southern NJ.
African customers feel right at home in my vegetable fields in southern NJ.

to neighbors, friends and contacts in the African communities throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other areas in the Mid-Atlantic region. Some of my loyal customers even travel from as far away as northern Virginia and eastern Massachusetts.

Phillies fans are hot pepper fans too!
Phillies fans are hot pepper fans too!

There is great demand for these specialty vegetables from Western Africa like Kittley and Bitterball eggplants; Jute, Roselle 

This is exciting because we didn't think we'd see Roselle calyx in NJ. Mmmm... my favorite part of the Sour Sour plant!
This is exciting because we didn't think we'd see Roselle calyx in NJ. Mmmm... my favorite part of the Sour Sour plant!

and Malabar Spinach; and our favorite hot peppers. The limited number of farms growing, or even groceries offering these products for sale, creates a great opportunity for me to fulfill my dream of farming in America because I can grow and sell the crops that I am more familiar with than most American farmers.

The great selection at my World Crops Farm!
The great selection at my World Crops Farm!

I started renting a couple of acres on a farm in Egg Harbor Township and then for the past five seasons, I've rented land and equipment from Mr. and Mrs. Art Brown near my home in Galloway, New Jersey. However, it was always clear that this would likely be a temporary opportunity and now the time has come to move my World Crops Farm to a place of our own.

All my crops are sold by the pound.
All my crops are sold by the pound.

My family and I have searched for a couple of years for the right place to farm, with good productive soils and irrigation, but still close enough for my wife and I to continue our work in Atlantic City.

Our prayers have been answered! 

Buena Vista Township (they pronounce it Beyounah here) is in the heart of the Garden State’s vegetable growing region near Vineland. A few months ago, we saw a ‘For Sale’ sign on a small property that used to be a flower farm and we immediately contacted our realtor to make an offer, which was accepted. Alleluia! In addition to about ten acres of open ground for raising vegetables, there is a large greenhouse that will be perfect for raising all our transplant seedlings, and several smaller hoop houses that can either be covered with plastic to use as heated greenhouses, unheated as high tunnels for season extension, or as trellised raised beds for some of the vining crops I’d like to try. In addition, there is a nice farm house and a machinery storage barn. 

It’s just perfect for our World Crops Farm’s new home! 

Of course there’s always a challenge and that’s why we've started this KickStarter project. We've purchased the farm with a mortgage from the USDA Farm Service Agency. However, in order to get crops in the ground this season, I need additional funds as soon as possible to purchase a cultivating tractor and implements (have to keep those weeds under control), put up deer fence to keep them from eating my crops, and to service the greenhouse heating and irrigation systems so I can begin planting immediately. I am asking for your help to raise enough in this project to purchase some of the more critical equipment that I will no longer have available from the Browns. 

 Here is what I’ve budgeted for my KickStarter funds:

  • $40000 - Cultivating tractor and implements – my crops are so unique that there are few herbicides labeled to control weeds, so I have to cultivate between the rows and use hand hoes between the plants 
  • $8000 -  Irrigation Pump Servicing and Supplies – to farm in southern NJ, the ability to irrigate when it gets hot and dry is critical. When new potential farmers come to him for advice, Ag Agent Rick asks them two questions: Do you know your market? Do you have irrigation? My customers are ready and anxious that I will have a new place for the 2014 season, but I have to make sure the irrigation system is ready to go too! 
  • $20000 - Deer Fencing – even more challenging to control than weeds, the deer in South Jersey seem to like their veggies too!
  • $6000 - Seeds, Transplant Production supplies, Harvest supplies – this is about what I’ve borrowed each year at the beginning of the season to get rolling. It should be about the same on our new farm.
  • $6000 - Overhead and prizes - In the end, we'll have to pay Kickstarter, and prizes, whether you come to pick your own or we send your donations to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, we will need crates and other supplies to get them to the right place.

Risks and challenges

The challenge is that ever present for all farmers is unpredictable weather. No matter where I farm that will always be a potential problem, so if there is too much rain or this cold spring continues to delay planting, I will ask for your patience if my awards don’t arrive exactly when proposed. On the other hand, if all goes very well, many could be shipped earlier than anticipated. We can only hope and pray for good growing conditions.

There will be unforeseeable challenges ahead, but my experiences these past five years have given me confidence that I will be able to deal with anything that ‘life on the farm’ can send my way.

Ernestine and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope that you too will be confident that your added support for our World Crops Farm will truly help another ‘American dream’ come true!

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Support

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name on our website and our warmest thanks!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A postcard with one of our favorite recipes, plus your name on our website!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    One of our favorite recipes included in a handwritten thank you card on African stationary, plus your name on our website!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A 2-ounce container of homemade West African Hot Pepper Sauce to spice up your favorite soups and stews!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A half-pound container of Roselle Flowers (the bracts, actually) to add to your favorite soups or stews, or candy them like they're doing in the Land Down Under now!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 5-pound sampler of Roselle leaves (Sour Sour Leaf) to make tea or cook as nutritious greens. We'll include our favorite recipe.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 5-pound sampler of Jersey Fresh Kittley (see the photo above) to add to soups and stews, or brew as a traditional treatment to aid diabetics (recipe included).

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 5-pound box of Sweetpotato roots.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 5-pound mixed sampler of African Hot Peppers including Yellow, Red & our favorite Chocolate Habeneros -- very, very hot!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 5-pound box of Jute leaves (Palava Sauce) to cook as nutritious greens. We'll include our favorite recipe.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 30 pound box of our unique White Bitterball Eggplant (Bello/Garden Egg).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Come to our farm to pick-your-own 30 pound box of our Sweetpotato roots.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Come to our farm to pick three 30 pound boxes of our unique White Bitterball Eggplant (Bello/Garden Egg).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Come to our farm to pick three 30 pound boxes of our Sweetpotato roots.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Come to Morris Gbolo's World Crops Farm and spend a day picking 100 pounds of White Bitterball Eggplant (Bello/Garden Egg), 100 pounds of Sweetpotato roots, plus 50 pounds of anything else that is ripe and ready for you to enjoy.

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Funding period

- (45 days)