About this project
Farm Life Experience
GeerCrest Farm holds a place in this world for an experience which is vanishing; it holds an unspoken reverence and appreciation for nature and life, and it allows the developing child to connect with that in a very deep and personal way.”
-Nina Churchill Portland Waldorf School Teacher
We are ready to launch our official Farm Life Experience program at GeerCrest Farm- with your help! Students of the program will learn from and contribute to every aspect of the farm: a full vegetable CSA; meat, egg, and dairy production; management of the woods, pastures, and streams; and the management of a working homestead household, including food preservation and cooking; the economics of food production; and the social dynamics that sustain farming communities.
For years, the nonprofit GeerCrest Farm & Historical Society has offered educational visits to local schools and groups, led by the farmers themselves. Always operating on a shoestring budget, we were able to somehow (with lots of coffee and many, many volunteers- thank you!) pull it off every year, introducing more and more students to small scale organic food production and farm life while juggling the farm management in tandem. In the last couple of years, the demand for this kind of education on our farm has exploded, and for the first time, our farm team truly felt unable to commit to another year without having a developed, directed, and well-staffed "farm school" program, led by experienced educators and farmers. We are passionate about integrating students into every aspect of small farm life, and encouraging them to connect with the source of their food- and we want to do it well. After MUCH brainstorming, organizing, and collaborating with teachers educators, we are very proud to present the Farm Life Experience program at GeerCrest Farm!
With the money we raise, we are going to:
- Stock our sheds, barns, and kitchen with enough tools, gloves, and equipment for students (for big hands and small ones!) in order that they can fully participate in the planning, planting, maintenance, harvest, and packaging of a 1.5 acre organic CSA garden and its harvests, work with and handle the goats, horses, chickens, and sheep, and work with the land and its resources: $800
- Hire an Education Coordinator to contact and communicate with schools, teachers, homeschool groups and parents, organize field trips, overnight class stays, week-long and extended immersion programs for students, and to connect food growing principles to classroom curriculum: $11,000
- Build a small 200 square foot cabin for staff, allowing for an existing room in the farmhouse to be upgraded into a dormitory for teachers/chaperones for overnight class stays! $11,500
- Kickstarter reward fulfillment: $700
When we meet our goal, we can start right away! We can:
- Book field trips, class stays, week-long and extended immersion programs starting in Spring 2014!
- Effectively teach small-scale vegetable, egg, dairy, and meat production skills, permaculture and biodynamic principles, and nature awareness to up to 600 students this year alone;
- Work with teachers and students from visiting classes to coordinate what they are learning in their classrooms with happenings on the farm (ecosystems within our streams, biology and birth in the goat herd, microbiology in fermentation/cheese and yogurt making, photosynthesis, Oregon history, etc.) ;
- Include students in every aspect of healthy, nutritious, farm to table food production!
THANK YOU for your support and interest in bringing food education to the next generation of community builders; this is only the beginning!
Risks and challenges
This is only the first step to bringing farm life experience into the lives of our students for the long haul. With what we raise from this campaign, we will be able to launch the program and run it effectively for the first year, until the program generates enough revenue to support itself. It will take ongoing community support to keep it alive. As a nonprofit, our expenses and revenues are relatively even; to grow the program, build and repair new infrastructure, and finance any unforeseen costs in the future, we will continue to depend on the support of our growing community to keep this program strong.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
This farm needs money because it functions as a classroom, not as a production farm. The revenues we make from selling vegetables, eggs, and dairy go right back into the farm operation account for seeds and animal feed, and sustains itself that way. Like all nonprofits such as the library or public radio, donors, grants, and fundraisers are what keeps the business viable-- only a portion of our total income comes from the programs themselves. Otherwise, they'd have to be really expensive! We want all kids to be able to come to the farm, and that means sharing the cost of such an amazing program between a larger community.
- (56 days)