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The Portland Meat Collective has changed Portland's relationship to meat. What's next? Meat Collectives Across America.

[HEY FOLKS! WE MADE IT TO OUR FUNDING GOAL IN JUST 15 DAYS! HOWEVER, THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE GOING TO SIT IDLY BY EATING BONBONS FOR THE LAST 14 DAYS OF OUR CAMPAIGN. KICKSTARTER LETS US KEEP ANYTHING WE MAKE ABOVE OUR FUNDING GOAL. AND WE CERTAINLY HAVE A NEED FOR MORE MONEY. WE AIM TO TRY AND RAISE $30,000 BY THE END OF THIS CAMPAIGN! WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT WE'D DO WITH THAT EXTRA MONEY? READ ABOUT PHASE 2 OF MEAT COLLECTIVES ACROSS AMERICA HERE.]

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This is not your typical Kickstarter campaign.

Why?

Because we’re asking you to Kickstart a movement:

What's a Meat Collective?

There is only one Meat Collective thus far: The Portland Meat Collective.

The Portland Meat Collective is a one-of-a-kind meat school and culinary resource that has changed the way citizens of Portland, Oregon think about their food, their community, and their local economy. For each Portland Meat Collective class, local farmers sell whole animals to students who in turn learn from local butchers and chefs how to transform those whole animals into everything from pork chops to bacon. Students go home with a lot of good meat and a lot of very rare knowledge. Chefs and butchers have the opportunity to share their art. And farmers are able to sell their animals directly to consumers who truly appreciate their humane and sustainable farming practices. The result? A growing community of informed omnivores who are rethinking meat consumption and production in America.

Photos by Lisa Teso
Photos by Lisa Teso

The Portland Meat Collective has been a successful business and educational model for over three years. We think the Meat Collective model could and should thrive in many towns across America. Since we hear from dozens of people a week asking us to start a Meat Collective in their town, it’s clear other folks feel the same.

We're not talking about franchising, here. Nope. Instead we want to empower other folks to start Meat Collectives in their home towns. How can we do this? We’ve developed a two-phase plan. This Kickstarter campaign will fund the following Phase 1 goals:

PHASE 1 FUNDING COMPONENTS:
• We want to first test our hypotheses by helping locals in two locations--one urban, one rural--launch their own Meat Collectives. (40% of funding goal)

• With everything we learn from these test markets, as well as everything we've learned from launching the Portland Meat Collective, we’ll overhaul our website so that it can become a truly useful training resource for every future Meat Collective leader in America. (40% of funding)

• We’ll create basic marketing materials so that we can help new Meat Collectives spread the word in their communities. (20% of funding)

We’re confident that those of you who have become a part of the PMC community will feel as strongly as we do about the importance of spreading the Meat Collective model elsewhere.

Not familiar with the Portland Meat Collective story? Read on to find out who we are, and how you can help an innovative culinary business in Portland, Oregon share its model and philosophy with others to create change across America.

“The birth of the Portland Meat Collective may be a story of one person, but its success comes down to a story of many.” --Camas Davis, founder, Portland Meat Collective.

Camas Davis: In 2009, after a decade spent working as a magazine editor and food writer in New York City and Portland, Oregon, I lost my job. Seeing an opportunity to turn my life in a new direction, I set out to learn the art of butchery. Not only did I want to learn a new culinary skill. I wanted to experience every part of the process of getting meat to the table so that I could come to terms with my conflicted feelings about eating meat and maybe start making different choices about where my meat came from.

I knocked on the doors of local butcher shops and restaurants but could not find anyone to teach me. There were, it seemed, no classes I could take, no internships to be had. But I eventually found an American woman, Kate Hill, who was living and teaching cooking classes in southwest France. She told me about her friends and neighbors, the Chapolards, a family of pig farmers and butchers who were willing to teach me the ways of knife and bone.

I studied with Kate and the Chapolards for one short summer. I am not lying when I say my experience in France was a religious one. To read more about my experiences there click here, here, or here.

France was the match that sparked the Portland Meat Collective model.

Once I returned home, my desire to continue learning did not end. Still, there were no educational opportunities, so I took matters into my own hands. I asked local butchers and chefs if they’d teach some classes, provided I could find other people like me who wanted to learn, and who would be willing to pay. I asked local farmers if our students could buy whole or half animals directly from them at wholesale costs. And I knocked on the doors of local kitchens and asked if we could use these spaces at a minimal cost to the students.

Everyone said yes.

The Portland Meat Collective was born, thanks to a community of people eager to share their knowledge and to learn.

The first Portland Meat Collective class sold out. The second one did too. And the third. Three years later, we've held more than 150 classes taught by dozens of teachers and attended by more than 1,500 students. Today, the Portland Meat Collective is a nationally respected meat education resource. Our students leave our classes with a new understanding of the way meat gets to our tables, with a desire to buy meat directly from local farmers they can trust, and with a passion and respect for utilizing the whole animal, be it a chicken, a duck, a pig, or an entire steer. Gone are their boneless, skinless chicken breast ways.

The PMC has enjoyed plenty of time in the national media spotlight—last year, I was even chosen as a spokesperson for Wusthof’s “Defining the Edge” campaign. In fact, we got the idea for Meat Collectives Across America in December, after NPR’s This American Life, a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.8 million listeners, aired a story I wrote about a strange case of some missing rabbits. After the story aired, we began receiving a shocking number of emails like this one from Adam in Pennsylvania:

“Heard your story on This American Life. It just may be my favorite story I've heard on that program…I hope to one day establish something like the Portland Meat Collective here in my hometown of Telford, PA. …I hope to come visit one of your classes one day to get ideas for how to start this here in PA.”

We've continued to receive similar requests from Washington, Georgia, Vermont, Michigan, Florida, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Colorado, British Columbia, even Sydney, Australia.

1) People all over the country want to figure out a new, informed, ethical, healthful, humane way of producing, consuming, and thinking about meat in America. The Meat Collective model is that new way.

2 ) Meat education = meat knowledge = consumer power to make more informed choices about their participation in our current system of meat production and consumption.

2) The Meat Collective model is at the very least a sustainable one, and, when run well, even a profitable one. Meat Collectives are inexpensive to start. All you need to start one is knives, cutting boards, paper, kitchen space, and most important: great relationships.  

3) The Meat Collective model is an incredibly flexible one that can be adapted to many different communities.

Goal #1: Test our hypotheses by starting Meat Collectives in two separate test markets in the Pacific Northwest—one urban and one rural.

Steps:

-Create a simple online application process in order to find the right person or people to head up a Meat Collective effort in each test community.

-Spend about 20 hours (working from Portland) helping our on-the-ground leaders identify the instructors, farmers, kitchens, and students who would be needed to offer the community’s first two classes. These classes would be hosted by the PMC.

-Camas Davis would travel to those communities for an estimated total of 40 hours.
• 3 days of business training
• 2 days of Meat Collective classes

-Once classes and trainings are over, assess whether or not community leaders are ready to form an actual business entity. The PMC would help advise community leaders in this process.

Test market costs: $10,000

-Travel expenses: Estimated $1,000 per test market for gas, food, lodging

-Basic Class Tools: Estimated $1,000 per test market for knives, cutting boards, butcher paper, grinders, etc.

-Time Compensation: $3,000 per test market ($50/hr for the PMC’s time)

Goal #2: While the test markets are underway, we’d overhaul the PMC’s website in order to make it a more comprehensive resource for future Meat Collectives.

Steps:

-Create the infrastructure for an online training portal on the PMC website where all prospective Meat Collective leaders will eventually be able to access training manuals, webinars, in-person consultation opportunities, and helpful marketing materials. (Phase 2 of Meat Collectives Across America would be to actually develop all of these manuals, training opportunities, and other educational materials and put them online.)

Website redesign costs: $10,000 ($5,000 for backend work; $5,000 for front-end design work)

Goal #3: Create marketing materials (i.e. also your Kickstarter rewards) for our new Meat Collectives to adapt and use.

Why should you fund your own reward? Because these rewards will also serve as marketing materials that will help new Meat Collectives spread the word! Every movement needs good marketing materials. Scroll down for a preview of these marketing materials (and your Kickstarter rewards). Note: All marketing materials have been designed so that they can be easily adapted for, say, an Austin Meat Collective, or a Seattle Meat Collective or a Sydney Meat Collective!

Marketing materials costs: $3,000-$5,000

Three of these buttons could be yours: $50 Reward Tier
Three of these buttons could be yours: $50 Reward Tier
One of these stickers could be yours: $25 Reward Tier
One of these stickers could be yours: $25 Reward Tier
One of these magnets could be yours: $75 Reward Tier
One of these magnets could be yours: $75 Reward Tier
This limited edition tee could be yours: $80 Reward Tier
This limited edition tee could be yours: $80 Reward Tier
A set of three "Vintage" PMC postcards could be yours: $125 Reward Tier
A set of three "Vintage" PMC postcards could be yours: $125 Reward Tier
A PMC "Meat Skills" Scout Book could be yours: $200 Reward Tier
A PMC "Meat Skills" Scout Book could be yours: $200 Reward Tier
A "Totem Animal" Art Print could be yours: $300 Reward Tier
A "Totem Animal" Art Print could be yours: $300 Reward Tier
This PMC Apron could be yours: $500 Reward Tier
This PMC Apron could be yours: $500 Reward Tier

The Portland Meat Collective has not only inspired a local meat education movement, we've inspired an alternate meat economy here in Oregon. It's our sincere hope that, with your financial backing, we can begin to inspire people in other communities to do the same.

We take your decision to give money to this movement very seriously. If you have any questions about our plan, email us, call us, write us, or post a comment in the “Backers” section on this Kickstarter page. We appreciate your interest in being a part of the Meat Collectives Across America movement and would be more than happy to explain any of this further!

Thank you for your support and your interest in us!

How Kickstarter Works:

Pledge any amount you’d like and choose one of the listed incentives as your reward. If the total pledges meet our $25,000 goal by the end of our Kickstarter campaign, the credit cards of our pledgers will be charged and we’ll receive the funds. If we don't meet our goal, your pledge money won’t be withdrawn from your account and no incentives are provided. If we exceed $25,000 in pledge money, we’ll use the extra funds to pay for Phase 2 of our Meat Collectives Across America project. (Phase 2 of Meat Collectives Across America would be to actually develop all of these manuals, training opportunities, and other educational materials and, when appropriate, to put them online.) You can also increase your pledge once it’s been made. If you want to increase your pledge amount, sign in to Kickstarter and access our campaign page. The green “Back This Project” button on our page will have been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click this to enter a new amount.

Can we exceed the goal?

Yes! We’ll receive all money pledged before our campaign deadline.

How do we contact you?

Contact us at info@pdxmeat.com. You can also post questions on this page by clicking on "Comments" at the top of the campaign page.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The Portland Meat Collective is a "We" in many ways. It's a group of consumers and students and teachers and farmers all working together to create a new vision of meat production, education and consumption in America.

But it's also run by one "I." That would be me, Camas Davis. And the PMC is only one of three things I do to make a living. This means, I'm pretty busy. Which means my main challenge is time.

Here's what I plan to do to make sure I have enough time to achieve this campaign's goals:

1) I will need to hire a few people to start running the Portland Meat Collective without me, which will free me up to really focus on helping others to start their own Meat Collectives.

2) In the course of overhauling the PMC website, I plan to add an e-commerce component that will automatically track student registration and payment. This will greatly reduce the amount of time I spend on the computer crunching numbers, manually invoicing students, and answering emails. This e-commerce component will not only be beneficial to the PMC, it will be a model for all Meat Collectives to use on their website if they wish.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    63 backers

    Our eternal thanks. Plus, Daily Meat Haikus, crafted by PMC founder Camas Davis, will be emailed to you for the duration of the Kickstarter campaign.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    85 backers

    One "Keep Meat Real" PMC Sticker + Daily Meat Haikus for the remainder of this Kickstarter campaign

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $50 or more
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    23 backers

    One "Keep Meat Real" PMC Sticker + a trio of PMC buttons + Daily Meat Haikus for the duration of this Kickstarter campaign.

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  • Pledge $73 or more
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    28 backers

    If just 10 people each day pledges $73, we'll meet our funding goal by May 3! What do you get in return? One free duck prosciutto lesson (in person or over Skype)! Learn how to turn a simple duck breast into the best charcuterie you'll ever eat with just a little salt, sugar, and time. If you live in Portland, you'll go home with your very own duck breast to cure at home!

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    7 backers

    One "Keep Meat Real" PMC Sticker + a trio of PMC buttons + One "Fill This Fridge" Magnet + Daily Meat Haikus for the remainder of the Kickstarter campaign

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  • Pledge $80 or more
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    31 backers Limited (19 left of 50)

    One very soft, deep heather T-shirt with our Meat Collectives Across America logo on it!

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  • Pledge $125 or more
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    7 backers Limited (1 left of 8)

    I'm partnering on a very exciting educational project that will become a great part of the Meat Collective's arsenal of awesome outreach materials. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a secret right now until the products of this project are for sale at the beginning of summer. Despite that, I'm offering a sneak-peek version of it as a reward for your $125 pledge. $125 gets you three limited-edition, screen-printed proofs of the project. Hint: Duck - Pig - Rabbit. Each of the three "Animal" proofs is printed on 5x8 heavy cardstock. This handsome print combo will look amazing on your wall! Trust me. And you'll be able to say you have one of the original proofs of said secret project once that project is unveiled! To see a preview, go to our update section and read Update #21!

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  • Pledge $125 or more
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    3 backers

    A set of three "Vintage" letter-pressed PMC Postcards : 1) "Real Meat Needs You" 2) "Proper Meat For a Prosperous Future" 3) "Good Meat, Old Glory"

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  • Pledge $135 or more
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    5 backers All gone!

    Trusted PMC farmers, Bubba and Sarah King, who run their own vegetable and chicken CSA under the name “The Collective” in Newberg, have generously donated a new reward! They raise truly free-range chickens out in Newberg, Oregon. Their birds usually go for around $4 a pound. They are willing to give each of the next 5 people who pledge $135 a free chicken butchery lesson. If you live in the Portland area/Newberg area you’ll get to take home your own (quartered) bird at the end of the lesson! If you live elsewhere they’ll do it over Skype and you’ll have to be okay with a virtual bird. This is no small thing for farmers to donate! In addition to being amazing farmers, they are also amazing teachers! This is a very exciting reward!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $200 or more
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    3 backers

    One "Meat Skills" Scout Book. Great for note taking at a Meat Collective class!

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  • Pledge $300 or more
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    3 backers

    One Screenprinted "Totem Animal" Art Print

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    3 backers

    One Screen Printed Portland Meat Collective Canvas Apron + a digital copy of our upcoming "How to Start a Meat Collective" basic guide. (Apron to ship June, 2013; Guide to be emailed September 2013)

    Estimated delivery:
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  • Pledge $700 or more
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    0 backers

    One Screen Printed "Totem Animal" Art Print + One Screen Printed Portland Meat Collective Canvas Apron + a set of three "Vintage" letter-pressed PMC Postcards + One "Meat Skills" Scout Book.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    A spot in a PMC Sausage Class plus a PMC apron! IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN OR NEAR PORTLAND AND CANNOT VISIT: We offer you any combination you prefer of each of the rewards for the $700 tier or lower, plus a one-hour phone or Skype conversation with Camas Davis about the art of sausage making (let's keep it G-Rated, folks), plus three of the PMC's tried & true sausage recipes handwritten on three separate "Vintage" PMC postcards .

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  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    0 backers

    A spot in one of our pig butchery classes and an apron. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN OR NEAR PORTLAND AND CANNOT VISIT: A 1-hour phone or skype conversation with Camas Davis about the art (politics, culture and economics) of pig butchery + any combination of rewards from the $700 or under tiers + three of the PMC's favorite pig recipes, handwritten on three separate "Vintage" PMC postcards.

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  • Pledge $3,000 or more
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    0 backers

    One spot in a PMC sausage class + one spot in a PMC pig class + a PMC apron + a "Meat Skills" Scout Book. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN OR NEAR PORTLAND AND CANNOT VISIT, BUT YOU LIVE CLOSE ENOUGH (within 300 miles, give or take) FOR US TO DRIVE TO YOU: One private sausage class for you and two of your friends plus a PMC apron. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE CLOSE ENOUGH: A sincere promise to reserve you a spot in the first Meat Collective Sausage Class and Pig Butchery Class that happens near you + any combination of rewards from the $700 or under tiers. This latter reward may require a small amount of patience and faith.

    Estimated delivery:
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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    1 backer

    One spot in a PMC sausage class + One spot in a PMC pig butchery class + One spot in a PMC Duck butchery & charcuterie class + a PMC apron + a "Meat Skills" Scout Book. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN OR NEAR PORTLAND AND CANNOT VISIT, BUT YOU LIVE CLOSE ENOUGH (within 300 miles, give or take) FOR US TO DRIVE TO YOU: One private sausage class and one private duck butchery & charcuterie class for you and two of your friends plus a PMC apron and scout book for each of you. IF YOU DO NOT LIVE CLOSE ENOUGH: We can offer you a sincere promise to reserve you a spot in the first Meat Collective Sausage Class, Pig Butchery Class, and Duck Butchery Class that happens near you + any combination of rewards from the $700 or under tier. This latter reward may require a small amount of patience and faith.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
Funding period

- (30 days)