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Revolutionizing access to healthy food by equipping everyone with what they need to grow a garden-- and grow hope.
239 backers pledged $21,547 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$21,547

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Background

For nearly ten years, Growing Hope has been helping people improve their lives and communities through improved access to fresh fruits and veggies. From after-school nutrition & garden programs to training people for community garden leadership to managing an urban farmers market, Growing Hope is always formulating new ways to inspire, educate, and empower communities-- starting in our home in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and radiating out from there.

For the past four years, we’ve installed 170 above-ground, raised-bed vegetable gardens with low and no-income families at their homes, enabling people with limited financial means to grow fresh produce. This year, for the first time ever, we will be offering similar garden installation services for pay available to the general public, as well as a selection of garden-goods from seedlings to raised bed kits and more. This kickstarter project will will allow us to make a fundamental shift in how we and most nonprofits run, by generating sustainable revenue to help our community grow, without being dependent on sources like grants.

Our home-- the Growing Hope Center-- on Michigan Avenue (aka US-12 that goes all the way from Detroit to Chicago!)
Our home-- the Growing Hope Center-- on Michigan Avenue (aka US-12 that goes all the way from Detroit to Chicago!)

Why You Should Support Us

There are many reasons to support Growing Hope on Kickstarter.  Here are some of the best:  (And note: Because we're a 501c3 nonprofit, your pledge is tax deductible, minus the value of the reward you get-- we'll send you the documentation once the campaign is over.)

  • The sales of garden goods and services will allow us to provide similar services-- garden installations, supplies, and support-- to those in our community who can’t afford to pay. That for us is social enterprise at its best.
  • We are making food gardening an accessible idea for everyone, with products and support designed to ensure each gardener’s success. No one makes a better advocate for fresh, local food than the gardener who eats his/her own produce, and shares leftovers with friends and neighbors.
  • We’re shifting our model so that we can actually sustain and grow our impact. By launching this social enterprise (still housed within our 501c3 nonprofit), we develop an ongoing revenue model to bring in income for more and more families to grow.
  • When we’ve tried and refined our business model, we’ll share the basics of it with other communities or organizations, in the hopes that backyard gardens, and the wonderful veggies grown in them, will return to being the norm in every neighborhood, like they were only a few generations ago. The impact will spread as the revenue model succeeds in more and more places.

In order to make our business cost-effective and sustainable, we’re going to convert a diesel pickup truck to run on waste vegetable oil, and seek out some local storage and shop space for supplies. Service and delivery-based businesses are hard to be profitable because of the rising fuel costs, so this strategy is another part of our formula for success. That’s where you come in. Your money will help us take a waste product from unhealthy food produced right here in our community, and use it to deliver the tools people need to grow their own healthy food.

One four by four foot raised bed can raise a lot of food; low-income families we work with raised an average of 90 servings of veggies in just three beds like this- in one season!
One four by four foot raised bed can raise a lot of food; low-income families we work with raised an average of 90 servings of veggies in just three beds like this- in one season!

What You're Funding

We’re not asking for general business start up support; we have some seed funding that's supporting staffing, marketing, and some infrastructure. It doesn't get us all the way, though.  We need $20,000 of support for several key things to get us growing this spring:

1) Support the truck conversion and build out the waste-veggie-oil filtering and storage systems.  There isn't a local facility filtering oil for direct grease vehicle use right now, so we've got to invest in setting it up ourselves... The potential impact may be beyond our enterprise-- hopefully it will pave the way for others who want to have grease vehicles to have a system and source for fuel in our community.  

2) Install veggie gardens for free with 20 low-income families. Because we’re focusing on long-term enterprise planning, we don’t have grant funding for the low-income families we want to help grow this spring. As we get our revenue streams flowing, we need help supporting these families before our enterprise is fully off the ground.

3) Build 40 more grow light stands and seed starter kits, to be adopted by 100 households in our Seed Starting Squad, who grow more than 8000 seedlings for us! We’ve had to up our scale of this operation to meet the needs in our business plan.

With a spring 2013 launch, we can show our supporters that this kickstarter investment has quantifiable results within just a few months!

Our grow light stands for seedlings-- our own design!
Our grow light stands for seedlings-- our own design!

Risks and challenges

We know that the conversion of a large pick up-- that will be hauling heavy stuff (compost weighs a lot)-- into a grease vehicle is going to bring with it a learning curve. We've been consulting with some grease vehicle experts in Michigan and Pennsylvania about this, and they're helping us make sure to pick the right truck to buy. We're doing this kickstarter in part because our original business plan didn't take into account the level of pre-filtering needed for a larger ton vehicle, and we may have underbudgeted for initial maintenance costs, especially while we're still in our learning curve. We realize that this will take time to set up and a learning curve with its maintenance, so we're purchasing the truck in March, but will spend a few months running it on diesel before converting it, to make sure we have our grease process and systems fully up and running. We're excited to have engaged a few grease experts as key advisors and know that will be crucial to help us get over any humps.

Also, we also have to build up our supply of used grease, and know that many restaurants are in contracts with grease haulers; we feel like our strong relationships and reputation in the local food world will help convince owners to switch to giving us our grease, but we know that figuring out the exact amount we'll need, adequate storage, etc will take time.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    We'll send you a Fueled by Veggies Growing Hope 1” pinback button.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Handmade with love by Growing Hope staff felt veggie ornament or (also handmade by us) Fueled by Veggies Growing Hope 2-1/4” bottle opener.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Customized 2-1/4” magnet, button, or bottle opener that says "I heart

    " (fill in with your favorite fruit or veggie-- and we’ll put a photo of that in the blank!). Or, choose a 1” Growing Hope zipper pull.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Your choice of our very cute 6 month organic cotton baby onesie that says “eats local”, or our half-size canvas garden apron that says “gets dirty.”

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Your choice of seeds for a Kitchen Garden Kits-- we’ll send enough seeds to fill a 4 foot by 4 foot garden bed with delicious edibles! Choose from Classic Kitchen Garden, Eat Your Greens, Salsa Square, or Early Harvest. In climates like the Midwest US, some seeds need to be started indoors; others can be planted right outside. Plus, a personalized 4” x 4” anodized aluminum sign, with holes for hanging/mounting, that says “

    ’s Garden”-- you fill in the blank and have a personalized little garden entrance marker! Material is weatherproof and will last for years.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Enjoy a 45 minute shopping companion at one of Growing Hope’s farmers markets in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Your guide-- one of our staff, board, or expert volunteers, will accompany you to help you choose your bounty (we’re not buying-- just being an expert advisor!), and give you ideas for how to use fresh & local produce. Plus, we’ll find and print out for you two favorite recipes for the fresh veggies of your voice.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Personalized square foot sign (12” x 12”) out of anodized aluminum with holes for hanging/mounting – personalized with a name, filled into “

    ’s Garden” or “Home of

    ” or “Cabin of

    ” (or a similar other single word.)

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hour long coffee or tea with Growing Hope founder and executive director Amanda Edmonds, to happen within 15 miles of Ypsilanti, MI. She’ll buy you one drink-- you're on your own after that.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Set of 16 personalized 3” x 3”anodized aluminum plant markers! We’ll put “____’s Garden”-- you fill in the name-- and tell us up to 16 names of the plant… We’ll drill a few holes so you can attach it to a stake, hang it, etc.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Enjoy a 60 minute shopping companion at a garden center/home improvement store/farmers market of your choice within 25 miles of Ypsilanti, Michigan to help choose your organic gardening products and projects! Your guide-- one of our staff, board, or expert volunteers, will accompany you, and do their best to help you navigate the choices!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Private garden consultation for your food garden! We’ll spend up to 3 hours with you in person (in Southeast Michigan within 50 miles of Ypsilanti), over email, or on video chat helping you plan your garden, including time we spend doing research and gathering materials for you! We can’t provide you with a drawn out plan, but can provide you lots of expertise and resources.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Clifford, our educational Truck Farm (yes, a garden in the back of a pick up truck), will do a 1 hour visit within 20 miles of the Growing Hope Center, along with a garden educator who can provide a tour and orientation. Or, borrow our bicycle-powered blender for one day-- for a party or event (you pick up and return to Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, Michigan).

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Pizza from our outdoor adobe oven (that has a structure with a green roof over it!) can’t be beat! Enjoy a pizza party at our urban farm—the Growing Hope Center in Ypsilanti-- for up to 8, with an assemble-your-own style party. We supply the oven-master, pizza ingredients including fresh herbs from the farm, and dishes/tableware; you bring anything else you’d like to add. Date to be scheduled with Growing Hope, subject to site availability.

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

    Pizza from our outdoor adobe oven (that has a structure with a green roof over it!) can’t be beat! Enjoy a pizza party at our urban farm—the Growing Hope Center in Ypsilanti-- for up to 15, with an assemble-your-own style party. We supply the oven-master, pizza ingredients including fresh herbs from the farm, and dishes/tableware; you bring anything else you’d like to add. Plus, we’ll have our bicycle-powered blender for fun smoothie (or mix-drinks, for grown-ups—BYOB) out for the party, and will supply basic ingredients for fresh smoothies. Date to be scheduled with Growing Hope, subject to site availability.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Private dinner in our Growing Hope Center urban farm’s hoophouse for up to 8. Imagine light strung around and plants nearby. We’ll cook a lovely meal from local, seasonal foods and serve to your guests in this unique outdoor setting. BYOB.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Our founder and executive director, Amanda Edmonds, will travel anywhere in the US and spend one day teaching, training, consulting, or presenting/public speaking as you wish! An expert in community & school gardening, urban agriculture, strategic planning, farmers markets, environmental education, food security/local food systems, and much more, she’ll customize her visit. She can speak in front of large audiences or consult with small ones, or facilitate planning processes. Scheduling necessary well in advance.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Name our grease truck! Think of it like naming a boat—it’s not meant to be a corporate sponsorship or naming, but choose your favorite name—in homage of a person, a pet, or whoever else you’d like, and we’ll put it across the front. We reserve the right to reject any name that might be profane or have negative consequences for us. The grease truck (which we’re shopping for now, and won’t be brand new and shiny) will join the family of Growing Hope vehicles, including Clifford the Truck Farm and Rosie the F-150. We’ll also do a professional photo session of you or someone you choose with the truck.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    If you’re within 50 miles of Growing Hope, we’ll lead the building for your school, community, congregation, or workplace a garden! If it’s a garden in a communal setting, we hope others will get involved in the building, too, but we’ll bring as much labor as is needed. We’ll build the garden using 4x4 foot 8 inch tall untreated wood raised beds-- we’ll provide the beds (up to 20 4x4 beds, or up to 10 4x8 beds), compost/soil to fill them, and woodchips for pathways. Fences or more are up to you. And, to help your project succed, we’ll also provide up to 8 hours of consultation—whether helping with curricula integration at a school, or providing garden education, or training your team how to manage a community garden—we’ll customize for you.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Our founder and executive director, Amanda Edmonds, will travel anywhere in the US and spend two days teaching, training, consulting, or presenting/public speaking as you wish! An expert in community & school gardening, urban agriculture, strategic planning, farmers markets, environmental education, food security/local food systems, and much more, she’ll customize her visit. She can speak in front of large audiences or consult with small ones, or facilitate planning processes. Scheduling necessary well in advance.

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Funding period

- (44 days)