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Whirlaway Farm is a homestead farm focused on producing organically grown food and educational experiences for our community.
Whirlaway Farm is a homestead farm focused on producing organically grown food and educational experiences for our community.
321 backers pledged $28,411 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$28,411

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Welcome to "Whirlaway University"!

    A century ago in the United States, almost everyone knew how to grow, build, and make things. Produce was local, and there was an astonishing variety of it available. Gardeners and farmers alike saved seed and shared it with friends and neighbors. Food tasted different, because it was different. Things have changed. The art of growing, building, and making things by hand is being lost.

    My interest in these lost arts led me to a degree in landscape architecture, but after working in the field for several years, my heart led me to agriculture. I believe in making a difference in this world, and it seems obvious that our connection to the food we eat and the earth we live in is critical and is being largely overlooked by modern culture. I considered a graduate degree in International Agricultural Development, but the thought of being a policy wonk didn’t make my soul sing. I long to learn, live and teach by doing. I want to get my hands dirty. And I believe the most profound and lasting change starts with community. So I scrapped academia to become a farmer, and haven't looked back.

     As such, Whirlaway Farm is my dream and self-designed "graduate program"- where I aspire to create sustainable land management systems, incredible organic food, and a wellspring of knowledge to share with my community and beyond.  I live in a yurt, embodying the very definition of "living on the land".  I work around the clock with the generous assistance of friends to make Whirlaway Farm a living, breathing entity. 

Maxine & Francine, getting the farm party started.
Maxine & Francine, getting the farm party started.

THE WHIRLAWAY DREAM:

  • To be a sustainable, self-reliant homestead farm that raises fruit, vegetables, eggs, rabbit, fish, honey, and dairy using Biointensive, humane, and organic methods ,aquaponics, employing permaculture principles, and maximizing yields while minimizing impacts on the land. 
  • To actively engage with our community by hosting weekly work days where we open our farm to share labor, meals, knowledge, and belly laughs with our friends, families, and ever-expanding circles of seasoned farm friends and enthusiastic newbies.
  • To be stewards of our land and to promote stewardship through monthly workshops that educate and encourage our community to engage in the homesteading arts, including (but not limited to) growing and preserving food, raising and processing animals, and  creating handmade items of beauty or use.  
  • To constantly learn and experiment with various techniques and practices of plant cultivation, soil building, food preservation, animal husbandry, and creative re-use and recycling of materials so that we can create a model of "best practices" for this hot, drought-prone climate to share widely with others attempting to farm in similarly hostile environments on limited budgets. 

WHAT WE NEED TO MAKE THIS FANTASY REALITY!

  • Build poultry houses: a chicken house capable of housing a free-range flock 100 strong, a quail house with a pasture run, and a small barn & fly area for 2 dozen pigeons.
  • Construct a pond for a flock of ducks
  • Build a free-range, secure environment for rabbits
  • Build a commercial kitchen for packing/processing produce
  • Purchase a cooler for vegetables, eggs, meat & dairy
  • Build a greenhouse for starting seeds & housing our aquaponic system
  • Purchase a portable refrigeration unit to transport food to market
  • Install irrigation in our 5,000 square foot veggie plot and run water lines to livestock areas and greenhouse
  • Begin the organic certification process & obtain all necessary permits for selling animal products to the public
  • Obtain heritage breeds of chickens, ducks, and rabbits
  • Purchase several more Langstroth beehives and bee colonies for the spring

The Breakdown

While there are many more expenses and projects we would like to generate funds for, these are the most important at this time. Of course we have stretch goals, but we welcome donations in any amount and will be thrilled to reach our goal.

Risks and challenges

Starting a farm is shockingly expensive and difficult. The past year has been a whirlwind of activity and accompanying expenditures at Whirlaway, and there remains so much to do that it can be dizzying at times. There is always great risk in farming, because we are at the mercy of nature. Fortunately, we have a solid plan, boundless energy, and sufficient diversity on the farm to buffer against shocks.

We have chefs, butchers, and non-corporate groceries prepared to purchase the fruits of our labors, and now we need to scale our operation accordingly.

Your support is what will make the difference between this endeavor thriving and progressing at a healthy pace, or moving along glacially due to an ongoing thirst for working capital...

We are offering wonderful rewards at every level of support because we want to recognize how important YOU are to US. Everyone who donates will be thanked on our website and will receive all sorts of goodies crafted by our hands and hearts right here on the farm.

Because of the wild uncertainty involved in growing plants and raising animals, some of the rewards may be delayed by a few weeks from the projected dates, but we understand this from the get-go. We ask that you be patient and enjoy our updates along the way.

This project is SO exciting to us, and we are so grateful for the continued support our communities have offered. This campaign will allow us to reach an even broader network to share with.

The current hope is to host a huge Easter farm-warming party on 4/20/14 complete with easter egg hunt, piñatas, a petting zoo, and plenty of adult fun, too. All of our backers will be invited.

I wake up every day grateful to be here, doing my dream, and I am honored to have you along for the ride! Thank you!

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name on our website, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and our heartfelt appreciation

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A handwritten note, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and thanks on our website.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    45 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    An invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and 1 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Basket, containing at least three pounds of vegetables, greens, and herbs, and fresh farm eggs. For Austin residents only, OR a CSA basket can be donated to Capital Area Food Bank on your behalf.

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    Reward no longer available 35 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Thanks on our website, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, a handwritten note, and a tote bag made of re-purposed materials, stitched on site by Russell w the farm logo.

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    Limited 53 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A half dozen beautiful cascarones made from Whirlaway chicken eggs, dyed with natural dyes, a handwritten note, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and thanks on our website.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A T-shirt made in the USA, locally screen printed with the farm logo, a handwritten note, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and thanks on our website.

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    19 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and 2 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Basket, containing at least three pounds of vegetables, greens, and herbs, and fresh farm eggs. For Austin residents only, OR a CSA basket can be donated to Capital Area Food Bank on your behalf.

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A half dozen hand blown, naturally dyed farm egg Christmas ornaments, a handwritten note, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and thanks on our website.

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A simple care package from the farm full of very special, surprise items. I promise it will be beautiful, special, and sweet. May be wearable, edible, or some combination thereof.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Adopt-a-farm-animal! You get to name a baby chicken, duck, pigeon, or guinea, and you receive a photo of your adopted animal and card in the mail, plus periodic email updates about your special farm friend. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 7 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Chef's choice- An apron or grocery tote hand stitched by Russell, a dozen assorted farm fresh eggs (or hand dyed cascarones), a hand-written note, an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and our sincere thanks on the website.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  12. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular, and 4 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Baskets, containing at least three pounds of vegetables, greens, and herbs, and fresh farm eggs. For Austin residents only, OR a CSA basket can be donated to Capital Area Food Bank on your behalf.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A super deluxe care package from the farm. Will definitely include handmade tote, amongst other sweet surprises. Expect a smattering of special, precious items that will make you feel fresh off the farm.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    A Seat at The Table-- An invitation for one to a farm-to-table meal prepared by Adam Orman of L'Oca D'Oro and chef Fiore Tedesco of Franklin's BBQ & L'Oca D'Oro here at the farm using all farm-raised produce with music and wine pairings. Eat, drink, and make merry under the stars right here on the farm! You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 8 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A Seat at The Table-- An invitation for two to a farm-to-table meal prepared by Adam Orman of L'Oca D'Oro and chef Fiore Tedesco of Franklin's BBQ & L'Oca D'Oro here at the farm using all farm-raised produce with music and wine pairings. Eat, drink, and make merry under the stars right here on the farm! You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    An all-day fermentation workshop teaching Kimchi preparation, how to make Sauerkraut, and starting Kombucha. Kimchi & Sauerkraut to be prepared with produce primarily sourced on the farm. You will go home with jars of each, and your own kombucha start. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Adopt-a-Goat! Name one of our baby goats in the spring, and receive a share of goat milk or a goat dairy product- goat yogurt, chèvre, or feta. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  18. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A Seat at The Table-- An invitation for one to a farm-to-table meal prepared by Adam Orman of L'Oca D'Oro and chef Fiore Tedesco of Franklin's BBQ & L'Oca D'Oro here at the farm using all farm-raised produce with music and wine pairings. Eat, drink, and make merry under the stars right here on the farm! You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Two Seats at the Table-- An invitation for two to a farm-to-table meal prepared by Adam Orman of L'Oca D'Oro and chef Fiore Tedesco of Franklin's BBQ & L'Oca D'Oro here at the farm using all farm-raised produce with music and wine pairings. Eat, drink, and make merry under the stars right here on the farm! You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 12 backers
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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    A Night on the Farm-- A slumber party in the yurt for up to 4 people, including campfire dinner, games & storytelling, stargazing in the field, a hearty farm breakfast, and a morning on the farm. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 7 backers
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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Priority share in an 18 week CSA beginning in spring of 2014. May include dairy, eggs, or honey. We will offer a variety of farm products as they become available. Can be spaced out to every other week, if desired. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  22. Select this reward

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

    Bring the farm to your own backyard! Francesca will come to your home and design and build an edible garden plot for you and your family. Herb spirals, keyhole gardens, or other such beautiful permaculture inspired gardens are the name of this game. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Your own special event at the farm (approved in advance, of course), for up to 30 people. Suggestions--fancy tea party, children's party (with built in petting zoo), grown up picnic, yoga retreat, rustic wedding ceremony... Your wish is our desire. You will also receive an invitation to our Easter Farm Warming Spectacular.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  24. Select this reward

    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Your own private Idaho- ahem, I mean Homestead.

    Francesca will come to you, anywhere in the continuous United States, and spend a week with you designing and building out your own mini homestead farm including chicken coop & run or aquaponic system w mini greenhouse, compost pile, herb & veggie garden, specific to your site and your desire/capacity.

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Funding period

- (30 days)