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CWRU Farm: changing the Cleveland foodscape. Using education and opportunity to impact the lives of food desert residents.
CWRU Farm: changing the Cleveland foodscape. Using education and opportunity to impact the lives of food desert residents.
204 backers pledged $34,514 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$34,514

204

All or Nothing

We are in our final big push to get funded! With just HOURS TO GO, if we don't reach our goal, we won't get any of the funds already pledged. 

We've just added NEW REWARD levels to help get us there. Contribute $500 or $750 towards the campaign and become a member of our 14 or 20 week CSA! You'll also receive our custom designed Kickstarter rewards! See the reward details in the column to the right. If 30 people join our CSA, we'll reach our goal!                    

                                                                                                        Great news! 

Kelly Services, the agency through which we will hire the employees funded through this campaign, has made an incredible and generous offer to aid our endeavor and to put more money towards helping the residents of Cleveland's food deserts. 

Kelly Services has offered to charge NO FEE for the first two weeks of our new hires' employment, which amounts to $608.00. 

Kelly Services has additionally offered to reduce the fee for the remaining weeks by $1.00/hour, which amounts to $1600.00. 

This means that if we reach our goal, we will be able to contribute an additional $2208.00 towards wages and/or fresh food for these employees! With this amount, some of the options are extending their employment beyond the proposed 18 weeks/ 20 hrs/week, or giving them an additional bag of produce to take to a neighbor. We are so grateful to Kelly Services for this generosity and support. 

Who We Are

We are the Farm Food Program at Case Western Reserve University’s Farm, located 10 miles east of the school’s main campus in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2009 the Farm entered a partnership with one of the pioneers for local sourcing of produce within the food service industry, The Bon Appetit Management Company. The result of this relationship was the initiative to establish a vegetable garden using organic methods on the Farm property. Such a project has strengthened our mission as a farm to research and experiment with sustainable growing practices, to provide educational opportunities around food production, and to develop a model for sustainable food production at universities with an eye toward being a vehicle for change in our food system.

Our program has expanded every year since its birth, and we expect 2014 to be no exception. We are increasing our growing acreage so that we can increase our reach, producing food for our expanded Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA), farmers’ markets, and wholesale accounts, including: The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; 7 on-campus dining facilities; and restaurants and caterers in the surrounding area. Above and beyond distribution to these venues, we will be growing hundreds of pounds of produce expressly for residents living in some of Cleveland’s food deserts. This is the heart of our project.

The spread at our weekly summer market
The spread at our weekly summer market

Our Kickstarter Project 

Cleveland has grown significantly in recent years in its dedication to the local, organic food movement, and urban farms and community gardens have been cropping up left and right. Despite this, there are still large populations of individuals living without access to fresh food. These residents, living in what are termed 'food deserts', can be up against a variety of factors, including income, geographical location, and access to transportation. To make matters worse, fast food chains and convenience marts tend to be more prevalent and accessible. Check out this awesome analysis posted by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition to learn more about the current situation of these areas in Cleveland.

This campaign is our pilot project to develop a program for food desert assistance, community education, and expanded distribution, working to change the way we grow and consume food in Cleveland. We, at the CWRU Farm, like to think that education opens doors and is the key to empowerment. Instead of simply giving away food to those who don't have it, we want to teach them how to grow it themselves, and to give them work for the season. With your help, the fundraising goal we have posted is the minimum needed to hire 5 individuals living in food deserts for 18 weeks, 20 hours per week, from about mid-May to mid-September. We can provide free transportation from the University, which is located in Cleveland proper, to the farm 10 miles east of the city. In addition to their weekly paycheck, we will include a family-size bag of produce, the equivalent of about $40 per week of fresh food. Additionally, since we believe education is a crucial part of changing our food system, we will be partnering up with local chefs to hold monthly instructional cooking demos for these employees for the duration of their employment. That way, as the season moves along, they will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of produce that is available at different points of the year.

These individuals will not only have employment for several months, but they will also have access to fresh produce for themselves and their families. What’s more, they will learn how to take these items from the field to their dinner tables. They will be involved with all steps of food production, from starting seeds in our greenhouse, directly seeding crops in the gardens, tending the plants, weeding when needed, and harvesting and marketing the produce through our CSA and summer Farmers’ Markets. By serving as their mentors at the farm, our intention is to equip these individuals with sufficient skills to grow their own gardens and to be able to make informed food choices in the future, while giving them access to fresh, healthy, chemical-free food all season long. NPR's show The Salt recently ran a story about this very matter. Check it out here to learn more.

We will be working with Famicos Foundation, a "not-for-profit housing developer and social service provider" located in one of Cleveland's food deserts, to ensure that we are finding and hiring the people who need jobs and fresh food. This foundation is actively involved in community development and outreach, working to help improve the lives of those living in Cleveland's underserved areas.

A summer CSA share
A summer CSA share

Breakdown of Fund Use 

In order to hire these individuals, we have to contract the services of Kelly Services Temp Agency, for which we are required to pay a small fee. Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95/hr and we will have to pay $10.99/hr to cover all federal, state, and local taxes, as well as the fee for Kelly Services. With this, below is our projected breakdown of where your contribution will go:

Employee Wage: $3,956.40/person for 18 weeks

Total for 5 employees: $19,782

Weekly Produce Bag: $720/person for 18 weeks

Total for 5 employees: $3,600

Kickstarter and Amazon Fees 10%: $3,209.

Monthly Cooking Demo (Including chef fee and produce): $1,000

Rewards and Shipping: $4,500

We are so appreciative of any support that you are willing and able to offer. Such a large issue takes the work of many, and we believe that we can make a difference with this project. We have the ability to change people’s lives; what we lack is the funding. Our fundraising goal is enough to genuinely impact the lives of the 5 employees, their families, and through them, their communities. If we can reach our goal and implement our pilot project, we will be ecstatic. If it ends up that folks want to contribute over our goal, we can help these individuals even more and possibly hire on additional employees. To give you an idea of our costs and the possibilities, here are some other numbers:

If we raise $50,000 we can extend the duration of their employment to 20 weeks, and their hours to 30 hrs/wk.

At $73,000 we can hire 3 more employees for 20 weeks at 30 hrs/wk, filling all of our needed positions through this project. 

Prepping for market
Prepping for market
Students volunteering in our largest garden
Students volunteering in our largest garden
Harvesting swiss chard for our CSA
Harvesting swiss chard for our CSA

Reward Details and Designs

Name a bee! 

Most honeybees are female worker bees. The drones (males) play an important role in building the population, but they don't live as long, and there aren't as many of them. That's why most of our suggestions are lady names! 

Suggestions:

Thum-bee-lina • Bee-atrice • Elizabeeth • Susan Bee Anthony • Queenie • Mrs. Buzzbee • Bee-yonce • Fizzing Wizbee • Justin Bee-ber • Bee-thoven • Shakespeare (to bee or not to bee?) 

CLE Veggie Button Designs

Farm Harvest Festival 

As this event is typically held for CWRU students, staff, faculty, and alum, CWRU affiliate backers such as those listed above will be invited to bring a guest along with them. 

Take a look at the link below for more details about the event.

http://students.case.edu/events/harvest/

Seed Starter Kit

Includes: 6 6-celled seeding cartons, 6 seed packets (72 seeds), 6 seedling markers, a How-to guide for sowing and growing your seeds, and enough potting soil to get you started. (Growing Guidelines best suited to USDA Zones 5-6)

Organic Cotton T-shirt

Front design 

Back design 

Farm Tour

Come out to our beautiful farm on one of the dates listed below for a full farm tour led by one of the staff of our Farm Food Program. Explore our permaculture spirals, high tunnel, greenhouse, cold frames, grape vineyard, mushroom cellar, hydroponics system, honey hut, apiary, berry garden, and outdoor vegetable gardens.

Select from one of the following dates: Saturday July 12, July 26, or August 9 

Classes at the Farm

Attend either 4 individual classes or 1 series of our Summer in the country, Autumn in the Country, or Winter in the Country classes at the Farm in 2014. Take a look at the link below to get an idea of the types of courses we have. Different sessions will also have various art and writing classes.

https://www.lifelonglearningcleveland.org/dev_students.asp?action=browse&main=Courses+by+Location&sub1=Squire+Valleevue+Farm&misc=360

Farm Dinner

Attend a delicious catered dinner in our historic Pink Pig and explore the farm as the leaves are changing and fall crops are coming in. We will have a local chef prepare a meal based around the produce we grow right on the property. You'll also get to enjoy a brief presentation about the project you helped to create and about the lives that you have changed.

*The date for this dinner is subject to change.

The Pink Pig circa 1940s
The Pink Pig circa 1940s

Naming Rights to a Growing Area

We'll name one of our growing areas in your honor, commemorated with an engraved plaque installed at the site, and we'll invite you out to the Farm to see the plaque on display.

The high tunnel
The high tunnel

Risks and challenges

Coordinating is always a challenge. With the number of people and organizations involved in this pilot project, including the temp agency, the shuttle service, our liaison to unemployed individuals in the food deserts, the cooking demo chef, and the new employees, there is ample room for communication breakdowns. However, we have been working with a variety of organizations for years and are confident that our experience with hiring seasonal and temporary employees will make our project feasible. There is of course the potential that the employees we hire will be unable to work the duration of the season or will find that working on a farm is an unsuitable fit. We recognize that farming is hard work—we do it every day—and we understand that it isn’t for everyone. That being said, we also have established contingency plans should we confront these issues.

The shuttle has been dependably working with us for the past six months and we are extremely flexible when it comes to working with schedules and individuals, both of which can be as unpredictable as Mother Nature herself, our other companion in this farming endeavor. We have experience working with her as well, and rise to the challenge of changing weather and working with the windows of opportunity she affords us for preparing the soil, seeding, transplanting, and harvesting. We are not ones to back down in the face of challenges such as these, and we are confident that we will be able to work with whatever comes our way. Thanks for your support!

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FAQ

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Name a bee! We have an apiary with tens of thousands of bees, but no one to name them all. Pick out your favorite name and we'll send you a digital certificate with a picture of your worker bee and her footprints.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Our sincerest gratitude expressed in a hand-written note on our official, staff designed and illustrated Farm Food Program stationary.

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    13 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You will receive a hand-illustrated and personalized thank you card along with a set of 2 CLE veggie buttons and special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited!).

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    30 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A set of 2 CLE veggie buttons, a hand-written thank you card, special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited!), and a 6-variety seed starter kit with instructions!

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    25 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A University Farm organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" T-shirt, a set of 2 CLE veggie buttons, special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited!) and a 6-variety seed starter kit with instructions.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Our 6-variety seed starter kit, one of our University Farm recipe books, a set of 2 CLE veggie buttons, a University Farm organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" T-shirt, special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited!), and a signed copy of our Farm History book.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Local reward: A complete farm tour and a gift basket to be picked up at the tour. Gift basket includes: all 3 or our cookbooks, a signed copy of our Farm History book, an organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" t-shirt, a set of 2 CLE veggie buttons, and freshly harvested produce.

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    Limited 6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    (Local reward only -- 100 mile radius) 3 hours with Farm Food Program Coordinator, Farm Horticulturist, and certified Permaculture Designer, Chris Bond, at your garden or Farm, divided into 1 hour of on site assessment and 2 hours of remote assistance. Your name will also be listed as a donor in our quarterly newsletter article about the campaign.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Attend 4 individual or 1 series of classes at the farm. Subjects range from growing your own food, to blueberry cultivation, to beekeeping. Also, receive a University Farm organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" T-shirt, a 6-variety seed starter kit, all 3 Farm cookbooks, and your name listed as a donor in our quarterly newsletter article about the campaign.

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    2 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Get a share of our CSA for 14 weeks! (mid-June to mid-September) PLUS an organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" T-shirt, 2 CLE veggie buttons, a farm cookbook, and special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited)!

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Get a share of our CSA for 20 weeks! (mid-June to end of October) PLUS an organic cotton "I put food in the CLE food deserts" T-shirt, 2 CLE veggie buttons, a farm cookbook, a complete farm tour (see dates below) and special recognition at our Farm Harvest Festival in October (to which you'll be invited)!

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

    An evening at the Farm: You and one guest will attend a catered dinner with all backers of this level. It will be held September 19, 2014* at our enchanting Pink Pig Building and will feature produce grown right on the farm. You’ll be treated to a presentation by a member of the Farm Staff to learn about the Farm Food Program, the individuals whose lives you have impacted, and the success of the project made possible by your contribution. After dinner, the gardens will be open for you to explore. We will also list your name among our Farm Donors in our annual report.

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  13. Select this reward

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

    You have the naming rights to either one of our Permaculture spirals or for our newly installed cold frames. We will engrave a plaque with your name and mark the chosen site accordingly. Your name will also be listed among our Farm Donors in our annual report.

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

    You will have the naming rights to our High Tunnel. We will engrave a plaque with your name and mark the site accordingly. Your name will also be listed among our Farm Donors in our annual report.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You will have the naming rights to our Berry Orchard. We will engrave a plaque with your name and mark the site accordingly. Your name will also be listed among our Farm Donors in our annual report.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You will have the naming rights to our recently upgraded Mushroom Cellar where we are currently growing Oyster Mushrooms! Also, you'll be invited to attend the Farm Dinner (see $1000 level), and your name will be listed among our Farm Donors in our annual report.

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Funding period

- (30 days)