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We are growing! Help us grow more food, better, on more land, for more families
144 backers pledged $15,543 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$15,543

144

Our neighborhood farm needs your help so that we can continue to grow food and provide community programming in the future.

Who we are? / What place does our farm have in the community?

Earnest Earth is a 2 year old half-acre neighborhood farm located on Chicago's West Side in Garfield Park.  We grow nutrient-dense vegetables and herbs for neighbors, farmers markets, restaurants, and our CSA members (Community Supported Agriculture). We are students of a holistic approach to agriculture. Our practice is locally-rooted and ecologically-minded.

We are 3 people, Francesca Reinisch, Kerem Sengun, and Sarah Walter. We did not grow up farming but came to this labor of love from all different backgrounds.  Urban farming is at the convergence of many issues we truly care about: social justice, food freedom, health,  environmental justice, and land use politics. Francesca is interested in the connection between preventable disease and access to fresh food and when she is not farming she is working with moms and babies as a lactation consultant. She will be starting grad school next year to become a primary care Physicians Assistant.  Kerem (otherwise known as Earnest) is from Turkey and has veered from his study of economics and devoted himself to being a steward of the land and learning how to drive.  Sarah is a bi-lingual teacher, chicken mom, and an incredible cook!

3 of us @ 61st Street Farmers Market in Hyde Park/ Woodlawn
3 of us @ 61st Street Farmers Market in Hyde Park/ Woodlawn
what was before our farm
what was before our farm
laying the groundwork
laying the groundwork
look at us now!
look at us now!

We recognize the challenges facing Garfield Park are complex and multi-faceted. We are dedicated to creating a farm that works to address these issues in small but significant ways. We have transformed two lots that were vacant for several decades into gardens that are life-affirming and constantly evolving. In doing so, we have created a peaceful space for our neighbors that offers a direct and intimate connection to food and land. We provide free vegetables for our neighbors who have limited access to fresh and nutritious food.

Community is a central focus of Earnest Earth. Our farm is situated on a bustling corner and the work that we do is visible to anyone walking down the street. An hour does not go by without a neighbor hollering a hello over the fence and asking about what’s in season. The farm’s wild spontaneity continues to intrigue many neighborhood children who wander through the gate looking to play, explore, and help out. When school lets out for the summer, the farm can be mistaken for camp, where kids enjoy learning about the beauty of growing food from seed. This summer we will put on a free music camp for kids where they will learn from Chicago musicians. 

the garden crew!
the garden crew!
Steve in blue!
Steve in blue!

Why is it hard to be an urban farmer in Chicago?

- Water: There are no formal water access options for farmers in Chicago!

- Land: Access to affordable, long-term leases are hard to find in Chicago. Farming on city land is uncertain as urban farmers often lose their land to new real estate developments. We lost our garden land 3 years ago but have persevered and are now bigger than ever!

- Profit: Given our current food system, it is a challenge to earn a living wage selling vegetables that are grown from environmentally sustainable practices at a scale of our size.

- Labor: Nurturing a plant from seed to harvest using no-till ecological practices is labor-intensive (we do it all by hand!) 

- Soil: Much of the soil in Chicago is contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. We take great care to build, test, and maintain toxin-free and nutrient-dense soil. You think Chicago is flat? We have changed the topography of our lots, raising it up 3 feet above ground level with soil we have built over time!

Why we farm anyway? 

Despite its many challenges, our choice to farm in the city is intentional. We cultivate a space that builds community while it grows food and supports the environment. 


GOAL

We are proud of the progress we have made, but true sustainability of this project depends on some urgently needed infrastructural improvements. With your support, we will be able to make the necessary improvements that will allow us to sustain our farm and set us on a path to financial self-sufficiency. With your support, we do not defer our community programming to a day our financial anxieties are behind us.

Infrastructural/Material needs for 2019

Delivery Truck - Our farm van, Big Tubby, is moving to California! Help us buy a used pick-up truck for our weekly farmers markets, CSA and restaurant deliveries. We currently sell our produce in 2 markets on the west and south sides, have CSA pick-up sites in 4 different Chicago neighborhoods, and make weekly deliveries to restaurants throughout the city. A vehicle, like a pick-up, with a large carrying capacity is essential to get our produce where it needs to go.

Cold Storage - Last year we chilled, stored, and transported all of our produce in plastic coolers. It was inefficient, and severely limited what we could bring to market. 

Our 2019 crop plan promises a sizable boost in production. We will be growing over 40 different types of vegetables using intensive spacing. We will harvest 3 times a week, bringing in at least 100 pounds of produce with each haul. Plastic coolers won’t cut it for this volume. Nor will they offer us the adequate and consistent cooling to keep our produce at peak freshness. We need refrigeration and we need it quick.The season is already underway! We devised a cold room plan over the winter and began constructing the frame, but need your help to turn it from a wooden fort to an efficient refrigeration space. 

Lot Expansion/Hoop House - We’re expanding into a third lot in a big way! Our dear builder/architect neighbor Ryan took it upon himself to construct a large hoop-house on his lot. He has agreed to lease it to us. This expansion was not in our original plans and financial projections for 2019, but such an opportunity does not present itself often and we felt compelled to embrace it. Once fully functional, the hoophouse will exponentially increase our productivity in two distinct ways. First, the hoophouse will extend our growing season across frost dates. Second, the hoophouse will act as our nursery. By starting many of our crops indoors and transplanting them closer to maturity we will be freeing up valuable bed space all season long. 

In order to get the hoop-house fully functional for our farmwork we need the following:

-greenhouse fans and vents for good air circulation/temperature control.

-30cy of good quality soil and compost

-an efficient irrigation system

-funding to cover our use of the hoop house in its first year. The additional produce the hoop house will allow us to grow will not only finance future use of the structure, but will help  “keep us in the green” in the years to come. (Pun very much intended)

Community programing needs for 2019

Free Neighborhood Farm Stands - Yes, free. For those who need it. 

We operate in a food desert. When neighbors stop by and express interest, we send them home with a big bundle of vegetables. We want to improve on this informal practice by making our vegetable sharing more accessible. Starting this season, we hope to establish a reoccurring free farm stand on set days. Help us make these farm stands a reality by helping to fund the associated labor/material costs.

Community Events - Staying true to our mission to create community engagement through events on the farm, throughout the year we host parties, bonfires, and kids programing. We will also be partnering with neighboring organization Breakthrough Ministries to host Light in The Night, a recurring party that aims to promote peace and violence prevention by reclaiming spaces in Chicago for neighborhood fun. Please help us cover some of the costs of associated with putting on these events so they can be successful gatherings for many to enjoy!

Help us reach our goal, and be a part of this big beautiful thing!


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------------------------ DONOR REWARDS --------------------------

Pledge $10 or more - thanks for your love and support!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $20 or more -SHOUT OUT to you!

for your generosity, we're going to shout your name from the rooftops! or, better yet, on our social media. we appreciate you, and want the world to know!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $30 or more -free admission to our solstice party!

june 21st. be there or be square.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $50 or more - earnest earth tote bag

perfectly sized for your next farmer's market visit. Natural cotton tote.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $75 or more - soil building workshop

learn how to create clean garden beds on contaminated city soil and best practices in soil health. brought to you by yours truly, hosted at the farm!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $100 or more - ee tote bag + hand dyed farm socks

our brand new earnest earth market tote + organic cotton crew socks, hand dyed using plants from the farm (chamomile, nettles, marigolds, dandelion root, and more!) please let us know your size.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $200 or more - ee tote bag, filled!

Stop by our farmers market stand for a CSA share's worth of produce in your new Earnest Earth tote bag

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $250 or more -farm tour for you + 10 friends

Enjoy a city farm tour with your friends! We will show you the land that we cultivate, and the plants that make our little space special. After the tour, stay for tea, made from freshly harvested herbs and flowers.

...OR...

bonfire for you + 10 friends

Enjoy an evening with friends around the glow of the fire! We'll make sure the woodpile is tall and provide all of the fixins for s'mores!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $500 or more - we'll plant a tree in your name

We'll plant a native tree on the farm in your name, so your pledge can live on for years to come.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $1,000 or more - community free farm stand in your name

We grow in a low-income community where the closest "grocer" does not sell food that is not packaged. Most of the produce that we provide to our neighbors comes from regular drop-ins at the farm. With your donation, we will organize an official farmstand in your name, where people from our community can visit throughout the course of a day and receive an abundance of fresh produce for free!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pledge $3,000 or more - use our farm as a venue for your event!

throw a party, wedding, or birthday at the farm and have fun in our big green space! You provide the food and cleanup (Max guest capacity 70 people)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Risks and challenges

Its tough earning a living wage selling sustainably city-grown grown produce, but we are committed to doing this work. This past winter off-season we spent countless hours improving our production plan and daily practices and protocols in order to have an efficient and productive season. Based on our projections, with your help funding infrastructural improvements, we will be able to keep our farm thriving!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    thanks for your love and support!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    SHOUT OUT to you!

    for your generosity, we're going to shout your name from the rooftops! or, better yet, on our social media. we appreciate you, and want the world to know!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    17 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    free admission to our solstice party!

    june 21st. be there or be square.

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    14 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    earnest earth tote bag

    perfectly sized for your next farmer's market visit. Natural cotton tote.

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    33 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    soil building workshop

    learn how to create clean garden beds on contaminated city soil and best practices in soil health. brought to you by yours truly, hosted at the farm!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ee tote bag + hand dyed farm socks

    our brand new earnest earth market tote + organic cotton crew socks, hand dyed using plants from the farm (chamomile, nettles, marigolds, dandelion root, and more!) please let us know your size.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ee tote bag, filled!

    Stop by our farmers market stand for a CSA share's worth of produce in your new Earnest Earth tote bag

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    farm tour for you + 10 friends

    Enjoy a city farm tour with your friends! We will show you the land that we cultivate, and the plants that make our little space special. After the tour, stay for tea, made from freshly harvested herbs and flowers.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    bonfire for you + 10 friends

    Enjoy an evening with friends around the glow of the fire! We'll make sure the woodpile is tall and provide all of the fixins for s'mores!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    we'll plant a tree in your name

    We'll plant a native tree on the farm in your name, so your pledge can live on for years to come.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

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

    community free farm stand in your name

    We grow in a low-income community where the closest "grocer" does not sell food that is not packaged. Most of the produce that we provide to our neighbors comes from regular drop-ins at the farm. With your donation, we will organize an official farmstand in your name, where people from our community can visit throughout the course of a day and receive an abundance of fresh produce for free!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    use our farm as a venue for your event!

    throw a party, wedding, or birthday at the farm and have fun in our big green space! You provide the food and cleanup (Max guest capacity 70 people)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (22 days)