A Destination Farmers Market in the Shenandoah Valley
A Destination Farmers Market in the Shenandoah Valley
The Mount Jackson Farmers Market will be a DESTINATION farmers market located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.
The Mount Jackson Farmers Market will be a DESTINATION farmers market located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Read more
About this project
Recipe for Community Revitalization and a great destination place:
1 part Locally Grown Food
1 part Small Business Incubation
1 part Community Sustainability
1 part Historic Preservation
1 part Urban & Rural Revitalization
Lots of Community & Lots of Hard Work
If you love farm fresh produce, pastured meats, and community living, then you'll love the Mount Jackson Farmers Market.
The Mount Jackson Farmers' Market is us - Gerald, Tara and Mitch Forsburg; our vendors; and YOU!
HELP MOUNT JACKSON GET A DESTINATION FARMERS' MARKET
We're surrounded by a multitude of farms, many of which are adopting progressive farming practices and supplying REAL food, but access is still quite limited to local community. The Mount Jackson Farmers Market will bring the Valley's best within reach to YOU!
"With some of the richest farmland in America, the Shenandoah Valley can again become the breadbasket of the East Coast as a center of the new organic, healthy food economy. This can help spur local services, cottage industries, and clean manufacturing." (Transition Staunton)
The need is for a single place for farmers and artisans to present their hard work; a community gathering place to enjoy each other and good food; and the adaptive re-use of the largest vacant building the Downtown Historic District.
What's a Destination Farmers' Market?!
It's a Farmers' Market, and MUCH more. This Market will be a year-round indoor/outdoor experience for the whole family; a community gathering place; and a place to learn all about REAL food. We'll be bringing you the freshest local food and best artisans, as well as educational experiences and entertainment.
$25,000 is the amount of most Economic Development Loans, and the amount we need to begin necessary renovations to open the doors. We need to provide a ADA ramp, accessible bathrooms and do a few structural repairs before we can open. Our Town codes also require a hard-surfaced parking lot, curb, gutter and sidewalk.
Every dollar pledged will build the community:
1. The project will create an affordable place for local farmers to sell their produce, and for local cottage-industry artisans to sell their crafts;
2. We will be purchasing needed renovation materials from Habitat for Humanity;
3. We will accept EBT (food stamps), therefore enabling low income families to purchase local, fresh produce. We have also applied to a program that encourages low income families to eat healthy by doubling EBT benefits; and,
4. We are giving 10% of every dollar we raise, above our minimum goal, to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
How will the money be used?
If we meet the minimum goal, the pledges will be used as follows:
- first for initial start-up costs, such as building permits, Town fees, including special use exception fees for number of parking spaces and signage;
- launch a much needed advertising campaign;
- a few necessary building repairs - the County requires an Accessibility Ramp, and the Main Beam of the front Canopy needs to be replaced;
- purchase a walk-in cooler for our CSA program; and,
- a Parking Lot! That's right, a parking lot. Town Codes require that our existing lot be hard-surfaced, with curbs, gutter and sidewalks, BEFORE we open the doors. Our parking lot will be an innovative GREEN & PERMEABLE lot - the first and only that we know of in the Valley. (More on this below.)
If we EXCEED THE GOAL, the funds will be used for restoring the building in order to provide the spaces necessary for local artisans and farmers. This is really the main goal of the project; the parking lot is simply a requirement that we cannot get around.
Here what's really needed:
Pre-construction (soft costs - permits, engineering) - $8,300
Phase I - An Innovative "Green" Parking Lot, to include Town requirements of curb, gutter, sidewalk and landscape buffering - $64,602
Phase II - Building Improvements, and marketing campaign - $238,510
Phase III - Coffee Counter, Lunch Counter, Commercial Kitchen for farmers to use to convert produce to value-added products and Hard Cider Brewery (okay, probably 5-10 years out on that last one...) - $478,500
- Grand Total - $789,912
Do we think we'll reach the grand total on KickStarter? Of course
not. But you can't say we haven't put forth a good effort. Nothing
ventured, nothing gained. Our rewards have been set to reach the Grand
Total, but we have settled on a much smaller pledge amount in order to
get started on the basic life-safety requirements, and allow us to open
the doors.Why so much?!The building is
9,000 s.f., and is on half an acre. $789,912 divided by 9,000 s.f.
equals $87.77/s.f. for construction, which includes site work, as well
as needed refrigeration equipment! Most commercial construction
projects like this average $150/s.f. and up for construction cost alone,
without site work.The real question is:
How can we keep the cost down so much?The answer to that question is that we will be doing a lot of work ourselves, and we will be using a lot of reclaimed and salvaged materials. Also, we will be purchasing materials from places such as Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and hiring local contractors when needed, so the PLEDGES WILL KEEP ON GIVING!
Mount Jackson is a great town that we deeply love. We intend to be extremely involved with local organizations and projects. Through donations, volunteering, and sponsorships, we hope to support and enrich our community.Our Rewards Partners:
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
Historic Belle Grove Plantation
The George Washington Hotel
What is Kickstarter?
- "If we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late
- If we act as individuals, it'll be too little
- But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time." (TransitionUs.org)
If we hit our goal, it will allow us to open our doors. If not, we will be delayed indefinitely.
Here’s whatcha gotta do:
Get an Amazon account. (All pledges are handled SECURELY through Amazon.)
Register here on KickStarter. All you have to do is enter your e-mail and create a password. There are no fees, other than the pledge.
Pledge $1 or more (your card will only be charged if we reach $25,000 by March 5!) Easy, huh?
Once the space is ready for use, we’d like to utilize it also as an outlet for local chefs, artists and musicians to showcase their talent!
So, pledge today and tell everyone you know to do the same! We only have 31 days to meet our goal - preferably the Grand Total Goal! It's an All-or-Nothing, so please spread the word. If you like certain rewards, you can pledge more than once.
With your help, the Mount Jackson Farmers' Market will be a truly rewarding experience and support local farmers and artisans.
Thanks & Cheers!
Gerald, Tara & Mitch
*10% of Pledges above our minimum goal will be Donated to the Shenandoah County Food Bank*
A: We are also now giving away an Apple IPod Touch (4th generation) IF WE REACH OUR MINIMUM GOAL OF $25,000. (Limited to the United States.) This offer is void if we fail to reach our minimum goal.
A: Since we've had a lot of requests recently about anonymity: If you'd like to be REALLY anonymous, and you live in Town, feel free to stop by First Bank on Main Street and ask your amount to be deposited to the Mount Jackson Farmers Market account. The tellers will have the account number ready to help you. We will see the deposit and apply it to our KickStarter Project. This will eliminate the need to use a credit card, and will ensure your complete anonymity.
Please note that because this ensures complete anonymity, rewards won't be able to be sent. Also, for tax purposes, be sure to check with your accountant about "gift" donations.
A: First, we're giving away some great rewards. Second, all projects on KickStarter are "for profit" ventures. Third, re-read how we're putting the money back in the community (first paragraph above). The funds we are raising here are just the first drop in the bucket needed to really make this a destination. Of course, we wouldn't be raising funds if we had them. Will we get rich off this? Boy I hope so! But, I can guarantee it won't be for years to come. What's most important is the economic impact this project will have on the community, small cottage industry folks, and the rest the other businesses in the area. If you need other reasons, you can read our updates here, or our blog on our website: www.mjfarmersmarket.com
A: Yes! At least we think we do. We've done our market research, and have compiled a 51 page business plan over the last 6 months, which has best, comfortable, and worst case scenarios spelled out in it. Like good food, quality businesses need to be grown carefully and deliberately. Without an overarching vision - a goal to shoot for - there is nothing to achieve. And whether a business fails or succeeds does not rest solely on a business plan. Everyone has to start somewhere.
A: Generally speaking, no. We are NOT a 501(C)3. However, check with your attorney. He or she may be able to advise differently.
A: We recently received the following question: "The town definitely needs something like this, so I'm with you in spirit. But before I'm with you in the wallet, I have a question. Who do you see as your customer base? How much is the local MtJacksonians, how much people who live up in Bryce, and how much is passers-by?"
Great question. We'll try to keep the answer brief, but this touches on an issue about which we are passionate. The Town has new sidewalks, parks, lampposts, pool house, etc., but those of us living in Town have to travel out of town to find a decent meal, clothes, entertainment and most everything. We attempt to "shop local" at all costs, but sometimes can't find what we need. We are thankful for the flower shop, the duck pin alley, and the thrift stores, and so on. Mt. Jackson used to be a thriving small town, with much more to offer.
The brief answer is that the Market's primary focus is specifically the local MtJacksonian. This is why we used the Town name in our name. If we can't meet the local demand/desires, then we will have failed. We are sensitive to the fact that the median household income is $35,800, and will therefore make certain that things are priced accordingly. We had a lot of great encouragement last summer, with folks from the community saying "These prices are cheaper than at the grocery store," and "we'd rather buy from locals than from the store." That's what we like to hear. We expect to have something for everyone, and, of course, would be foolish if we did not plan for the out-of-towner crowd, but that's not our first focus. Our overhead is lower, so we can keep prices down, while providing better quality.
The longer answer is that, the Town is now focusing on the new General Dollar, which means another empty spot at the shopping center, and more of the community's money going to China (I challenge you to find a single American-made thing in that store); AND on the southern I-81 interchange, according to the campaign letter I received from one of the councilmen that is up for re-election.
The letter reads, "Now that we have completed so many renovations [in Mount Jackson], we can start looking to future Mount Jackson projects and issues. In my mind the biggest opportunity is the southern I-81 interchange. This remains one of the last undeveloped interchanges in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. We have a real opportunity to turn this into a landmark tourist welcoming area. No immediate big development plans are underway, but this site has great possibilities—and needs encouragement coupled with careful guidance."
How are THOSE places going to serve the locals?! I suppose they will increase the tax revenue for the Town, but they're not really providing anything to the locals. What local needs to go to a tourist welcoming center? The Dollar General is not going to be providing that many more jobs, as its main goal is simply to get out of the shopping center because they want to offer more food, and the Shopping center's rules don't allow that. The plans for the visitor's center haven't been revealed fully, but we have reason to believe that it is a partnership with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields - likely to increase tourists to Town. So we support it for that. However, we need to have something IN TOWN that will benefit US, and the tourists.
We recently received the Mayor's newsletter. Perhaps our expectations are too high, but we would think that converting the largest and longest vacant building in the Downtown District would at least garner a bit more support from the Town officials.
When we use the term "destination" we want it to be a destination for locals first and foremost. THIS is our customer base. Though we'll be a bit different from, say, Dayton Farmers' market, I think that the model there is one that promotes local patronization.
As for passers-by/tourists, the thing that keeps tourists coming back is an honest, true experience - not something contrived or that they can get somewhere else (Cracker Barrel comes to mind.) We have the chance to be unique, and provide both local consumers and local businesses a place to meet. So, we're not about being something for tourists either.
We do hope to introduce a railroad theme at some point, considering the tracks are right out back, but that won't come into play until later. Right now, we just need to get the doors open and be taken seriously.
Any advice at how we can best serve the locals is welcome!
A: First, a portion of every dollar pledged above our minimum goal will go to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Then, the extra money will be used for the "Big Picture" renovations. The higher it goes the better the project gets and the faster the place becomes a true Destination!
A: Unfortunately, we can not accept PayPal. More information about this specific issue can be found here: http://../blog/amazon-payments-and-us-only. HOWEVER, Amazon has suggested that using prepaid credit cards will work, as long as you pledge $1 extra on top of the rewards tier you desire.
A: Mount Jackson is a quaint Historic Town in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, less than 2 hours from Washington, DC. We are located less than 2 minutes from Exits 263 and 279 on Interstate 81.
Home to several caverns, the New Market Battlefield, and a host of other tourist attractions, the Valley is known by visitors around the world who come here seeking history, beautiful mountains, and all sorts of scenic splendor. Mount Jackson, in particular, is known for its Apple Production.
A: Hard-surfaced parking lots are notoriously expensive to maintain, cause harmful environmental effects, and simply are not that pretty.
A hard-surfaced parking lot causes excess water to be dumped into the Town's sewer system. This water is carrying oils and other harmful pollutants that must be filtered mechanically. A permeable lot allows the water and pollutants to absorb into the soil on the site, and be naturally filtered.
Also, black asphalt, acts as a heat sink, therefore creating warmer micro-climates around the site.
Our proposed parking lot will not only exceed the requirements of the Town, but will serve to lessen the burden on the Town's water treatment plant, and will look pretty too!
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- (31 days)