The Growing Innovation project was inspired by farmers. At our small nonprofit organization, we work with farmers who amaze us everyday with their ingenuity and determination. Over the past 17 years, we've documented hundreds of successful farmer-led projects. We want to celebrate and share their innovative ideas by creating an online library and a new book.
The online library will include interactive maps of farm projects along with detailed plans, budgets, and other useful information. The book will feature some of the most exciting projects we've seen yet.
This project will benefit farmers across the country who are interested in starting innovative farm enterprises and developing new sources of agricultural income.
Do you like eating fresh, healthy food and supporting local farmers? This project will benefit you too! Better models for farmers = more financially sustainable farms = stronger rural economies = better access to farm-fresh food for all of us. We also have amazing rewards for project backers: books, photos, posters, t-shirts, and much more.
Pledge $75 or more and you'll receive a copy of the Growing Innovation book and more! The book will be a wonderful resource, and an inspiring and interesting look into a wide range of innovative agricultural projects. We plan to create a large format book with original photography that will be beautifully designed and solidly constructed to stand the test of time.
THE BOOK | To give you an idea of what your support will help create, here's one mock-up design for what the Growing Innovation book might look like. (We hope to let project backers vote on the final cover design.)
Can't decide? Chip in $5 or $10! We would be delighted if everyone who wants to support the project pledged $5 or $10 bucks. That's what this is all about, lots of people chipping in a little bit to make something big happen.
Why does this project matter? Because stakes is high!
To make a more serious point, success in agriculture is hard to achieve and harder to sustain. Tens of thousands of small farms go out of business each year. Those that make it often survive on precarious margins. To succeed, most small and mid-scale farmers need to innovate constantly. That’s why farmers go to other farmers for new ideas more than any other source, but most farmers are limited to only a few sources of inspiration.
The online library will provide an especially useful resource for beginning and transitioning farmers. Beginning farmers will find a rich storehouse of ideas for generating agricultural income. Transitioning farmers will find tested models and stories that they can relate to. Could this project be the seed bed for a national agricultural innovation library? It all starts right here!
PROJECT COLLABORATION | We're teaming up with Farm Hack, a fellow nonprofit committed to supporting small farmers and agricultural innovation. FarmHack.net is an open source community for resilient agriculture.
We will contribute all of the contents of the Growing Innovation online library to the Farm Hack website. (Check out the $5 and $150 levels for awesome Farm Hack rewards!)
ABOUT US | For 17 years, we've documented hundreds of innovative farm projects through our work as a nonprofit agricultural organization. These farmer-led projects have included a diverse bunch of agricultural enterprises and initiatives: a farm-to-table cooperative, a tool-lending library, dozens of farm inventions, ethnic produce projects, re-purposed poultry houses and farm buildings, transitions to organic production, and sustainable farms started by returning veterans.
More than 80% of the projects have been successful in helping farmers reinvigorate their farms. These farmers are at the forefront of agricultural innovation in production, marketing, and cooperative enterprises. Their hard work deserves to be documented both online and in a book.Jeremiah Dixon (video below) is a farmer we've worked with in the past and he's a perfect example of a farmer-innovator. He’s working hard to ensure that the high-quality food he produces will be affordable and accessible to members of his rural community.
Why do we need the funding and what’s it for?
Our timeline for completing this project is 2-3 months. We anticipate launching the online library and publishing the book by this summer.
$3,500 - Web design and development for the online library
$3,500 - Book layout, design, and production costs
$3,000 - Funds to cover the costs of creating the digital archive for Growing Innovation (technology needs, archivist's time, consultant's time)
$2,500 - Compensation for a GIS consultant to help us produce maps of all of the farm projects for the website and book. We'll produce a series of interactive maps for the website. We'll create print versions of the maps for the book with different layers of information (project type, region, economic information, etc). We'll also make limited-edition posters of the maps available for ordering on our website.
$1,500 - Reward fulfillment and project coordination (we will all be volunteering many hours to the project too)
Total = $14,000
Risks and challenges
Our main challenge will be setting up a good system for creating the digital archive from our physical files. We'll meet the challenge by recruiting someone with archival training to work with us on the project.
To ensure that our online library gets plenty of use once it launches, we’ll reach out to farmers across the country through our partnerships with other nonprofits and we'll share it widely.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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