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National Farm to School Network

News

Dream big, find your crowd of supporters

NFSN Staff Wednesday, June 10, 2015
by Marie Sayles, Projects and Partnerships Director for Barnraiser

The National Farm to School Network is partnering with Barnraiser, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to good food and farming projects, to elevate farm to school projects across the country. Visit our page at Barnraiser.us to learn more. 

Do you have a big dream of starting or expanding an amazing school garden, food or farm project? So did Chef Hollie Greene, when she teamed up with Lu Sutton Elementary School to improve the health of an entire school community – children, parents, teachers and their families – by teaching basic cooking skills focused on vegetables and fruits first. 

But school budgets are limited in how they can support food, farm or garden programs; even when the benefits of teaching children to eat well, grow their own food and connect with their local farms are now more apparent than ever. Traditional methods of raising money for extracurriculars can fall short, and while parent volunteers will come and go, building a community of supporters around a project is one way to secure dedicated funding and increase a project’s longevity. 

Teaming up with Barnraiser
Together, Chef Hollie and Miguel Villareal, the District’s Director of Food & Nutrition and National Farm to School Network Advisory Board Member, worked with Lu Sutton Elementary to find their community of supporters on Barnraiser, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to good food and farming projects. They launched the Joyful 12 School Project with a hefty goal of raising $20,000 to bring to life their vision to teach an entire elementary school to cook and eat more vegetables together. And they did it
Farm to school project ideas as small as $2,000 can be incredibly impactful for students, farmers and communities. What does your program need? To build a garden greenhouse, pay the nutrition education coordinator’s salary, design a new health and wellness curriculum, or get a farm to cafeteria collaboration off the ground? Crowdfunding could turn this idea into reality.
How to make the most of crowdfunding? 
  • Define your farm to school project: Your project can be anything from a new greenhouse to after school cooking classes.
  • Find your CROWD: Make a list of EVERYONE who would be interested in seeing this come to life. This is your crowd! 
  • Tell your story: Create a campaign page with photos, project description, simple budget and video. 
  • Offer rewards: Pull together a great selection of rewards. Think school auction here! Gift certificates from local businesses, handmade thank you cards, classes or workshops, a box of fresh garden produce, a party or event tickets.
  • Spread the word: Invite your crowd to support the campaign by sending out emails, flyers, posting on Facebook, etc., and don’t be afraid to ask, ask, ask your extended community to support your efforts. 
  • Expand your reach: Keep promoting until you reach your goal, then keep going! There is no limit to what you can raise if the campaign builds enough momentum.
Crowdfunding platforms are a great way to reach your local school community and a wider online audience that shares your desire to connect students to good food and local farmers to new market opportunities. Look for a platform that helps you find your crowd and offers support in promoting your campaign. 
Chef Hollie Greene and Miguel Villareal serve healthy food samples at Lu Sutton Elementary School. 
(Photo courtesy of JoyFondly)      
Why Barnraiser?
Raising money takes work and the team at Barnraiser is here to help! As your advisors, consultants and cheerleaders, we will review your project and give feedback before the campaign, then offer encouragement and suggestions as you work your way toward your goal. Our staff is comprised of professionals from the front line of the good food movement, including trained chefs, organic farmers, school gardeners and more. 
We are committed to your success because we believe that your work is what is going to change our food system for the better. Our 70% project success rate doubles that of other crowdfunding platforms and our growing Barnraiser audience is ready to support your project, too. Discover successful Barnraiser campaigns including Lettuce Learns and Yountville Community Garden. Remember, when the community comes together and one farmer gets a new barn, the whole community gets better food. Let’s raise some barns!
Marie Sayles, Projects and Partnerships Director for Barnraiser, can be reached at marie@barnraiser.us. Learn more and launch your campaign at Barnraiser.us



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