HELP OUR LOCAL FARMS, AND HELP BRING NEXTDOORGANICS BACK!
The main reason that we formed Nextdoorganics was to be able to bring good food produced by small local farmers and food makers to as many people as possible.
Having a strong market for the small farmers to link into can help them survive despite the price pressure placed on them by the industrialized food system.
We understand how difficult this industry can be. Some of you may remember that in 2011, we started by growing all of our own food at a small family farm in New England, and bringing it to the farmers market in Bushwick.
Market costs, inventory waste, deer and insect damage, and the unpredictability of the weather all ate significantly into the small margins, and made this a very challenging endeavor.
Taking the risk to be a small farmer or food-maker is really a labor of love, that often goes un-rewarded, at least financially. The spiritual satisfaction may be worth it, but it’s incredibly difficult to maintain, so we see many small farms and food-makers fail with one unforeseen weather event or bad market year.
As we grew Nextdoorganics, we were able to bring over two million dollars worth of local produce from farms and foodmakers to our amazing customers in NYC. Unfortunately, the cost of renting space, packing and delivering this food to our customers in NY was too high for us to manage, and we ran out of funds in late 2016 before we could achieve a sales volume high enough that would allow us to stay in operations. None of our founding partners nor investors have ever made a return or even taken a salary, but profits are second to us, and the mission is first.
We’ve since re-engineered our offering to provide discounted memberships with other product companies that have a similar mission of supporting local farms. We are partnering with Farm to People and others, and there are more in the works.
As with any business, we have bills to pay. When we ran out of funds, some of those bills that were still due, were to our farmers. With over $100,000 of produce going out each month, our open invoices at any one time were quite high. It was our belief that we could re-grow our service back to a level which would enable us to pay these bills quickly, and while the Farm to People Fresh box subscriptions that we are selling now do help local farms, our rate of growth has not been fast enough to help as much as is needed.
OUR FARM PARTNERS.
In addition to waiting patiently for us to raise enough funds to pay them back, several of our farms have been hit with unexpected weather events and a generally challenging market due to the frequent business failures by start-up and restaurant buyers.
For that reason, we are running this campaign in order to directly fund our farms, who truly need as much support as possible in order to continue to stay in business. All proceeds up to our target go directly to our farms, starting with those in the most need. If we are able to raise more than our target, the additional stretch funds will go towards pre-buying inventory for 2018, developing new products in collaboration with the farms, and expanding our delivery and pickup options.
Although I would like to say that Nextdoorganics is the only one with an outstanding bill to pay, business failure in the food world is high, and many restaurant or food start-ups are high credit risk buyers, which is why we are committed to helping them recover. This campaign is about directly strengthening and buffering our local farmers who are out there every day committing to building a better food system at the ground up.
Why aren’t we using Kickstarter or GoFundMe or some other platform?
We need the maximum amount raised to go to our farms. These online crowdfunding platforms take up to 20% of the proceeds to fund “administrative” costs and while they can help to reach a wider audience, we are not looking to pull in strangers. We want to engage our community that will directly benefit for a stronger base of local farms. By hosting our own crowdfunding campaign, we don’t have to charge ourselves any administrative fees, and only have Stripe processing fees to cover, so we can really direct as much as possible to farmers like Maggie, who would benefit the most from this. Click here for a full FAQ on the technical details of this offer.
What will the funds be used for?
We are looking to raise at least $40,000, of which 100% will go directly to small regional farms and food-makers, to help ensure that they can continue to bring amazing produce to you in 2018, including Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, Star Route Farm in Charlottesville and Small World Food in Rochester. This money, going into the winter months will allow our farms to purchase seeds, equipment, and much needed infrastructure improvements. If we are able to surpass our targets, some of the funds beyond this target will go towards new product development and event planning, in collaboration with our partners. All contributors will receive regular updates with details on how the funds were disbursed to the various farms.
What do you get for your donation?
We want to support our farmers, and we want to be able to give you something in return. Since we are only selling on commission, we can’t give away free product, but we can provide an extra discounted membership, with a few tiers.
Give $500 or more and get a personal farm tour and dinner!
Funds will be held in a secure account and withdrawn every two weeks or as we reach our target goals at which point you will be notified and your digital purchase will be delivered. For two weeks after your payment is made, your order will be fully refundable at any time on request. Once the funds are withdrawn and delivered to the farms, the purchase is not refundable, although you will get your funds back in the form of store credits which can be used towards the purchase of product.
All donors will receive:
a thank you, with your name listed permanently on our web site if you would like it (we can also keep your name anonymous), and a report detailing which farms received your donation and what their plans are for the next season
IF WE REACH OUR TARGET, ALL DONORS WILL BE ENTERED IN THE CHANCE TO WIN FREE FOOD FOR LIFE! THE FIRST PLACE WINNER WILL GET 2 PACKAGES PER MONTH FOR AS LONG AS WE’RE DELIVERING PACKAGES, AND THE SECOND PLACE WINNER WILL GET 1 PACKAGE PER MONTH (must be within our service-able area)
** LOKA tokens will be paid out if we reach our stretch goal of $65,000 USD or if Lokaal.Market completes a successful ICO see details on LOKA tokens at Lokaal Market.