If you think modern farmers are throwbacks to days gone by, guess again. Many are tech savvy and utilizing Web resources to grow their businesses. The latest seed of modernity to hit farmers? Crowdfunding.
USA Today reported on organic farmer Rebecca Bloomfield of Bloomfield Farm, who used Indiegogo to raise seed money…for actual seeds. "I was surprised about the amount of money that came in just a few days," Bloomfield told USA Today. "I guess it was just a gut feeling that crowdfunding would be a really good way to do it." To encourage support, Bloomfield put together an inspired video montage entitled, "How to Start a Farm in 5 Minutes," that encouraged a sense of community, hinting at the rewards to be reaped after the success of the campaign.
A Canadian family farm on Prince Edward Island have also turned to Indiegogo in efforts to raise $200,000 to save their farm. David and Brian Best's family have been farming on the island for nearly 80 years. Once a thriving region for potato farming, Prince Edward Island farmers have struggled in recent years thanks to climate changes toggling between not enough and too much rain. Issues like potato warts have devastated crops and prices for potatoes have dropped considerably.
The Bests can't get bank support, so they turned to the community, rather than selling the family farm. “When you’re in a box you’ve got to get out, you’ve got to think, you’ve got to broaden your thinking capabilities,” Brian said. “We’re in a crisis situation here.” They were able to wrangle support from their community with a local video production company making their video free of charge.
Farmers in other parts of the world are benefiting from crowdfunding campaigns as well. Paul Polack, author of Out of Poverty and founder of International Development Enterprises, is working on crowdfunding a solar pump that could help resolve farming irrigation issues in some of the world's poorest regions.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger