Bellingham Schools Go Local, Turn To ‘Farmraising’ To Fund Garden Program | KPLU News for Seattle and the Northwest
Great story on FarmRaiser from KPLU:
Candy bars and cookie dough are some of the traditional fundraising offerings for school kids. But with concerns about childhood obesity, selling sweet stuff sends a mixed message. Now, some schools are taking a healthier tack.By this time of year, lots of families with school-age children are experiencing fundraising fatigue.Mark Abbot is one of those parents. He was living in Flint, Michigan and helping his fourth grader sell mostly what they felt was junk food. It got him thinking there had to be a way to sell healthy, products, even things from local farms. He tried it out with a high school.“Folks we told … did not think the kids would be able to sell blueberries to families in Flint,” remembered Abbot. “It’s just not on their radar screen; It’s not something they normally buy at the grocery store — but it was so different and so fresh, that it was amazingly well-received.”A couple of elementary schools in Seattle also tried it, and the next thing he knew, he was in start-up mode with his company called Farmraiser. Instead of selling candy bars, kids send their neighbors to customized online markets where they can buy healthy products sourced within 30 miles.“What we try to have Farmraiser do is, not just compete against other candy fundraisers, but just get rid of that activity and have an activity that can actually be integrated back into the curriculum, if you want,” said Abbot.For example, in Bellingham, schools are using the money raised to fund gardening and cooking classes. Parent Stacie Moore says for a change there was no shame in soliciting friends to support her son’s class.“So I thought that was super cool to be able to offer that to people, you know, something that they might not buy, like fresh blueberry jam, and bam, you don’t even have to go to Skagit Valley to get it,” she said.For Moore, a happy byproduct of this new type of fundraising is supporting local farms.
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