On June 2-4, 2016, the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will take place in Madison, Wisconsin. More than 1000 farmers, food producers, policy makers, educators, public health professionals, representatives from nonprofit and government agencies, and others dedicated to the “farm to cafeteria” movement will be there. The conference will include a variety of workshops, addresses, and networking opportunities, all for the purpose of educating attendees in bringing local food to cafeterias and spreading a culture of food and agriculture education across their communities.
The term “farm to cafeteria” refers to the efforts made to bring healthy, locally grown foods and agriculture education to cafeteria settings, whether it is in K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hospitals, or prisons. Mirroring FarmRaiser’s philosophy, the movement works to support local food economies while simultaneously bringing fresh, healthy foods to the public. Cafeterias feed more than 40 million Americans every day during the school year. Many of those fed are children in public school districts. As the consequences of unhealthy eating become more apparent every day, it is crucial to make active efforts to bring nutritious options to our schools and beyond.
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.
Bellingham, WA has always been a leader when it comes to sustainability and healthy food, so it’s no surprise that it is the site of the first multi-school “Super FarmRaiser” featuring 14 schools from the Bellingham School District and Common Threads Farm. Parents, friends, and neighbors can support the Common Threads garden education programs at their schools by buying products they already know and love, like Tony’s Coffee, Acme Farms + Kitchen meal kits, and Bellingham Pasta Co fresh pasta.
Each school has its own campaign, but the funds will be combined to support all students who participate in Common Threads Programming.
|School Name||Market Link|
|Carl Cozier Elementary||https://www.farmraiser.com/campaigns/carl-cozier-farmraiser-spring-2016/|
|Happy Valley Elementary||https://www.farmraiser.com/campaigns/happy-valley-farmraiser-spring-2016/|
|Kulshan Middle School||https://www.farmraiser.com/campaigns/kulshan-farmraiser-spring-2016/|
|Silver Beach Elementary||https://www.farmraiser.com/campaigns/silver-beach-farmraiser-spring-2016/|
|Whatcom Middle School||https://www.farmraiser.com/campaigns/whatcom-farmraiser-spring-2016/|
If you live in Bellingham, or have students in one of the schools above, now is a great opportunity to support these amazing programs while getting something you know you’re going to enjoy.
For more information about the Super-FarmRaiser, see individual campaign sites or read the press release: Bellingham Schools and Common Threads Farm Lead with Healthy Fundraisers.
Your customer base is like an orchard: you’ve got to plant the seedlings and nurture them (and prune them) if you want a successful annual harvest. A mature fundraising business can introduce hundreds of customers to your delicious products each year, providing a steady source of growth for your company. However, that can take precious staff time and resources to create a fundraising program with specialized order forms, delivery logistics, and marketing to reach the right contacts at a school or non-profit. . . or you can start one today, in a few short hours, and start reaping the benefits.
If you follow these three simple steps, you can create healthy customer growth with your FarmRaiser membership.
1. Create an instant fundraising business by getting your products onto the platform. That’s right, your membership in FarmRaiser means that you can achieve in a few minutes what it takes many companies years to build: a school product fundraising business. All that you need to do is get your products in the fundraising market and make sure they look good.
2. Tell the world about it by posting a fundraising page on your web site — we’ve made it easy by creating a template that you can modify and make your own. Here are a couple of great examples from our partners who have figured out how easy it is.
|High Mowing Organic Seeds expects to do over 200 fundraising sales on FarmRaiser in 2016, building on their existing customer base||Terra Organics, from Tacoma,started fundraising sales in 2016, and is rapidly growing their business with school fundraisers|
| WANT TO SEE YOUR PAGE HERE?
|Rescue Recycle Reuse, from Los Angeles, just launched their fundraising business with FarmRaiser|
3. Turn 1 contact into 20 customer by announcing your fundraising business to your existing email list, or posting an update on your Facebook page. If one of your contacts signs up to host a FarmRaiser at their school, featuring your products, you’ve got the potential to generate dozens of new customers. Here are a couple of ideas to get your email started:
Need help in setting up your site, email marketing strategies, or have questions about building your fundraising business with FarmRaiser, contact Japhet Koteen, our Director of Partnerships and Marketing, at 206-326-9828 or by email and he can help you get the most out of your FarmRaiser partnership.
ParentMap, the go-to guide for Western Washington moms and dads, just published an article about FarmRaiser. They’ve also got a great set of resources for parents all over the country. You should check them out at www.parentmap.com.
You just completed a successful FarmRaiser campaign. It’s your last fundraiser for the school year. You raised a lot of money for your school, exceeding the fundraising targets you had set for the campaign. The family kitchens in your community are full of fresh local produce. You give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, and thank your fellow organizers and volunteers.
Now what? How do you keep your community actively engaged for the rest of the school year and beyond? The answer is communication, and there’s a new platform that can help you do that more effectively than ever before. It’s called SimplyCircle.
As you know, fundraising is not a “one-and-done” business; you can’t just ask people for money when you need it. Plus, you didn’t do a FarmRaiser campaign just for the money. You also did it to get kids to eat healthy, and to connect them with local farmers and artisans in your community.
The secret to keeping your community engaged long after the “high” of your last fundraising campaign wears off is consistent and effective communication.
That’s exactly why I created SimplyCircle. It’s an easy-to-use, safe and affordable online portal for schools, PTAs, clubs and other communities. I wanted to help community leaders like you engage your members more effectively.
As a parent of two young kids in elementary school and an active member of the PTA, I wanted to be in the loop. But I was often overwhelmed by too-frequent and disparate communications (emails, texts and phone calls). I didn’t like having to use multiple tools for newsletters, volunteer signups, and photo sharing. And I certainly didn’t enjoy the reply-all email threads, or the copying and pasting of information from emails into my personal calendar.
SimplyCircle solves all of these problems by offering a single platform – accessible from any device – that combines group emails, updates and newsletters with a group calendar, volunteer signups, a private and searchable archive of photos and documents, private messaging, and more.
Here are 5 tips for how you can use SimplyCircle to keep the momentum going after a successful FarmRaiser campaign:
#1: Share the results of your campaign with the community and thank your volunteers.
Remind the community what your fundraising goals were, and how much you raised. Tell them how you are going to spend the money that you raised. What programs will it support?
Thank your volunteers, either as a group or by calling them out individually. They poured their heart and soul into this event, and they deserve the recognition for their efforts.
#2: Share photos from the event.
Sharing photos from the event is a great way to preserve memories, and to keep your community engaged.
There’s nothing that parents love to see more than their kids’ photos and artwork. However, remember to get their parents’ permission to share the photos with other families at your school.
Rest assured, the photos that you share via SimplyCircle are private and secure, and only members of your circle can see them. (I’m a privacy-obsessed Mom of 2, so I made sure of that!)
But even so, you still need to get the permission – and it’s very easy to do on SimplyCircle. Just create a new task and attach a photo sharing permission form to it.
#3. Keep your community informed about upcoming events, and ask for volunteers.
You are done with fundraising (phew!), but there’s still the Teacher Appreciation Week, Mother’s Day, the spring parent-teacher conference, a field trip and a school concert. There are still minimal days when kids need to be picked up early, and teacher in-service days when the school is closed. . . the list of things to remember and organize goes on and on.
When you put an event on the SimplyCircle calendar, parents will get automated email reminders about the event on Sunday morning, and again the morning of the event. So nobody forgets to pick their kid early on minimum day, or to pack a lunch when there’s a field trip. Plus, nobody has to manually copy an event to their personal calendar ever again, as exporting events is a click of a button.
Many of the events need parent volunteers. With SimplyCircle, volunteer signups are integrated right into the event, and parents can sign up with just one click. And of course they are reminded about their commitments – no nagging required.
#4. Consider organizing some optional summer events.
School lets out for the summer (and that’s when parents’ work really begins!) Even with some trips and vacations, many of the families end up spending most of the summer in their local communities.
Consider organizing an optional social event, like a summer BBQ, an ice cream social, or a friendly sports game in a local park. With SimplyCircle, events have an optional RSVP feature, so that you never have to guess how many people you can expect and how much food you need to prepare.
Or you might want to organize a community service event for a local non-profit. They need your help and support year-round. You can set up a volunteer signup right on SimplyCircle. When you make it dead-simple to sign up, many more people participate.
#5. Get an early start on planning for the next school year.
Before you know it, it’ll be August and the new school year will be upon us. Getting a head start on planning for the year will make the back-to-school season less stressful.
Set up a new circle for your classroom, your school, your club, or your PTA. Pull in a school calendar from your website, and add other events that are already planned (you can always edit all the information you post if the schedule changes).
Put the information that you know your group members will need while you remember it. When they join your circle at the beginning of the year, everything will be ready for them.
If you have fellow group leaders that you’re coordinating things with, designate them as circle managers. Take advantage of the private messaging feature to easily communicate with your group members without having to look them up in a school directory or club roster.
So keep that fundraising “high” and increase your community engagement today!
Happy communicating!Permalink →
How many times have you bought candy bars, cookie dough or pizza kits as part of a fundraiser only to have them end up in the back of your fridge, your trash, or (even worse) as part of a late night snack binge? Thanks to a startup
Most families shop for groceries, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, at least once a week. Grocery stores came up with the idea to rebate a small percentage of the purchases to a cause, if customers buy pre-paid coupons or gift cards. Sounds like a reasonable deal, right? Maybe not so much. There are two economic realities that make gift cards a lousy deal:
First, the average grocery scrip fundraising program returns about 4% to the school or cause. That means to raise $1,000, you would have to sell $25,000 worth of pre-paid groceries. That’s a whole lot of money. Second, an average of 20% of the pre-paid value is lost by consumers who misplace the pre-paid cards or discard a low-value card — you know exactly what we’re talking about, the gift card winds up in the back of the drawer in the kitchen rather than in your wallet where it might actually get used. That means that when you sell $25,000 of pre-paid grocery scrip in a fundraiser, $5,000 of value will be lost, or go unused. To put it another way, for every $1 you raise with a scrip program, $5 is wasted. Your supporters would be far better off if they just donated the the money to you.
A healthy fundraiser from from FarmRaiser has a completely different formula:
– We guarantee at least 45% profit on the sale, so it only takes $2,250 in sales to reach your $1,000 goal, less than ten times what you would have to sell for a scrip fundraiser.
– The farm-fresh produce and goods are delivered directly to the school, so your supporters get what they pay for, and they don’t have to remember a gift card next time they go shopping
– Since the money goes to local farmers and artisans, it gets re-circulated in your community, creating local jobs and enhancing your food system.
With FarmRaiser, for every dollar you raise, another dollar gets invested in your local food system, strengthening your community and connecting kids to healthy food. From a simple profit standpoint, FarmRaiser fundraising is at ten times better than grocery scrip, but if you take into account the benefits to local farms and the potential educational opportunities for kids, it’s even better than that. If you’re ready to raise money easily, and create value in your community, sign up for your Free FarmRaiser account and get started today.Permalink →
The arrival of red ripe local strawberries, bursting with juicy flavor is the official herald of summer. Over the winter, we’ve subsisted on frozen berries, preserves, and imports from Mexico and California. The shape, color, and general appearance is like a strawberry, but these imports have been bred for size, color and durability, picked while under-ripe, and shipped thousands of miles in a refrigerated truck. This is not what I am talking about.
What I’m talking about is sublime, anticipated, and ephemeral: local strawberries, grown for maximum flavor, picked at the peak of ripeness, sold that afternoon at a nearby farmers market. You eat half of them on the way home, and have the rest for dessert or breakfast, and wish you’d bought more.
Luckily, FarmRaiser has a solution: sell local strawberries at your late spring fundraiser, and buy a couple of extra pounds for your family, and start your summer off the right way. Click to login, or sign up for a free FarmRaiser account and raise money with the best local strawberries.
We’ve reached out to our producers and have strawberry campaigns ready to go, whenever you are.
Want to spend the summer with a scrappy social enterprise working to improve community health and strengthen local food systems? FarmRaiser’s growth strategy is built around social engagement, partnerships and sharing relevant content with our partners and customers. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to support and carry out a set of tactics using social media, content-marketing and direct email to grow the number of schools, teams and clubs on our healthy local fundraising platform. You’ll be an integral member of the team with some important projects to work on, but this is a true internship in that you will learn as much as you want about working in a tech-enabled startup. If that sounds exciting, read on and send us a resume, cover letter and samples of your writing, graphics, or other web content.
Each year school fundraisers sell nearly $6 billion worth of candy bars, cookie dough, and other junk food and products that contribute to obesity, diabetes, and a throwaway culture that is disconnected from food system.
Our kids, our schools and our communities deserve better. We built the FarmRaiser platform to to connect local farmers and artisans to student-led fundraisers, allowing teams, clubs, schools and causes to raise money and strengthen local food systems at the same time. FarmRaiser uses technology and old-fashioned community organizing to power student-led fundraising using products from local farmers and artisans.
By giving student the tools to advocate for healthy eating and local food selection and allowing them to sell wholesome, locally grown and made products, FarmRaiser is restoring value and purpose to an annual ritual that has lost its way in a sea of sugar and junk food.
For more information, please visit: http://farmraiser.comPermalink →