Inspiring shout out on Facebook

September 11, 2015 / About FarmRaiser, All, Healthy Fundraising Ideas / Comments: 0

It’s always nice to hear that people like what you’re doing, but this post from School Bites is the reason we come to work in the morning (and stay late in the afternoon ;-).

https://www.facebook.com/SchoolBites/posts/935588929847669

 

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From Pew Trusts: Are School Fundraisers a Back Door for Junk Food?

September 10, 2015 / Family and Community Health, Farm-to-school / Comments: 0

As support for better school nutrition grows throughout the nation, and as school districts are setting new healthy standards for snacks and other food sold at school, the ubiquitous school fundraiser has become a back door for junk food sales to kids.  One state even created an exception to the rules, allowing as many as four unhealthy food fundraisers per day.  See how policymakers are fighting back in this video from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Food Project, a collaboration between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

We don’t need to tell you that FarmRaiser provides a healthy alternative to junk food fundraisers, because you’re reading our blog.

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September Newsletter

September 3, 2015 / All / Comments: 0

Hi friend,

unnamed

Two articles made their way around social media last week that left me feeling pretty good about the mission and timing of FarmRaiser.

First was the Texas PTA fundraiser that went viral on Facebook because it struck a nerve with parents everywhere. Its message: We hate school fundraising, but we want to help our school.

FarmRaiser exists to solve the problems highlighted in that PTA flyer:

  1. We always offer a cash donation option for supporters that don’t want to try local products.
  2. We make student participation optional—our email and Facebook campaigns rock!
  3. We leave 85+% of the proceeds from every sale in the community—FarmRaisers are fundamentally about building healthy, economically vibrant communities.
  4. We engage students as advocates for eating healthy and supporting their local economy. The farm-to-school movement, the Let’s Move program, and many other education and health initiatives provide classroom tie-ins to our campaigns that make fundraising a learning opportunity instead of a distraction.

The second article was a decidedly less cynical piece from The Pew Charitable Trusts that discussed the virtues of making fundraising a healthy endeavor.  I loved the resources (and potential FarmRaiser Partners) they listed to help make annual fundraising traditions more meaningful, healthy activities.

As we’ve built FarmRaiser over the last two years­ from an idea to a fully operating technology platform and fundraising business, we are more convinced that we have the right match between our theory of change and our business and community engagement model.  We believe that schools will engage parents and community members in a fundamentally different way if given a viable (and profitable) alternative, and every new campaign that holds a FarmRaiser has been another proof point for this theory.

At FarmRaiser, reinventing school fundraising starts with great local products from our producer partners, but goes much farther. We help give schools a voice and role in the move towards sustainable agriculture and the creation of strong local food systems—among the most significant social movements of 21st Century.

Schools are in a great position to lead on this issue.  By choosing and promoting FarmRaiser’s healthy local fundraising campaigns to the many groups seeking money for educational activities, schools can give added purpose to potentially tens of thousands of students. These young advocates, when armed with the right knowledge (and some great local products), can affect a community’s shopping patterns, supporting local farms and businesses, while raising vital funds for their schools and causes.

For example, when an elementary school in Idaho held a 10-day fundraiser that sold $15,000 worth of locally grown apples and root vegetables, they moved much closer to the elusive sustainable fundraiser, where students raise money in a way that endears the school and the kids to the community. Rather than feeling burnt out from the fundraising efforts of the students, the community was engaged, enthusiastic and inspired. This same school kicks off their next campaign in a few weeks and is promising to beat last fall’s sales; they are well on their way to creating a lasting tradition of healthy local fundraising.

Locally yours,
Mark

“I know once people get connected to real food, they never change back.”  Alice Waters

 

Help us welcome our new FarmRaiser Partner-Producers! More amazing farmers, food artisans, and small businesses are supplying FarmRaisers with their healthy, local products. We are thrilled to welcome new partner-producers from DC (Qualia Coffee), Michigan (UP Food Exhange), Central Oregon (Lone Pine Coffee and Bantam Lane), Seattle (Acme Farms and Kitchen and Terra Organics), New Jersey (DeWolf Farm and Trappers Honey), and Chicago (Passion House Coffee Roasters). If you’d like to become a FarmRaiser vendor, support great local causes, and grow your business (and maybe be featured in this newsletter), sign up here.FarmRaiser pros are gearing up for another year of healthy fundraising. Our Cultivators are working with schools across Michigan, Washington, and Idaho to ensure their second, third, fourth, or even fifth FarmRaiser is a success! If you’ve hosted a FarmRaiser before and are thinking about hosting another, email your Cultivator to talk about next steps.

Is there a resource or piece of news you’d like to share with FarmRaiser? We want to hear about it! Tweet to @FarmRaiser or email us at info@farmraiser.com.

We want to take a minute to thank Camp Fire National Headquarters and its state chapters for theirCFUSALogo commitment to healthy fundraising and supporting local food systems. Camp Fire USA’s Youth Advisory Cabinet is currently raising money with FarmRaiser to help its members travel to the 2015 National Leadership Experience in Kansas City, and we’re currently setting up FarmRaisers with multiple state Camp Fire chapters, including Camp Fire Alaska, Camp Fire Central Oregon, Camp Fire Western Michigan, and Camp Fire Patuxent Area.

If you’d like more information on how we’re connecting Camp Fire students and supporters with healthy, local products or are interested in your local Camp Fire chapter hosting a FarmRaiser, email us at info@farmraiser.com.

On the FarmRaiser Horizon. We’re excited to announce that we will soon be offering community service opportunities for students! Details are coming your way next week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Start a campaign

Supply a campaign 

Learn more about us

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Fed Up With Fundraising

September 3, 2015 / All, Family and Community Health, Healthy Fundraising Ideas / Comments: 0

Two articles made their way around social media last week that left me feeling pretty good about the mission and timing of FarmRaiser.

First was the Texas PTA fundraiser that went viral on Facebook because it struck a nerve with parents everywhere. Its message: We hate school fundraising, but we want to help our school.

FarmRaiser exists to solve the problems highlighted in that PTA flyer:

  1. We always offer a cash donation option for supporters who don’t want to try local products.
  2. We make student participation optional—our email and Facebook campaigns rock!
  3. We leave 85+% of the proceeds from every sale in the community—FarmRaisers are fundamentally about building healthy, economically vibrant communities.
  4. We engage students as advocates for eating healthy and supporting their local economy. The farm-to-school movement, the Let’s Move program, and many other education and health initiatives provide classroom tie-ins to our campaigns that make fundraising a learning opportunity instead of a distraction.

The second article was a decidedly less cynical piece from The Pew Charitable Trusts that discussed the virtues of making fundraising a healthy endeavor. I loved the resources (and potential FarmRaiser Partners) they listed to help make annual fundraising traditions more meaningful, healthy activities.

As we’ve built FarmRaiser over the last two years­ from an idea to a fully operating platform and fundraising business, evidence for our theory-of-change–that schools will engage parents and community members in a fundamentally different way if given a viable (and profitable) alternative–increases with every new campaign that adopts the platform.

At FarmRaiser, reinventing school fundraising starts with the products we offer, but goes much farther. We help give schools a voice and role in the move towards sustainable agriculture and the creation of local food systems—among the most significant social movements of 21st Century.

Schools are in a great position to lead on this issue. By taking our Healthy Fundraising Challenge and promoting FarmRaiser campaigns to the many groups raising money for educational activities, schools are giving added purpose to potentially tens of thousands of students. These young advocates, when armed with the right knowledge (and some great local products), can affect what food their parents buy and where they buy it while raising critically important funds for their schools and causes.

For example, when an elementary school in a small Idaho city held a 10 day fundraiser that sold $15,000 worth of locally grown apples and root vegetables, they moved much closer to the elusive sustainable fundraiser. Students had aggregated financial capital—for the school and the local farmers—in a way that endeared the school and the kids to the community. This same school kicks off their next campaign in a few weeks and is promising to beat last fall’s sales–a new, lasting tradition well on its way.

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Fundraising Frustration

August 28, 2015 / All / Comments: 0

A mom in Texas shared a photo this week of a PTA alternative fundraiser that cuts right to the chase: traditional fundraising is terrible, everyone hates it, so let’s just get this over with. We feel her pain! If you’re ready for a fundraiser that’s fun, profitable, educational, and supports your local food system, visit us at farmraiser.com or email us at info@farmraiser.com.

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Michigan student sells over $2,000 dollars’ worth of healthy, local products

August 28, 2015 / All, Local Food and Amazing Products / Comments: 0

Lucy Voss, a high school student from Traverse City, MI, sold over $2,000 dollars’ worth of healthy local products to her community to help get her soccer team, North Star Soccer, to the USA Cup in July. She credits her success to healthy, fresh products in her campaign, the increasing demand for local food, and how easy it was to use FarmRaiser’s mobile app and web-based farmers’ market to make sales to customer-supporters. Congrats on your success, Lucy–we can’t wait to see other FarmRaiser Champions follow in your footsteps!

If you’re tired of doing the same old fundraisers and are ready to start selling local, healthy products to raise money for your cause instead, please visit our website, sign up to host a FarmRaiser, or email us at info@farmraiser.com

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Healthy Fundraising Options: They do exist!

August 17, 2015 / All, Healthy Fundraising Ideas / Comments: 0

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released an article FULL of great ideas for schools and parents looking for healthy ways to raise money for important causes. Check out the article here.

The first day of school is just a few days away (if it hasn’t happened already!), so share your fundraising ideas with your child’s teachers and principal. If you’re looking for a fun, new way to raise money, turn kids into advocates for healthy, local food, and support your local food system, email us at info@farmraiser.com. Let us help you get the money you need while providing kids with healthy futures!

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Healthy fundraisers > junk food

6043228839_e7e3feee6c_zDo I have to sell junk food to raise money this year? As the first day of school approaches, teachers, administrators and parent volunteers across the country may find themselves wrestling with this question. For years, candy bars, tubs of cookie dough, and pizza kits have been the “go to” for school fundraisers. These highly-processed products are full of empty calories, are low in nutritional value, and go against everything we are trying to teach our children about healthy eating. In fact, most of these products would be illegal to sell in schools under the federal Smart Snacks nutritional requirements, if the industry lobbyists hadn’t managed to sneak an exception into the legislation. The final insult of junk-food fundraising is that a big chunk of the sales price goes to out-of-state or foreign corporations, taking money out of the local economy and hurting local businesses.

veggiesSo, what are some healthy school fundraising options? If you’ve had enough junk-fundraisers and are ready for a new, healthy way to raise money for your school or organization, we’re here to help. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. FarmRaiser’s Healthy Local Food Fundraiser. Our core mission is to connect local farms and food artisans with student fundraisers, keeping 85% of the money in the local economy, and helping you teach students to be champions of healthy, local eating. FarmRaiser champions are not miniature salespeople–they’re informed advocates for eating healthy, local food who connect your supporters to amazing local products. Get started here.

2. Fun Run, Move-a-thon, or Read-a-thon. With pledge-based fundraisers like walk-a-thons or read-a-thons, kids don’t sell products at all. Supporters donate money in return for a pledge from a student to exercise or read for a certain time or amount. Email us to learn how you can use FarmRaiser’s easy online platform and mobile apps to support your pledge-based fundraiser, by making it easy and convenient for your supporters to make pledges, and for your student champions to collect donations.

picmonkey_image (6)3. Community Service Projects.  Raise money for your cause by helping those less fortunate in your town with FarmRaiser Community Baskets. When students sell Community Baskets, FarmRaiser will purchase surplus fresh fruit and veggies for local food banks and return a portion of price to the school. In a community basket fundraiser every $20 cash donation typically provides 10 pounds of fresh produce for the foodbank and up to $15 to your school’s cause. Students receive certified community service hours for participating.

4. Healthy cookbook fundraiser. Make a collection of favorite healthy recipes from families in your community. You can either put the cookbook together yourself or have a company do it for you. Make sure to stress that, while homemade cookies and candy are great, you’re collecting healthy recipes. Maybe even throw a party to celebrate the publication of the cookbook where students bring dishes their families contributed!

5. Hold a silent auction or Pop-up farmers market at your next parent event.  Auctions are great ways to keep your fundraising profitable and healthy. Local businesses are often willing to donate their products to support your cause and raise their profiles in the community. Don’t forget to include healthy, family-friendly options like mini-golf passes or trips to local farms for berry picking. If you’re interested in FarmRaiser contributing local produce to your auction, email us and we’ll talk you through some of the different ways we can help.

 

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August Newsletter

 

Dear friend — picmonkey_image (5)

Do I have to sell junk food to raise money this year?
As the first day of school approaches, teachers, administrators and parent volunteers across the country may find themselves wrestling with this question. For years, candy bars, tubs of cookie dough, and pizza kits have been the “go to” for school fundraisers. These highly-processed products are full of empty calories, are low in nutritional value, and go against everything we are trying to teach our children about healthy eating. In fact, most of these products would be illegal to sell in schools under the federal Smart Snacks nutritional requirements, if the industry lobbyists hadn’t managed to sneak an exception into the legislation. The final insult of junk-food fundraising is that a big chunk of the sales price goes to out-of-state or foreign corporations, taking money out of the local economy and hurting local businesses.

So, what are some healthy school fundraising options? If you’ve had enough junk-fundraisers and are ready for a new, healthy way to raise money for your school or organization, we’re here to help. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. FarmRaiser’s Healthy Local Food Fundraiser. Our core mission is to connect local farms and food artisans with student fundraisers, keeping 85% of the money in the local economy, and helping you teach students to be champions of healthy, local eating. FarmRaiser champions are not miniature salespeople–they’re informed advocates for eating healthy, local food who connect your supporters to amazing local products. Get started here.

  2. Fun Run, Move-a-thon, or Read-a-thonWith pledge-based fundraisers like walk-a-thons or read-a-thons, kids don’t sell products at all. Supporters donate money in return for a pledge from a student to exercise or read for a certain time or amount. Email us to learn how you can use FarmRaiser’s easy online platform and mobile apps to support your pledge-based fundraiser, by making it easy and convenient for your supporters to make pledges, and for your student champions to collect donations.

  3. Community Service Projects.  Raise money for your cause by helping those less fortunate in your town with FarmRaiser Community Baskets. When students sell Community Baskets, FarmRaiser will purchase surplus fresh fruit and veggies for local food banks and return a portion of price to the school. In a community basket fundraiser every $20 cash donation typically provides 10 pounds of fresh produce for the foodbank and up to $15 to your school’s cause. Students receive certified community service hours for participating.

  4. Healthy cookbook fundraiser. Make a collection of favorite healthy recipes from families in your community. You can either put the cookbook together yourself or have a company do it for you. Make sure to stress that, while homemade cookies and candy are great, you’re collecting healthy recipes. Maybe even throw a party to celebrate the publication of the cookbook where students bring dishes their families contributed!

  5. Hold a silent auction or Pop-up farmers market at your next parent event.  Auctions are great ways to keep your fundraising profitable and healthy. Local businesses are often willing to donate their products to support your cause and raise their profiles in the community. Don’t forget to include healthy, family-friendly options like mini-golf passes or trips to local farms for berry picking. If you’re interested in FarmRaiser contributing local produce to your auction, email us and we’ll talk you through some of the different ways we can help.

Locally yours,
The FarmRaiser Team

“LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD”
HIPPOCRATES

picmonkey_image (4)This Michigan organization knows local food is here to stay. We aren’t surprised to see this piece from Taste the Local Difference, who knows as well as we do that Michigan has amazing farmers and food artisans, many of whom we are proud to call partners!

Farm to School programs are helping children grow into healthy, informed eaters. Learn more about the tremendous long term benefits that our friends at the Farm to School Network bring to kids across the country.

The rapid rise of local food is well-documented and shows no signs of slowing down! Learn how “local” is quickly surpassing long-time food stars “organic,” and “fresh,” as more consumers begin to regard the origin of their food as most important.

Is there a resource or piece of news you’d like to share with FarmRaiser? We want to hear about it! Tweet to @FarmRaiser or email us at info@farmraiser.com.


Vendor Spotlight: Kaladi Brothers Coffee, Anchorage, AKKBC_goat[1]
FarmRaiser is thrilled to announce that Alaska’s very own Kaladi Brothers Coffee is officially our newest partner-producer. While they make an amazing cup of coffee, they are also equally committed to being a “Catalyst for Community” in Alaska. By contributing their resources and time to Alaskans for over 25 years, Kaladi Brothers has become a staple for community engagement initiatives; they support countless local fundraising efforts and serve as a gathering place for communities throughout the state. That kind of local commitment means that they fit right in with the FarmRaiser family, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them.  Make sure to check out their website, follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook!

If you’d like to become a FarmRaiser vendor, support great local causes, and grow your business (and maybe be featured in this newsletter), sign up here

On the FarmRaiser Horizon. We’re excited to announce that we will soon be offering community service opportunities for students! Details are coming your way next week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Start a campaign

Supply a campaign 

Learn more about us

Do you know someone who might like to hold a FarmRaiser? Email us! Make sure to include the person’s name, school/organization, and contact info and we’ll take it from there. As always, thanks for spreading the word about FarmRaiser!

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Fresh, Local Food: It’s closer than you think!

What’s your favorite farmers’ market in your area? Where do you go to pick apples, pumpkins, or strawberries? If you can’t answer these questions or can only come up with one or two answers, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the fantastic local food resources that are just waiting for you to discover them!

Whether you’re new to exploring local farms and farmers’ markets or you just can’t get enough of your local food scene, FarmRaiser is here to help! Here are a few of our favorite resources and tips for finding fresh, local products.

 

Resources for Finding Local Farms and Food

1. Real Time Farms

Real Time Farms is a crowd-sourced guide to finding farms, food artisans, farmers’ markets, and eateries near you. Simply enter your location and see a map of your options!  Real Time Farms is a great resource to consult when you’re coming up with weekend plans, move to a new area, or are just looking to increase your support of local farms and businesses. If you are a farmer, business owner, or savvy local foodie and know of something that Real Time Farms needs to include, don’t forget to add it to the site!

2. Local Harvest

In addition to helping you find local food producers and markets, Local Harvest is a great tool for those looking for information on CSAs (read more about them here) as well as details on upcoming events at local farms and markets. Attending food events near you is an easy way to learn more about the farms and food artisans in your area, and is a perfect way to get kids interested and engaged in eating healthy food.

 

3. Eat Well

Eat Well is a guide to sustainable, local food and products around you that also provides info on shops, markets, restaurants, and organizations to help you make smart choices about where you spend your money and time. If you’re searching for farms, coffee shops, or organizations that support sustainable agriculture and local farmers/food artisans, Eat Well is a perfect place to start.

4. Puget Sound Fresh

Puget Sound Fresh is the Northwest’s guide to what’s fresh, local and perfectly ripe all year round. Local farm, fisheries and forest fresh products abound in the Pacific Northwest, and Puget Sound Fresh is your one stop guide to finding the best the season has to offer. If you’re searching for farms, corn mazes, farmers markets, freshly foraged morels, or the most sustainable seafood, Puget Sound Fresh is the place to start.

 

Helpful Tips

1. Host a FarmRaiser healthy fundraising campaign at your school or organization! Students sell healthy, local produce and products from the farms and food artisans in your area, so it’s a great way to expose yourself and your community to the abundance of amazing local food surrounding you. If there’s a particular farmer or food artisan in your community whose products you love, we’ll work with you to get their products into your fundraiser.

2. Talk to your local farmers about their farms! The next time you visit your local farmers’ market, don’t just hand over your money and leave. If the farmer you’re buying from isn’t too busy with other customers, ask her questions about what she grows, if there are “You Pick” opportunities at her farm, or if her farm hosts any events during the year.

 

Regardless of if you find them by hosting or supporting a FarmRaiser campaign, searching online, or by word of mouth, visiting area farms and farmers’ markets is vital in improving your local food system and economy as well as your health. For more information on how to support local farmers and food artisans and do your part to strengthen the sustainable agriculture movement, email us at info@farmraiser.com.

 

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