FarmRaiser: Freshening Up the School Fundraiser
Mark Abbott dreamed up the idea for a fundraiser that offers wholesome products that people actually want after his son sold hundreds of dollars worth of highly processed foods one year. From that initial seed grew FarmRaiser, a fundraising program that allows schools to purchase farm-fresh foods and products from local purveyors at wholesale prices, sell these items at a retail price to friends and families, and then keep most of the profits within their community.
“One of the best things about FarmRaiser is that kids get excited about the products they’re selling, not just the prizes they might get for selling something,” says Christina Carson, chief cultivator at FarmRaiser. “They love seeing farmers bring in boxes of fresh, local produce, smelling freshly baked breads, and learning how to use scales in weighing products.”
Our friend Cheri Bloom who runs the gardening education curriculum at Montlake Elementary introduced us to FarmRaiser in 2013. Cheri is always looking for creative ways to build funding for her program while staying true to its mission. FarmRaiser offered the perfect solution, supplementing grants from Les Dames d’Escoffier, Whole Foods Market and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
“What I love about FarmRaiser is that I have seen how successful it has been for local farmers and food artisans and at the same time directly linking with our school’s mission,” says Cheri. “Last year’s campaigns did as well, if not better, than other fundraisers we have had. I expect this year to be better with more awareness of FarmRaiser and the students involvement in the campaigns.”
After teaming up with FarmRaiser at Seattle schools last year, we knew we wanted to take part in this program once again in support of Stevens Elementary, Montlake Elementary and Queen Anne Elementary. This year you’ll find our Cranberry Apricot Nut Bread peeking from FarmRaiser bags alongside Mt. Townsend Creamery cheese, Willie Greens Organic Farms produce, and Loki Fish Company seafood.
“I think it is a win-win,” says Macrina Bakery Founder Leslie Mackie. “We get to expose new customers – young and old – to our products and they get to enjoy a hand-delivered fresh loaf of artisan bread made from flour grown here in Washington state. It’s a really smart way to get kids jazzed about buying local and celebrating the wonderful businesses in their neighborhood!”
Check out FarmRaiser online for more information.
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Move over glossy gift wrap catalogs and generic chocolate bars! There’s a new school fundraiser in town. With the virtuous goal of bolstering local farms and businesses while also supporting schools, FarmRaiser is freshening up the old-school fundraiser model.