About 15 years ago, I joined a CSA* for the first time. I was in college and had a tight budget, so I split the share with my best friend and her roommate. The bin we picked up each week was full of things I'd never eaten before - kale, burdock, rutabaga - as well as vegetables I'd tried once or twice but had never eaten on my own - beets, radishes, cabbage. Figuring out how to cook, eat and enjoy every bit of this produce was my first foray into a whole new relationship with food. And for a long time, the food was the only part of the CSA system that I every really thought much about.
It was actually quite recently when I realized what a profound impact the economic component of CSA could make on a farmer's livelihood. Small farms are able to fund a large part of their seasonal operating costs because their members (AKA shareholders, supporters, customers, subscribers) pay for their goods up front, all at once and then patiently await the return on their investment in delicious, farm-fresh produce for months to come. And once the growing season gets rolling and crops are ripe, other sources of income, like market sales, can help generate revenue to sustain their business. It's a very simple concept, but I hadn't ever taken the time to think through all of its implications until I started planning out The Hive.
And in that moment of clarity this simple idea - turning to my community and asking them to invest in The Hive all at once, at the beginning of our 'season' - became the foundation of my plan for making The Hive a reality. I wouldn't seek out loans or investors. I would offer an opportunity to the makers, doers and learners who would actually be using The Hive to play a direct role in founding the business.
Many people have already generously stepped up and used their dollars to cast a vote of support for this project and I know there are lots more of you out there who share their eagerness for our doors to open. Now is a make or break time for The Hive, in fact we won't move forward with the project until this campaign is successfully funded. So, let's make it happen together. Start here: Found The Hive
*CSA = Community Supported Agriculture.
Photo source: http://wobblycartfarm.wordpress.com/