Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding campaigns

"Chickens are a perfect starting point for anyone who wants to be more connected to their food," says Justin Rhodes, creator of Asheville's newest chicken-raising film tutorial. Photo of key film contributors from Justin Rhodes' Kickstarter page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

JUSTIN RHODES’ PERMACULTURE CHICKENS FILM

For permaculturist Justin Rhodes, some of life’s most beautiful moments occur at the dinner table — specifically, when he knows the story behind his family’s food. That’s why Rhodes is setting out to create an educational film on raising chickens “from hatching to the plate (and everything in between).” Years of research and trial-and-error progress enabled Rhodes to build a sustainable homestead, but the journey wasn’t easy. The husband and father says he wants to empower others by truncating that learning curve, which can often be daunting despite — or perhaps due to — the vast amount of information on permaculture topics. Chickens, he says, are “the gateway toward self-reliance,” as they require relatively low maintenance and offer many benefits to the land (mitigating pests, tilling and fertilizing soil, speeding the composting process, etc.) in addition to producing eggs and meat. Rhodes has already exceeded his film fundraising goal of $25,349, and his deadline for the campaign is Thursday, March 5.

FIRESTORM CAFÉ AND BOOKS’ NEW LOCATION

“Our worker-owned co-op is expanding into a new location on Haywood Road, and we need your help!” reads Firestorm Café and Books’ campaign page. In six years of operation, the original location hosted over 1,400 community gatherings, eventually outgrowing its downtown basement storefront. But finding a 2,500-square-foot space in West Asheville has prompted changes beyond inventory expansion (although you can expect about 1,500 new book titles, too). In addition to revamping co-op members’ “symbolic compensation” to include monetary payments, the café will offer a sizable community room and shared office space housing the Center for Participatory Change and another “yet-to-be-named” nonprofit. Firestorm aims to raise $13,000 by Monday, March 2, so the store can continue to offer strong coffee, good reads and ample community event space at the new location. Notably, the Fund for Democratic Communities has awarded Firestorm a grant and will match contributions of less than $100 until the campaign’s conclusion.

LAUREN O’LEARY’S REPRINT OF WORLD SPIRIT TAROT

Lauren ‘Onça’ O’Leary, Absfest organizer and belly dancer extraordinaire, began her immersion into the world of Tarot in 1992. By 2001, her deck-and-book package World Spirit Tarot, co-written with partner Jessica Godino, was published by Llewellyn and hailed as “an instant classic” for its eclectic-yet-accessible approach to exploring the multicultural tradition. Now, a $140 price tag often hangs from the out-of-print book — a number out of sync with the author’s vision of inclusivity. With legal permissions already in place, O’Leary aims to raise $8,500 by Monday, March 2, to republish the book and re-establish its accessibility among the masses.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress‘ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more WNC projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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3 thoughts on “Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding campaigns

  1. Justin Rhodes

    Thanks for sharing this! I love having the local support for this international project!

    • Kat McReynolds

      Absolutely! It looks like a great project — one that many locals and others will be interested in learning from. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks for sharing your expertise.

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