Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

NOT PURELY PRODUCE: As advocates at Asheville GreenWorks point out, trees can absorb carbon dioxide, filter pollutants from the air, regulate water flow and increase property values in addition to providing edibles. Image from GreenWorks' campaign page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up 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.

Asheville GreenWorks’ Food Tree Project

Volunteers for the GreenWorks’ Food Tree Project have planted fruit trees and berry bushes on six plots of public land in Buncombe County so far, and they aim to keep going. “These orchards provide a source of locally-grown, fresh, healthy produce to communities, especially those that lack easy access to grocery stores,” reads a webpage for the initiative. Leaders aim to raise $25,000 by Saturday, Dec. 31, to pay for orchard maintenance and project supplies for four additional orchards, including tools, compost, mulch, plants and irrigation systems.

Image from GreenWorks' campaign page
Image from GreenWorks’ campaign page

Ben Phan’s new album

When faced with the decision of having a bedroom or a home music studio, Ben Phan went for the latter. He now sleeps on a karate mat on the floor. But it’s that dedication to art that took him from hobby guitarist to professional singer-songwriter in the past year. A talented group of local instrumentalists came together on his debut album Dreams in Modern Folk, and the band — called the Soul Symphony and composed of Molly Barret (fiddle), Mattick Frick (drums), Ryan Kijanka (upright bass) and Franklin Keel (cello)  — is prepared to record a follow-up work Fear is the Teacher. “Each song on the album was born from an experience that I fully gave myself to — some dark, some happy, some crazy and wild,” Phan writes on his campaign page. He aims to raise $11,440 by Tuesday, Jan. 10, to record those tunes at The Eagle Room in Weaverville in addition to having the songs mixed, mastered, pressed and released with a professional design.

Honey Be Nice’s debut album

“It is an amazing thing to start with a melody or a word or a phrase that floats around in your mind and then take that invisible thing, scratch it out on the guitar or piano, give it life, share it with fellow musical collaborators and watch the song grow stronger and deeper than you ever expected,” reads the campaign page of Honey Be Nice. That’s what the WNC-based folk trio did before recording a batch of new songs that “draw on the natural richness of the mountains and the dynamic beauty of everyday life.” The musicians aim to raise $7,500 by Sunday, Jan. 1, to complete the process of releasing these tunes as their debut album, including professional design, mixing, mastering, pressing and promotion.

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 Western North Carolina 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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2 thoughts on “Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

  1. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    Public fruit orchards. I wonder how long before the city/county forbids the public from collecting fruit off of the trees because of liability issues, i.e., falling out of trees or ladders while collecting fruit, or fruit contamination issues.

    • boatrocker

      Riiiight. Somehow I’m sure it’s Obama’s fault too.

      Did it ever occur to you that maybe normal people might happen to like a piece of fruit from a tree once in a while and have no agenda?
      I know, how subversive. Eating and all.

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