Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

SEEDY BUSINESS: "We take our seed quality very seriously, conducting external germination testing three times a year at a state-run laboratory," reads the campaign page of Sow True Seed. "And we store our seeds in a heat- and humidity-controlled seed storage room. That room is currently a little on the small side." Image of Cherokee Trail of Tears pole bean seeds from Sow True's 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.

Sow True Seed grows up

Just as the planet’s long-term agricultural success depends on the availability of diverse seed varieties, the seed industry benefits when an array of small seed companies flourish. That’s the message underlying Sow True Seed’s recent crowdfunding campaign, which exists to help the local business expand into a larger downtown space at 243 Haywood St. Since launching in 2009, the organization has focused on open-pollinated, untreated, GMO-free seeds, many of which are heirloom and organic as well. “Nine years later, we now steward and offer more than 500 varieties of seeds, providing a kind of genetic bank to safeguard the biodiversity of our food supply, especially those heirlooms indigenous to the Southeastern U.S.,” the campaign page reads. Sow True plans to preserve those seeds — and more that are currently in the testing phase — at its new hub, which features a double-sized climate-controlled room. “With this new facility, we will never have to turn a seed away for lack of space,” organizers say. The seed defenders aim to raise $35,000 by Monday, Oct. 23, to outfit their vault with a high efficiency insulation system, shelving, a dehumidifier and more.

eleventyseven’s new album

Perhaps rarer than musical talent itself is a musician’s ability to plug his artistic output without getting stiff or uneasy. But eleventyseven lead singer Matt Langston thrives opposite the video camera’s record button, where he crafts a ridiculously ornate verbal billboard for his band’s fifth album Rad Science: “It’s exactly the kind of synthesizer-coated, pop-punk, sugar coma-inducing, mood-enhancing thrill ride on the back of a unicorn, through a yogurt shop — with way more toppings than you could ever eat in one sitting — that you’ve come to expect from our band,” he says, brimming with adrenaline — and synth impersonations. Langston and his bandmates aim to raise $10,000 by Tuesday, Sept. 26, to fund the manufacturing and release of their already-recorded, full-length work Rad Science via the band’s self-made label Rock Candy Recordings.

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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