Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

"An herbal education does more than inform an individual student. Its impact reverberates as students share their healing knowledge with friends, family and community," reads the crowdfunding page of the Terra Sylva School. "We differ from other herb schools in that we provide an education in radical, DIY, community-minded herbalism in a rural setting." Image of the organization's proposed facilities from its campaign 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.

Community Herbal Education Center

Medicine County Herbs is the apothecary and medicinal plant nursery that Dave Meesters and Janet Kent operate from their forest-bound residence just outside Asheville. In a mission to equip every town with a knowledgeable herbalist, the two host immersive apprenticeships for small groups through their Terra Sylva School. Though its grounds span a lush 40 acres, the bulk of instruction takes place at a modest, open-air structure with limited capacity. So, growing popularity of the program has prompted Meesters and Kent to upgrade the facilities using their own building skills and help from the school’s participants. The Terra Sylva School founders aim to raise $7,000 by Saturday, May 7, to purchase the materials needed to build an improved indoor space for a classroom, dining room, apothecary, greenhouse and library.

Silicon Soldiers’ debut album

If the awkward jokes and sideways glances in this crowdfunding video don’t make you smile, perhaps Silicon Soldiers’ sincere aspirations will. “Our goal is to provide the world with music that is complex and meaningful but still accessible and catchy,” reads the rock trio’s campaign page. The musicians have already recorded most of the 10 original songs that will appear on their debut album and have surpassed a $1,000 goal, though pre-sales will continue through Thursday, May 12. After that, funds will go toward mastering, distributing and purchasing merchandise to support the release.

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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