There is a certain madness to homesteading when you don’t know how. There is a certain madness to starting a business when you don’t know how. So I’m not totally sure what that says about me since I’m doing both at the same time.
Several years since camping in these woods and doing the city to Waldron commute during and after clearing my land, I’m typing this with my computer sitting atop a 3 gallon pot on my woodstove—my hot water system. I wash dishes with rainwater. My internet is a weak 3G cell signal that takes 20 seconds to send an email, the school library, or my neighbor Julie. I have a garden with sticks lying all around. My goats are semi-feral (see picture above).
This homestead is where Forage was born. The idea was created with the board members over meals in an uninsulated cabin, amidst pounding nails and chopping wood. It was created with a belief that living close to the land is how we will best know how to care for it.
As a non-profit, we can receive tax-deductible donations. We see donations, either from the public, a foundation, or a business, as a kind of investment. It’s an investment you will see a social, not financial, return on. We want to be able to let you invest in the specific areas of Forage you believe in, and discover what that money does. Our goal is that you will be able to check in at any time and see you “return.” Think of it like an investment report, but for a non-profit.
Advertising is the tool of a system I don’t believe in. It makes us want things we don’t need. It plays on our insecurities, our fears. It presents products as solutions that often create more problems. Marketing has made a science and an art of coercion.
But advertising isn’t inherently wrong. What you’re reading right now is an advertisement. It is me telling you about something I believe in, something I hope with every ounce of my being does some good for the people that grow food, the land they grow it on, and those of us who eat.
If you haven’t heard about the Startup Podcast, you should. It’s a great story about a guy starting a podcasting business when he doesn’t know anything about business. If you would like to see the model for native advertising we will do on Forage, check them out.
Now Startup didn’t pay me to just talk about them, but someday they might. They are a part of our story, as they truly are the best example of what we want to do. But we also just got the word out about them, which is advertising.
Now we’re not talking about working with Walmart. We’re going to be talking about the businesses that help us work with farmers because they’re a part of our story. And we, hopefully, get paid for it. Because if this is going to work, we’re going to need to make money. I’m not ever trying to make more than a school teacher. But if we are going to develop services and technologies that make a real difference it’s going to require money to pay people. And if we are going to increase the sustainability of sustainable farming, we need to have a sustainable business model ourselves.