BRIDGEWATER, Maine — A family that has operated a certified organic farm for more than 36 years has continued to improve its business and its long-term viability thanks to a unique fundraising campaign launched in June.
Wood Prairie Farm, operated by Jim and Megan Gerritsen of Bridgewater, grows potatoes, seed and vegetables. The couple’s sons, Caleb and Peter, also work on the farm and do most of the repair work on the farm’s equipment.
The Gerritsen family has wanted to build an equipment repair shop on the property in order to maintain their vintage equipment, and to give their sons a warm, dry place to make repairs.
The estimated $32,000 price tag, however, was an obstacle.
The family recently overcame that hurdle thanks to a fundraising campaign launched via Indiegogo.com.
Indiegogo is the world’s leading Internet crowd funding platform, according to its website. Crowd funding is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. People go to the site and donate to whatever project they feel passionate about, according to officials at Indiegogo.
Jim Gerritsen said Monday afternoon that he first heard about Indiegogo a year ago, and felt it would be a good site to launch the repair shop fundraising campaign. The couple needed $32,000 to buy the materials for the 30-by-70-foot metal and concrete radiant-floor and wood-heated repair shop.
The family will do the construction work themselves.
“We put the project online on June 22,” Gerritsen said Monday. “And we met our goal on Aug. 3.”
The short length of the fundraiser put Wood Prairie Farm in the record books among the 100 most-funded Indiegogo projects, according to company officials. It ranks 84th out of the more than 15,000 completed Indiegogo projects.
Construction on the repair shop has begun, and Gerritsen said he anticipates the first phase will be done in September. Future phases will allow the family to add the large garage doors and other features they will need.
“The support offered to our project was nothing short of phenomenal,” said Gerritsen. “This is proof positive that the organic community supports its own and is willing and able to stand up and help when a need is made known.”
“We’ve needed an on-farm shop for a long time,” said Peter Gerritsen. “We have a lot of older specialized equipment which needs steady maintenance. Now that we have funding, we’ll get right to work on building our shop.”
The farm’s organic seed potatoes, kitchen potatoes, vegetable and cover crop seeds and other products are available direct to the customer by mail order from its website and catalog.
A video about the project and the farm is available at the Indiegogo site.