At Indie Farmer we love projects that support independent farmers and small producers. These are my picks of the best crowd funding campaigns that challenge the food system status quo, provide consumers with high quality food and help farmers and small producers earn a higher return on their hard work…

1) FarmDrop

London based FarmDrop was set up in 2012 and is owned by its founders, employees and a few initial friends  and family investors – they recently launched their first few click and collect Farmdrops in London and Worthing and are using the equity crowd funding platform crowdcube to raise 400k (for 17% equity in their business) to roll out more Farmdrops across the UK with the aim of having 400 by June 2017.

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I spoke to Ben Patten one of FarmDrops co-founders about the campaign earlier in the week who billed crowd funding as the most efficient marketing tool ever..

‘Within the 3 days of having the campaign live we have attracted over £299,060 from 91 investors and 4752 people have viewed the campaign at a rate of 1187 a day. We could never find people who want to invest in our business at this rate in any other way.

The idea behind our business is very simple; people who make or grow food can sell it direct. However, our format is such a departure from the way people are used to buying their food that many take a while to get the whole FarmDrop experience. The crowdfunding community get us and the process works for us on so many levels. You can probably tell we’re really enjoying the ride. And the most important result is having a big group of committed supporters join us in making FarmDrop a massive success.’

You can find out more about FarmDrop’s plans by looking at the video above and more on how to invest can be found on the CrowdCube site.

2) Open Food Network

Whilst based in Australia the Open Food Network (OFN) have global ambitions to disrupt the established food distribution system and put control in the hands of farmers and eaters.

It is a free and open source project aimed at supporting diverse food enterprises and making it easy to access local and sustainable food. A proudly not-for-profit organisation OFN have developed an open source software platform and are currently crowd funding on the Startsomegood platform to raise $100,000 (with an $25,000 initial tipping point goal) to publicly launch a limited service by October of this year in Australia, whilst also working with partners around the world in the UK, USA, India and Canada.

I caught up with Mags Hall from Fifediet, a UK partner of OFN about the project..

‘We particularly love the open-source, not-for-profit ethos of the Open Food Network, which encourages participation and promotes transparency at all levels. At the moment, we’re flying solo with the UK pilot, but we are part of a wider network of organisations in the UK who will eventually be using the software, including Stroudco and the Dean Forest Food Hub. This allows us to pool our resources and share our experiences to help us all along our journey to a better food system. We can’t think of a better example of our ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ mantra, a system which allows organisations around the world to create their own solutions locally, whilst making the best of their individual strengths and minimising duplication of work as much as possible.’

For more information about the OFN crowd funding campaign and to pledge your support click HERE

3) Carnivore Club UK

A joint venture between Borough Market based Charcuterie Artisan Purveyors Cannon and Cannon and the team at Carnivore Club, a subscription based meat box scheme originally launched in Canada. The campaign blends the UK small producers knowledge of Sean (founder at Cannon and Cannon) with a proven subscription eCommerce model set up the guys at Carnivore Club and ultimately supports small producers who get to supply boxes of their finest meat (with backstory on their animal breeds and processing techniques) direct to consumers.

Here’s the original campaign video (which launched in Canada – hence the Canadian accents) and you can check out and support the Carnivore Club UK HERE

4) The Indie Farmer Road Trip

My first venture (or should that be adventure) to take my online magazine on the road for 6 weeks around the UK on my trusty 125 Vespa ‘Veronica’. My trip aims to bring vital coverage to the UK’s finest independent farmers and small producers. Blogging regularly from the road I’ll be documenting the inspirational Indie Farmers I meet along the way and creating my first print edition of Indie Farmer on my return in September. You can support my trip (departing on the 31st July) and help create the first print edition by backing my campaign in return for a number of mouth watering perks…

To visit my indiegogo campaign click HERE and check out my video below….

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That’s it for this edition of my farming and food crowd funding round-up – please check back for more updates on my road trip soon!