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Each year, parents, neighbors and friends spend nearly $4 billion buying tubs of cookie dough, candy bars, sweet treats, and junk food to support schools and nonprofits in their communities. We’ve all been there–we want to support the cause and so we buy a bag of flavored popcorn we won’t open, some wrapping paper we don’t really need, or a few magazine subscriptions that guarantee we’ll be added to many direct mail lists. And the worst part of this story is the school’s cut of our purchase is less often than what the fundraising company makes.

We really do need to keep supporting schools with these small fundraisers because the money pays for things that make school great–field trips, new books, sports equipment, and school gardens to name a few. But there has to be a better way.

When my young son pointed out the absurdity of selling candy for his school that he wasn’t allowed to eat, a vision for FarmRaiser popped into my head–schools and nonprofits would raise money with healthy local food, farmers and artisans would thrive, and kids would become ambassadors for eating local, healthy food. Three years later, we have built a fast-growing company around that vision, and hope you will join us in supporting healthy kids, strong schools and a re-localized food system.

FarmRaiser helps schools, nonprofits and civic groups create authentic, efficient, and high-profit fundraisers. Students sell healthy, locally grown and made products through a personalized online farmers market and mobile app. At the end of each sale, products are delivered to the school and students distribute products to customers. Schools keep a minimum of 45% of the proceeds, and 85%+ of all sales stay in the local community.

If you think this sounds like a perfect fit for the Slow Food community, then you’re not alone. FarmRaiser and Slow Food USA have formed a partnership to promote healthy fundraising as a way for members of their school gardening program to enhance and grow their gardens. It doesn’t take a smart aleck 4th grader to point out that if you’re selling junk food to raise money for your school garden, then something just isn’t right. We are very excited to offer hundreds of amazing local products to the schools, and to be working with local chapters to bring more Slow Food artisans and farmers to the platform.

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If you’d like to promote healthy school fundraising and a vibrant local food economy, here are a few ways to get involved:

  1. Host a FarmRaiser at your school or organization. Our free signup is the fastest way to get started, whether you want more information or are ready to start planning your first campaign! Once you sign up, we will contact you to answer any questions, find you some great products, and plan your FarmRaiser!
  2. Share FarmRaiser as a fundraising option with your Slow Food chapter and friends. All the organizer has to do is enter the code SLOWFOOD50 when she schedules her first FarmRaiser and your chapter will receive $50/new campaign (and $25/renewal campaign after that!). Click here for an email template.
  3. Sign up to be a FarmRaiser supply partner. If you grow or make a healthy, awesome product, check out this video explaining how our partnership with farmers and artisans works, then sign up (for free!) to start making your products available in FarmRaisers.
  4. Connect us with your favorite farmers and artisans. If there’s a healthy local product you’d love to sell or buy in FarmRaiser and you don’t see the supplier listed among our current partners, you can send them this quick email and/or tell our team of Cultivators about them so that they can get in touch about their products on our platform.
  5. Stay informed and help spread the word! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our blog, and let us know if there are any potential organizers or suppliers you think would be great additions to the FarmRaiser family.

The FarmRaiser team is passionate about what we do and why we do it. The partnership between Slow Food and FarmRaiser presents an opportunity to give schools, communities, and local food systems the healthy futures they deserve. Please join us.

Are you a Slow Food school garden partner? Let FarmRaiser help you with your next seed sale! Seed sales are quick, easy, and give the gift of gardening to both students and supporters!

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Guest post by Mark Abbott, CEO and Founder of FarmRaiser, a technology-enabled social enterprise that helps schools raise money with healthy local food.


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