August 24, 2017

Wood Prairie Launches Indiegogo Funding Project for Repair Shop

 To visit the Wood Prairie Farm project on Indiegogo, click here.
Caleb and Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater

Caleb and Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater stand where the repair shop will be constructed.

Updated July 28, 2012: The Gerritsens’ Indiegogo crowdfunding project will end on Aug. 3, so there are a few more days to donate and spread the word.

• By Janine Pineo •

Sometimes, it’s a good thing to ask for a little help, especially when those asking are dedicated to their cause in every way.

Jim and Megan Gerritsen, the owners of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding project to help fund the construction of a repair shop.

The Gerritsens raise certified organic seed potatoes, a crop requiring specialized equipment that needs to be meticulously maintained, as well as a place to build new equipment to continue to improve their business.

“We need a place out of the rain and snow to keep our tractors and equipment maintained and repaired,” Jim Gerritsen says.  “This 30-foot by 70-foot metal building with wood-fired radiant floor heat is what we’ve needed for a long time. With our community’s support, we can make this shop happen this year.”

The goal is $32,000 with a project funding deadline of Tuesday, July 24. However, with Indiegogo, the project can choose one of two options for funding: flexible funding with donations going to the project even if the goal is not met and fixed funding where money will be returned to the donors if the goal is not met. The Wood Prairie project is flexible funding, meaning when you donate, the Gerritsens will receive the funds when the deadline is reached.

But it’s not just the Gerritsen family that will benefit. Indiegogo requires perks for the folks who donate. The Gerritsens’ project ranges from their original cider label from 30 years ago for a $10 donation to a whitewater rafting trip for a $10,000 donation.

If you can’t contribute monetarily, you can still contribute. Jim writes, ” Indiegogo employs an algorithm which they call ‘gogofactor’ which ranks projects by activity level.  The more activity the higher the ranking the more likely a given project will become a coveted Indiegogo ‘Favorite,’ which draws additional fund-drawing attention from the broader Indiegogo community plus Indiegogo’s own promotional efforts at helping projects go viral.”

So here are some other ways to help out:

  • Hit the “Like” button on the Wood Prairie campaign home page (just below the opening frame of the video)
  • Post a Comment on the project (access via campaign home page)
  • Share this Indiegogo project with family and friends by email and on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

The Gerritsens’ business is a family operation. In fact, the mechanics who will benefit from the repair shop construction are none other than the couple’s sons, Peter, 21, and Caleb, 18. Both grew up around the equipment and have long worked on repairing it. In fact, Peter won the State of Maine Future Farmers of America (FFA) welding competition in 2008.

The younger children, Sarah, 13, and Amy, 9, also do their part around the Aroostook County farm, which the Gerritsens have owned for 36 years. Over on the project page, you can watch a video featuring the family and the farm, and see exactly where the money will be going.

The Gerritsens will do the work to construct the shop, with the first phase finished this year. That phase includes the site work, pouring the slab, constructing and buttoning up the building shell. Future phases will include adding the large garage doors needed to accommodate the equipment and insulating the structure.

Wood Prairie Farm is more than just potatoes. Via their website and catalog, the family sells organic seed as well as vegetables, grains, flours and other goodies, showcasing the diversity of organically grown Maine crops.

And that dedication to their cause? Not only do the Gerritsens live their beliefs on their farm, they practice them in their community and are leaders in the organic community, with a global effect.

The Gerritsens have volunteered thousands of hours on behalf of the organic community over the past 30 years. Jim is president of the national trade group, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. That group is the lead plaintiff in the landmark organic community lawsuit, OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, which is challenging the validity of Monsanto’s GMO patents.

In their regular newsletter, their belief about the absolute need for organic farming is unwavering: “We have been committed to helping transform organic family farming into a viable alternative to chemical agriculture.”

While those simple words are strong, for the Gerritsens, their actions speak louder.

To contribute to the Wood Prairie Farm repair shop fund, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/help-woodprairie-build-repair-shop.