Brookfield farm's Kickstarter campaign has happy ending
As of Thursday afternoon, the Farm had $25,765 in pledges from 539 individual backers who donated through the online tool, kickstarter.com.
Fulfilling the dying wishes of his grandfather, Raymond Weeks, grandson Andrew Weeks and his brother Kagen and friends set out to revitalize and reinvent the 29-acre farm that has been in the family since 1953. Technology and social networking tools — as well as good old-fashioned schmoozing — played a role in fundraising efforts. The Weekses had 30 days to raise at least $20,000 through Kickstarter, lest they be left empty handed. Andrew Weeks, 31, who spearheaded the campaign, was thrilled with the outcome.
“We are super excited. It's been a long and energetic campaign. We made our goal! Phew. I'm happy and exhausted,” he said Thursday.
Coleraine Farm experienced its first successful growing season this past spring, raising more than 160 varieties of vegetables it sold through its farmstand on Stoneham Road. But Weeks' vision for the farm includes use as an educational homestead, with hands-on workshops on furniture making and beekeeping, and many creative classes such as clowning and “super hero” training.
Weeks said the farm expects to receive the funding two weeks after the deadline. The 240-year-old farm needs a lot of work. Priorities include rewiring the barn, relining the chimney in the main house, restoring the foundation for the workshop, and building a four-season greenhouse. Weeks, who lives on the farm that his brother now owns, was emotional over the outpouring of support.
“It's one thing to spend days and nights hoping and dreaming by yourself; it's quite another and it's really satisfying to have those hopes and dreams justified by the support from friends, family, neighbors and people you've never met. It makes saving this farm all more a reality.”
Andrew's team includes brother and beekeeper Kagen Weeks; Andrew's girlfriend, Breanna Lembitz, who is working on her Ph.D. in economics and the farm's business plan; farmer and woodworker Cody Fosbrook, 24; and farmer, artist and photographer Aly Perry, 28.
Andrew said he was inspired by the memory of his grandparents, Ray and Dolores Weeks. Ray, a World War II hero, and Dolores, an educator ahead of her time, inspired Andrew and siblings during summers spent on the farm.
“The friendly ghosts of my grandparents and my father have been with me the whole time, pushing and encouraging me,” Andrew said.
“For me, every inch of the farm is full of memories: every tool, every tree, every dash of sunlight that blurs my eyes and brings me back. Back to my grandmother hanging clothes as I run among white sheets, darting from sun to shade. My grandfather lifting me up to feed carrots to Goldie, my favorite pony. A kitchen full of laughter, cards and the smells of real good farm cooking,” he said.
As the farm has met its initial $20,000 goal, Weeks set a second goal of $28,000. If they make it, the extra money will pay for a new BCS walk-behind tractor to bring the farm into the 21st century.
“This tractor will allow us to set aside the pickaxes for a bit and expand to a real competitive market field, all the better for educational programming,” he said.
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