Like many crowdfunding project creators, Emily Cronk and Rob Schoch struggle to gain backers and pledges for their Kickstarter. Apparently, all of the short, memorable names were taken, so they opted to go with a project titled One Hard-Working Couple, With a Goal, On an Organic Mission.
If you had asked me, before I sat down to write this article about their project, what the name of their Kickstarter was, I would have flubbed it. I would have drawn a blank. I would have botched the answer.
If that is the case, then why am I now trying to put words to digital parchment, in order to talk about this crowdfunding undertaking that I can't even seem to remember the name of?
Well, let me tell you why. Pull yourself up a chair, or a seat somewhere, and I will tell you a little story. It's a story about a man and a woman, the story of a couple of who fell in love, and who decided to move across the country to pursue a handful of dreams. This is also a story about Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the noted Poet Laureat of Great Britain and Ireland.
Look, if you want to get the story straight from the proverbial horse's mouth, then you would be best served to head on over to Rob and Emily's Kickstarter project page, and read both it and the various updates posted there.
If you were to ask them about the Lord Tennyson connection, the odds are pretty good, I'd wager, that you would draw blank stares from the both of them. But, you see, that's just it - this blog posting is their story, as I tell it, and not their story as they tell it - for only they can tell their story as they know it.
There were two lines from a Tennyson poem that came to mind, as I sat and browsed Emily and Rob's project page. They are lines often quoted and long remembered by many. Those lines, those words frozen forever in time, are these.
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Than never to have loved at all.
What an ignominious fate it must be, indeed, for a project so down to Earth and interesting to find itself relegated to being mused upon by the likes of a blog that hardly anybody at all ever reads. I ask you, my friend, is it better to have Kickstarted and lost, than to have never Kickstarted at all?
Is it better to be talked about by a no-name blog in some far-flung, obscure corner of the Internet, than to have never been talked about at all?
Fortunately, this tale of project creators two has a happier ending than that.
Why do I say that?
Well, because as fate would have it, they were fortunate enough to have gotten some coverage of their crowdfunding project on Kickstarter by a newspaper that is local to them.
On their project page, Emily and Rob state, "We would love any support you can give us in helping bring our dreams to reality, taking better care of the earth, spreading the good word for organics, and sharing in our fruitful harvests."
So, it is support that they seek, and while I am in no position to fund their Kickstarter single-handedly, I am in a position to try and say a few words about their project, in a bid to share word of their project with whatever few Internet passers-by happen along this blogpath.
Though you certainly couldn't tell it by looking at them, all crowdfunding projects have a story to tell - and stories are for sharing. Unlike a story that you might encounter in a book, this is a story that you can play a role in shaping the outcome of. This is more than just a story about a man and a woman who moved from California to Tennessee. This is a story with more human depth to it. It is not a story of a generic man and woman. No, this is the story of Schoch and Cronk.
Did I mention that they have a compost pile?
Well, they do. Will the wonders never cease? I can even show you a picture of it. Honest to God, I can!
Now, it may not look like much to you, but to me, it looks wonderful, just absolutely wonderful! And why does it look wonderful, this run-of-the-mill compost pile? It's a compost pile, for crying out loud! What's the matter with me?
Well, you see, I don't have a compost pile. At the moment, I don't even have a garden. Heck, who am I trying to fool? I seriously doubt that I will ever be so lucky as to own an orchard. So, when I encountered Rob and Emily and this little compost pile of theirs, I took a liking to them.
More importantly, I didn't just take a liking to them. What I took was an interest - in them and in their story.
The thing about stories is that how you tell one is everything. You either draw people in or you lose them, and all because of how you tell the story.
And where, of course.
Yes, the where of how you tell the story matters, also, which is why Emily and Rob need more than just some obscure persona located on some Internet back road to take an interest in them and this quaint and lovely little project of theirs. It may look like compost to some, but I dare say that what I smell in the air over this Kickstarter project of theirs is a slice of fresh baked Americana.
If you pay close attention to the rewards section of their Kickstarter project page, you will learn that they haven't even named this thing that is to be this farm of theirs. Maybe that's because they're more focused at the moment on making their dream a reality, than they are at naming their dream. Do you name your dreams? See what I mean?
For a young couple trying to bring a farm into existence, I must reflect that they went hogwild, today, posting no less than four updates to their project page on this one day, alone. There are worst things in life than in being branded hogwild with enthusiasm. Wouldn't you agree?
Did I mention that they have a new chicken coop up and running, already?
So, while Rob and Emily busy themselves with the finer points of raising chickens, there's no reason for you to be chicken about joining in and lending a proverbial hand to help them get this project accomplished.
Don't think me a quack!
I kid you not, this crowdfunding project is about more than just a few chickens and a chicken coop. It's about more than just a compost pile. It's about more than just a farm, for that matter. It's about dreams, and in the realm of farmdom, there also exists the concept of good neighbors.
And that's all that any Kickstarter project really is, in a way. Rob and Emily need a hand. They're hoping that others will want to become their online neighbors, and to lend a hand, and to chip in and help to make this dream that is bigger than Emily and Rob, combined, into a reality - not just for them - but hopefully, for you, as well.
The thing about starting out new, starting out from scratch, is that you've got to start somewhere. To grow an orchard, that takes a little more time to yield results than, say, getting chickens to lay eggs. Some components of our dreams are long term manifestations. The full totality of the dream is not laid bare in the mere twinkling of an eye.
Rather, to dream - and to follow one's dreams - is a lifelong pursuit. The full culmination of forging dreams into reality often extends even beyond whole lifetimes. The pursuit and fulfillment of dreams often becomes a generational pursuit, extending across generations of the same family, encompassing more than just family to include friends and neighbors, alike, as well.
Old barns and old sheds carry memories that may never be unearthed. The Earth has a way of retaining some of its secrets, leaving us to wonder - and while we wonder, we often find ourselves strolling down memory lane.
The thing about memories is that they cost nothing to share. These days, people share all sorts of things on various different social media. Social media is nothing new, however. People have been sharing bits and pieces and glimpses of their lives with one another since the dawn of mankind.
This Kickstarter project, this one about a hard working couple with a goal - an organic mission, is a chance for you to not just read about someone else's dream, but to join in and become a part of that dream.
The part that made the difference, all the difference in the world.
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. It has nothing to do with the house, though. Rather, home is an entirely different kind of structure. Filling a house with furniture and furnishings are not what make it into a home. Making a house into a home requires hearts and hopes and lots and lots of memories.
Building a farm is tantamount to taking the concept of home, and expanding upon it. Life on a farm isn't always easy. It's certainly not always financially rewarding. But, when it becomes a central pillar of a young couple's dream, its true value cannot be fully nor properly calculated in terms of dollars and cents.
Won't you join in, and become part of the memories that this small farm tucked away in the hills of Tennessee is destined to grow?
I'll see you there!