Coming Summer 2017.... The Pod!
We are very proud of the business that we've created, the relationships we've formed with our regular customers, neighbors, and other local food producers, and our stewardship of the land. Over the years, though, we have struggled with the myriad challenges of providing local food to our customers while making farming a viable livelihood, year-round in our harsh Maine climate.
“The Pod” is our answer to these challenges. Incorporating a commercial kitchen - for food production and education, climate-controlled crop storage, a propagation greenhouse, a summer floral design studio and a winter storefront. The Pod will allow us to expand our offerings and serve our customers’ needs in every season. At 3,000 square feet and located on the forest's edge of the farm, The Pod will perfectly complement our existing summer farm store and greenhouses.
With 20+ years of experience designing and handcrafting green buildings, Noah has designed The Pod to be a highly efficient facility integrating a number of diverse functions within a compact space. This innovative, replicable design can be adapted to any small farm operation seeking to diversify and/or streamline its production. The Pod’s super-insulated walls and triple-glazed windows, coupled with passive solar gain, will greatly reduce heating and cooling requirements. The rooftop array of solar panels will serve the electricity needs of The Pod, as well as those of the farm store and farm irrigation system, effectively making Frinklepod a net-zero energy farm.
The construction process will be broken into two phases:
Phase 1 creates the infrastructure to better serve our local food and floral enthusiasts. Our goal is to have Phase 1 complete for a Grand Opening in May. It includes:
- Greenhouse for winter/spring/summer seedling and fall/winter micro-greens production
- Commercial kitchen to cook up new food products, ideas and culinary services
- Crop Storage Rooms for maintaining the quality of produce throughout the winter/spring
- Flex-Space for a floral design studio that transforms into a lively retail store during winter months
Phase 2, completion date TBD, will include finishing off the second floor to further increase the Farm’s infrastructure and provide opportunities for long-term growth:
- Business office -- dedicated to managing business operations
- Efficiency apartment -- housing for apprentice or employee
- Possible event/conference space -- to host community gatherings and meetings
Imagine You + Frinklepod... all year long
- Shop at the summer farm store or the winter Pod store for organic produce, a variety of packaged and prepared food items, and other locally-made products
- Join a CSA program (pay up front for a discount and other perks)
- Order Farm Meal Kits for a convenient plant-based meal experience
- Participate in a hands-on cooking class in a professional kitchen
- Learn about health, gardening, nature and more in a variety of workshops
- Purchase seedlings, seeds, and supplies for your garden, spring through summer
- Order unique floral arrangements for special occasions (seasonal)
Our Needs and How You Can Help
We are financing The Pod with a combination of our personal assets, sweat equity, grant funds (some already received, some anticipated), and a construction loan, currently pending. Our timeline for construction is critically dependent on Noah’s availability to serve as general contractor and primary laborer during the farming "off season" - so to stay on track we need to begin work on the foundation in early November. As we await approval of the construction loan, your contribution of any amount will allow us to literally build the foundation of The Pod - to purchase construction materials and hire subcontractors. Once the loan is approved, we will be able to borrow less, thus reducing our debt load and allowing us to focus on continued innovation for the farm for years to come.
The total cost of The Pod (Phase 1) is $292,632. We have applied for a construction loan in the amount of $183,514. Any amount that is contributed will reduce our debt load associated with the construction loan and be met with our enormous gratitude. Our initial goal is to raise $15,000 with a stretch goal of $30,00 which will allow us to experience the relief of lower monthly loan payments and the increased ability to continue innovating at the farm and kitchen.
Since our inception we have always considered our customers to be stakeholders in our farm, as well as in the local food system. In order for small-scale, diversified farms like ours to survive in the marketplace where Big Ag (subsidized with our tax dollars) dominates, we believe that "community supported agriculture" is crucial. Participating in our crowdfunding campaign is one way to have your voice heard that you value nourishing food with a low carbon-footprint that supports the local economy. As a bonus, we would love to thank you for your generous support with a number of gifts. Everyone who donates will have their name included in a sign that lists our donors, displayed in The Pod. There are also stickers, flowers, invitations to the opening dinner, delivery of your Winter CSA share, and more.
We have been working on the design of The Pod, along with a full business plan and multi-year cash-flow projections, with a team of experienced mentors, including a financial advisor and a specialist from the Maine Dept. of Agriculture. We are confident that this investment in new infrastructure will benefit our business and our community in more ways than we can even imagine. We are also really excited to present The Pod as model to other small-scale farms who are working to diversify and integrate their agricultural offerings. We are passionate about our role in providing sustenance, resources, and hope to our community; it is our vision for a sustainable small farm that flows seamlessly from many seeds to many tables.
Other Ways You Can Help
We recognize that not everyone can make a financial contribution, and we appreciate you just as much! Chances are that if you're reading this, you have supported our business in some way already. If you'd like to support our campaign for The Pod, please take a minute to spread the word with your friends, neighbors, and family over email or social media. Bring it up when you bump into a neighbor at the library or the bakery. And please stay tuned to this site as well as our Frinklepod website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed for updates!