Get Involved With a New Take On Food and Community

Editor’s Note: The Lehman family have always been involved in supporting community and helping folks live a secure, satisfying life. Our founder Jay’s son Kevin is taking a new and modern take on that philosophy. We’re pleased to share his project with you.

Kevin Lehman celebrates his MBA graduation last summer with his son, Asher.

Greetings!  My name is Kevin.  I’m the son of Jay Lehman, the founder of Lehmans. I spent much of the 90s as the Lehmans Catalog Director but for the past decade I’ve lived in Vermont, a state of immense beauty where Lehmans is well known. In fact, Vermont has more Lehmans customers per capita than any other state!

Now that introductions are out of the way, I’d like to share a bit about my latest venture.  A venture with focus on sustainable food and farming and building community. We’re creating opportunities to keep food local and to keep money local, as well.

Three Revolutions Encourages Innovation
I’m the co-founder of Three Revolutions, the world’s first crowdfunding program wholly dedicated to farm and food.

Our mission is to fund food through community by giving food innovators the opportunity to share their stories and consumers the opportunity to back them. The goal is to make our communities and our food system more robust. And of course, to create more opportunities for everyone to eat good food.

If you haven’t heard of crowdfunding, it’s the process of combining small amounts of money into large pools of funding to make special projects happen. It’s been used to fund entrepreneurs, creatives and do-gooders around the world. In 2011 it was a $1.5 billion industry worldwide.  This is expected to double in 2012 and continue to grow rapidly, partly because of the Crowdfund Act President Obama signed into law earlier this year. This opens up new possibilities for regulars folks like you and me (i.e., non-accredited investors) to invest directly in businesses in ways we can’t now.

How Three Revolutions Works
OK, back to Three Revolutions. Here’s how it works: Farmers, food processors, and food-associated businesses, artists and artisans, communities building gardens, brewers, abattoirs, activists, food hubs, and many others can share their story and funding needs on our website. Backers can fund the venture (or ventures) of their choosing with as little as $10 or as much as several thousand dollars. The farmer or food entrepreneur responds with the tempting promise of a monthly shipment of cheese over the coming year, an open tab at the local restaurant, a half-priced CSA or perhaps an overnight stay at their farm.

Folks who choose to back projects have a unique “bird’s eye view.” The farmer or food entrepreneur can easily post updates on the projects at threerevolutions.com, and backers can track project development.

We launched the Three Revolutions project only a few weeks ago and currently have five active campaigns on the platform, one of which opened August 10. Another campaign has already exceeded its funding goals! Our current live projects on Three Revolutions include:

Photo courtesy ThreeRevolutions.

1. Keep the Tap Running • Aqua Vitea
Aqua Vitea’s goal is to raise $5,000 to gussy up a new delivery van with artwork by their artist-brewer Mike Kin. In addition, they hope to install four taps through the side of the van so they can serve up fresh Kombucha and Cultured Tea at festivals and events.

2. Small Cell Comb Honey Bee Trial • Dancing Bee Gardens
Dancing Bee Gardens’ goal is to raise $852 for a trial to test the hypothesis that honey bees raised on small cell comb will develop from egg to adult faster than bees raised on today’s standard comb, and therefore prevent diseases that may lead to colony collapse.

Photo courtesy ThreeRevolutions.

3. Bringing Rice Farming to Vermont • Boundbrook Farm
Boundbrook hopes to raise $6,000 to import a special rice harvester to enhance their harvesting capabilities in soft paddy ground. It will also allow them to help incubate other wet rice projects in the region by performing custom harvest for other growers with small plots.

Photo courtesy ThreeRevolutions.

4. Developing New Foods, Sourced Locally • Two Guys in Vermont
Two Guys’ goal is to raise $12,500 for seed money so they can introduce three new, unique delicious foods. Monies will go directly to buying the fresh foods they’ll need for research and development, packaging costs and critical items related to testing new recipes. New recipes feature 86%-100% of foods that are locally grown and can be sourced from family farms.

We are excited about possibilities to fund innovation that will help create a flourishing, sustainable food system, and to build community in the process. A few things I really appreciate about Lehmans customers is their involvement with food-related projects, their stake in community and their commitment to living simply and living well. I hope for your support! Please take a moment to check out the threerevolutions.com – maybe you’ll feel inspired to back a project or start a campaign yourself. If you like what you see please check out our Facebook page, give us a like and sign up for our e-newsletter.

4 thoughts on “Get Involved With a New Take On Food and Community

  1. Hey Kevin! This is Leeann from the OE! We are big fans of Lehman’s, and I am very involved in the local food movement in Georgia. Funding is often the main obstacle for food projects. Excited about this new crowdfunding option and will be sharing with friends and colleague. Thanks for doing this!