Crowdfunding: RipeNear.Me and Madelaine’s Organic Eggs

I’m in awe of crowdfunding. For those that don’t know what it is, it’s where many people come together and pledge small amounts of money to fund a much larger goal. The campaign might be to start a small business, a community group or garden, buy a piece of equipment, for someone’s medical operation they can’t afford, maybe even to help somebody pay their bills.

I helped birth a few Australian magazine, Pip Magazine, using crowdfunding. We had a goal of $9,500, which we needed to help print the first issue, and we blitzed it. It proved to be a useful method for gauging community interest too. Well, there are two crowdfunding campaigns on the go at the moment that I have supported and think you should too:

RipeNear.Me

Website: RipeNear.Me

RipeNear.Me is an meeting place where you can swap, give away, sell, and buy surplus produce. Perhaps you have more lemons than you can poke a stick at – put them up on RipeNear.Me and someone in your area looking for lemons might be in touch. I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking:

Madelaine’s Organic Eggs

Website: Hollyburton Farm – Madelaine’s Certified Organic Eggs

Even the free-range eggs we buy aren’t produced as ethically as we may like. ‘Free-range’ is more of a term to be legalistically manipulated than worked to in good faith. Well, Madelaine takes the whole idea to a new level. Her chickens freely graze on grass and bugs by day, are fed a nutritious diet of organic grains and natural supplements, and each egg is lovingly gathered, cleaned and sorted by the lady herself. A long, backbreaking task that Madelaine would like to get around by buying an appropriate piece of machinery. Over to her video to tell you more:

So, share the surplus and send a few dollars to each campaign if you can. This is how things are starting to happen nowadays. Collective, community-driven funding.

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Ngarkat Optimism in the Barren and Unproductive Murray Mallee

I’m currently reading a rather dry but illuminating paper called, “The Biological Survey of the Murray Mallee South Australia” (Foulkes and Gillen, 2000). I stumbled upon it looking for literature on native plant species found in the Murray Mallee. Under the “Land-Use History” heading (Foulkes and Armstrong) I found two interesting, if contrasting quotes:

Explorer, Edward John Eyre, speaking of the district to the elusive Ngarkat people: “to the
native the most valuable and productive for here the wallabie, the opossum, the kangaroo rat, the bandicoot, the liepoa [mallee fowl], snakes lizards iguana and many other animals, reptiles, birds etc abound”. To which Foulkes and Armstrong (2000) respond, “This indicates that the standard of living must have been reasonably high.”

This contrasts a rather cocksure statement by none other than Charles Sturt, who laid eyes on the region during his 1829-30 expedition: “[the Mallee is as] barren and unproductive as the worst of the country we have passed through”.

It’s amazing how the same landscape can mean such different things to different people from different backgrounds with different interests. It still happens today. When I tell people about the Mallee a pained look casts over their face. “How boring”. “There is nothing there”. “It’s dry and lifeless”. Perhaps. But, once upon a time, the region was foraged and hunted by a small, but well-fed tribe of aborigines. They saw something in it that the Europeans didn’t. And lived there, in relative peace, for 40-50,000 years (Foulkes and Armstrong, 2000). Mind boggling number, isn’t it?

Source: Foulkes, J. N. & Gillen, J. S. (2000). The Biological Survey of the Murray Mallee. Biological Survey and Research Section: Heritage and Biodiversity Division: Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia.