WILLIAMSTOWN -- Only 21 days after the start of Cricket Creek Farm's Kickstarter campaign to raise $85,000 to enhance the farm's operations, its goal has been achieved.
And the pledges keep on coming.
According to farm operator Topher Sabot, the campaign hit the magic number just after 2 p.m. Friday.
"It went better than we could have possibly imagined," he said.
The campaign had 30 days to hit the $85,000 goal. If unsuccessful, the farm would not have received any of the pledged donations. But now, with a few more days to go before the campaign ends, more donations are still being made.
By Saturday afternoon, donors had pledged $92,500. The campaign ends on March 30.
"It is unexpected to see such support," Sabot said. "We work really hard here, and it is so validating to see the community come forward. It's been really amazing."
This has been a three-year process during which the farm's owners have been studying farm finance and operations. Sabot and co-operator Suzy Konecky have determined that although Cricket Creek has been operating at a loss for the past few years, with a modest new revenue stream and reduced energy costs, the farm can be financially sustainable.
The plan is to renovate and upgrade the second story of the stone barn for use as community space and special event rentals, and to invest in enough solar power to reduce the cost of energy needed to refrigerate the farm's dairy products and supplies.
The barn is big enough to hold special events like weddings, birthdays or anniversary parties, as well as community meetings and events. The plan is to install a new roof, insulation, a sprinkler system, as well as sliding glass doors and an exterior deck that will feature dazzling views of Mount Greylock and the surrounding farm country. There will also be picture windows and other features to capitalize on the views. The revenue from party rentals would help fuel the farm's operations.
Then there is the plan to install solar panels to reduce the significant cost of refrigeration -- the highest energy need on a dairy farm.
So far, Sabot noted, they have raised enough money to complete the barn project and install a solar hot water system. Any money raised over the goal will go toward solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.
Sabot said most of the donations, about 90 percent, came from local residents and people with some sort of connection to the farm. Other donors are from further away. Sabot noted that there were donor parties in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and three donors from England who "just believe in the idea of community farming."
Sabot said the community will share in the results of the campaign.
"We feel like we owe the community, so we'll pay that back by doing the best we can," he said.
Folks can join the campaign at the Cricket Creek Farm website: www.cricketcreekfarm.com.
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On Twitter: @BE_SStafford