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Crowd funding of sustainable forests
With all the pressures placed upon forests for the natural resources they contain, it was only a matter of time before someone used a crowdfunding model to protect and sustain them. Sure enough, at Wisconsin's Driftless Farm, members pay an annual contribution in exchange for the right to enjoy many of the experiences and products the forest has to offer.
For an annual membership fee of USD 550, members of Driftless Farm's Community Supported Forest get access to the abundance of a 140-acre sustainable forest along with activities, services and workshops. Fresh spring water, herbs and the opportunity to hike, explore and scavenge firewood are all among the benefits to which members have unlimited access, while selective access is provided to sustainably milled lumber, wild mushrooms, garden plots, camping, hunting and delivery of both spring water and firewood. Workshops for members, meanwhile, include beer brewing using sustainably grown hops and barley, beekeeping, maple syrup tapping and the art of finding wild edibles.
Launched a few months ago by Whole Trees Architecture and Construction—which uses small-diameter, un-milled timbers as a local, green structural building alternative—the Community Supported Forest had filled four of its 20 available membership spots by mid-July, according to a report in Worldchanging. We'd bet more will surely follow, given the concept's winning combination of status story-inspiring experiences along with eco credentials and (still) made here appeal. Just as the subscription model is being used to support local organic farms, a like-minded crowdfunding concept could just be what it takes to keep local forests thriving. One to emulate in wooded areas around the world! (Related: Trees felled to order — More homegrown veggies without the sweat.)