Your Adventure Helps Others Find Theirs #liveBANGS

2000
Entrepreneurs
70
Countries
20%
of Our Net Profits
99%
reinvestment of loans

Our model is built to invest 20% of net profits in helping people start businesses.

Wayan, Indonesia - Photo by Brandon Smith | Images provided by Kiva.org to advance its mission of connecting people around the world through lending to alleviate poverty.

  • We hand-select entrepreneurs to invest in their business ideas.
  • All entrepreneurs are vetted + the loan dissemination and repayment is facilitated by our nonprofit partner, Kiva.org.
  • Entrepreneurs build their business and then repay their loan.
  • 99% of loans given through Kiva are repaid.
  • This high repayment rate indicates an extremely high rate of successfully growing businesses!
  • When a loan is repaid, we do not take the money back, but re-invest that SAME loan with a new, different entrepreneur.
  • This means that over time, one loan could cycle through innumerable entrepreneurs, growing many, many businesses.
  • Buy BANGS Shoes = Your Adventures Help Others Find Theirs.

RAINDANCE ORGANIC FARM, WHITMORE LAKE, MI

Kristen of Raindance Organic Farm in Whitmore Lake, MI was inspired by her initial hobby of gardening to start a farm focused on family and fresh food. She aims to work and live sustainably but needs a Kiva loan to continue in this dream.

WHAT INSPIRED KRISTEN TO START HER BUSINESS?

“Shortly after my husband and I first said "I do" in 2007, we heard about a community garden project with plots for rent. That first year the weeds grew higher than the plants, but-- to my total amazement-- delicious vegetables hid in that jungle. That winter I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and was taken with the idea of growing our food and eating locally. Armed with one trusty garden reference book, I seeded a flat in the windowsill, planted out our second season plot that spring, and made friends with mulch. Everything grew! Tomatoes took over our kitchen in August. Over the next decade I grew food as a gardener and worked professionally as a registered nurse in acute care medicine. This work of care-taking fit me well, but I became discouraged seeing the same folks repeatedly admitted to our unit with preventable diseases brought on by poor nutrition and lack of education about exercise and wellness. I dreamed about starting a farm where we could connect children and young people-- those just starting out in life-- with really nutritious food and the joy and peacefulness that comes with working outdoors side-by-side with others. When our youngest child started school in 2017, I began the adventure toward doing this earth work, committing to building a sustainable farming business that serves our community. We're two years into this journey and I've learned that small business owners wear many hats and develop diverse skillsets. I love the problem solving. I love connecting with the diverse people that are drawn to the farm. I love the creative opportunities. Most of all I love that I am doing work that I strongly believe in together with people I love. Raindance Organic Farm exists to serve our community by growing great organic food & flowers and by connecting children and adults with the beauty of nature and the gifts of wellness. We do this through a family-on-the-farm program called the Family CSA Project. We plant and cultivate 70+ vegetables and flowers and open the farm twice each week for families, neighbors, and friends to gather in the gardens and harvest their own share of produce and flowers during the summer season. We also grow large crops of certified organic heirloom garlic and cut flowers, offering them for sale at local farmers' markets and through the Michigan Flower Grower's Cooperative. We are very grateful for the ways this work brings greater connectedness and community in our lives." — Kristen via Kiva.org

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF KRISTEN'S LOAN?

"Currently our biggest bottle neck on the farm is time and labor, and our greatest continual challenge is balancing farm work with our family because we have two awesome kids! We are excited to pilot two programs this summer-- an agricultural internship and a community workshare program-- to increase our labor force and grow more vegetables and flowers! My (Kristen's) long-term vision for the farm is live and work sustainably, tending to a small corner of the earth and sharing the fruit of the land with others, especially those with few resources. Our hearts will be full of the joy of children and grown-ups connecting with beauty and soil and sunshine and wind. Out table will be full of good conversation with interns and friends and learners, and our plates will be stacked with the food we grow and raise. We will live in the simplest and deepest sort of security and satisfaction, finding meaning in relationships and in the good, hard, dirty work of farming in our community. This loan, in conjunction with other funding, helps us build an 18kW solar panel installation that will power our farm for the next 25 years! To harvest enough energy to power our walk-in cooler, workshop, and greenhouse, we need a large installation. The footprint is actually 30 feet by 40 feet. What's really awesome about this solar design is that we're raising the panels about 12 feet high and multi-purposing the structure to also provide a shade shelter on farm. We'll use the shelter for our washing & packing of vegetables for market, for community supported agriculture weekly picnics on the farm, and for educational events. It'll be a hub of human activity on the edge of our vegetable & flower fields. The total cost for the solar installation (not including the structure) is $40,357, so we will put the $10,000 Kiva Loan toward that purchase. Based on weather and shading modeling, this solar system will generate 20+ Mega Watt Hours annually, which will cover 100% of our current energy use on the farm AND allow us to switch several of our propane-powered utilities over to electric power in the next year. After accounting for variables (the monocrystalline silicon panels are warrantied to continue generating >80% of their original value by year 25), this installation is projected to save our farm $93,601 in utility bill costs over the next 25 years. That means that after cost of installation, we will save $53,000 by using sustainable energy! This loan improves my family's life and the lives of our farm community members because it allows us to make the switch from propane to sustainable solar energy and it provides a multipurpose gathering space for community building and agricultural education.” — Kristen via Kiva.org

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