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  • Writer's pictureAlex Subrizi

Kickstart us!

Updated: Mar 11

Go for it! Poggiosole is on Kickstarter with our tasty extra virgin olive oil, raising funds for expert pruning and the purchase of a Ventrac compact tractor. Our Kickstarter campaign launched this morning and will run for a month (until February 9th, 11 AM CET). If even if you can't contribute now, please help us spread the word! Our funding goal is a relatively modest €10K (one year of part-time work by our master pruner Vittorio or one quarter the cost of the Ventrac), but if we fall short of that goal, we won't see any of the funds our backers have pledged. All or nothing is how Kickstarter works.

Every pledge helps so if you can spare even €30, that main campaign image of our outer grove trees in summer looks great printed on cotton fiber fine-art photo paper. It's suitable for framing, and, if the campaign reaches its funding goal you'll also get that tree-hugging-good feeling that you helped us buy the skills and tools we need to keep stewarding our land.

For potential backers who can afford to contribute at least €85 (plus shipping), our October 2023 evoo is, in my humble opinion, the best we've ever made, owing in part to our having moved to an artisanal mill with a slower, more tightly controlled extraction process (read more about that here). And it's ready to ship as soon as the campaign ends.

I've already felt a huge swell of support from several friends who I'll take a moment to thank here: for most of the shots of me working in the grove and sliding around on my riding mower, a big boost to my pal Chuck (pictured with me towards the bottom of my Summer Silence post): part-time product designer, canal boat dweller and oil painter. For invaluable advice on presenting our Story and campaign rewards, a double high-five to my friend and former colleague Ed Chung: graphic designer extraordinaire and part-time artisanal pico-brewer. And of course a shout out to my family, and especially my partner Giovanna, who endured endless repetition of fragments of the campaign video's audio track as I tweaked, tweaked, tweaked...

Anyway, finally it's live! We'll see how it goes.

>Update, January 11: More thanks are due: just 24 hours into our campaign we have pledges for 21% of our goal 🥳 Thank you, thank you.

>Update, January 17: We are 58% funded with 3 weeks to go! It's mostly been close friends, old friends pledging so far, but a couple of Poggiosole's guests and former colleagues have pledged as well. I expect progress will be slower over the next couple of weeks: according to what I've been told, most pledging activity is usually near the beginning or end of a campaign. Still, if a few friends convincingly tell their friends, there could be a second wave of support. I'd feel a little odd (grateful yet a bit embarrassed) if the campaign funded with pledges from only friends. Somehow a pledge from someone less close, even a total stranger, feels more validating than a pledge from a good friend, who's maybe pledging more from the heart than from the head. Maybe I need to get over that 😌.

>Update, January 24: Two weeks in with two weeks to go: 75% funded by 31 backers (I've updated the post's hero image, above, with a screenshot made this morning). As important, I was notified yesterday that the Kickstarter staff had tagged our campaign as a "Project We Love", which will make it easier to find for potential supporters who don't know me or haven't heard from me directly since the campaign launched. I'm so pleased by the progress our campaign has enjoyed so far! We also got good news from the lab that did a chemical analysis of our 2023 oil: a phenol count of 530 mg/kg! That qualifies our evoo as "high-phenolic" according to at least one recent scientific paper.

>Update, February 1: With one week to go before our campaign ends, we just this evening cleared our funding goal, thanks to the trust and generosity of 48 backers of which about a third are folks whose names I don't recognize... which means word has gotten around... and that a gaggle of unfamiliar souls took a liking to the project! Sweet.

In addition to my acknowledgments above I have all my backers to thank, many of whom said they would make mention of the campaign on Facebook and other social media platforms I'm not active on. I also have Kickstarter to thank for noticing the campaign and giving it a boost with a PWL badge. I'm feeling a lot of gratitude! I've shared the news with our master pruner Vittorio whom I'll be meeting tomorrow to plan this year's winter pruning. I've asked my son Elio to record portions of that conversation and I'll be posting an edited video here and on Kickstarter.

>Update, February 9: The campaign ended at 11AM CET today with €12.7K in pledges from 68 backers. Add another two backers (one at €200, another at €1390) that didn't want to work through Kickstarter's sign-up and security mazes and the campaign raised over 14 thousand euro. Deducting Kickstarter's commission and credit card fees we should receive around €13.3K, a third more than our original €10K goal. These funds will go towards Vittorio's labor and a new tractor. I'll post one more update in the coming weeks to show our progress on both fronts. For now, a final big thanks to everyone who pledged or helped spread word of our Kickstarter campaign!

>Final Update, March 9: A few days after the campaign ended I few to New York with two large suitcases containing 28 tins of olive oil to mail most of the evoo rewards that were due to US-based backers. The cost of the ticket and two nights' lodging was within 10% of the price difference between shipping the US-bound tins from Italy versus from New York City. And, sent from the US, the parcels were more reliably trackable and they got to their destinations faster. While in the Tri-State area I visited the Ventrac dealer that had set aside a demo 4520 and inspected the tractor, further researched import regulations and crating requirements, and got some preliminary in-person training on the machine. A couple of weeks after I returned home, Kickstarter had processed everyone's pledges and sent the funds. All told, the campaign generated €14.300 of which, after deducting Kickstarter's commission and bank card fees, €13.067 were received by me. Of this income, €2.951 was spent on packing material (including 50 steel tins) and shipping costs (including the trip to NYC). Since a handful of the reward tiers involve evoo that will be shipping at the end of this year and in 2025, I've estimated the cost of those shipments to arrive a final net contribution of €9.650 from the campaign... within spitting distance of the campaign's original €10K goal. I'm pleased and, once again, grateful.

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