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Rebecca Miller, a white woman with short white hair, wears a beige beanie and holds pink peonies close to her face.

Harvesting Resilience at North Tabor Farm

North Tabor Farm is generating a strong and sustainable future thanks to the support of community crowdfunding and the Biz-M-Power program.

North Tabor Farm is an established 30-year-old family farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard. The farm provides farm-raised vegetables, flowers, herbs, meat, and mushrooms to its rural community.

During COVID-19, the farm shifted from predominantly wholesale to retail after building a sweet, small, self-serve farm store.

Situated on an island, the farm is subject to frequent storms. While most of the farm is sustained by solar energy, it is still vulnerable to power outages given their rural environment and increasing extreme weather events.

In 2021, the farm lost its stock of frozen and refrigerated items and were forced to close their farmstand during a four-day power outage and had to turn to a neighbor to house their baby chickens.

In 2023, North Tabor Farm turned to Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation’s (MGCC) Biz-M-Power program to access the funds needed to install a generator, propane tank, and commercial freezer to protect their business, crops, and animals from unforeseeable events. The farm launched a crowdfunding campaign to generate their future. The campaign crowdfunded $19,585, far exceeding their goal of $12,394, from 93 patrons. By reaching their goal, the business unlocked a 2:1 matching grant from MGCC.

The funds have helped the business to become more sustainable and resilient. They now provide access to fresh produce and value-added products year-round.

We spoke with Rebecca Miller, owner of North Tabor Farm, to learn more about the farm and how the Biz-M-Power program transformed her family business.

“Thanks to our successful Patronicity campaign, our ten freezers and four refrigerators will continue to run in case of a power outage,” said Rebecca. “We can now feel secure that business will continue when most needed!”
Rebecca Miller, wearing a green blouse and a wide brim hat, takes a selfie with her happy pink pig.
Rebecca Miller, owner of North Tabor Farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts

Patronicity: Why do you love where you live and work?

Rebecca: As a farmer, I spend most of my day outdoors. I am so grateful to live on an island surrounded by natural beauty. It is remote, rural, and small. Being from a small town of 1,100 voters, people may know our business (personal and professional), but everyone shows up when you need it most.

During the summer season, our small island swells with vacationers who bring their appetites, and our farm gets to showcase how excellent access is to fresh, nutritious food. We could only have met our crowd-sourcing goal with the support of our customers and community.

Patronicity: What interested you in launching a crowdfunding campaign to support your business?

Rebecca: I was initially intimidated by the thought of crowdfunding for my business. The “ask” was daunting. It felt like we were exposing ourselves and our needs to a large population. Although I have always felt successful in our community, my definition of success was not based on financial security. In asking in such a public format, I had to overcome my inhibitions. Luckily, I like to learn new things, and I knew my future generator purchase would depend on challenging myself.

Two photos of North Tabor Farm bright green in the summertime.
North Tabor Farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts

Patronicity: What was your experience with crowdfunding? Did you have prior experience with crowdfunding or fundraising?

Rebecca: I had zero experience in crowdfunding. What worked so well was that I always felt supported by my [Patronicity] staff representative, if needed. Because the steps were broken into a small, manageable format, I could complete the prompts step-by-step. I found that I did not need the additional help. Even making the video was fun (I did need help from my 25-year-old daughter to share it). The challenge became fun as I created how I wanted my appeal to reflect my business’s essence.

Patronicity: What have been the results of your crowdfunding campaign?

Rebecca: Besides meeting my goal sooner than expected, an excellent highlight has been deepening customer relationships.

We are a small, intimate business, and I feel supported, and they feel invested in our future. As our business grows with our new commercial kitchen, our customer base increases as word spreads. Investing in relationships as a business model contributes more to the community than just financial gain.

Two photos of North Tabor Farm’s produce being organized and processed.
North Tabor Farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts

Patronicity: Do you feel like your business is stronger or better equipped for the future because of the investment you have been able to make because of the grant? If so, how?

Rebecca: On a physical front, our products will be protected during inclement weather. We have a stronger emotional connection with our customers and community members who supported us directly and have shared our story with their friends. We have also been able to give back and share our gratitude with the donation appreciation gifts.

Patronicity: What advice would you give to other businesses exploring crowdfunding or the Biz-M-Power program?

Rebecca: Enjoy the learning experience of crowdfunding through Patronicity. Someone will always have your back, and although moments will be uncomfortable, you will learn so much valuable information about your business and how you want to convey it to your customers. There is a valuable skill set learned through the crowdfunding experience.

Two women smile for  the camera while sitting on the steps of a small mobile shed.
North Tabor Farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts

Do you have an idea to grow your business in Massachusetts?

The Biz-M-Power crowdfunding matching grant program offers small businesses in Massachusetts financial assistance with their acquisition, expansion, improvement or lease of a facility, purchase or capital lease of equipment, or with meeting other capital needs for the business. Learn more at