Imagine if... all local farmers had access the tools needed to grow their business and create generational change
Sarah Buchanan is Executive Director of The Kula Project.
Sarah co-founded the organization with James Sasson around the shared goal of ensuring that farmers have the tools they need to grow and do well. These businesses are one way to create wealth in the communities that they serve.
For Sarah, the initial vision was quite simple. She says, “we started The Kula Project with the hope that we could empower extraordinary individuals to create generational change in their community”. The Kula model begins by identifying strong leaders to partner with. Local entrepreneurs are then matched with financial capital, agronomy training, and business literacy tools that aid in their ability to reach their goals. Investments are made in things like scaling production of cash crops, providing access to top-notch farms tools, and providing access to organic farm inputs. The Kula Project also supports the businesses with tools to measure their impact and demonstrate the value they are creating through the work.
The results of the work have been truly fascinating. In 2014 The Kula Project partnered with 20 farmer-families. Those businesses were supported by 5,000 coffee trees, 1,000 banana trees, and 150 new farm tools. Additionally, about 90% of the farmers used their income to fund education expenses for their children.
The Kula Project is preparing to celebrate a milestone anniversary. In the non-profit world, only about 10% of start-ups make it to their third year. Now on the brink of this achievement, Sarah says, “the third year is a big year in the nonprofit startup world and we really want to celebrate it. This year we will grow more than ever before, directly investing in the lives of 115 families.“ With the help of their supporters and, most important, the proof of concept demonstrated by the growing network of farmers the future looks quite promising.
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