There are a lot of ways that you can support our work, all of which are greatly appreciated!
Sharing & Mentions
We have basically no budget for advertising, but social media makes it possible to reach new audiences who are very likely to be interested in what we do. When you share our blog posts, growing guides, or posts on Facebook, Twitter, or possibly even Google Plus, it has a big impact. Our stats show that just five shares of any given post translate to almost a doubling of the reads for that post on that day.
If you are going to mention us in a post or a review or a video, please link to us! The difference in visits between a mention that is unlinked and a mention that is linked is huge.
I cannot overstate the value of links. The number of links to our site is one of the major factors that determines where we show up in search engines. Search engines are the number one way that we get new customers. So, when you link to Cultivariable, you are helping us to climb in the rankings and get more attention. Linking from social media is valuable, but linking from another web site like a blog is often more valuable. So, if you like what we’re doing, please don’t be shy about linking to us. It costs nothing and can make a big difference.
I like to get comments on our blogs and growing guides. I particularly like questions about things that might be unclear or that are not covered. I frequently revise posts based on the questions that we receive about them. If you think that other people might benefit from the answer to your question, then please consider leaving a comment rather than sending an email. Like links, comments factor into search ranking, so in addition to helping to improve the content, your comments can help us to attract a wider audience.
All of our original varieties bear a “Suggested Royalty” on the label. Our original varieties are open source, so there is no prohibition against their propagation and sale, but if you want to ensure that I can continue to breed new varieties that you can sell, then it is in your interest to help support the work. You can pay more, less, or nothing at all, so this is a bit of a social experiment.
If you have the choice to buy something from a big generalist supplier or from us, I probably don’t have to tell you which is going to have the greater impact. It is true that you can find less expensive sources for some of the plants that we sell, but when you buy from us, you are always contributing to the future development of that plant.
Genetic diversity is the basis for plant breeding. The more diversity that we have access to, the greater the probability of encountering uncommon and valuable traits. I have pretty well tapped out the commercial sources for most of the plants that we work with, but there is more out there. Occasionally, I hear from gardeners who have been quietly growing a variety for decades, researchers holding older collections, or growers in other countries who have access to resources that can be imported, like true seed (more commonly, people offer roots and tubers from outside the USA, but we can’t import these). Every new variety is really valuable to us, particularly for plants where we are cut off from easily obtaining more material, as is true of the Andean crops in particular.
I also work with several North American crops. For these, if you know of a wild source that you can easily collect and share, that is a great help. If you know where to find yampah, Jerusalem artichokes, groundnuts, camass, Florida betony, or other native crops that we are working with, a little seed or a few roots/tubers could be a big help.
To say that I have mixed feelings about this subject would be an understatement. We had a donations page the first year that we were open and I was happy when I took it down. Lately, a few people have asked about the possibility of donating and that caused me to reconsider having an established way to go about it.
Cultivariable is not a non-profit. I doubt it will become one, although I consider it periodically. A lot of the work that I do is not directly compensated. Of course, that is true of most businesses, but the parts of my work that bring the least compensation also probably have the greatest public benefits. I do a lot of writing and the number of people reading our guides and blog posts is more than 100 times as large as the number of people who buy our products. Breeding is another area where you only see the tip of the iceberg. More than 99.9% of the output of each project is discarded. If you consider that I could instead dedicate that space and time to simply growing out more products to sell, that effort looks a bit crazy. This is not a common business model and there are probably good reasons for that. Things are going in the right direction, but I still make less than minimum wage.
There are all kinds of things that I would like to do that are limited by money. We have all the space that we could ever use, but lack the equipment and facilities to make use of the space. Time will solve these problems as we continue to sell more and bring in a little more profit, but it would be great to be able to do more sooner.
So, if you feel that you have gotten value from our products, writings, or other works that exceeds what you paid for them, then I am happy to accept your donation. Even small amounts are appreciated. We make about $3-4 on a packet of seeds or tubers, so a donation of that size is like we sold a product that we don’t have to ship.
If you want to donate, you can click below to do so through Paypal or you can send a check, money order, or cash to PO Box 111 / Moclips, WA 98562.
(We are not looking for loans or investors. Perhaps we will in the future, but at this stage of the business, either one would be unwise.)