A University City couple has fallen short of their fundraising goal to expand their backyard farming operation into a commercial farm in St. Louis City.
Jeri and Carlos Villarreal had launched a Kickstarter campaign in October in hopes of drumming up $20,000 in seed money. When the pledge deadline came Tuesday - $17,558 had been pledged. Because the Villarreal's did not meet their goal, they won't get any of the funds, and the backers will get their money back.
"Without the funds, it will delay our project substantially," Jeri Villarreal wrote in an email to University City Patch late last month. "We will not be ready for the 2012 Spring planting season."
While the funding shortfall is a major setback for the Villarreal's the family’s plans to still pursue creating a commercial farm in St. Louis City.
"We really believe in our project and we'll just have to invest more of our own money into the project, but with 3 kids, it will just take us longer to get there. Realistically, it would add another year onto our project plan."
The Villarreal's got into the farming business by accident. What started out as a family garden, blossomed into a working urban farm. The couple started their backyard farm at their home in the 7500 block of Ahern Avenue several years ago with the goal of growing enough to feed their family and sell.
The farm features a dozen vegetable beds, dwarf orchard trees and a compost bin, as well as chickens, which provide eggs year-round.
The Villarreal family wanted the money to purchase a vacant St. Louis City-owned lot at 4539 Delmar Boulevard. The family said it needed more space to meet the needs of current customers and a growing restaurant clientele.