Crowd-funding grows VT business for new gardeners

RICH NADWORNY, Free Press contributor

Thirty-five percent of households in the U.S. grow food at home or in a community garden. The largest increase over the past six years has come from young households. Cam MacKugler of Cloudfarm, based in Middlebury, wants to grow that even faster. He recently raised seed money for a gardening solution aimed at young urbanites who are novice gardeners, called Seedsheet. MacKugler says the goal is to grow the company from one to seven employees after funding is secured in January. I spoke to him about his new enterprise.

RICH NADWORNY: Where did you get the idea for Seedsheet?

CAM MACKUGLER: In 2011 I was house-sitting for some co-workers. They had an 80-acre dairy farm with chickens. I was paid in vegetables so every day I would ravage the garden for vegetables. I love gardening but I was a recent grad and didn’t have time or space to do it.

As I was in the garden, I was struck by an idea: I think I can simplify the process of gardening for everyone. I ran inside the house and started sketching, in crayon, what would eventually become the Seedsheet.

That original idea was too complex but it evolved into something much simpler. At the root of gardening is the question: How do you design a garden? If you’re a novice, where or how would you start? The product evolved into helping people choose vegetables and making it really easy for them to plant and manage them.

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