After three years of product development, testing, and small-scale sales, a group of UW–Platteville students is ready to take their project to the next level.
On Nov. 9 Platteville Sunflower Oil Co. launched a crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com to raise funds to expand the organization’s sunflower oil production and continue to “cultivate communities through sunflowers.”
More than 50 students and 11 local businesses have helped bring this project to reality. The students, from a wide range of disciplines, have developed a business (and are in the process of applying for non-profit status) that grows organic sunflowers, presses the seeds into a healthy cooking oil, and markets the oil through local grocers.
Sunflower oil, while common in Europe, is less known in the Midwest despite its health properties and its ability to grow well here with commonly owned farming equipment. As healthy as olive oil, sunflower oil can be used in baking, sauté, and dipping. Its byproduct, press meal, makes an healthy and high quality feed for dairy cattle, and used frying oil can be used to make biodiesel, assuring that every part of the oil has a useful life.
The group of six students who make up the Board of Directors for this organization are launching a crowdfunding campaign to help grow the project. With the project operating at cost, the organization has little savings to invest in expansion. Funds will help pay for increased seed production and associated packaging costs. Since the project is volunteer run, no donations will be spent on administrative costs. As the sales grow all profits will be invested back into project and into education related to sustainability and renewable energy.
Donors of $25 will receive a bottle of sunflower oil, while larger donors can receive Platteville Sunflower Oil Co. T-shirts, sunflower bouquets delivered monthly, or a private dinner for 10 prepared using sunflower oil.
For questions, contact Board Member Mathis Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org, (262) 442-1677.