Victory Garden Civicside campaign picking up steam

by Christiaan Mader

Community support for the garden project in memory of Jillian Johnson is swelling quickly, reaching 80 percent of initial phase funding goals.

Marcus Descant at Victory Garden site
Photo Robin May

Less than 24 hours into a Civicside crowd funding campaign and the Victory Garden has nearly cleared its first funding benchmark. Unlike Kickstarter, the grandpappy of online crowd funding, Civicside divides project goals into two funding phases to allow organizers to bite off their financing needs in chunks. At press time, the Victory Garden had raised $3,325 of the $4,000 funding phase which covers 20 percent of the project’s $20,000 estimated budget. Project landscaper and Townfolk member Marcus Descant says the bulk of the comprehensive budget will go to construction of an entry tunnel, a billowing perimeter fence with informational signage and several eight inch metallic beds. The stars of the show, the herbs, flowers and vegetables themselves, are pennies on the dollar by comparison. Remaining funds will go the project’s maintenance cost which Descant estimates will run about $8,000 per year.

Civicside is a crowd funding organization based in Lafayette and founded by Vivo Research owner Butch Roussel. The aim of the organization is to provide connectivity between donors and a project recipients curated by Roussel and his partners. The selectivity ensures the money goes to projects that adhere to a community vision, and fosters and ongoing relationship between recurring donors and projects like Townfolk’s Victory Garden. Like Kickstarter, Civicside projects provide incentives at increasing levels of giving. Donation levels in the Victory Garden project range from $25 to $1000, of which two have come forward at press time.

“People love that initial push,” says Roussel. “It comes in waves.”

Construction on the Victory Garden, which honors the memory of Jillian Johnson, will begin this month at the corner of Oliver and Pierce street in the historic LaPlace neighborhood near Downtown. An accompanying Victory Festival benefiting the garden will happen Sept. 27.