• Calla Norman

10 Green Businesses that Crowdfunded Small Business Loans to Grow Sustainably!

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

Fields of cabbage and greens at Clarion River Organics farm

At Honeycomb, we find that value-aligned businesses grow immensely with the help of their communities, and that’s certainly the case for green businesses! Green businesses, from composting to distilling, support their communities by creating jobs and amazing products while they also help the environment in the process.

Read on for 10 stories of unique, sustainability-focused businesses that have crowdfunded small business loans and grown through Honeycomb!

1. Western Reserve Distillery

After a whole career working in corporate food, Ann and Kevin Thomas chose to go off on their own and founded Western Reserve Distillery, an organic spirits company that produces award-winning tequila, rum, and whiskey.

Western Reserve has been in a growth state, ready to open into more markets and expand their production capacity, and they’ve done this through their strong connection to their customers as well as to local organic farmers in the Ohio area and sustainable agave farmers in Jalisco, Mexico.

four snifters of Western Reserve Distillery organic whiskey

See how distillery owners, farmers, and more have been able to take their green business to the next step using Honeycomb crowdfunded loans!

Ann and Kevin were able to raise $100,000 from 57 investors as a small business loan for working capital to expand their production, purchasing barrels to age their whiskey and agave spirits!

2. Compostable LA

In 2020, Compostable LA was able to divert 50,000 pounds of food waste and turn it into nutrient-dense compost used to grow more food! Founder and co-owner Monique says, “Composting takes something normally seen as a waste product and makes highly nutritious food for the soil. It’s actually a resource. In a community composting decentralized model, that resource stays within the community and helps build community resilience.”

Compostable LA raised a small business loan of $60,000 from 77 investors, showing that this decentralized community model was able to grow their green business while also growing wealth in their community. Now, with this small business loan, Compostable LA has been able to expand their fleet of compost pick-up vehicles and move into a new office space to better support their operations.

3. Squash the Beef

Squash the Beef is a vegan comfort food catering company based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Co-owners Candace and Kurtis became vegan in 2017, but they quickly found out that there was a distinct lack of vegan options when they’d go out to festivals and other public events.

So, they decided to start Squash the Beef and join the festival circuit, with their new green business offering vegan specialties like Chick’n and Waffle “comfort cones” and other plant-based options. They were amassing quite a following, then the coronavirus pandemic hit, cancelling plans they had to attend festivals.

Squash the Beef decided to crowdfund a small business loan for a new food buggy, which would allow them more mobility and the ability to better reach their customers without the need for large events. They raised a small business loan of $30,000 from 78 investors, and were able to purchase the food buggy, which should be ready for business soon!

4. Harvie Farms

a box of local produce from Harvie Farms

Harvie Farms used community capital to build their business that connects farmers with their community using tech. Anyone can invest in a start-up’s growth and do good at the same time!

With the mission of connecting consumers with local farmers, Harvie Farms has been using tech to distribute subscription boxes of locally-sourced products. Supporting local farmers in this way is great not only for the community economy, but also great for promoting farmers who use organic, sustainable practices!

Harvie Farms has raised over $230,000 to expand their distribution, purchasing equipment and working capital for their Pittsburgh distribution center. By growing in Pittsburgh, they’re showing that this model can help promote other green businesses throughout the country!

5. Blackberry Meadows Farm

When looking to diversify their farm’s revenue streams, Jen and Greg, owners of Blackberry Meadows Farm, looked to glamping and agritourism as an option. While running a successful community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as well as being AirBnB Superhosts for 5 years, they were looking for another opportunity to bring people onto the farm to connect with the earth.

Jen and Greg raised $27,000 from 39 investors so they could purchase canvas cabins for an outdoor Airbnb. They plan to use these cabins to create a new stream of income for their farm as well as invite people onto the land to get dirty and learn more about where their food comes from.

6. Better World Refill Shop

Better World Refill Shop is the first of its kind in Cleveland, and they opened up in the middle of a pandemic! Owner Rachel started it with the mission of providing products that are good for taking care of your body as well as the earth. At Better World Refill Shop, you can use a reusable container to fill up on natural body products and cleaning supplies, reducing plastic consumption.

toiled cleaning tabs at Better World Refill Shop in Cleveland

Growth doesn’t need to mean more consumption - as Better World Refills proves! Support more businesses like this by checking out our live campaigns!

Rachel started her campaign to open up a second location in her area, showing that green businesses can grow sustainably in the Rust Belt! She’s hit her minimum now, and is nearly there to her $80,000 goal!

7. Nippitaty Distillery

Traxler is the owner of Nippitaty Distillery, South Carolina’s first organic distillery. When he was ready to grow his green business, he initially looked to Kickstarter to try to crowdfund a taproom expansion. However, due to his customers’ lack of interest in getting perks or rewards, the campaign fizzled out. But Traxler, who’s deeply passionate about supporting his com