Updates on Outback and my Crowd Funding Campaigns and other stuff!

On Sunday night I e-mailed Outback for a free Bloomin’ Onion and promptly blogged about it!


It’s now Wednesday and no response from Outback Corporation. Do they hate Iowa fans, or onion farmers, or just Iowa graduates who happen to be onion farmers?

Here are the two contact links I used … feel free to contact them and demand they give a free Bloomin’ Onion to the 4th generation onion farmer who is a University of Iowa graduate! Ask them why they don’t support onion farmers who are Iowa grads!



I now have 4 days left on my Kickstarter campaign:


39 backers pledging $1,627 is pretty fantastic but Kickstarter is “all-or-nothing” so it appears pretty unlikely I’ll make my goal of $5,000 in 4 days. hey, you never know … but many thanks to all that chose to support my project!

In the meantime my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign now has 4 backers!


The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

I now have a Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”


And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:


Wow … that’s lots of updates … arthroscopic knee surgery coming up Friday … hopefully I will be able to post lots of fantastic pics … will be asking the Doctor if I can only have a local so I can stay awake and take some neat surgery action photos!

We’ll see … though I doubt my wonderful and long suffering wife will allow it!

Updates on my Crowd Funder Show campaign and Farmroot!

While my Kickstarter Campaign picked up another backer it appears it will not succeed with only 5 days to go. It was close, and the backer support was tremendous, but with Kickstarter it is “all or nothing.”

On the other hand my The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign has picked up a new backer and is moving forward!



It is not “all or nothing” and it has some fantastic rewards for people that support me …. dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Sears, Home Depot or Best Buy. So if you plan on doing some holiday buying or post holiday buying at any of these locations please consider supporting me. You are essentially able to do it at no cost to you … and you are supporting a worthwhile cause … funding my endeavor to hire a professional editor for my first draft memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” Once again, all contributions and any other support, including the passing along information about this campaign, is very much appreciated!

On another note, the website for my new public policy/advocacy organization that focuses on issues surrounding specialty crops, or vegetables and fruits, Farmroot, is now up and active!!!!!


Please feel free to check it out! Check to the issues page, the about us page, and feel free to spread the word!!!! look for exciting news regarding Farmroot to be appearing soon!

Finally … it has now been a day with no response from Outback regarding my quest for a free Bloomin’ Onion from them because Iowa is in the Outback Bowl and I’m a 4th generation onion farmer and Iowa graduate … I will keep everyone posted on this!!!!!

Iowa to play LSU in the Outback Bowl … and I want a free Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse!

It’s official … Iowa will play LSU in the 2014 Outback Bowl!


The last time we played LSU was in the 2005 Capital One Bowl and we sent out coach Nick Saban as a loser at LSU in until the Iron Bowl this season was one of the best endings to a college foot ball game … evah!

But this year we are playing them in the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2014 … that’s right, the Outback Bowl which is named after the Outback Restaurant chain. One of their signature items is the Bloomin’ Onion:


Now here is the deal … I’m a 4th generation ONION farmer and a very proud graduate of the University of Iowa (1988-1990, M.A.) … and because of these two things … I WANT A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!

Tonight, shortly after the announcement was made of the fact that Iowa was selected to appear in the Outback Bowl I sent the following e-mail to both the Outback Bowl website and the Outback Restaurant website (screenshots of both e-mails below). Let’s see how these guys respond … I will keep you all posted!

Text of e-mail:


My name is Chris Pawelski. I am a 4th generation ONION farmer from Orange County, NY

see my blog: http://muckville.com

and my current Crowd Funder campaign:


I also was a student at the University of Iowa where I earned my Master of Arts Degree in 1990. I am a diehard Iowa fan! Just look at all of the Iowa clothing I am wearing in the photos in my blog and in the various stories I have appeared in over the years in the media.

That being said … being I am both an Iowa graduate and a 4th generation onion farmer I would hope you would be inclined to provide me with a complimentary free Bllomin’ Onion, being that Iowa will be one of the teams in the 2014 Outback Bowl (http://www.outback.com/menu/bloomin-onion#.UqUl4JHFOYA).

I will be posting about this quest to receive a free Bloomin’ Onion in my Muckville blog some time tomorrow (December 9, 2013). I can send you the link upon request.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Chris Pawelski

University of Iowa graduate and 4th generation onion farmer!

PS: Feel free to support my The Crowd Funder Show campaign to raise enough money for an editor for my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” All contributions are very much appreciated!


Quick Crowd Funder Update!


Well, I have only 8 days left on my Kickstarter Campaign and it sadly doesn’t look like it’s going to make it. But, I am very appreciative to the 38 backers who backed me. To repeat, Kickstarter is “all or nothing” so if a campaign doesn’t make the goal backers don’t owe anything.

While looking to get exposure for my Kickstarter campaign I was contacted by The Crowd Funder Show. The show’s producer called me to tell me they’d like to do a segment on my campaign. I happily agreed! What I didn’t realize is that they create an entirely new promotion and they provide matching gift cards as rewards.

Each level has certain gift cards and I believe backers get to choose which ones but I am still not exactly sure. I have backed my own project and I will soon find out and post the information. It appears places like Best Buy, Home Depot and Sears are at the top 3 levels of support so if you were planning on making any purchases at these locations you may be able to support me essentially for free.

Coming soon also will be the show’s segment on my project. I will post it once it is aired and put online!

Again, I want to thank you all for your support and I hope my first draft completed memoir, “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” can afford to be edited and get published soon.

Here once again is Eve’s introduction to Muckville:


Muckville. That’s where we live, both literally and figuratively.

And every day something weird is happening on this farm. In the early years I kept waiting for it to end, waiting for calm. After 20 years I now realize that for better or worse, that’s just not going to happen.  Part of it has to do with who I married. I think he described it best one night when we were talking about how people react to adversity. He said, “People basically fall into one of two categories: sheep or wolf. And I’m not a sheep.” I think I am a sheep who hitched a ride with a wolf. When we lost our crop to hail the first time in 1996 and our insurance turned out to be worthless and I was pregnant and large amounts of debt loomed on the horizon, I was perfectly willing to throw up my hands, quit and go do something else. In that respect I think I am like most people. Life is just easier if you can go along with the flow and avoid the pitfalls.  But if everyone did that improvements would seldom if ever be made.

If I’ve surmised anything over the years, it’s that problems come about seemingly on their own resulting from a convergence of factors: a misinterpretation of a law or regulation, a quirky personality, a do-gooder who is just plain wrong, and/or a bureaucrat who refuses to do anything other than “the way it’s always been done.” The result is that change takes a lot of work but more importantly perseverance.

So what do you need to make a change? The first quality just about everyone has. It equates to “What the @#$% happened here?” The second quality many people have, “I’m mad. I’m going to complain to the proper authorities, and this will be fixed!” But there are a lot of problems out there and it is just as likely that your problem won’t be fixed. Sure some may complain for a while but at some point most people simply cut their losses and walk away grumbling. If you are really determined to make a change, it takes more than complaining. Change comes about because you can articulate exactly what is wrong and why, AND you have mapped out and researched what should be done instead. Only then do you have a chance.

Chris (God bless him) has chronicled several things we have fought to change. Some of it is humorous. a lot of it comes under “You just can’t make that up!” and parts of it I simply cannot read because it was enough for me to live through it. We hope that you will be entertained and learn a little about production agriculture along the way. But what we really hope is that maybe the next time you see a problem, you will have the courage to be a wolf.

A photo collection …

The following are photos of just some of the people Eve and I have worked with over the years and the events I detail in “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

Please support my project if you can!



Did I mention Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, Starbucks, Subway, etc …?


Okay, it’s been a couple of days with this Crowd Funder TV Show campaign and as I mentioned in my last couple of posts, If you plan on shopping at:

Best Buy


Home Depot



… if you plan on spending any money there anyway you can back my campaign to help me raise funds for an editor for my unpublished but first draft completed memoir, “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” and receive a matching gift card from those locations. In other words, you can help me with my publication without spending a dime extra. That’s called win-win.

And my Kickstarter campaign which ends in 9 days (and is only 30% towards goal), if I don’t reach the goal I get nothing. This campaign does not work that way.

I hate asking for your help. I really do. But after numerous years of devastating weather events

… I simply don’t have the funds to do it myself. I wish I did.

Why is this matter to you? My prologue for “Muckville” puts it best:

Muckville.  I can see you asking yourself now

Why should I care about a book about farming? Or one about public policy advocacy and dealing with the media? Or a about a book that combines the realities of farming with agriculture-specific policy, advocacy and dealing with the media?

We all have to eat. Every day if possible. Day after day. Until we die we have to eat. Food, along with breathable air, clean water and adequate shelter is one of our most basic needs. Since there are roughly 3.3 million farmers in the U.S. comprising roughly 2% of the general population, odds are you have never met a farmer. Despite the growth in popularity of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and local farmers’ markets it is most likely you have never met, spoken, smelled or touched a farmer.  Or set foot on a farm.

Though the United States was once a primarily an agricultural society and even as recently as the turn of the previous century roughly 40% of the population farmed, since then, and especially since the advancements associated with Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution” fewer and fewer farmers on less and less land space have produced one of the world’s safest, most abundant and cheapest food supplies.

And with that change has come an incredible level of disconnect between the people who primarily produce our food and the citizens who eat it. Sadly, when you mention the word farmer the first image that will pop into someone’s head will be Eddie Albert’s character Oliver Wendell Douglas from the CBS sitcom “Green Acres.” Or worse, some character from one of the various reality TV shows that keep popping up, and frequently aren’t so real.

Though farmers’ markets are exploding across the country and thanks to the foodie movement there is a strong renewed interest in agriculture, much of the information about farmers is not coming from us. Food critics and chefs will frequently pontificate about farming, and though some of them may have a small hobby farm, for the most part they are not farmers. They do not know what it is like, on a day to day basis, to be a farmer in the 21st century.

I simply don’t have enough heads for all the hats I have to wear. I have to be a soil scientist, a chemist, a financial planner, an accountant, a bookkeeper, a regulator, a marketer and frequently a public relations person and public policy advocate.

Farming today is governed by a myriad of laws and regulations that cover numerous aspects of our business on multiple levels. And there are so many groups, organizations and pressures out there trying to influence or change those laws and regulations on a seemingly daily basis.

In the mid 1990’s after leaving the farm a short time to pursue my graduate degree and after I married my wonderful wife Eve, I returned to the family onion farm. My brother and I are the fourth generation of the same family on a farm that started in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. As soon as I returned I started dealing with a variety of issues and crises, including weather disasters and various labor advocacy organizations. I was baptized by fire. Eve and I had to learn, for the most part on our own, how to fight for our farm and our industry. It wasn’t easy at first (for the most part it still isn’t now, 17 years later).  But, trial by fire typically isn’t.

So why is this all important to you? Because as I said, we all have to eat. It’s one of our most fundamental needs. You should know something about how your food is produced. Not from sitcoms, or from food critics or from chefs, no matter how well intentioned they may be.  You should know from one of us who produces it.

Now, there are some books out there written by farmers about farming. Many of those books are about the adventures of people who eschew urban or suburban life to move to the country and take up farming. They extol the benefits of a more simple life.

That’s not the point of this book.

Life is not simple, nor, quite frequently, very fair. A hailstorm that decimates your crop mid season or a hurricane caused flood that wipes virtually your entire crop away is not fair. And how you deal with those scenarios is anything but simple. I’ve dealt with those situations, sadly, more than once. I’ve also dealt with very stupid government programs and terrible proposed legislation. And over the years my wife and I have had a fair number of successes in dealing with such situations. That’s what this book details.

Though it is a memoir about my specific experiences on the farm and in front of a camera or on Capitol Hill, what I relate, the techniques and the tricks and methods of dealing with the media or developing grassroot strategies to fight for a given issue can be applied by you. No matter what you do, or where you live, or what problem you may be facing, my example can provide you with a roadmap to how you can successfully fight for your cause.

The system is messed up. It sucks, to  be quite frank. But my specific experiences show that if you are persistent and you have a fraction of a clue as to what to do, you can make a positive change for your community, too.

Why should you read this book? Because I need better informed end users of my product. I need you to understand why after a devastating hailstorm or flood I need your support and help. I need you to have a better connection with the people who produce the food you eat.  And, you need to better understand the people who grow your food, and how the policy decisions can affect every aspect of the food you eat.

Why should you read this book? Just as important as learning about how your food is grown, I want you to read it and to realize that you can get off the couch and fight for your family and your community. Though the deck is stacked against you, like it is against me, you can still effect a positive change. All is not bleak. There is hope.

I  want you to read this book so that the next time you walk into the produce section of your local supermarket you will pause for a moment and just think about what was involved to get those fresh vegetables and fruits on that shelf.

So, any way you can help is very much appreciated. For those of you that have already backed me I can’t thank you enough!

Can you shop and support a worthwhile project at the same time?

Will you be doing any shopping at the following locations in the next few weeks?

Best Buy 


Home Depot



As you know from my last blog post my project to raise funds for an editor for my unpublished memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” has been taken up by the Crowd Funder TV Show:


Link for their website:


Their campaigns are distinctly different from Kickstarter in 2 ways …

1. It is not “all or nothing”
2. The rewards are dollar for dollar matched gift cards

That’s right, if you back me for $25 you get a $25 gift card, possibly from a place you were planning on shopping at anyway. It is essentially donating to my project for free, if you plan on shopping at any of those locations.

So, I hope you can back me and spread the word. Once the segment from their TV show goes online I will post it as well. Again, thank you all for your support!

Here is a link to another past segment from the show:

Exciting Muckville news … my campaign will be featured on the Crowd Funder Show!


I have exciting news … my campaign to raise funds to hire an editor will be featured on the Crowd Funder Show!

What is the Crowd Funder Show and what does it mean to appear on the show? According to their website:

The Crowd Funder TV Show highlights various ideas that have been selected based on their merit for creativity, social relevance, and commercial viability.

Each episode focuses the spotlight on six or seven inspiring projects and personal goals that give the viewing audience insight into the campaign, its principal, and the reason(s) why it should come to fruition.

The Crowd Funder TV Show highlights various ideas that have been selected based on their merit for creativity, social relevance, and commercial viability.

I initially contacted them for my campaign to appear on their tv show (it currently airs in parts of NYS and Canada, as well as online). What I did not realize is that when a project appears on their show they create an entirely new crowd funding campaign for it. In other words, this campaign is entirely different, separate and distinct from my Kickstarter campaign. Their campaign has a couple of distinct differences from Kickstarter.

1. Everything that is raised is kept, it is not “all or nothing” like Kickstarter.

2. The rewards are very different.

Again, from their website:

Viewers can choose to support the projects they watch by contributing directly to the campaign website or by calling a toll-free number.

The Crowd Funder Show rewards contributors with sponsored gift cards for the same amount of money they contribute, up to $100.

Supporting people and their projects has never been easier so it’s no wonder you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of something special.

The Crowd Funder TV Show is an interesting, inspiring program that highlights human ingenuity and co-operation.

When you go to my page you will see locations once can choose from for the gift card include:

Best Buy


Home Depot



Amongst others ….

If you choose to support me at the $25 level you can choose to get a $25 gift card from Best Buy as a reward.

So, if you are planning on shopping at any of these places the coming weeks, or are looking to give gift cards as gifts from any of these places, you can essentially choose to support me at no additional cost to you!

So, can you support me and my campaign to raise the funds for an editor for my yet to be published memoir? If you do not only are your supporting a very worthwhile endeavor but you can get fantastic gift cards from places you already shop from. And can you spread the word about this to all of your friends via your various social media platforms?

And to the extremely generous people that have already chosen to back my Kickstarter campaign, thank you once again! If my campaign on Kickstarter fails (and as each day passes it looks like that is likely) I hope you can support me on the Crowd Funder Show page. You will be helping me out and getting a great gift card as well.

Once the video segment of my campaign is posted online I will post the link. In the meantime thank you so much for your support and please spread the word!

Sample episode of the show:

Today is Giving Tuesday!

You may or may not be aware but now do we not only have Black Friday, Local Saturday and Cyber Monday but now we have Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) …. a day devoted to giving back a bit to the community.


My Kickstarter campaign might be one way you can participate in this event. My memoir is all about the sorts of things Eve and I have done over the years on a volunteer basis to help out our community locally and the farming community at large.

Can you help me?


Any and all help is very much appreciated. My campaign has stalled a bit. Please help if you can.

And again, thank you!

Thanks for all the kind comments!

First, my apologies for taking so long to post this. I’m still getting a handle on this blog and a number of comments came in for approval that I just didn’t notice at first. They were put in the spam box and I was not notified of them. Hence, my need to check my dashboard more frequently!

Thanks to all of the positive and nice comments I have received recently about my blog and blog postings. A few have asked about the blog format, well, I’ve used one of the free WordPress formats. I’ve looked at some of the other themes but I really like how this one is laid out the best.

Again, thank you!

And please continue to spread the word about my Kickstarter campaign … less than 13 days to go and only 25% of my goal. If you can back and/or get your friends to back … that would be fantastic and very much appreciated. Please help my book become a reality!