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Gatherer & Equipment Fund

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Help the Keystone Tree Crops Cooperative thrive this year!!

Who are we? We are an emerging cooperative based out of Pennsylvania, creating a service that is suited to harnessing the abundance offered by the tree crops of our bioregion. Here in eastern North America, we live within the largest temperate deciduous forest on Earth. By working with these beautiful trees, our culture may learn to value them more.

What tree crops are we focusing on? Natively in Pennsylvania, we have an abundance of shagbark hickory trees, black walnuts, butternuts, many kinds of oaks, bitternut hickories, other hickories, American hazelnuts, and chestnuts. A hundred years ago our mountains and hillsides were clothed in the towering heights of the American chestnut tree. Today we have Chinese, Japanese, hybrid, and native chinquapin chestnuts continuing to do well in our climate, existing in scattered abundance, while the American chestnut hopes for a resurgence. The warmer portions of our region are well suited for pecans, and some exotic nut tree species like the heartnut and the hybrid hazelnut will thrive just about anywhere, it seems.

Our vision as a cooperative is symbolized by a tree made of five main branches. These five branches represent:

  • the Producers, who are the trees themselves and the people who own and tend them;
  • the Gatherers, who harvest and consolidate the abundance;
  • the Processors, who turn the raw abundance into value-added product;
  • the Distributors, who bring it to market;
  • and finally, the Consumers, who enjoy and support nutritious and ecologically-friendly foods.

The cooperative forms a connective structure uniting these five branches together as one tree. Mutually beneficial relationships are established between the branches and there is an equitable sharing of surplus wealth to support the tree as a whole. Just as trees serve as keystone species of our bioregion, we imagine a cooperative like ours serving as a keystone for a bioregionally-based, resilient economy.

Last season we successfully trialed production of bitternut hickory oil and chestnut flour. We're scaling up this season, which by all indications will be a great year of abundance for tree crops! We will also be working with hickories, hazelnuts, and black walnuts this season -- but these are more experimental for the time being and so we are not seeking special funding for them yet.

What we bring to the table already is a passion for tree crops and nutty innovations, access to an oil press and other machinery courtesy of our network of collaborators, access to markets, a stable processing space in the early stages of conversion into a dedicated kitchen, an awesome team of tree crop and co-op experts and enthusiasts, great mentors, and our values for equity and ecology front and center.

What support are we asking for here?

  • $1,000 for dehusking machine fabrication.
  • $1,500 for popcorn/seed roaster for toasting (to preserve and enhance) chestnuts and other nuts.
  • $2,500 for bitternut hickory gatherer fund. Target goal: 500 gal harvested @ $5/gal for 30+ gallons of oil.
  • $1,000 for chestnut gatherer fund. Target goal: 500 lbs harvested @ $2/lb for approx. 175# of flour.
  • $2,000 for miscellaneous costs: working towards kitchen certification, hardware, lumber, bottles, labels, etc.

= $8,000 total

As things fall into place over this gathering season, we will be creating a parallel Kickstarter campaign to help us with larger equipment purchases.

Your financial contributions will help us achieve our goals by overcoming initial startup hurdles and compensating gatherers from the get-go! Like the tree crops of our bioregion which are abundant yet dispersed, we trust that there are enough of you tree crop enthusiasts and supporters in our community willing to chip in and help us meet our cooperative goals. On behalf of all of us working on the Keystone Tree Crop Cooperative, thank you!


  • fredda Klopfer
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Lucy Coville
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Caryn Coville
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Mark Silver
    • $250 
    • 3 yrs
  • Sue & Steven Ross
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs


Keystone Tree Crops
Pequea, PA

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