If you admired that kid down the street with the lemonade stand but never had the entrepreneurial spirit yourself, don't despair. Now there's another way to invest in great culinary ideas: KickStarter.com.
This new website takes a hip approach to microfinance: Budding artists, inventors and entrepreneurs post their project ideas and fundraising goals online, invite strangers to chip in--and offer thank-you perks in exchange for their pledges.
Not surprisingly, food is a recurring motif, and there are plenty of success stories already, including a documentary about Good Humor ice cream trucks and a cookbook inspired by Chicago's Hideout restaurant.
Here are three more delicious ideas worth investing in:
Bring Back Butter A Philadelphia-based inventor has plans to build a pedal-operated butter churn that he'll set up at city events. (The churn also toasts bread.) Chip in $35 and get a "Bring back butter" T-shirt.
My Friend's Mustard Anna Wolf is combining her love of mustard and beer to create her own condiment. She's partnering with Brooklyn's Sixpoint Ales to produce two flavors--and has already lined up vendors. Pledge $80 and you'll score mustard swag and an invite to the launch party.
Edible City Recently, there's been a spate of cautionary food films, but East Bay Pictures is working on a more optimistic addition to the genre. Its documentary focuses on urban farmers, sustainable agriculture organizations and other food heroes. Pony up $25 and you'll receive a DVD; a pledge of $500 buys input on the final cut.