What a year 2015 has been for Kitchen Table Advisors! We've successfully completed our three-year pilot project, doubled our staff capacity, grew our volunteer base to over 150 people and raised $150,000 from our first fundraiser. And we'd like to say a big Thank You to everyone who has contributed! Here, Anthony Chang (Founder and Executive Director), Paige Phinney (Associate Director), Pei-Yee Woo (Associate Director) and David Mancera (Farm Business Advisor) share with us their favorite highlights from 2015 and hopes for 2016. Get some ideas on how you can help make a difference from your very own home by finding out what they are pledging to do on a personal level to support a sustainable local food system.
What do you think are the biggest achievements for Kitchen Table Advisors in 2015?
Anthony: Successfully closing out our pilot project and helping fuel the growth and long-term viability of 10 sustainable small farms in Northern California, and launching our new cohort of 15 diverse sustainable small farms that we are providing business advising to for the next three years.
Paige: Grazing at the Kitchen Table exceeded our expectations of what was even possible on a first fundraiser. This community that we are a part of really showed up for us in a heartwarming and wonderful way. There are so many talented people who have an expertise in their field, and it is amazing to see them engage in a deep way with our work and make a huge positive impact.
Pei-Yee: Expanding our team and bringing on David Mancera this summer, and having Thomas Nelson join us in January, and continuing to build a diverse community of individuals and businesses who are committed to growing a thriving local food system.
What will you do on a personal level to contribute to a healthier food system in 2016?
Anthony: Firstly, I'm voting with my dollars - I've signed up again for an organic vegetable CSA from our client Fifth Crow Farm, with the add-ons of getting pastured chickens from our client Root Down Farm and grass-fed beef from our client Markegard Family Grass Fed. Secondly, I'm teaching my kids about what we can do as a family and the relationships that we can build with the people who grow our food by taking them to the Mountain View farmers' market every Sunday. Lastly, I want to do more in my neighborhood to raise awareness of sustainable food options, perhaps by organizing a CSA promotion party with my neighbor and/or helping our local downtown grocer source more local grass-fed beef and pastured pork.
Paige: Continue to support my CSA farm, First Light Farm, especially as they embark on offering a year-round membership. Will likely order another whole animal from a local rancher, perhaps a goat this year or another quarter cow from Morris Grassfed. I am also committed to starting a Sonoma drop with my friend, Christopher Wang of Gypsy Fish Company, for his Bristol Bay, Alaska salmon as there is nothing better than getting healthy food direct from the source!
Pei-Yee: I am excited to continue supporting Eatwell Farm as a CSA member (entering our 10th year as members!) and helping my daughters Leona and Freda learn more about where their food comes from by shopping at our local farmers' markets as well as growing some of our own fruits and vegetables.
David: I will continue to support my children's school garden, shop local farmers' markets, and educate my students about CSA.
What are your hopes for Kitchen Table Advisors in 2016?
Anthony: The main one is I hope we continue to have a positive impact on the small farms that we provide business advising to. I hope the farmers we work with can improve their business planning and record-keeping, increase their sales and net income, and feel more confident in their long-term success and ability to continue to grow healthy food for our communities.
Paige: To deepen relationships within our existing community and welcome in new champions, donors and volunteers. To organize farm tours and interesting events that offer people ways to engage with us that suit their interests and availability, as well as benefitting our clients.
Pei-Yee: That we see continued success and growth for our clients, and to invest in the long-term success of these amazing individuals who are putting in so much time and energy to produce beautiful and delicious food that nourishes us.
David: That we can increase our impact to more small, organic sustainable farms.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU all for being a part of such a momentous year. We look forward to creating many more milestones with you in the coming years!