Paige Schoening and her fellower Googlers at Root Down Farm

Paige Schoening and her fellower Googlers at Root Down Farm

At Kitchen Table Advisors, we're about people--helping, growing, motivating, and bringing together people. What we've found along this journey of ours is that we're not alone in this commitment. We are continually humbled and inspired by our community of small farm supporters, who are unrelenting in their quest to better people's lives. Paige Schoening is one of these shining lights in our extended KTA family. In her first year with us, she has not only generously volunteered her personal time and network, but also brought KTA to work with her. Grazing at the Kitchen Table marks Paige's one year anniversary as a volunteer and, in celebration of this occasion, she joins us to share how Grazing was the start of something beautiful in her life.

Words cannot express how much I admire the work of our local farmers. I want to do everything I can to support them because I know how hard it is to make it as a farmer. Our Bay Area growers are some of the most hard working, determined, kind, passionate, and relentless people I've ever met. They are the foundation of our local food system and community.

Google's visit to Root Down Farm

Google's visit to Root Down Farm

Needless to say, when I first learned about Kitchen Table Advisors' work empowering small farm sustainability, I didn't hesitate to get involved. Grazing at the Kitchen Table was the first opportunity to volunteer and it couldn't have been a better introduction. Everyone that I met at the event was warm, interesting, and passionate about KTA's work. Even though it was my first time volunteering, I felt welcomed and included right from the start. I was so pumped by the excitement of everyone at the event that it didn't matter I'd already worked an eight-hour day before starting my volunteer shift. In fact, it didn't occur to me that I was tired until I was standing outside waiting for a ride home. I was so happy to be in the midst of such a vibrant community that the energy in the room carried me through the entire evening.

In approaching the second edition of Grazing this September, I can hardly believe that it's already been a year since I started volunteering. And what a memorable year it's been! I've represented the organization as an ambassador at events, attended meet-ups, and have brought KTA to my day job. I work as a Farmers Market Specialist for a company called Guckenheimer at the Google office in San Francisco. I help San Francisco's Google cafes source local food in addition to educating and engaging Google employees in where their food comes from. I connected KTA with our office's Bay Area Farm to Table Group and we set up a volunteer day at Root Down Farm. A group of over 20 volunteers headed out to Root Down to help Dede mulch her apple orchard and learn about her operation. Being that it was an official GoogleServe volunteer project, Google donated money to KTA for each hour worked!

A gathering like Grazing is important to our local food shed because it brings us all together to celebrate our collective work. As farmers, chefs, eaters, and supporters, being in community is what brings us to life and unites us in a shared journey. Grazing is an experience that honors our strong food community, highlighting both the road that we've traveled together and what lies ahead. However big or small, we each contribute in our own way and, at Grazing, this communal commitment and contribution is palpable.

Decorators, kitchen crew, produce team, delivery drivers, and even a Salesforce hero -- we've got a volunteer role for everyone during Grazing at the Kitchen Table. Sign up now to get down with our community! Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.