Sunday Afternoon at The Kitchen Table | March 9, 2014

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at our Friendraiser on Sunday March 9th at Calafia Cafe. The event was a huge success thanks to all of you - for being interested in supporting local farmers, for bringing your friends and family, and for enlisting yourselves in a myriad of ways to support farmers like Sarah. We are humbled and encouraged to see so many new faces expressing their interest in supporting young farms.

For those who weren't able to join us--check out the recap below from one of our attendees and volunteers, Jaclyn Einis.

I attended my first Kitchen Table Advisors Friendraiser on a Sunday afternoon in early March. When I saw the line outside the door of Palo Alto’s Calafia Cafe, I realized this would be a much bigger event than I’d anticipated. A San Francisco newbie eager to dig into the Bay Area’s abundance of good, fresh food and green innovation, I was thrilled to see so many people—over 100, in fact—uniting to push sustainable agriculture forward.

The crowd was warm, diverse, and seemed just as excited—and hungry—as I was. After nibbling on snacks and throwing back a few shots (at the juice bar), we settled in to learn about the people behind Kitchen Table Advisors, and the farmers it supports.

Rob Trice of Good Food Ventures talked about his status of foodie by default. A venture capital investor, Trice became an overnight food star as part of the team behind FarmStacker, a service that connects young farmers to under-used land and capital. Trice sees Kitchen Table Advisors as the missing link for many sustainable farms: “They’re providing the business tools and business acumen that a lot of the farmers have not gotten so far. [The farmers] know how to grow things really well; now they need to grow their business.”

Kitchen Table Advisors provides business and financial advising to help farmers like Sarah Lopez of Fiesta Farm build a foundation for a truly sustainable, viable future.

One of the first farmers to work with Kitchen Table Advisors, Lopez recalled three meals that captured the highs and lows of her journey from your average Trader Joe’s shopper, to backyard chicken farmer, to half of the manpower behind Fiesta Farm (her husband, Aurelio Lopez, is the other half). With 35 acres of rented and owned land in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, Fiesta Farm is home to some 1000 chickens, pasture-raised for meat and eggs—plus rabbits, turkeys, forest-dwelling pigs, and vegetables, with fruit orchards on the horizon. It’s a big enough operation to provide for a 150-member CSA, among other outlets.

Sarah took us from her aha moment—enjoying a delicious roast chicken dinner and seeing that every morsel on her plate came from someone she knew; to a day of disasters in the hen house and a visit to Taco Bell; to the pure bliss of a meal made with ingredients the Lopez’s farm, and those of friends and family, and knowing that others are eating the nutrient-dense food she produced.

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Her honesty was refreshing, and her success inspiring. The work is still hard, but Fiesta Farm is thriving. Sarah credits Kitchen Table Advisors with helping Fiesta Farm find its way to stability and growth. “Neither one of us has a formal background in business, so there’s been this huge gap in our farming business that Kitchen Table Advisors has really helped us to bridge.”

Kitchen Table Advisor’s founder and executive director, Anthony Chang, closed by asking everyone at the event to think about what their role could be. It was empowering to think about the potential of the group—how much we have to give, be it by donating time to help out at the next Friendraiser, sharing talents like business and law advising, or providing funds and connections to other interested parties.

One homegrown pulled pork sandwich, two salads, and one incredible fried egg later, I headed home, satisfied and eager to do my part.


We’re Bringing Kitchen Table Advisors to the East Bay...

Have a connection to a farm-to-table restaurant in Oakland or Berkeley? Or perhaps a fantastic venue? We’re on the lookout for a great place to host our next friendraiser and would love your support. Email us with any suggestions and leads!

The event could not have happened without the leadership and support of all these individuals.We greatly appreciate their generosity.

Alex Dang, Amanda Koo, Anita Dharapuram, Benjamin Lee, Brett Melone, Calafia Cafe, Cat Adriano, Chica Bloom Farm, Danielle Yorko, Dara Olmstead, Darryl Wong , Diane Meier Phelps, Edward Vicedo, Jayson Carpenter, Jonathan Fong, Julia Silbergeld, Madeline Wu, Mollyanne Meyn, Oliver Miao, Pei-Ru Ko, Peter Do, Rob Trice, Robert Newstead, Sarah Lopez and Fiesta Farm, and Shivani Ganguly

All photos courtesy of Jayson Carpenter Photography