You helped make 2014 an exciting year for Kitchen Table Advisors. In the second year of our initial three-year pilot project, we started to more tangibly see the fruits of our labor. Our client farmers worked incredibly hard over the past year and made real progress toward building viable and resilient sustainable small farm businesses. In 2014, many of our farmers experienced revenue growth, increased net income, job creation, stronger business and financial management systems, and increased confidence and higher likelihood of long-term success. These successes were possible because you - our wonderful community of volunteers, champions and donors - gave your time, talent, money and social capital to help sustainable farms become sustainable businesses.
We also know there is still a lot of work to be done - farming is still a really hard business. This hit home for us as we painfully saw one of our client farms close to pursue another food business opportunity. We also identified a lack of diversity in our organization as an area we need to address in order to better serve our full spectrum of clients. Additionally, we recognized that we need to build shared leadership in our organization and in our community to increase the impact and resiliency of our work.
You can help make 2015 a big year for Kitchen Table Advisors as we take an important next step in our organizational journey. This year, we will complete our initial work with the ten sustainable farms in our pilot project. We plan to take what we learned from this experience to launch our program in late 2015, when we will start working with a new group of sustainable small farms that want to turn the corner to building sustainable businesses.
To take this next step, we will need to lean on a much broader collective of people and talent who are willing lead and make an impact. We plan to expand our staff to include a bilingual Business Advisor and share leadership with our new "Kitchen Cabinet" (our revamped Advisory Board). In addition, we will need to leverage a new group of volunteer leaders who are ready to step up and channel the amazing talents and experience of our volunteer community to support healthy food and healthy farms.
In 2015, you can engage with our work and help fuel the growth and viability of sustainable small farms in a variety of ways. Join us and invite friends to our farm tours, farmer dinners and a fall fundraiser, volunteer your time and talent, or give to provide the resources we need to do the on-the-ground business advising to help farmers turn the corner with their business.
You - our community of volunteers, champions, and donors - inspire me. As I reflect on the past year and how we will move forward in this year, I think about a beautiful analogy used by Teresa from Fifth Crow Farm, one of the inspiring sustainable small farms we support. As Teresa describes it, the farm is like an orchestra, and what we (all of us together - the farmers, the farmworkers, the consumers and eaters, the support system for farmers) produce is a beautiful symphony. All of it has to work together, everyone plays an important role, and if we all work together in harmony, we can make amazing, inspiring, delicious music.
Thank you for joining us on this journey thus far. I look forward to continuing our work to support small sustainable farms in 2015 and beyond!
Anthony Chang Founder and Executive Director, Kitchen Table Advisors