Kitchen Table Advisors 2013-2015 PILOT PROGRAM IMPACT REPORT

About the Kitchen Table Advisors Pilot Program

3 years, 10 farms and ranches. A mission to support small-scale sustainable farmers and ranchers in building thriving businesses.

In just three years, Kitchen Table Advisors has had a significant and measurable impact on the viability of small farms and ranches in our community. On average, our clients increased their annual net income by 60% - from $18,000 to $30,000.

The secret to our success is simple - PEOPLE: hard-working & passionate farmers, and a close-knit network of 500+ businesses, volunteers, and donors.

We are so excited to share our first impact report with you.

"When people feel supported, that's when they can grow."

Ryan Power, Co-Owner of New Family Farm, Sebastopol

As we watched small farmers and ranchers struggling and failing, we asked ourselves three questions:

1. Could there be a different kind of support that could help move the dial on this problem?

2. Could we provide a solution that would adequately address the needs and challenges of a diverse group of clients who grow a diverse group of products? .

3. Would there be a community of individuals and values-aligned businesses who would rally around our cause?

The results

When we first began, we weren't sure whether our farmers could turn a corner in their businesses and make a living. They did.

And as we got to know each of their stories, we discovered their potential to have a positive environmental & social impact on their communities.

  • Business net income increased by more than 60% in three years
  • Maintained 200 acres in sustainable agriculture
  • Increased the amount of healthy food for our local communities by $1,000,000 each year

The problem we're tackling

At Kitchen Table Advisors, we believe our food system is broken. Our rural communities are suffering, and the quality of food on our tables is in rapid decline.

The business of farming is hard. Many new farmers and ranchers today can produce healthy food, yet lack the small business experience, resources, and networks needed to thrive.

The role of Kitchen Table Advisors

Kitchen Table Advisors fuels the economic viability of sustainable farms and ranches through practical business advising and trusted relationships.

During our pilot, we provided our clients with more than 2,400 hours of personalized, in-depth support in business planning and financial advising.

We are proud of our commitment to diversity: 80% of our clients are either women and/or Latino-owned businesses.

Our goal is to equip the next generation of diverse farmers and ranchers with the tools, knowledge and connections required to develop resilient, financially responsible and quality-driven businesses.

Top Left: Aurelio & Sarah Lopez (Fiesta Farm, Watsonville); Bottom Left: Caleb Barron (Fogline Farm, Soquel); Right: Molly Nakahara & Baby Yoshi (Dinner Bell Farm, Grass Valley)

Our ecosystem

The farms and ranches we support are interwoven into the fabric of the Bay Area community and have a direct positive impact on the families who live here by feeding them healthy, local foods.

Sales outlets referenced in red circles above include farmers' markets, CSA drop sites, restaurants and grocery stores.

What our clients produce

Pantry staples & specialty goods - Organic fruits & vegetables - Pastured & grass-fed meats

Meet our farmers

Fifth Crow Farm

Farmers: Teresa Kurtak, Mike Irving, John Vars

Based in Pescadero, California, Fifth Crow Farm has brought employment and educational opportunities to the local rural community. They entered our pilot program with 10 part-time employees. Within three years, they doubled their workforce to 20 - including 10 year-long staff in a typically seasonal job market.

Fifth Crow Farm is also committed to giving back, having created a scholarship fund for children of farm workers and donating to local food banks.

Bucio Organic Farm

Farmer: Rigo Bucio

Rigo Bucio began his career as a farmworker, but chose to embark on farm ownership in order to create a more solid future for him and his family. The challenges he faces are not simply financial, he also confronts societal barriers as a Latino immigrant with limited fluency in English.

When he entered our pilot program, Rigo's biggest challenge was accessing financing and building credit. With our help, he was able to secure funds to more than triple his acreage. This increase of sustainably managed land in Watsonville - from 5 to 17 acres - allows Rigo to produce 1,000,000 pounds of sustainably-grown, healthy food each year.

Fogline Farm

Farmer: Caleb Barron

Caleb Barron knew how to run a farm, but he was less confident running the numbers. With the help of Kitchen Table Advisors, he collected and analyzed pertinent data that led to critical business insights and decisions. For example, we helped him determine the level of production that would allow him to rent a commercial kitchen space in nearby Santa Cruz.

Since entering the program, Fogline Farm has doubled its sales and tripled its take home income. Barron now supplies some of the region's best restaurants, including Manresa.

Why we do it

Our work provides families greater access to fresh, healthy produce, and benefits rural communities in the form of more meaningful job creation and fair wages. We are investing in a future where a diverse spectrum of farmers and ranchers can make a living. Kitchen Table Advisors' contribution is part of a greater movement towards building a stronger regional food system - one that is clean, responsible and just.

Meet our community

What sets Kitchen Table Advisors apart is the deeply connected and diverse network of people and businesses who come together to support this next generation of farmers and ranchers.

  • 5 employees
  • 50+ local businesses who share our vision
  • 150+ volunteers who share our desire to keep our money in the local economy
  • 400+ donors who share our belief that innovation drives change

"Growing up in a farmworker family in the Salinas Valley, I learned firsthand the connection between the people growing our food and our local economy. I am grateful to be doing work that helps all of our farmers have a thriving, healthy, and comfortable life."

- David Mancera, Business Advisor, Kitchen Table Advisors

"Farmers are the foundation of our family of businesses at Bi-Rite. We partner with Kitchen Table Advisors to ensure we can have a food system that is sustainable, responsible, and just. We need more businesses who share our vision to step up and join us in this effort."

- Shakirah Simley, Community Programs Manager, Bi-Rite

"I believe that innovative people are the foundation of social change. Kitchen Table Advisors not only invests in farmers and ranchers who feed our communities in ways that restore our environment, but is led by a thoughtful team that is transforming our regional food system."

- Sallie Calhoun, CEO, Paicines Ranch

"I have been involved in many aspects of business as an entrepreneur, non-profit leader, advisor, mentor and investor. What I've found through volunteering with Kitchen Table Advisors is an opportunity to leverage my experiences in a way that supports long-term change in an area of entrepreneurship that has been traditionally overlooked and under-resourced."

- Tony Moraga, VP, Community Relations Officer - Corporate Responsibility & Reputation, BBVA Compass

How you can help

We are ready for the next step! Over the next three years, we will build our capacity to serve 50 farms and ranches at a time.

By supporting our region's farmers and ranchers, you are giving yourself and your community the gift of a food system that is healthy, vibrant and nurturing. Together, we can revitalize our kitchen tables.

Send a gift to our fiscal sponsor:

Trust for Conservation Innovation | 405 14th Street, Suite 164 | Oakland, CA | 94612

Acknowledgements

Kitchen Table Advisors would like to extend a huge thank you to the donors who supported us during our early years. Without your support, the success of our Pilot Program would not have been possible.

We would also like to acknowledge the photographers who documented our first steps and contributed to this report: Jonathan Fong, Sarah Trent, Jeff Spirer, Molly DeCoudreaux, and Elaine Patarini.

And a special note of thanks to the Adobe pro bono team who helped us craft this report: Georgie May, Amy Goldstein, and Alan Willson.

Credits:

Jonathan Fong, Sarah Trent, Elaine Patarini

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