Andreas, here, co-founder of Farm Box and a farmhand/owner of Happy Quail Farms.
We started Farm Box in early March to help small farms persevere through the deadly pandemic. At the time, farmers markets were closing across California, posing an existential threat to small, family-owned businesses. Although many markets have re-opened, some of our favorite restaurants have closed down for good. Many of those that remain open have been forced to change their sourcing to maintain the viability of their businesses. We completely understand-- sustainable and local agriculture is inherently not a cheap enterprise and we’d prefer they stay in business. However, this changing landscape continues to put us small farms in a tight spot.
As if 7 months of a pandemic wasn’t enough, the fires raging in California this summer are truly testing all of our resilience, and in some cases, 2020 has done us in. We are devastated to announce that Swanton’s Berry Farm will likely be closing after 37 years, with more than half of their acreage burnt to the ground. For Happy Quail Farms, the path forward isn’t clear. We lost half our crop to disease that spreads easily on grey and smoky days due to the lack of sunlight. We are hanging in there with sheer grit, luck, and determination, but 2020 is a test that many like us may not be able to survive.
Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to support farmers through Farm Box for all these months. We are all tired of this reality, especially since things only seem to be getting worse, but your appetite for the best produce out there has kept us afloat. Shopping at the grocery store does not help your local community. Buying directly from farmers is how you vote with your dollars. We’re not cheap and we know it, but we are sustainable, we are hard-working, and we are families struggling through this, just like yours, not a faceless corporation or a factory farm.
And at last, our appeal: please help us spread the word about Farm Box! Your money goes to help so many small, family-run businesses, many that have operated for over 40 years—some for over 3 generations. We don’t want 2020 to be the year that ends these simple, noble legacies. Between La Cocina and Farm Box we have helped so many such businesses. Not only that, but through your generosity, we have provided thousands of meals to those who need it most and worked to build a more equitable society. We want to continue to help farmers and improve food security in our communities, and we want to do more. Our trials and tribulations aren’t over, but we’re also not done fighting. Please help us as much as you can. For those of you buying your box every week, I’d like to sincerely thank you and tell you that your business has made all the difference. For those of you who have somewhat gone back to your daily routines, know that we miss your business and that your local producers and artisans could definitely still use your support. Plus - our food is absolutely delicious!
With hope for the future,