Growing Economic Viability with Kitchen Table Advisors
March 12, 2013
by Ellie Lanphier
“Sustainable food is about farmers being good to the land, making sure that the land is useful and rich for future generations,” says Anthony Chang, founder and Executive Director of Kitchen Table Advisors in Mountain View, CA. However, the chances of survival for small, sustainable farms in the U.S. can look pretty bleak. According to USDA research, 50% of small farms fail in the first 5 years and only 25% will survive for 15 years. Kitchen Table Advisors, a 2012 RSF Seed Fund grantee, is working to improve those percentages, helping sustainable farms become sustainable businesses by providing them with in-depth financial management support and the tools needed to stay viable for the long term.
Catching up with Chang on their progress since receiving the Seed Fund grant, he reported that Kitchen Table Advisors officially launched their pilot project last month, featuring a small group of sustainable farmers in Northern California who are working to create a better food system. Chang will sit down at the kitchen table with these farmers, one-on-one, to discuss business planning, record keeping and strategies for using business and financial data to achieve long term goals and objectives on their farms.
Among the pilot group are Caleb Barron and Jonathan [Johnny] Wilson of Fogline Farm, an integrated organic farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Chang says “After going through UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Food Systems program, Johnny started Fogline Farm in his late 20s as a way to make the world a better place through growing good food and taking care of the land with regular crop rotations, animals roaming in the orchards, minimal inputs and waste.” Fogline Farms strives to grow the highest quality fruits, vegetables and meats for their community. Kitchen Table Advisors seeks to empower Johnny and Caleb, and all the farmers in their pilot project, with the business tools, resources and knowledge they need to ensure their long term economic viability.
You can join Kitchen Table Advisors in their effort to build a healthier regional food system by becoming an advocate, volunteering or making a financial contribution. Follow Kitchen Table Advisors on Facebook or LinkedIn for the latest news and opportunities to support the economic viability of sustainable small farms. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in volunteer opportunities related to marketing & communications, business development, events or fundraising. Or donate here to Kitchen Table Advisors through their fiscal sponsor, the Trust for Conservation Innovation.
Click here for more information about the Seed Fund and how you can provide support.
Ellie Lanphier is Program Assistant, Philanthropic Services at RSF Social Finance.