News from the Farm | February 12, 2024

Today’s Farm News covers two small ways you can get involved to help combat food insecurity. It’s a huge, complicated problem, but that means that any measures to chip away at it are important.

First, our CSA donation program. We’ve gotten a few inquiries recently, thus wanted to explain how it currently works! On a week that you don’t want a box, you have the option to donate or skip. Skipping means we move the box to the end of your schedule, or to a date you’ve specified. When you donate your box, the value of the box (or flowers, or whatever you’ve donated) goes into our Good Food Community Fund. When it comes time to set up donation boxes, we pull from the Fund. We don’t make the box and then donate it, thus why we need as much advance notice for skips and donations. We also have a few particularly generous CSA members who make separate donation payments just to the fund.

Where are those funds currently going? First, to the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, in Oakland. They offer free integrative care to under-served, low-income women with cancer and have been getting five boxes a week for their clients for over 20 years. We occasionally use the Good Food Fund for one-off donation opportunities, like to the Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program. More recently, we recently started a box subsidy program, to subsidize the cost for individual CSA members. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a Good Food Community Fund subsidy, contact us.

So the next time you’re going to be away, consider donating your box. Community Supported Agriculture is not just about the community supporting the farm, but you (our community) supporting others in the CSA community and in your neighborhoods. If you have any questions, ask!

Even bigger than our Farm’s efforts is the California Market Match program, which increases access to produce at over 250 farmers markets throughout the state for customers using the CalFresh program (California’s name for the federal food program called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that used to be known as Food Stamps). Markets participating in the program match CalFresh funds ($10-$20) to spend on fresh produce. For example, a customer who spends $15 in CalFresh benefits at a market can get an additional $15 to spend on fresh produce. You can see a full map of all markets that participate here.

The Market Match program is currently at risk. The Governor’s January 2024 budget proposal includes major cuts to the California Nutrition Incentive Program budget which funds Market Match. The Save Market Match website has a more information about the history and impact of the program, the impact of the proposed budget cut, and a few easy ways you can advocate for its protection. This program goes far beyond what any one farm, or one CSA (with your support) can do to increase access to fresh produce so hopefully it doesn’t go away.

Our farm’s community is a caring, generous group of people. Thank you for all of your past, present, and future donations and support for food security programs.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

Thanks to Alexa, Saeko, and Rose for the photos!

Full Belly stand at the Thursday Marin Farmers Market
Full Belly stand at the Saturday Palo Alto Farmers Market