For some time now, Jo and I have been aware that we should be doing more to address the food needs of low income families and individuals in our community. Since 2009, we’ve been donating produce to the Interfaith Food Ministry in Grass Valley, but those donations have depended on having a surplus, and due to careful crop planning and our limited scale, a surplus isn’t always available from our farm. And, this year Riverhill Farm has been approved by the State of California to be able to accept SNAP program funds (food stamps) from individuals who want to use their monthly benefit to buy fresh produce. We’ll be giving a 20% discount for all SNAP purchases to make those food dollars go farther.
Yet, no matter how effective government programs may be, many individuals are still struggling to make ends meet, and we feel that caring for the commonwealth is a shared responsibility. As farmers, we want to do our part, and you can help.
By most accounts, the economy is doing all right. Unemployment in California is below 5%, and median household income in California in 2015 was over $64,000 annually. Yet, like all statistics, these numbers hide a harsher reality for many members of our Nevada County community. Median household income in Grass Valley is just $33,325, and more than 30% of households earn less than $20,000.
The reality is that, as wealthy a country as it is that we live in, many members of our community are what’s called food insecure. Obligatory expenses like rent, utilities and insurance reduce the amount of money each month that can be spent on food and, of necessity, families and individuals are forced to buy cheap food, which often excludes fresh fruits and vegetables. Those are the more fortunate ones; some aren’t getting enough to eat.
To bring the point home, the average Nevada County family income of a client of the Interfaith Food Ministry is $1098 monthly. That’s $13,176 a year. In 2016, the Interfaith Food Ministry served more than 7,000 individuals, including almost 2,000 children. They’ve been at this for 30 years, and have a proven track record of making a difference in our community (to read more about the Interfaith Food Ministry, go to www.interfaithfoodministry.org).
Along with Riverhill Farm, you can make a difference too. With your help, we’ll provide weekly, consistent and planned amounts to the Interfaith Food Ministry to help feed Nevada County’s food insecure. As a farm growing healthy food, that’s the least we can do for our community.
What can you do? It’s simple. The amount you choose to contribute to this initiative will be donated to the Interfaith Food Ministry. Every single tax-deductible dollar you donate will be used to buy fresh, nutritious produce from Riverhill Farm at wholesale prices and will be distributed three times weekly during the farm season through their established food distribution system. You can adopt a plant, adopt a row, adopt a bed, or adopt a field, and any way you choose to participate will make a difference.
Here’s what you can do to make a difference:
$25 Adopt a plant
$50 Adopt a row
$75 Adopt a bed
$250 Adopt a field
Make your tax-deductible check payable to the Interfaith Food Ministry, and mail it to Riverhill Farm at 13500 Cement Hill Road, Nevada City, CA 95959. Every dollar you contribute will make sure that someone who needs fresh, nutritious food will receive it.
With heartfelt thanks from your farm, your farmers, your community,
Alan and Jo