There are many people and issues that require immediate attention during these times of uncertainty. Charities have adjusted the way they operate on a daily basis and many have had to make significant shifts to fulfill their particular missions. Unfortunately, many charities may not weather this storm.
Our intention with this series is to share updates from a spectrum of charitable organizations to garner attention and inspire support for those in need.
Charity name: The Sharing Farm
Core purpose and mandate:
We grow food. We grow farmers. We grow community. The Sharing Farm grows fruits and vegetables and harvests healthy produce to supply charitable food distribution organizations in Richmond. The Sharing Farm educates the community about sustainability through active volunteerism. Working together, The Sharing Farm addresses food security, promotes organic practices, educates young farmers, and provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for youth, adults, and seniors alike.
How is your organization impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic has impacted our organization in many ways
- We can no longer invite large numbers of volunteers to the farm as we cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. This means that we have lost about 4000 hours of labour (if the pandemic continues for the duration of the growing season). To combat this we have had to hire a new field assistant to assist the farmer
- We can no longer run our corporate volunteer program which earned us revenue of around $30,000 per year
- We can no longer run our annual fundraiser, the Garlic Fest, which last year brought in revenue of $38,000
- We can no longer run our programs and workshops, which brought in a revenue of $2000
- Many grants for community events and programs, we can no longer apply for
- We can no longer sell to restaurants, which brought in a revenue of around $8000 per year
- The loss of revenue has led us to lay off some key staff and we have budgeted to eat up all our meager contingency funds this year, just to keep the farm running. We have been put into a precarious financial position.
Despite these difficulties, we have committed to planting the farm as usual. We feel our mission of food security is more important than ever, in the current climate.
How have your fundraising plans changed?
We have reduced our expenses by laying off key staff.
We have doubled the number of our Harvest Baskets for sale to try to make up for the fact that we cannot sell to restaurants and the fact that the viability of farmer’s market sales this year is uncertain.
If there is one story or message you would like to share with our community, what would it be?
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, The Sharing Farm is planning to plant as usual this season. We feel that our mission to grow food for our community is more important than ever at this uncertain time. This is a period when our food security becomes truly vital, especially access to fresh produce.
How can one support your organization most effectively?
Financial donations make an enormous difference.
Also through buying our Harvest Baskets. The Harvest Baskets are on sale right now at www.sharing farm.ca/csa. Harvest Basket members will receive 17 weeks of fresh produce from June-October. Investing in our Harvest Baskets will help us continue to operate and grow food for our neighbours in need, this year, and into the future.
Can donations be transferred electronically? If so, how?
Donations can be made at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/14469