Fire Affected Farmers Supporting Fire Affected Communities
As an initial response to California’s worst (and earliest) fire season on record, Off the Grid launched a GoFundMe campaign in August to support relief efforts in the form of meal delivery to first responders, evacuees, and fire-affected communities. As wildfires in the Bay Area—particularly in the farming communities near the Santa Cruz Mountains and San Mateo County—continued to evolve, a specific need to save produce from affected farms became increasingly apparent.
In an effort to meet this need, the Farmers for Fire Relief program was created. Our team at Off the Grid helped to organized a unique consortium of partners including Fresh Approach, Growing the Table, and The Salvation Army to build a new supply chain, transforming beautiful seasonal produce from local farms into prepared food, and bridge the gap between the agriculture community and families impacted by the CZU Complex fires.
Under the program Fresh Approach—and a generous grant made possible by the Growing the Table Initiative—produce is purchased from nine farms in fire-affected areas including Pie Ranch and Brisa de Año Ranch, as well as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) growers in the South Bay, and delivered to partner kitchens. With local produce secured from Fresh Approach, and partnering organizations creating prepared meals, Off the Grid is facilitating the safe distribution of these meals to fire-affected families currently staying in hotels provided by the State.
“One of our discoveries this fire season has been the toll that these fires have taken on agricultural communities in addition to residential communities. In working with Pie Ranch, and neighboring farms who have been affected by the fires, our question became: ‘How can we support these farmers to directly serve their communities through the purchase of their product that might otherwise go to waste (because of the fires)’?” – Matt Cohen, Off the Grid CEO & Founder
Since September 1st, produce from 9 fire-affected farms has been transformed into 13,594 meals thus far. During the first 28 days of the program, over 800 evacuated families were served—more than 500 meals per day.
As Northern California’s 2020 wildfire season continues to rage on, Off the Grid has continued to work with our partners to find ways to expand the program. In recent weeks, additional fire-affected families have been served in Fresno and Butte County, and we’re looking to fulfill additional needs in Napa and Sonoma Counties, as well.
How you can support the Farmers for Fire Relief program:
– Donate to our GoFundMe campaign
– If you’re a Farmer, Corporate Partner, or Food Truck Business and would like to get involved, please contact us here.
– Please watch and share this video with your friends and family!