Due to the COVID-19 crisis, more than one in five American households are going hungry, while crops are rotting in fields because of disrupted supply chains. Fresno Farm Bridge, a collaboration among four California-based NGOs, will purchase crops from Southeast Asian and other minority farmers in the Central Valley who lost their supply chain, donate this produce to food banks for families in need, and help connect these farmers to new urban markets. A $500 donation will buy 20 boxes of produce from a farmer and provide fresh fruits and vegetables for 20 families.
$5000: Summer Harvest: Buy 200 boxes- or 5,000 pounds of produce from a farmer
$1000: Sunday Farmers Market: Buy 40 boxes of produce from a farmer
$500: Yosemite Fruit Stand: Buy 20 boxes of produce from a farmer
$100: Farm Box: Buy 4 boxes of produce from a farmer
CAFF is a 501(c)3 organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowable by the law.
OR DONATE BY MAIL:
Make check out to “CAFF” with the note “Fresno Farm Bridge” and send to P.O. Box 363, Davis, CA 95617
What we are Doing
Before COVID-19, these small farmers, many of whom are Hmong refugees, sold their crops to restaurants, farmers’ markets, and roadside stands — many of which closed due to the crisis. Due to systemic challenges and social inequities, these farmers face substantial difficulties in accessing new markets for their produce, as recently featured on ABC 30. These farms are too small for many federal farm assistance programs targeted toward industrial agriculture.
Your contributions will reimburse the farmers for produce they donate to local food banks – keeping local farms afloat and feeding local families during the pandemic. Food banks will then box and distribute this food to families in need. Your financial support will also provide technical expertise to connect farmers with new customers and markets, building more sustainable farming businesses for years to come. For example, a $500 donation will buy 20 boxes of produce from a farmer and provide fresh fruits and vegetables for 20 families. A $5,000 contribution will buy 5,000 lbs. of produce, supporting local farmers through the summer harvest and providing technical support needed to re-connect local food supply chains.
Meet Our Farmers
Fresno County is home to about 1,800 small-scale minority farmers – including many Hmong refugees – who grow a wide variety of crops from guava and green beans to bitter melon and lemongrass.
After fighting alongside US troops during the Vietnam war, Hmong refugees began settling in California’s Central Valley in 1975 and became an integral part of California’s agricultural landscape. Hmong and other Southeast Asian farmers have driven the development of a specialty vegetable industry valued at $17 million annually in Fresno County, with sales at farmers markets and roadside stands and to wholesale buyers supplying ethnic restaurants and grocery stores. However, farmers that rely on direct marketing and restaurant sales are uniquely vulnerable to the current economic crisis. . While multiple programs have emerged to assist farmers with unsold crops, these farms are too small for many federal government programs targeted toward industrial agriculture. And due to cultural and linguistic barriers, many find it difficult to pivot rapidly to new marketing tools such as online sales and curbside pickup or delivery, or to locate new buyers in different channels.
This program will be announced on a weekly Hmong radio broadcast in the region and widely disseminated through community channels. The incentive to sell crops, which will be donated to food banks, will assist farmers economically and will enable organizations, already trusted within this community, to help reconnect these farmers to new markets and support sustainable livelihoods in the midst of this crisis.
Here are a few of the farmers that your contributions will support:
Lilian Chue Yang owns a 14-acre farm, growing Southeast Asian crops since 2013. Many of her crops have been wasted because her typical customers – wholesalers and company distributors – are closed. She has already invested in planting her next crop, which will go to waste if she cannot find new buyers.
A farmer since 1980, Pang Eng Chang grows citrus, jujube and guava that he sold to a wholesaler in Alaska. However, as ports are closed, they are not buying, and his produce is beginning to rot. He risks losing his only source of income.
A farmer since 2005, Kao Ashley Vang grows over 100 varieties of crops to sell in Bay Area farmer’s markets. With her farmers’ markets closed due to COVID-19, most of the crops are being wasted and thrown away. Bills are mounting as her children are now home, while her income has dried up due to the pandemic.
Meet Fresno Farm Bridge
Fresno Farm Bridge is a collaboration across four NGOs that serve the Fresno minority farming community to help build bridges between farmers and families in need.
Farm to Families, California Foodbank Alliance
Farm to Families partnered with us to design this program to meet the needs of these small scale farmers. Part of the California Foodbank Alliance, Farm to families has been helping farmers donate surplus crops to food banks for decades. Their Statewide program targets larger California farms and pays them a nominal fee for donating tax deductible crops. Governor Newsom just announced his support for Farm to Families. We are grateful for their expertise, support and contributions to launch this program for refugee farmers.
ABIRC has been serving Fresno’s Hmong and Southeast Asian community for a decade. With trust and credibility among the farmers who are often wary of outsiders, ABIRC has helped these farmers access programs and provided business and marketing support. ABIRC received a grant from the CA Department of Water Resources to support these farmers with outreach and education for California’s new groundwater law.
University of California Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
Supporting small-scale family farms to thrive economically through extension support, bilingual and culturally relevant training on production, marketing, and regulatory compliance, research on specialty crops, and policy engagement. The UCCE small farms extension program has worked closely with minority-owned small farms for over two decades and hosts a weekly radio broadcast in Hmong to reach Southeast Asian farmers.
Working to connect small California farms with urban markets, CAFF has been working for 40 years to promote sustainability and equity to ensure small California farmers can compete in an industrialized food economy.