This past year has been a tough one for Fair Food. We entered 2017 in significant debt to our farmer vendors and with no plan in place to get out of it. When I took over as Interim Executive Director in May, the board and I agreed to protect our remaining assets and move forward with our goal of paying back our farmer partners. We made financial cuts across the board to give ourselves a fighting chance at surviving the many challenges we faced this year. We now have put a plan in place to pay back every farmer we owe money to by 2020. But we are not on stable ground yet.
We believe that our core mission is still important in today’s world. The purpose of Fair Food is to ensure that high quality, locally produced food is an important part of our overall food system for a diverse group of people in our region. It is important for our health as well as the health of our communities and our region’s economy. With the help of Fair Food, the local food system is far more robust today than it was 20 years ago, but in a rapidly changing world, it is vital for Fair Food to continue to protect and promote the true value of good, local food.
Because of this, we are moving ahead with the next Brewer’s Plate event this spring and planning for an even more exciting Philly Farm and Food Fest in the fall. We will continue strengthening our farmstand at Reading Terminal Market and our Double Dollars program which provides coupons to SNAP recipients in need of assistance. All of this work will be crucial in ensuring access to good, local food in the Greater Philadelphia region.
We are still trying to find stable ground after this difficult year and don’t expect to expand our work anytime soon beyond what I mentioned, but there is the possibility of paying our farmers back sooner. This is where we need your help. I can assure you that any donation you give right now will have a direct impact on our ability to continue our work and will allow us to repay the farmers and partners we are driven to support. Whether it is $10 or $1,000, any donation will go toward supporting a future where local food is an integral part of our food system and our local economy.
- John Rhoads, Interim Executive Director
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