Happy New Year to our amazing community!
2021 was an incredible experience for our team, our farmers and for our community.
Despite some of the difficulties with food in 2021 due to shortages, droughts and rising prices all around us , it was a year of massive growth and blessing for every person involved in any step of this process within our tight community.
We started in May of 2020, when food was hard to get due to the broken supply chain. Since then, we have used every month as a learning opportunity and ability to improve and grow. We are still learning as each month presents new challenges but we are also getting to the point that this is running super smoothly and that means more opportunity for growth.
Growth is incredibly important to us because we brought on more independent local farmers more than ever in 2021 to support month after month.
But the list of farmers, ranchers and food producers (packed foods) that want to be directly supported is HUGE!
The food available through our process is much larger than the number of people participating, so there is not only more than enough room to include thousands more families each month, but the need for the farmers is real and exists. We want to onboard more farmers than ever in the new year!
Why do farmers love to work with our community?
Besides selling to Big Ag, farmers who desire to be independent and sell their food directly to consumers are left to become their own marketers and distributors. This is a HUGE burden for a farmer. They love farming and ranching.
A sunset picture I took at one of the visits to one of our local ranchers - cows heading back out to their 8000 acre grazing after vet checks!
They don't love setting up websites, sending emails, selling pound by pound, arranging pickup or delivery for each person, keeping up on social media and the list goes on and on. This piece of farming and ranching is a HUGE burden that causes mass frustration. To hire someone to do this costs a lot of money that they simply cannot do in most cases. They already don't have enough take home pay before all of that. So being independent is hard and time consuming.
We started because we wanted to fill the void for families when the supply chain broke in 2020 and we wanted to solve the problem by making an easy direct access to food. We didn't realize the independent farmer needs until we got into this and realized just how important the work is that we are doing! We do all of the leg work connecting the community to the farmer. We pay the farmer exactly what he/she is wanting for his/her food. In fact, in some cases, they will quote us a price and we give them a bit more to support them in any extra little ways when we can.
As word spreads to families like you, word is spreading to farmers and ranchers across the state to join our network. But we only bring them on when we feel we can support them, while not hurting those farmers already a part of our community.
And because we make that direct connection and do the work they farmer doesn't want to do, we cut out the middle-men and the middle-men and grocery markup, getting better food for 20-50% less. Not to mention far better and fresher meats!
It's not just farmers, but other food producers and distributors.
We have brought in more food producers and other sources of really good meats from other places too! Our influence and group food buying power is extending across the country. Utah does not produce every food so we work closely with other food producers (like Mulay's Heritage Pork based out of CO) for amazing food too!
We also brought in quite a few Gluten Free food producers - including 2 companies located right here in Utah - with lots of room for more!
If there is more than enough food, why do you sell out so fast?
This is because Vanessa and myself personally commit to a certain number of pounds or cases each month that we believe we can sell. This is how we secure the food and the incredible prices. So whether we sell it or not, we are stuck with the bill. So we tend to be more conservative in how much we commit to for our own comfort level. But the sky is the limit and we need your support to help us grow so we can get more comfortable buying more.
With that, there are some food opportunities (like the overstock and these can come from any food producer in the US) where they will say "we have 200 cases of this product for a super deal" and we will commit to all of it and that is truly limited supply.
- January - NEW website checkout process with calendar was introduced. This made it easier for you to find your pickup date and location. Since then, a second version was introduced later in the year that was an improvement from the first!
- February - We introduced our curated Staples Box packed in a co-op branded box. This was a project that we started in June of 2020, but with getting the USDA approvals and licensing, finding licensed meat cutters and packers in an approved facility and finding a sponsor to fund the box printing - it is a long process to do it right, safely and legally. This product has become a top seller and a product in which the local impact is HUGE! It's just the start of what we are "bringing to the table" in the future.
- March - our NEW app was introduced! We also started a live "food show" to get clearance and overstock foods cheap! This can be watched and participated in our Facebook page and App!
Learn about the app and download HERE
Learn about the live food game show HERE
- April, May and June - these were the primary months that we brought on more local farmers and ranchers than ever! We also began splitting our pickups even more, adding more pickup spots in each county as they reached capacity.
- July - hired our first team member! Vanessa and I, while loving what we were doing, we were also getting burned out and tired. The two of us were doing every step of this process. The things you see have 3 times more work behind the scenes. SO DJ joined our team! She was one of our site volunteers from nearly the beginning of this project and so she moved from being just onsite, to helping us on the admin side too! She is also the team member that you will reach first if you call, email or text with questions.
- August - end of the year....after a new website, new app, new live sales, new farmers and food producers, new team member, and a NEW curated box, Vanessa and I have not only continued our processes, making improvements, but we have been working on some really big projects to debut' in 2022!
2022 Food and Community Dreams Come True
The projects we are working on cannot be announced yet. But we can hardly contain our excitement for what 2022 brings! These are the things we only dreamed of when we started and 2022 is the start of those dreams happening.
Please help us continue our mission and be a part of something incredible in your community - you are helping your neighbors, helping your local farmers/food producers, helping other food producers and distributors.
This community project will become more important and relevant in 2022 and beyond more than you know! So thank you for being here and being a big part of it all!