Happy spring everyone!
What an exciting winter this has proven to be. Since Thanksgiving we've gone from plans for doubling production to fears that the drought would mean shutting down all year. It's been quite a ride, but I suppose adaptation is the name of the game in sustainable agriculture!
Now that we've gotten a bit of rain and the pastures are exploding life we are excited to undertake at least a few of our expansion plans. At the top of the list is a new egg mobile. When it comes to eggs I think I say "I'm so sorry, we're sold out" more than I get say anything else. There are so many engaged and thoughtful customers all around us who are trying to feed their family well and encourage local and sustainable agriculture, and we and our laying hens are scrambling to keep up!
About the time we were calculating the lost revenue of waiting for the late rains and searching the couch cushions for change to build the new egg mobile, we were approached by our dear friends at GoodEggs.com who offered to sponsor us for a loan from Kiva Zip. ShaeLynn and I have been Kiva supporters since we saw a talk by one of the founders during a micro-finance course during college many years ago, but we had never heard of Kiva Zip. The neat thing about Kiva Zip is that they are using crowd-sourced micro-finance to help spur business and community development here in the United States. A quick review of their website turned up development loan listings for everything from plumbers to bakers and we were excited to add chicken farmers to the list.
As such, a couple weeks ago we sent in an application for to get our new egg mobile financed through a micro-loan. The process was easy and when the loan was about to get posted the folks at Kiva Zip reminded us that we'd have to get 15 lenders to join Kiva Zip in 15 days before the loan could be posted to the public page where it would have 45 days to get funded. We were a little worried about meeting those deadlines and so after posting the loan online we rushed to get an announcement onto Facebook and then we started to reach out to family and friends. Literally during my phone first call home to dear Mom and Dad Shae ran outside to tell me that we had already met our 15 lender goal and were on the public page! It has now been about 2 days and the entire loan is nearly 50% by 60 unique lenders! You all are amazing!
I am still shocked and struck by the energy and excitement that is propelling sustainable agriculture's success. I occasionally will hear conversations questioning how sustainable agriculture will make it in the world of big corporate interests, fast food, and one-size-fits-all regulation. However, when I see folks from all around the Bay Area, the United States, and even Canada jump in to help a small family farm they've never met build a mobile coop for their chickens I can't help but see the success of sustainable farming as inevitable.
Thank you all so much for fighting for good food!