January 19, 2021 – by Laura Phoenix, Farm Table’s Executive Director
Happy New Year Farm Table Foundation Family!
What a tremendous relief that 2020 is behind us. At the same time, I am experiencing deep gratitude for the lessons we learned, the community who supported us, and for the farmers who nourished and sustained us. I am constantly appreciative of our staff team who moved mountains to continue the good work of “bringing the food to the people,” creating community, and providing learning opportunities in the absence of in-person events.
We take none of our successes for granted, but especially not in 2020. In spite of the global pandemic—which forced many of us into our homes, required all of us to significantly curtail our activities, and disrupted food and supply chains, Farm Table Foundation served more food and brought more programming to more people in 2020 than we did in 2019.
In March, immediately following shelter-in-place directives, the restaurant team revised operations to offer full-scale take-out, delivery, and curbside delivery instead of in-person dining. In addition to the classic favorites from the Farm Table menu, we added deli items, house-made preserves, take-and bake meals, meal kits, and provisions to our offerings.
The dining room has transformed several times since March. First as a staging area for packing orders, then as a counter-service space, then as a socially distanced dining room at various fractions of full capacity. This fall the dining room was used as a staging ground for getting nearly 40 Thanksgiving meals prepared for pick up and almost as many Christmas meals.
In the last few weeks of 2020, the retail space—stocked with more provisions, baked goods, to-go meals, gifts, cooking tools, and apparel—has taken over most of the dining room and looks more like a mercantile than a restaurant. We look forward to the time in 2021 when we can restore the dining room to full capacity, stop by your table to chat, and give you a handshake or a hug!
Like the restaurant team, our program team had to innovate as well. Programming quickly shifted from in-person to online. Free online classes gave way to donation-based classes as attendees experienced the value of our offerings and responded accordingly. We launched a YouTube channel which now includes over 60 videos. Since its inception we have had over 3,500 views from local and global participants alike.
Thank You: Looking to 2021
As a young nonprofit organization, we rely on your support. We are so grateful that you, our community, responded more than ever this year: in 2020, over 100 individual donors saw the value of our mission in the community and supported the work financially.
In 2021 you can rely on us to continue the work of growing local food culture through online and, hopefully, in-person programming. We’ve been holding in our collective minds’ eye the vision of a joyous reunion at the barn with good music, good food, and good people! We will continue to support local farmers by serving their produce, products, and proteins in our restaurant. We will collaborate with current partners and new organizations to deepen our impact. We will work closely with foundations and donors to strengthen support for Farm Table. We will continue to demonstrate the resilience that we wish to see in the world.
I thank you for your ongoing support and commitment. Cheers to 2021.
Laura Phoenix, Executive Director