The Red Hills Small Farm Alliance’s mission of supporting the economic stability of local farms, offering professional development to farmers, and expanding local food access in the Big Bend has been more important than ever during the current pandemic. With the help of you, our community, our organization stepped up to meet the challenges COVID-19 presented to our producers, customers, and others in the community.
What a year it has been! Although restaurant closings left many of our producers without that sales outlet, , the pandemic also triggered a renewed interest in locally-sourced foods. The RHO Market had unprecedented growth during the past year, more than doubling the number of customers in just seven months. This expanded customer base for RHOM was an absolute lifeline to so many of our local producers. . And because of this increased interest, you are growing farmers and their businesses! Several new producers are now on RHO Market and many others have expanded their investments in growing food for the community.
With the help of a Whole Cities Foundation Grant, we were able to provide additional opportunities for meeting our mission during the pandemic. As the market shifted to delivery-only operations in April, we used those funds to provide free home delivery throughout Tallahassee to 149 customers considered at high-risk for COVID-19. We were also able to offer paid work to many who had been furloughed or lost jobs, as our need for delivery drivers and Market staff increased considerably.
The Market also began accepting SNAP payments in April. Through Feeding Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks program, we were able to double the dollars available on our SNAP customers EBT cards for the purchase of RHO foods. Whole Cities Foundation grant dollars also fund free delivery for our SNAP customers. This grant and others in the works are only possible if we can show both community support and increasing financial stability.
Although the local food scene certainly looked different this year, the Alliance has continued its support through fun events like Seven Days of Local Delights held in January, and June’s Virtual Tomato Feastival, which featured recipe contests, cooking videos, and the ever popular “Ask a Farmer” sessions. Although we couldn’t meet in person, we have enjoyed your engagement with our organization through social media, especially the many photos and recipes you’ve shared with us and our producers. These events and activities are a reminder of the importance of the relationship between our local producers and the committed customers and restaurants that support them.
Your support continues to be crucial to the advancement of the mission and growth of the Alliance. While our Market base has grown, our costs have also grown. Most importantly for our immediate future, our current Market lease ends on February 28, 2021 and cannot be renewed. As such, we are seeking a new space, and asking for your help. Your donation and support will help ensure the financial stability needed to move into a new location so we can continue to provide you and our producers with an outstanding market experience. Our current lease is well below the market, so we know we know we’ll have greatly increased costs for our new home. (P.S., if you have or know of property, please contact execdirRHSFA@gmail.com).
Please consider making a gift* to the Annual Fund by sending a check in the enclosed envelope or by clicking the annual fund donation button below. Thank you for appreciating the work of our producers and for supporting a food network that provides the best local foods available to our community. We are also always interested in expanding the diversity and skills of our volunteer Board and committees. Please let us know if you’d like to contribute with your time!
The Red Hills Small Farm Alliance Board of Directors
* Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), a financial gift to the alliance is eligible for a tax benefit. Individual taxpayers may deduct donations to non-profit organizations of up to $300 on their 2020 federal tax return, even if they take the standard deduction. Married-filing-jointly taxpayers will get an above-the-line deduction of up to $600. Donors who itemize may deduct charitable contributions up to 100% of their AGI. The window for taking advantage of these changes closes on December 31, 2020. For further tax-related questions, or to see how to best manage your deduction, please reach out to your tax professional.
It’s easy to give
Mail a check to made out to Red Hills Small Farm Alliance with the memo reading "Annual Fund"
P.O. Box 3452
Tallahassee, FL 32315