Updated: Jun 8, 2020
Scroll to bottom to see update.
In response to the pandemic, we have had to change the way we operate on the farm. That includes how we get produce to you. Read more to understand why we have asked our members to pay a minimum $50 bagging fee for this year.
When planning for the 2020 season began in January, we made some fundamental decisions how we were going to run this business as to not put ourselves out of business. This meant an “across the board” price increase to better compensate ourselves for the work we do.
But then, of course, the coronavirus pandemic happened, and I am now looking at our budget knowing we are going to have a major shortfall.
Due to social distancing and food and health safety requirements, we need to pre-pack and bag all shares for the foreseeable future. This is a tremendous financial burden for the farm costing us thousands of dollars.
Because of this, we have no choice but to add a bagging fee to the share price for the season.
Therefore, I am asking all members to contribute $50 - $100 for a onetime fee to cover the additional costs for the 2020 season (details below).
Thank you for being in this together. Your support means the world and we are so grateful to be growing healthy delicious food for you.
In years past, we mostly distributed our shares using the “grocery store” style. Members came and portioned out their own share and went on their way. This saved us considerable time handling produce more than we needed to.
But since that obviously won’t work in this pandemic environment, we have gone to considerable expense in both time and materials to determine a new distribution system to allow you, the member, to pick up your share pre-packed and bagged.
In the last month alone, we have spent $8,000 retrofitting our van to allow produce to remain cooler for longer periods of time so we can make more localized drops. (Check your email for your specific location.)
We spent a few thousand more on bags, bins, and a conveyor system to help facilitate a more streamlined bagging process. We have also had to hire more people to help with the bagging – and as you know, we pay at least minimum wage. We have spent literately countless hours working on ways to fine-tune and expand our pickup locations to better serve you.
I tell you this because the farm simply cannot cover all these added costs. I hope you see that these were all unforeseen expenditures, just as the gravity of the coronavirus was unforeseen in January.
To be clear, we have applied and received some grant money to help cover some of these costs which is fantastic, and which brings down the cost of the assessment that I am asking each member to contribute to cover these added costs.
Whatever you can contribute is much appreciated.
June 8th, 2020 Update:
We have already hired an additional worker to help with bagging but after one week of bagging 160+ shares, we realize we need to hire another person. This person will start this week. We pay $15/hr, adhering to Montgomery County's minimum wage.
The bagging process requires 224 paper bags per week.
The bagging process uses 480 compostable biodegradable bags per week.
From last year, our bagging budget has gone up 100%. This increase was not foreseen, as the coronavirus was not foreseen. Hence, we did not budget for such an expensive endeavor. In normal times, you would pick out your own produce "grocery style".
The bagging process, on just Thursday, took 4.5 hours out of the day. That was with three people, including the two farmers who are responsible for growing your food. Please help us cover the necessary expenses of more labor so we can farm and create high-quality, nutritious produce for you and your family.
This is the situation. It's tough for everyone. We took a guess at how this was going to work and of course, with many things, the way it is didn't come to the surface until we put it into action.
Thank you for understanding and doing your part to keep our community healthy.