Person holding beets.

Farm to Pantry Is Keeping Stomachs Full and Hearts Filled in Sonoma County

Non-profit Farm to Pantry is having a massive impact on community members in need in Sonoma County. The gleaning organization’s volunteers stopped over 400,000 pounds of produce from ending up in landfills in 2022 alone, supporting their mission to feed people in need, bring communities together, cultivate good health, and support environmental sustainability.

A Community-Wide Effort

Farm to Pantry staff.
Photo Credit: Kelly Conrad, Farm to Pantry.

There’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen at Farm to Pantry. Community members and small businesses across Sonoma County support the non-profit’s mission in unique and impactful ways.

Glean Experiences

Tourists visiting Sonoma County can participate in Farm to Pantry’s efforts. An Airbnb guest who visited Sonoma County in July comments on their experience. Gleaning was a “lovely way to spend the morning,” they say. “We met a local volunteer and…got to harvest peaches, cucumbers, squash, peppers and taste fresh fruits from the tree.” They say they’re “super grateful for the unique experience and opportunity to meet the locals while doing something good.”

The Gables Wine Country Inn

The Gables Wine Country Inn, Sonoma County.
Photo Credit: The Gables Wine Country Inn.

The Gables Wine Country Inn in Santa Rosa is one of many local businesses supporting Farm to Pantry’s efforts. The inn donates $2.00 for every room night booked and gives guests the chance to contribute an additional donation. Owners Pam and Larry Willis also shared that they grow produce like “lemons, limes, tomatoes, corn, squash and other vegetables that goes to Farm to Pantry then straight into the community. In the off-season, we volunteer our time to Farm to Pantry to glean produce from local farms and private homes.”

Farm to Pantry also has a market-to-pantry program, where volunteers collect unsold produce from farmers at the local Sonoma County farmers’ markets on Saturdays. The program helps feed disadvantaged community members while keeping produce out of the trash bins.

Kind Traveler

The Willis’ inn is one of many local businesses that partner with Kind Traveler, an online booking website that donates money to local communities for each booking. Farm to Pantry receives $10 or more donations on a daily basis thanks to Kind Traveler. What makes the booking platform so unique is that they share impact metrics with travelers-to-be, showing them how their vacation money will support the local community.

Growing the Table

Farm to Pantry was one of the original partners for Growing the Table (GTT), an initiative founded during the COVID-19 pandemic that pays struggling and marginalized farmers to grow produce for Californians in need. GTT has a hub in Sonoma County, which paid Sonoma farmers more than $316,000 in 2022 and generated over 9,579 boxes of food for food-insecure families.

Farm to Pantry food boxes.
Photo Credit: Kelly Conrad, Farm to Pantry.

Farmer Sonya Perotti from Coyote Family Farm receives market prices for her locally-grown produce. Perotti says, “It’s impossible to overstate the value and benefits of [the Growing the Table program] and its meaning to the survival of our farm.”

The produce boxes are equally appreciated by those receiving them. “I only have a fixed amount of income, so these boxes help me tremendously. It feels good knowing I can have organic produce and proteins that otherwise would be out of reach for my budget,” says one senior beneficiary.

Leading Responsible Travel

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is in the process of seeking its sustainable destination certification with Green Destinations, which will help connect travelers and communities in environmentally and socially responsible efforts, such as the work that Farm to Pantry is doing. Should SCT achieve this certification, it may be the first destination in California to do so.

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