Thank you all for staying with us through two cancellations, because of rain, of our Annual Barbecue Benefit. On August 18th not only did we have a great turnout but, as promised, we had an evening of good food, good cheer and a marvelous sunset. We can’t begin to describe how much your support means to us and we hope all of you return for next year’s event, and that those who missed this year will join us next year.
We want to explain a little more about our fundraising efforts, and how we spend the money. This benefit was largely paid for from our own personal funds, and not by the Food Pantry Farm. We use the money that you donate for the operation of the Farm. We pay our field manager, Darcy, a living wage as opposed to a subsistence wage paid by other non profits. We buy seeds and soil enhancements. We buy necessary equipment to make our land fertile and productive.
For example, many of you who were here last year saw the “buckwheat field” filled with weeds and then buckwheat. Now, it is filled with cabbages, broccoli, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and more. When we first leased that field — almost an acre — it was filled with weeds. We tilled the soil and planted buckwheat to deter weeds and start the process of replenishing soil nutrients. But most importantly, with the funds we raised last year we were able to buy a spreader for small fields to attach to our tractor (on loan but for which we pay annual upkeep) so we could lay down compost, which is the essential building block for creating productive soil to grow food organically. Then we irrigated the field with drip lines, and covered some of the planting beds with black plastic mulch to retard weed growth, purchasing all this necessary equipment with funds donated by our supporters.
Now, we are faced with bringing back to productivity the abandoned one-acre fruit orchard. This year we planted summer and winter squash in landscaping tubs abandoned by the prior tenant — not optimal but satisfactory for a transitional year. Next year, we hope to create vegetable beds between the trees and start the process of reinvigorating the trees that we can salvage, and planting new trees. To deal with the orchard overgrowth, we will need to purchase a special mowing attachment to fit on a rototiller that was donated by a friend.
And then, by next year, we hope to have our 3,400-square-foot hoophouse built and growing produce twelve months a year. We have most of the funding for this from supporters who believe in the unique role that the Food Pantry Farm can play in our East End community.
Like any start up, Food Pantry Farm has been built with personal funds, sweat equity, and the assistance of friends and family. One day, perhaps we can be a recognizable asset in Town that would permit a broad-based fundraising effort. But right now, our friends are our key to success. We understand that and cherish all your contributions.
Thank you from all of us at the Food Pantry Farm.
Food Pantry Farm, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non profit corporation. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. Our address is PO Box 181, East Hampton, NY 11937.