I wanted to share a few bits of good news with you all! Nuestro Huerto has been awarded another small grant from New England Grassroots Environment Fund! We received a grant from them last winter, and this year as well! This means that our board, as well as our new grant writing volunteer, will be busy developing a strategic plan and fund development plan for the organization. This sounds about, well, boring! BUT, what it means is that this foundation believes in us and is willing to support us in our journey to stabilize Nuestro Huerto.
The reality of a small-scale operation such as Nuestro Huerto is that income and expenditures simply do not even out. We have broken even each year, but we are not providing a full-year living stipend to the director/farm manager (me, Amanda!) This will make it difficult to attract a qualified future director/farm manager if I were to leave. This is not uncommon for organizations and businesses that start small and expand slowly-and the sad reality is, it’s all too common for farmers everywhere to not earn enough to pay themselves a living wage. This was understood from the get-go, so there are no hard feelings. And we are, after all-a volunteer-driven farm! But we still need someone day-in and day-out to hold the fort down. The good news is, we consider ourselves more than just a farm. We a community space, as well as a place to learn-and there are resources available that are looking to support groups like ours!
The second bit of good news to share is that Nuestro Huerto and Worcester Roots have officially merged! It’s been quite a steep learning curve, but thanks to Green Pro-Bono and their staff, we have completed the paperwork and jumped through nearly all the hoops there are left to jump through. The last one is to transfer our financial assets to Roots and close our bank account! No, this doesn’t mean we’re giving away what we have! It means that Roots is the new keeper of our funds! The are supporting a handful or more of small organizations like ours that are doing good work in Worcester-so we are all sharing resources. This is the only way we can stay afloat! They are a non-profit, and there is potential for collaboration. We’re excited for the possibilities.
The next and last piece of news is that we’re going to try something a little different-we want you, CSA members, and other farm supporters, who really believe in us, and feel you can help is in some way, to step forward. You’ve supported us through a number of seasons, and we rely on you to keep the farm running! Your hands, enthusiasm, and membership are all part of what makes it happen. I’m not asking for money-not right now, anyway! What I am asking for is a little bit of your time on a Sunday afternoon in January. I would like to hear your feedback, your thoughts on how to make make Nuestro Huerto more sustainable in the long run! You all have proven to have so many great ideas and connections that it behooves us to get together! Let’s put our heads together, and do some real community building. The date will be Sunday January 26th at 4pm! Location TBD.