Video: Feeding Our Community Is Essential

December 18, 2020

More than ever before, 2020 has brought home what is essential. Making sure our neighbors don’t go hungry is essential. Feeding the people who feed us is essential. Protecting organic farms is essential. And you are essential. When you donate to CUESA, you are uplifting our essential community needs and getting fresh, organic food to people in need.

This month, we’re focusing on local food heroes who are essential to building the sustainable and equitable food future we all need. In this new video from CUESA, get up close with farmer Rudy Jimenez of Green Thumb Organics, four bountiful organic acres in San Juan Bautista. Rudy is one of our partner farmers in CUESA’s Feed Hospitality program, which provides free produce boxes to unemployed restaurant and bar workers during the pandemic, while supporting local farms.

The child of a farmworker family, Rudy is one of the few organic farmers in San Benito County, amidst a sea of large conventional farms. For Rudy, farming is more than a livelihood; it is social justice work. “What motivated me to start an organic farm was not having access to organic food in my community,” says Rudy, who also provides health education for farmworker children in the area. “We want to make sure that everybody, no matter your financial status, can have access to organic food.” 

The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for farms like Green Thumb, who have had to pivot their operations and explore new ways to get organic vegetables from the fields to our community. Hardship has also been felt by Bay Area families who lost jobs, including many in the restaurant industry. At CUESA’s farmers markets alone, we’ve seen CalFresh usage double, as families need help putting healthy food on the table.

To meet both of these needs, CUESA started the Feed Hospitality program, paying farmers like Rudy to provide free produce boxes to unemployed hospitality workers in need. He is now looking to expand his farm, so he can grow more food and convert more land to organic production.

Community members like you have also been a critical source of support at the farmers market, in this turbulent time. “Ever since the epidemic started, I feel like more customers are conscious about their health, and they want to reinvest in what’s right,” Rudy says. “We’re living in a historical time. It’s the biggest opportunity for us to be more in touch with each other.” 


Help Feed the People Who Feed Us

Invest in farmers like Rudy and programs like Feed Hospitality, so that everyone can have access to healthy food. Keep vital lifelines between local farms and families strong in 2021 and beyond by donating to CUESA today.

Video by Fox Nakai.

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