Los Altos nonprofit eliminates the middleman


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Courtesy of Sheena Vaidyanathan

Two female-owned Salinas Valley farms are reaping the rewards of partnering with Los Altos resident Sheena Vaidyanathan’s Tera Farm.

An overabundance of kale prompted Los Altos resident Sheena Vaidyanathan to ascertain Tera Farm, a nonprofit enterprise that helps native farmers by instantly connecting them to their prospects.

“It began after I reached out to one of many farmers I knew,” Vaidyanathan stated. “He gave me packing containers of kale, and I had an excessive amount of, so I wished to share it with my pals, and in a single hour we had offered all our kale. … The following week, folks requested me for extra greens, so I requested the farmer after which we ended up creating an order kind, after which lastly a full e-commerce web site which is now Tera Farm.”

Vaidyanathan – who’s concerned with Kitchen Desk Advisors, which helps Northern California farmers – launched Tera Farm in March after listening to about all of the monetary challenges the pandemic posed for native farms. The nonprofit cuts out the intermediary, enabling two female-run farms in Salinas Valley to promote their recent produce on to shoppers to allow them to earn all of the income.

“It has made a big affect and instantly allowed them to pay their lease, purchase their groceries, their seeds and their fertilizer,” Vaidyanathan stated. “That is vital cash that they’d by no means have gotten earlier than. Normally by the point you purchase it at a grocery retailer, solely about one-third of the cash goes to the farmer.”

Every week, from 5 p.m. Monday to 9 p.m. Wednesday, persons are capable of store by way of Tera Farm’s e-commerce web site (no gross sales Monday by way of Dec. 26). The next Saturday morning, farmers ship the orders at neighborhood websites for purchasers to choose up. Tera Farm has 22 pickup areas throughout 13 cities, together with 4 in Los Altos.

Giving again

Vaidyanathan sees Tera Farm as a solution to give again to the farmers and her group.

“Though we reside a unique life than the farmers within the discipline, there’s this sort of reference to them,” she stated. “If we don’t assist the farmers who develop our meals, we’re impacting not simply our personal well being, however the well being of our land.”

As a result of there is no such thing as a subscription, Tera Farms permits shoppers to customise their packing containers every week. In accordance with Vaidyanathan, the farmers have grown extra various merchandise to satisfy increasing demand.

Beforehand, they’d develop a number of acres of 1 crop and ship it to wholesalers; now they develop bigger portions of particular crops.

“On the again finish, the farmers have actually discovered so much as a result of these farmers have been used to only promoting it to wholesale, so that they didn’t know find out how to pack packing containers and find out how to pack for shoppers,” Vaidyanathan stated.

Along with sharing meals regionally, Tera Farm has a publication and weblog during which shoppers share recipes utilizing the farms’ produce to teach the group in regards to the affect they’re making. Vaidyanathan hopes others will proceed to assist the farmers and themselves in a protected and sustainable method by ordering from Tera Farm.

“On the finish of the day, until we perceive how our meals goes and the place it comes from, you’ll by no means admire it,” she stated. “Assembly the farmer, seeing the connection and seeing why this meals is recent, natural, good for you – and native – is so vital.”

For extra info on Tera Farm, go to


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