We are reaching out to ask you to share some of your time. Without your time, this story--one of the most timely, heart-felt, and real stories in our current food landscape--will go untold.
Why do we rarely hear directly from farmers in the Central Valley? Working to coordinate farmer Efren Avalos' upcoming gathering, we've learned first-hand the challenges that have disconnected us from the land and the people that grow our food.
Efren is a loving father, immigrant, fifth-generation farmer and farm owner of Avalos Organic Farm in Hollister, CA. He worked his way from a farm worker for a large strawberry company to founding his own 16-acre farm, growing some of the most favorited zucchinis and greens for farmers' markets and restaurants.
Things changed a lot since late 2016, though. Under the current political climate and shrinking labor force (NYTimes reports here), it has been extremely difficult for Efren to find workers for his farm. In years past, he could always find workers waiting for jobs on the side of the road. These days, you can't even find a waiting shadow. Efren's sons are both leaving agriculture for brighter futures, and this means Efren is often alone on the farm, harvesting late into the night after the sun goes down.
Recently Efren called to let us know that he might not be able to make it to the 5/16 RFRS Picnic to share his story live, because Avalos Organic Farm is a 2.5-hours drive from the Berkeley farmers' market. Efren's daughter-in-law, who carpools with Efren to help at the market, cannot stay behind to pack up after the market closes at 6:30pm; she needs return to Hollister to pick up her children from the babysitter by around 9pm at the earliest.
This is what's really happening, and we calling upon you for support Efren's desire to come share his story with us.
To make it possible for Efren's daughter-in-law to stay in Hollister and for Efren to get the help he needs, we are seeking 4 volunteers total to assist him at the farmers' market on Tuesday, May 16th, in two shifts: 12:30-3:45 and 3:15-6:30.
In exchange for extending yourself, we would like to offer a complimentary ticket to the gathering, where we can hear Efren share his personal challenges and successes through his inspiring journey.
We THANK YOU in advance.
Pei-Ru Ko + RFRS Team