Non-profit organization Farm to Table assists local farmers

Chamorro Village Tailgate Farmers MarketFarm to Table is a non-profit organization that assists farmers in selling their produce to vendors and restaurants. Farm to Table also provides a service called the Community Supported Agriculture subscription, which supplies seasonal produce and value-added products weekly.

Two entrepreneurs, Jenny Mendiola and Dorris Agoun, established Farm to Table in 2010.

Mendiola owned Taro Hut in Mangilao while Agoun owned the Camachili store in Yona. They both often worked with local food vendors and farmers and saw it a challenge to find places to sell their produce.

Mendiola and Agoun’s vision was to create a non-profit organization that would help local farmers and value added producers to overcome those challenges.

Farm to Table point farmers in the right direction of where to sell their produce by asking them what they have to sell and at what price. Restaurants often turn to Farm to Table to provide fresh ingredients and local produce. Farm to Table matches local business with local farmers.

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Farm to Table helps both large-scale farmers and small-scale farmers. The small-scale farmers usually have a special type of crop that can be put into the CSA subscription boxes and still make some money.

Mendiola also explained that there was a elderly lady who grew up farming, but had developed back problems. She used to have a lot of help from her children, but they all moved off to the mainland.

Often times, dealing with social media, it can be intimidating for farmers. “We completely understand that it can overwhelming for some farmers, but we are here to help every step of the way,” Brady says. “We can help you with your vision, selling…you name it, we want to help.”

“We do have certain screening requirements of our farmers,” Mendiola said. “One of the things that we do offer to everyone, lets say you have 50 lbs of breadfruit, we’ll call 2-3 different places to see if we can sell it for you.”

Farm to Table also provides social media advertising via Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to farmers who don’t use social media. In addition, Farm to Table distribute recipes via social media so people who are not from Guam can learn how to prepare produce and cook it. For instance, not everyone knows how to cook pumpkin tips so Farm to Table adds a recipe in the box for Kadun Mannok (Chicken Soup).

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Every month, Farm to Table, holds a community awareness meeting which informs the public on what the organization is about and the services they provide.

“We try to promote healthy eating and relationships as much as possible,” Cassie Brady said. “We’ve also learned from our research study during the awareness meeting that unsold produce, if not given to family and friends, often become pig food and go to waste.”

The movement that Farm to Table supports is to increase farmer sustainability and island sustainability. Guam can slowly become less reliant on imported foods since Farm to Table can provide healthier alternatives for more affordable prices to families.
“I get more produce for $50 than I would at Payless,” said CSA subscriber Matthew Topasna. “They gave me enough lemon to fill a King Car bottle!”

If you would like to know more you can reach Farm to Table at 647-0100, email them at info@farmtotableguam.org, and visit Farm to Table’s website at farmtotableguam.org.

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