Farm to Table Guam is a local non-profit organization that aims to have every kitchen, cabinet and pantry to contain and produce made on Guam from crops grown on Guam.
The organization was founded in 2011 by Doris Maanao Aguon, Jennifer Mendiola, Zina Ruiz, and Linda Reyes, local farmers and business women.
The mission of Farm to Table Guam is to promote the expansion of farming in the community, and to expand businesses related to the support of farmers on Guam. They also emphasize creation of new jobs and businesses in the community related to food-related businesses using locally grown food products.
Cassie Brady, Thalia Gange and Melanie Mendiola, members of the organization, share their thoughts.
“I actually reached out to this organization when I was on a hunt to source local eggs for personal consumption, as I am very interested in trying to eat real food,” Brady said.
Cassie explains that she found this organization because she wanted to eat less processed foods with no growth hormones, antibiotics, additives and preservatives.
“Initially, I consulted on the project, and then after my sister’s untimely death in 2013, I took over as project director”, Mendiola said.
Mendiola’s sister, Jennifer Mendiola, one of the founder’s of the organization, asked her to assist with writing the actual grant and helped with a few details to come up with the name of the organization.
“I personally became involved with Farm to Table Guam in 2012 to assist with one of the first Federal Grants the organization received as its Fiscal and Business manager,” Gange said.
Gange has a background on accounting, budgeting, and financial planning which helped her collaborate on the project of Farm to Table Guam.
The organization has held many events over the years like the Mangilao Donne Festival, the Mangilao Night Market, May Harvest, Farm Tours, and even partnering with other organizations.
“The people of Guam become more knowledgable, successful, profitable, sustainable and healthy. We hope the knowledge is passed along and shared,” Brady said.
Gange adds, “Restaurant owners and stores benefit by being able to make contact with our network of farmers and value added producers, for whom we have produced directories on a regular basis, to better enable sales of locally grown produce.”
The organization has added to many benefits to Guam’s community.
“When you support your local farmers and local businesses, more money stays in Guam, more jobs stay in Guam, and overall, our island becomes a more sustainable place,” Mendiola says.
Farm to Table Guam has monthly community awareness meetings on Mondays 6 p.m. at the Mangilao Senior Center or Tuesdays 3 p.m. at the TuRe Cafe.
For more information, contact Farm to Table Guam at www.farmtotableguam.org