by Marianna Spence, CFSA Membership Coordinator | Monday, July 12, 2021 —

 

“CFSA has saved my livelihood not once, not twice, but three times,” said Paula Hall, owner of Eden Song Wheatgrass and a CFSA Member. A farmer for more than 20 years, Paula grows nutrient-dense wheatgrass for wholesale markets at her small farm in Zebulon, NC.

“At the outset of 2020, I employed two part-time staff to help with the labor-intensive production of wheatgrass, my only crop. COVID definitely impacted my buyers; I could cry over it.”

Nine months into the pandemic, Paula was preparing to apply for farmer assistance funds. She found that application after application, and call after call, went ignored because wheatgrass wasn’t specifically listed as an eligible crop for relief payments.

“After receiving an email from CFSA, reminding farmer members of the assistance deadline, I shot off an email back to them bemoaning my fate that no one seemed interested in helping me with any pandemic assistance programs – not with PPP, EIDL, or CFAP2.”

“CFSA, however, responded and advocated to the Farm Services Agency on my behalf. That advocacy produced the reasonable response that wheatgrass was definitely in the ‘sprouts’ category. I applied for farmer assistance funds that day and received $6,100 within two weeks.”

Paula also recalled CFSA’s advocacy efforts from nearly 15 years ago that helped keep her farm open when city ordinances threatened it. Then a few years later when food safety regulations intended for large-scale farms would have proved insurmountable, CFSA was there to make sure laws made sense for small, local growers, too.

“I’m lucky to be able to pay my bills and keep farming,” said Paula. “I’m nearly 70, and farming is what I was meant to do. There’s no other life for me.”

“You guys are fighting for us. I’d say this to a farm considering membership: Join! It could save your livelihood. It could be the best, most necessary experience of your life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It’s CFSA Membership Month!
Did you know CFSA is a farmer-driven, membership-based organization? Our work — from advocating for policy to consulting with farmers in their fields — is based on the needs of our members. If you care about creating sustainable food systems in the Carolinas centered on local and organic agriculture, CFSA membership is for you!

 

Join today! New to CFSA? Get $10 off your $40 Farm or Friend Membership for a limited time! Your discount code is in the membership joining form.