Dear Farmers To You Families,
This is the first in a series of short essays I am writing to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family's food choices. We want to be radically transparent with you — our partner families— as well as our partner farmers.
I thought I would start with the most prickly subject – money and the cost of food.
Last week I wrote about my personal health journey and how important it was for me to find the cleanest healthiest food to help me clean out my body from all the agricultural chemicals I was exposed to growing up in conventional agriculture. I was overjoyed when we moved to Vermont to find farmers who produce food that was so clean and nutrient dense. However I was saddened when they told me they were barely surviving financially. I ended up working with a number of excellent Organic farmers who were really at a point where they were questioning if they could afford to continue farming!
I started Farmers To You to make the food I was seeking available to Boston families who wanted clean nutrient dense food, and also to pay our farmers fair prices that reflect their true costs of production. As part of our commitment to radical transparency, I want to share how we pay our farmers and producers, as well as what it costs us to do all we do to bring this food into your kitchen every week.
So here are the numbers – I guarantee you will not get a letter from Amazon/Whole Foods with this kind of transparency.
Out of 100 cents in every dollar you spend with us on food:
- We pay our farmers and producers 48 cents
- Supermarkets only pay 19 cents!
The rest of the dollar at Farmers To You is spent as follows:
- Collecting and packing your order each week: 10 cents
- Transporting to you at a site or to your delivery driver:10 cents
- Administration costs – accounting, benefits, insurance, salary: 14 cents
- Customer support and communications: 7 cents
- Facilities and utilities – rent, heat, electricity, repairs: 6 cents
- Sustainable profit for reinvestment and paying back our investors: 5 cents
- Total: 100 cents
What we pay our farmers is directly tied to their cost of production. Then we add on our cost of getting it to you plus a small profit so we can continue to operate into the future. True costs of production for our farmers includes:
- good living wages for their people
- excellent soil and land practices that ensure a better future for their farm and its productive potential
- no externalized costs — pollution and waste that someone else will have to clean up
- less travel/fuel
- fresher food for you
- quality care for animals
- creation of jobs and a vibrant rural economy
Our costs include
- good living wages and benefits for our people
- a safe and happy working environment
I have seen too many young farmers and passionate food producers fail because they started selling to the big chains, and they could not make a living after all the fees, chargebacks, and discounts that were taken off their invoice price. Our health and our future depend on these farmers, and for me the availability of their food is critical to my health, as it is for your families, too.
We are committed to the success of our farmers and producers so they will continue to produce this excellent food, pay their people well, and employ methods that are good for the land, the animals, and their soils.
If you have any questions about these numbers please reach out to me. I’m happy to give you more detail, or explanation.
Thank you for your support and your faith in helping us build a healthier future!