A Breakthrough Year
Farmers To You Year End Update:
Dear Community – Families, Farmers, Producers, FTY Team, Owners and Investors,
What a wonderfully productive year of learning it has been. I have all of you to thank for that.
We started the year with a hard question: whether Farmers To You could become economically, socially and personally sustainable. We reached out to all of you and told you what we needed — and you stepped up! So here we are.
We ended the year with 20% higher revenue and our gross margin grew by 24%. We went from a nearly $100,000 operating loss in 2016 to a $21,000 operating profit at the end of 2017. We began the year with 750 active families, of whom about 600 were ordering each week; and we ended the year with more than 1100 active families, of whom about 800 are now ordering each week.
We needed more cash to keep the food flowing and the doors open, and did not want to take on any more debt. So, we reached out to families in Boston and offered equity shares in their own food system, and again they came through! I am happy and proud to say that we now have three new owners of Farmers To You, as well as all our past investors. Thank you for your faith, patience and passion as we create this new regional food model.
Other highlights from the year:
- $50,000 Working Lands Grant. We are using this to expand our outreach and bolster communication.
- The first (of many) Equinox Weekends here in Vermont in September. Our community of families and farmers gathered to celebrate our growing success.
- A total redesign and re-launch of our website.
- Beginning our Donation program at the Barre Food Shelf of Vermont. Our families have contributed over $15,000 of amazing food to this local food pantry to date.
- Our packing team continues to reduce errors and make packing your orders more efficient.
- Our web-master Pete, with assistance from Joan and Becca, continues to make improvements to our website to make it easier and more pleasant to use.
- Our purchasing team leader Kuenzi worked diligently with our farmers on pricing and selection. She added nearly 60 new items, a 20% increase in just one year.
- Logistics leader Liz, our incredible site hosts, and our talented team of truck and van drivers continue to safely and skillfully deliver food each week, managing the challenges of holiday schedules and all types of weather.
- Becca, Christine, and Sophie continue to communicate to you all in an inspiring and respectful way each week and to warmly welcome new families into our growing community.
- The entire Farmers To You Team, who I completely love and respect, continues to inspire me with their dedication and passion for this work. Together we remain as committed as ever to building a real community around food.
I’ve attached a year-end financial summary.
Thank you to all for all your weekly orders, your continued support, your creative ideas and your unwavering faith. Remember that we love visitors, and Tuesdays are when all the fun happens here at the hub! Dinner is served around 7:30pm after all the orders have been packed up. Come see how it happens, learn more about your food, and meet the lovely people who make sure your food arrives super fresh and beautifully packed every week.
Together we are all doing important work to grow a food system with positive consequences — healthy families, thriving farms, a cleaner environment, and resilient communities. Something as simple and basic as making conscious food choices can heal the planet and our families.
Thank you for being part of this community – Farmers To You.
With Profound Gratitude,
and the entire team at Farmers To You!