Table Bluff Farm

Regenerative Agriculture takes a holistic approach to land management, which encompasses not only management decisions but also how we exist and engage in our local communities.

Table Bluff Farm Regenerative Community Farm Stand & Food Hub

@table_bluff_farm

We’re pleased to award our fourth Regenerating Communities Grant to Table Bluff Farm, of Loleta, CA. Table Bluff Farm is a first-generation, woman-owned, 2-acre regenerative micro farm, nestled between the mouth of the Eel River, the Pacific Ocean, and the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The farm is situated between the main township of Loleta and the Wiyot Tribe Reservation on Table Bluff.

Owner Hannah Eisloeffel and her partner, Nicholas Pronsolino, currently serve about 60 households in the community through a pay-as-you-go CSA program. In accordance with the holistic model of regenerative agriculture (soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness), Hannah’s goal with this grant is to create a physical farm stand building at her farm to serve as a local food hub serving a rural community. The farm stand is important because it will serve a historically disadvantaged community that lacks access to many resources, including fresh food. There aren’t any places to buy fresh vegetables within a seven-mile radius. On the winding, pothole-ridden roads in the area, that makes it an average 12-minute drive from Loleta’s Main Street to a grocery store in the nearby towns of Eureka or Fortuna, and even longer for some folks living further out on the Bluff. 

Hannah envisions the farm stand as an oasis in the middle of a food desert. While having the farm has allowed her to do farm-to-door deliveries, it has long been her desire to sell her regeneratively grown, low- to no-till produce, no-till cut flowers, and pastured eggs and meats in a fixed location to those in her immediate community.

In the summer of 2021, Hannah tested this vision by opening her driveway on Saturdays as a local food and art hub. She committed to supporting hyper-local, woman-owned, BIPOC-owned, and LGBTQIA-owned businesses — makers, growers, bakers, and artisans — serving as a sort of incubator for their success and to promote social and environmental justice. She sought out local makers to offer their crops, bread, jams, sourdough brownies, soaps, and more, and will continue to harness these relationships for her permanent farm stand. The vendors in turn bought Hannah’s produce to feed themselves or to use as ingredients in their food products, creating a virtuous cycle of local businesses supporting each other. In its initial few months, the farm stand has been quite successful: she ended the 2021 season with 17 vendors’ items for sale each Saturday. Folks have time and time again told her what a boon this food hub is for Loleta.

The goal of this project is to install a permanent farm stand building where these goods can be housed and where community members can access them throughout the week for extended hours, not just on Saturdays, as well as to create a welcoming space for visitors that is well known in the community where people can gather together, purchase food (keeping their dollars in the community), pick flower bouquets, eat, share recipes, and enjoy nature. It is Hannah’s belief that the farm stand will improve the quality of life amongst her neighbors and serve as an important community food hub for a disadvantaged community, as well as a space for other local producers to offer their goods. In turn, the farm stand will serve as an example to other local food producers that growing vegetables and flowers and raising pigs and chickens regeneratively is viable in the marketplace.

To reach the most of her community, Hannah intends to engage with as many customers as possible and take their ideas to heart. She will post flyers and create social media posts asking the Loleta community to complete a survey in exchange for credit at the farm stand. She hopes to discover what people like, what they’d like to see more of, and what can be phased out to make room for what’s really wanted. The local Wiyot Tribe has generously promoted the farm stand in their monthly newsletter to inform elders of local access to fresh vegetables. Hannah also plans to host Vendor Days each month at the farm stand, where existing vendors can come meet their farm stand customers in person and future vendors can try out their items

Table Bluff Farm’s investment in a farm stand will help their community gain a permanent, year-round, hyper-local food hub that gives priority to those vendors who are women, or who are Black, Indigenous, Hmong, Latinx, or other persons of color, or who are members of the LGBTQIA community. The farm stand will also allow Hannah to continue to grow and deepen her regenerative farming practices, as the vegetables, flowers, eggs, and most meats sold at the farm stand will continue to be produced at Table Bluff Farm. These practices (such as no-till flowers and low- to no-till vegetables, the planting of over 400 carbon-sequestering, pollinator-friendly native perennials as hedgerows and windbreaks, and making their own compost by integrating pigs and chickens into their vegetable production), in turn, will keep improving the health of the soil biome and its ability to sequester carbon. Hannah has also been the recipient of CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program Grant and the SWEEP Grant for water conservation, as well as a CDFA Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCS) EQIP grant for purchasing and installing a 30’ x 96’ high tunnel greenhouse. Kiss the Ground’s Regenerating Communities Grant is only furthering her expertise and experience in regenerative agriculture, and providing a model of viability and community impact.