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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

Go Fund Me / Closed for the Holidays - Tonopah Rob's

• Tonopah Rob

A Day on Tonopah Rob's Vegetable Farm:

As you probably know, small farms and farmers are disappearing every year.  One census several years ago told the story well.  Over 3000 small farms are going bankrupt every year.  Big farms are gobbling up small farms.  Big box stores say they are willing to support small farmers but when it comes to shove, they don't.  I wrote in an earlier blog how the Whole Foods stores supported my farm. They came out to my farm and we shot an extensive photo shoot and a short time later my picture was posted on a huge portrait and hung on one of their store walls.  Everything was fine until the larger organic farms became very leery of the "support your local farmer" ad campaign. My produce was selling out, leaving the larger organic farms produce rotting in cold storage. The larger organic growers said if Whole Foods continues purchasing produce from me and other small farms, they would pull their contract with Whole Foods and their shelves would go bare.

Well, a few years ago my farm was doing ok. Then, shipping prices increased, gas prices rose, seed cost skyrocketed and many consumers quit attending farmers markets.  Yes, there are hundreds of new farmers markets popping up all over the Maricopa county area as well as across the nation.  Once the consumer goes to a market and finds out almost all of the farmers are selling crap, the same stuff a person can get in the stores, they quit going to markets.

I have always told myself and all my peeps I only sell what I grow and to this day that is all you will see on my tables.  I produce over 350 different varieties of produce each season but not all of it can be grown at the same time.  I also provide fresh eggs, cut flowers and raw honey.  Several times of the year I will also have fresh frozen turkey and soup and stew hens for sale.  I have tried to become as much of a grocery store as possible but it still isn't enough for most folks.  They want bananas, papaya, avocados and tomatoes out of season.  Instead of shopping with me and supporting local agriculture they go to the box stores and purchase their wares.  To me this is insane, when all it takes is a little time to drive out to my farm or go to a market location to buy produce from me.  If everyone who reads this will take the time on a weekly basis or every other week and spend twenty bucks my farm would thrive.  Like I said before, when you buy something with your dollar you are casting a yes vote to that product.

I'm not a large farm with expensive machinery that can harvest faster and be more proficient and down size helpers. And there are reasons for that too. My food will last longer in your refrigerators because it hasn't been tossed around and bruised by machines. There is no radiation process nor is my produce stored in food chambers and gassed into a coma.  This is real food people need to eat.

Now my farm is on the chopping block.  It has been a really bad financial year for me.  The weather, insects and many other things have cost me my nest egg.  Unless the community and its neighboring cities support me, the future of my farm looks bleak. I'm having trouble making the payments for the farm and its necessary bills. If you can pass this onto your face book friends and go to my face book page you will see the story and link to donate or click onto the link below.

I've tried to make expansions for aquaponics.  People are asking for fish products. A friend of mine and myself have been researching aquaponics. After much consideration, I decided I would expand my farm into another growing arena and offer folks all natural grown fish like tilapia, catfish and maybe bass.  Now, that project is on hold.

I heard about this internet site called Go Fund Me.  I have created an account and the link to my account is:  .  You can go to my account and donate any amount of money you want.  I have erased my pride and I understand I can't do everything myself, I need help. I need 200 new CSA members.  I need people to slow down with their box store purchases and shop the farm first.  I need people to support the farm physically and financially. If you care about my farm, the food I grow then I urge you to support the farm.

Thank you for your help in advance.

Don't forget to get your tickets for the farm fund raiser dinner.  Call or email me for more information.

Other news:  All locations will be closed until January 9, 2015 and on January 10, 2015 all markets will resume with normal business hours. On January 17, 2015 the farm stand will be closed because Tonopah Rob is moving the market to the City of Buckeye Farmers Market located at the Sundance Park right off of Watson Road. The address is 22865 W. Lower Buckeye, Buckeye, Az 85326. Market time is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  All CSA members must go to that location to pick up their produce for this week only. Here's the directions:

take I-10 west to Buckeye, AZ

take exit 117 for South Watson Road

turn left onto W. Yuma Road

turn right onto S. Rainbow Road