Covid-19 and the community response to it happened quickly. Social distancing is the new normal. People are out of work. Small businesses are bearing the brunt of a near economic shutdown. CARP Growers has responded in collaboration with local organizations to identify needs and help to launch the 93013 Fund, which is named after our local zip code.
It’s simple. Rotary Club of Carpinteria Sunset Charitable Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, created the fund as a central point for local contributions. An Advisory Committee of local nonprofit, business and government leaders was assembled to guide fund distributions, which will target food and housing insecurity for those in the community who are most vulnerable. Funds will be distributed to the nonprofits to bolster their programs and serve their clients.
In less than a week, with a $20,000 contribution from CARP Growers and the generosity of other local donors, the Fund has grown to $65,000. The Advisory Committee is identifying urgent local needs through a network of local nonprofits and will efficiently distribute funds to ensure these programs can support and sustain the community for the duration of the challenge brought on by Covid-19.
Participating in this hyper local response has highlighted how much caring there is in this community and the great skill and expertise we have in the local organizations that are already serving Carpinteria.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS
Cannabis farms are exempt from Governor Newsom’s order restricting many industries, and we are thankful for the “essential industry” designation. Since 1996 cannabis has been available legally for medical use in California, and it is an important medicine. Public acknowledgement of this fact during this crisis is heartening.
In order to continue to operate, member farms have taken aggressive action to ensure the health of employees and establishing best safety practices as a local industry.
Since farms are still operational, we’ve also gotten together as a farm group to make sure we are supporting local businesses. We have launched a coordinated lunch ordering program at local restaurants. Member farms are designating two days each week to provide individually wrapped employee lunches, and restaurant owners created special menus for the program. Restaurants are disproportionately impacted and really appreciate the business.
CARP member farms had one goal in launching this program, and that is to make sure that when this crisis is over, our community remains vital and the small businesses we rely on have weathered this crisis. We hope supplying lunches to the over 1,000 employees at local farms can soften the economic blow.
FOODBANK GIVE-BACK PROGRAM
CARP Growers President Graham Farrar also owns The Farmacy of Santa Barbara, the first adult-use cannabis dispensary to open in Santa Barbara last year. Through this connection, CARP member farms are able to join together in support of local causes.
The 5% Give-Back Program operated by The Farmacy is a big achievement for the legal cannabis industry. Customers at The Farmacy select local CARP-certified products (grown responsibly in Carpinteria Valley) and a portion of purchases is directed to important community causes.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will receive the funds on purchases made through the end of May. Foodbank is integral to combating heightened food insecurity during Covid-19. More and more grocery distributions to families are being set up all around the county, including in Carpinteria Valley.
Last Wednesday over 400 families received two large grocery bags of staples to bring home. With job displacement and wage losses pressuring so many vulnerable families, keeping people fed is a top priority as we all join together and do what we can during this challenge.
In Carpinteria, the Foodbank distribution program had served about 120 families once per month, and now that is being ramped up to weekly distributions that serve over 400 families. This is clear evidence of the needs many are experiencing.
We look forward to continuing to help as we can and monitoring the local response to step up whenever possible.