In 2021, Known & Grown STL launched a Mentorship Program for beginning and traditionally disadvantaged farmers seeking to improve or expand their environmentally-responsible practices and remove barriers for successful farming. Our three mentees, MOshrooms Regenerative Microfarm, Rustic Roots Sanctuary, and Tara’s Herbs, will receive tailored guidance and assistance from our Farm Specialist, Chris Wimmer. We hope to expand the project and pair experienced Known & Grown member farmers with mentees in future iterations of this pilot program.
In 2020, we started coordinating bulk supply orders to lower overall costs for farmers, reducing shipping fees and qualifying for discounted bulk ordering rates. This project lowers the barriers for successful farming by providing needed supplies at affordable prices.
In 2020, Known & Grown staff curated holiday gift bags for local retailers. Gift bags were made entirely with items from our member farmers to assist struggling farmers during the pandemic. We sold over 80 bags, putting over $3,000 into the hands of our farmers and local food retailers.
We provide connections and resources for the 50+ farmers in our program and our partners in the local food industry in order to increase the amount of local food sold and served within the St. Louis region.
Farmers in our program say one of the main reasons for joining our program is that they want the opportunity to network with other like minded farmers to share resources, troubleshoot problems, and brainstorm solutions. In 2020, we started a closed Facebook group for member farmers, created a farmer-only message board, began hosting monthly virtual farmer meetups, and continue MCE’s tradition of hosting an annual all-farmer meeting.
To make finding local food from Known & Grown farmers easy, we created an interactive tool where users can enter their location, select specific types of ingredients, and find available retail locations near them. In addition to this tool, we create sharable guides to sustainable dining and shopping for social media and our monthly newsletter.
In 2020, Known & Grown formed a Farmer Advisory Committee (FAC) to formalize farmer leadership in program work and decision making. Our FAC consists of 10 farmers that represent the diverse range of perspectives of our entire membership.