As certified organic farmers since 1991, James and Dawn Birch have built a successful farming model in Three Rivers. From the Santa Monica Farmers Market to relationships with many Los Angeles restaurants to their own farm stand, Flora Bella Farms has become an established provider of arugula, mixed vegetables, and fruit, such as pomegranates, blood oranges, and grapes. FarmLink loans have enabled James and Dawn to refinance their equipment and land loans, allowing them to begin the transition from interest payments to building equity. As Dawn tells it, “The financing I have been able to secure through Farmlink put me on the path to paying my farm and equipment off with a manageable loan. As a small farmer I spent a great deal of energy looking for a bank that provided loans to my business. I found Farmlink to be very responsive and interested in working with me.”
James’ organic farming expertise is well-known, and he happily provides his knowledge to developing farm-to-table businesses. He’s been consulted numerous times by restaurateurs in Los Angeles and New York, and has built his sales base at farmers’ markets along with restaurant orders. After nearly 30 years of operation, James and Dawn hope to pass on their farm to their grandchildren someday, preserving the family organic farm.
Adapting their business to shelter-in-place orders has kept Dawn and James in touch with FarmLink. As Dawn wrote, “When the pandemic closed Los Angeles restaurants and totally ended my source of income, I pivoted from farmer’s markets to a community farm stand and provided produce to a CSA. In the last few months, FarmLink has alerted me to available loan opportunities and facilitated the funds needed to work through the lockdown. I couldn’t be more grateful for a wonderful group of professionals, that we now consider friends, who are truly interested in the future of Flora Bella Farms.”