We recently connected with Resilerator ® alum Vicky Garcia-Moya of Eco-Family Farms to hear how her experience with our business resilience course has impacted her farm business.
Vicky worked in sales and retail management for over 20 years, prior to transitioning to farming on a full-time basis. In 2002, Vicky and her husband purchased their property in Chowchilla. Eight years later in 2010, the family planted 29 acres of almonds on their property marking the beginning of Eco-Family Farms. Vicky operates the farm alongside her husband and daughter, who both contribute on a part-time basis. With a commitment to land stewardship, they have implemented a number of conservation practices like planting native hedgerows, winter cover crops, and improving the irrigation system.
Vicky’s transition into operating Eco-Family Farms on a full-time basis began with a question: How do I maximize revenue with the land they already had? The difficulty of obtaining secure land tenure – especially for almond orchards – made expanding to another property an ineffective solution. She then turned to her local SBDC where she received a referral to attend The Resilerator. Vicky reported, “…as the course went on, the assessment was really helpful. It really helped me identify our weaknesses and strengths and really prioritize and come up with action plans.”
In addition to feeling empowered to handle the obstacles that come along with owning a small-scale farm, Vicky found community with her fellow Resilerators. “It’s great to hear that you’re not the only one,” she said, “That this is not just me. And then just getting ideas, ‘Well, how do you do this? And what have you done?’ It’s a good community because sometimes you feel…isolated in a way. Having that community is great.”
Another farmer participating in the course shared their knowledge about USDA Value-Added Producers Grants, which inspired Vicky to also apply. Eco-Family Farms primarily focuses on wholesale distribution but in the past couple of years, they have begun to sell at farmers’ markets. Now they sell at two farmers’ markets and are enjoying the benefits of getting to know and selling directly to customers.