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Left Foot Is Closing But Our Mission Lives On!

When Ann Vandemann founded Left Foot Organics in 2001, nobody knew how many lives would be changed or how many seasons the farm would weather.  Over the past twelve years Left Foot has grown from season to season to meet the needs of our customers and community. Our employment program for the disabled was the hallmark of our farm and together with our training program for youth, individuals learned job skills and farming while being paid.  Furthermore, our interaction with the community via volunteer opportunities, market sales and our CSA program, made Left Foot a much-loved organization. And so it is with great regret that the board and staff must now announce the closing of Left Foot Organics as of February 2013.


Farm Manager, Lydia-Beth (right) and community members from Temple Beth Hatfiloh show off the last winter squash harvest.

These are difficult times for many small nonprofits across the country; an ever increasing demand on a shrinking base of philanthropic gifts has caused funding shortages for many organizations.

Although farm production and sales flourished, it wasn’t enough to fund our social programs which require substantial staff and facilities as compared with a for-profit farm.  In addition, much of our equipment and buildings need extensive repair.  LFO simply does not have the capital to meet these and other financial obligations this year.

The Left Foot staff wish to express our collective gratitude to every individual who donated money, resources or time to help fulfill our mission. Left Foot has always enjoyed strong community support.  Over the years, literally thousands of individuals worked side by side with people with developmental disabilities or purchased the produce they grew. Together we learned the importance of sustainable and organic farming in an inclusive environment where everybody was valued. In keeping with the spirit of the organization, we hope that you will carry our mission of inclusion into your own lives.  We encourage you to continue your support of local, organic farming by joining another CSA, buying organic produce and shopping at farmer’s markets.  Although left Foot Organics is closing, it will remain in the hearts of those who worked our fields and shared our vision.  We did a lot of work with a lot of love these past twelve years, but everything must come to an end at some time.  And so Left Foot closes the same way it opened: with gratitude and respect!

Me too

 Hidden in every ending is a new beginning.




A New Way to Feed the Hungry

Left Foot offers a new way to eliminate hunger in our community!

CWU student intern, George Nigro, shows off a weekly CSA share.

We realize that some of our market and co-op customers are not aware of our nonprofit status or the social programs we offer; they simply love our exceptional produce. Others support Left Foot because of our mission to provide employment for people with intellectual disabilities and for local youth. What most people may not be aware of is that Left Foot is also dedicated to bringing quality organic produce to the needy and ending hunger in our community. We have been a contributor to the Thurston County Food Bank for many years and donate produce each week. There are, however, thousands of senior citizens who live rurally or are homebound. Left Foot’s newest community partner, Senior Services for South Sound addresses this need through the Senior Nutrition Program (SNP) which provides over 80,000 nutritious meals to 2,400 seniors each year in Thurston County alone.

Seniors are too often undervalued in our society and, during the winter months especially, can feel isolated. SNP brings much needed social interaction as well as nutritious meals to those who may be lonely and in need. For some individuals, their Meals on Wheels (MOW) volunteer driver is the only person that they will see for that day or week.

While the SNP budget allows only $1.40 per meal, making it nearly impossible to purchase all of their produce locally and organically, they continually seek new ways to support local farmers while serving the highest quality food to seniors. Enter Left Foot Organics!  We have already begun building a partnership with SNP by offering fresh organic produce at reduced prices, but we would like to do much more. This is where YOU come in. We are asking our community of LFO supporters to consider purchasing a CSA share to donate to the Senior Nutrition Program. Our goal is to subsidize our remaining ten CSA shares for local seniors in need.

Our dedicated crew, work rain or shine to bring top quality veggies to our community.

This is the time of year where many of us pause to count the blessings in our lives, open our hearts a little wider, and find opportunities to give back to our community in a meaningful way. If you are unable to donate a full or half share, consider making a one-time (or monthly) contribution to help offset SNP’s purchase of our produce.  Contact us at the farm (360- 754-1849)  to pledge your support to end hunger in our community. Or visit the Left Foot Organics web page to donate online. Help us to help those who need it most. No gift is to great or too small; together we can make a difference!

About Senior Services for South Sound

Friends enjoy an SNP meal and some social time at the Olympia Senior Center.

Senior Services for South Sound is a private, tax-exempt corporation governed by a volunteer board. Established in 1973, the Agency provides comprehensive services to seniors and disabled adults in Thurston and Mason County. Their mission is to celebrate the lives of older adults and their families by providing an array of services that help seniors remain vital and independent in the community.

The Meals on Wheels program provides frail, homebound seniors with 5-7 nutritious meals each week. In 2011 MOW served 42,350 meals to 327 seniors in Thurston County. Our MOW volunteers often take the time to visit with seniors and will report suspected abuse, neglect or self-endangerment to APS as appropriate. On more than one occasion, drivers have found a senior in distress and have called “911” on their behalf, hence saving that person’s life.

The congregate (on-site) meal program provides seniors the opportunity to socialize and share a nutritious meal in a welcoming setting at six locations. Meals are available to anyone 60 years of age or older for a suggested donation of $3-$6. Last year 38,237 congregate meals fed 1,949 clients in Thurston County.

MOW and the congregate meals program help ensure that disabled, frail and  homebound seniors have the nutrition needed to sustain their health. All menus and special diets are planned by a Registered Dietitian and all clients have the opportunity to receive nutritional consultation as needed
For more information about Senior Services for South Sound and to find out how you can get involved, visit their website today!