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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.




Celebrating Our Future September 29th

 Extraordinary things are taking place at Left Foot Organics, but I doubt that comes as a surprise to anybody in our extended community. We’ve overcome many challenges this year including the hiring of a new Executive Director. Victoria Wortberg’s dedication to our mission, extensive experience in nonprofit management and proven fundraising abilities make her a perfect fit for LFO.  We also recruited and elected five new members to our Board of Directors each of whom brings a different perspective and skill set to the Left Foot table.

We invite you to join us in celebrating our future and welcoming Ms. Wortberg and our new board members at the:

7th Annual Fun Farm Formal

Benefit Dinner and Auction

Saturday, September 29th, 5:30pm

Thurston County Fairgrounds Expo Center

3054 Carpenter Road, Lacey, WA

 Victoria Wortberg packing CSA’s with Lindsey and Ann.

Whether you’re a long time supporter of the farm or just hearing about us for the first time, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. You’ll hear about how our organization will continue fulfilling our mission of providing meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities and youth. You’ll get to meet the Growers, Crew and Staff who keep the farm running and grow our incredible crops. This is truly an exciting time for us as we explore new ideas and directions for our organization,  and we want to give you the chance to be a part of it!

Left Foot Organics is a very special place with a certain magnetism that seems to attract extraordinary people. For the past few months that I have been a part of this team, so many people have stepped forward to offer their  financial support and talents to insure that Left Foot remains a dynamic nonprofit organization. Now you have an opportunity to show your support and become a part of our community. 

Tickets are $45 each or $80 for couples.

To purchase online visit our website and click the DONATE button on the left

then write “Fun Farm Formal” in the Notes field.

Or call Victoria Wortberg at (360) 252-0156 to reserve your tickets today.

by Sky Myers,Volunteer Program Coordinator

August Food Related Events

Register now for August 20 and August 27 Farm Tours

What:  The Olympia Food Coop, Thurston County Food Bank and South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust have organized two full days of local farm tours open and free to all. Each day will be an opportunity for local eaters to get a deeper look at our local food system and the excitement of growing food, raising animals and working within our community. Maximum 50 participants for each tour, registration is free. Contact hallilw@gmail.com for registration details. These tours are filling up fast.

To Register:  Contact hallilw@gmail.com – Halli Winstead.


August 20th Starting at 8:45 am: The Urban Bike Loop will be a full day of bike rides and farm tours. We will be visiting Sunbreak Farm, Calliope Farm, Common Ground Farm, Kiwanis Food Bank Garden on the Capitol Campus, Wendell Berry Community Garden, Piece by Piece Farm, We will stop at the West Olympia Farmer’s Market to supplement our lunches and the Fish Tale Brewery for an optional bite to eat and local brew.

August 27th 9 am to 5 pm: Rural Van Loop will be traversed in passenger vans to Left Foot Organics Farm, Kirsop Farm, Helsing Junction Farm and Lincoln Creek Ranch. We will stop at the Tenino Farmers Market to supplement our lunches.   

These tours are part of the Focus on Food leading up to the October 14-15 Food Summit.  For more information on the summit visit www.oly-wa.us/SustainSouthSound/  Summit registration information will be available starting August 15.


For more information about Slow Food Events see our website at  http://slowfoodolympia.org

Growers Trina and Michelle speak with other women who work for a living at Connections for Women


I do a lot of public speaking for Left Foot, wherever I can find


an audience interested in local food and sustainable agriculture, or inclusion and intellectual diversity.  I love talking about what we do, and I love it even more when crew members from the farm do the talking.  We had an opportunity like this in May, speaking to the Connections for Women breakfast group in Olympia.  I was joined that morning by our employment program leader Jane Jones and by growers Trina and Michelle.  Jane set up a skit, showing how they muster up to organize the work day each morning.  She began with a list of tasks to complete, and Trina and Michelle assigned the tasks to crewmembers, including themselves. They were fabulous!  They were able to show off their knowledge of the work they do and the skills of their coworkers, as well as their own. I was so proud of them, and the audience of close to 50 women genuinely accepted and acknowledged them as working women who are very much a part of our community and local economy.

Help is on the Way!?!? Please say, “Yes it is. . . “

Volunteers weeding the beds

Greetings all you farm enthusiasts!  We are starting to get some work done out here now that we have had some clear(er) weather and the fields have finally dried up enough to run the tractor in them.  Now the race is on to keep up with the weeds and get the transplanting done.  We are looking for some folks eager to get down and dirty on the farm with some specific tasks.

LARGE GROUP PROJECT:  Native Plant Grooming – the grass and thistles are making their way into our perennial beds and we need to fight them off.  Please gather your friends, family, class, service group together and come on out to the farm for a day of community building while you give breathing space to the native plants.

SATURDAY WORKERS – We are always here Saturday mornings and need all the hands we can get to catch up on the work from the week that got left undone.  Please consider coming out to the farm to pitch in this weekend.

JIGSAW Project – calling all handy persons!!  Here at Left Foot, we love to sit together at lunchtime in the sun at our outdoor tables. We have a donated patio table that  has no lid top so our lunch keeps falling to the ground.  Please help us find someone to cut a round top to fit inside our frame!

Artys Project – We are looking for a few creative types to make some cool tags for a Tool Check Out board.  The project plan is in place but needs some workers to bring it to fruition. 

All these opportunities are yours for the taking.  Just give me a call, 360-754-1849, and we’ll set up a time for you to come out and be a part of the fun at Left Foot Organics.

Hope to see you soon!!

Jill Esbeck

Volunteer Coordinator

May Volunteer Saturday this Weekend!

4-H Helping Hands on the Farm

Come on out to the farm this weekend! We will have a fun morning working in the fields followed by a gourmet meal by Chef Peter Witt and a hands on workshop on making Tea Tree Oil salves. Give us a call at 754-1849, comment on this blog or email the volunteer coordinator at volunteer@leftfootorganics.org if you can come.

Whatta Mother’s Day Weekend!

Two Minutes Til' Open, The Set-Up Crew is All Smiles

Krissy Fisher, an Evergreen Intern at Left Foot

This story is best told in pictures, so we want to say a big Thank YOU! to our Volunteer Photographer, Amy Eko, who is responsible for these terrific shots!

The Seed Sponsorship Fundraiser Garden

Open for Business

Our Mother’s Day Weekend Results.  When you add together the eggs sold, the fundraiser donations, the Left Foot T-Shirts, Totes, and Cookbooks that found new homes, the CSA Shares bought, the tomatoes, peppers, basil, and more that went to home gardens, and the Proctor Farmer’s Market sales, — it all adds up to Left Foot’s Biggest Weekend of Sales Ever!  Thank you to everyone who made this past weekend so wonderful!

Marty, a Left Foot Board Member, With a Customer