California Farmer Uses CDFI Loans to Offer Healthy Food Options to Bay Area Communities
Client: Efren Avalos, owner of Avalos Farms
Client Location: Hollister, CA
CDFI: California FarmLink
CDFI Service Area: CA
Financing, with support from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org Grant Program
Efren Avalos grew up on a farm in Mexico and has been a leader in the Monterey Bay area’s small farm community for nearly 20 years. However, like many farmers, Efren often has limited cash on hand in winter for his business, Avalos Farms, to establish spring and summer crops. To overcome this challenge, Efren benefits from Mandela Partner’s Harvest to Market Fund’s forward-purchasing contract, which enables him to access low-interest loans from California FarmLink and get paid in advance at the beginning of the season based on his prior-year sales.
Efren has farmed near Hollister, CA, for most of his farming career. For several years, his fresh produce has also been part of CSA boxes sold by Mandela Produce Distribution in Oakland. In addition, his commitment to community health has resulted in farmworker families in East Salinas being able to access his locally grown organic produce at the Alisal Farmers’ Market. Located adjacent to the WIC Office, the market is designed to promote and encourage residents’ use of WIC and CalFresh food assistance at the market.
“If I don’t come to the farm one day, I’m not happy, I’m not complete. It’s because I grew up on a farm,” Efren shared about his passion for farming and serving his community. “People love to talk and catch up at the markets, and they miss me if I’m not able to make it, always asking, ‘Where were you last week?’”