For Brian Marshall, and his wife Nancy Heinzel, growing fresh produce is just a way of life. The couple runs Sawmill Creek Farms, and has been selling everything from cabbage to peppers at farmers markets in the North State for years, and make it a point to never waste food. "We've been growing for about 10 years, and when you grow there's always a surplus left over after the market, and you can either take it to the next farmers market, and try to sell it, or what we sort of do is donate it to food pantry's," according to Brian.
Three years ago the couple was approached with a proposal from the group A Simple Gesture, and Brian says that sprouted their organization A Seat At The Table. "They came to us and said, look, you're already doing this. How about we help out with expenses? Would you be willing to grow a dedicated acre just for donation food banks."
Brian told Action News that distributing the produce on such a large scale wasn't part of the plan at first, but once they partnered with A Simple Gesture the donations started to grow. "The first year we produced three tons of produce on our property, around one acre. Last year we upped that to four tons, and last year we gleaned two tons at the Paradise Market, and now that the Chico Market is included, I'm sure that's gonna go way up."
A seat at the table applied for non-profit status around a year ago, and recently found out they've been approved. Now, they're planning a celebration and fundraiser for this weekend at the Paradise Senior Center. "It's gonna be a chance for the community to come together, celebrate, break bread together, and get us off to a good start," according to Brian.
Organizers told Action News the event will begin at 6pm Saturday Night, and will include dinner, live music, and a raffle.