In 2016 This Old Farm was privileged to be a part of Team Leverage, the winning team of the Food:Land:Opportunity Food to Market Challenge. This Old Farm, partnered with Top Box Foods and FarmLogix, were deemed to be the multidisciplinary team that designed the most innovative solution to re-conceive supply chain practices that limit the scale of the local food market in the Chicago area. Nearly two years after this partnership was first formed, and just seven months after the first delivery of food under this partnership, the benefits of this team and the funding associated with winning the Food to Market Challenge are becoming ever more apparent at This Old Farm.
Team Leverage’s re-conceived supply chain provides easy access to good food boxes at Chicago Public School sites. Families can place orders for pre-packed food boxes, which along with the food also contain basic educational material as to the preparation of the food, and pick them up at participating Chicago Public School sites. FarmLogix provides technology which streamlines logistics, Top Box Foods distributes the food boxes to the end site, and This Old Farm assembles food from its alliance of farmers, processes it, packs it, and ships it to a Top Box Foods distribution center. This small fraction of the Chicago market made available to us here at This Old Farm through this partnership has greatly increased the turnover of common products such as ground beef, opening more space in our freezers giving us ample space to increase production.
Additionally, the funds made available through the Food to Market Challenge has given banks confidence to lend us the remainder of the necessary capital to finance several growth projects. These projects include remodeling parts of our holding pens to increase animal comfort, accumulating the property adjacent to our facility, and constructing a storage facility and pavilion which has allowed us to keep some animals on property and given us a space to host events.
Our ability to host events has given us an avenue through which we can express our appreciation for the many people and organizations we work with. We hosted our first ever farmer appreciation event on May 19th and managed to raise over $1000 to donate to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, a not-for-profit which aids in covering the processing costs of livestock donated to communities in need. Food:Land:Opportunity has aided us in growing This Old Farm to better support farmers, families, and organizations in Indiana agriculture. We foresee much growth in the future!