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F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe

Total Qualifying Score: 8
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: Yes – 0
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe
Boone, Watauga County, North Carolina 28607

County (ARC Region) Watauga
State (ARC Region) North Carolina


Q1. Mission:

To build a healthy and inclusive community by providing high quality and delicious meals produced from local sources, whenever possible, served in a restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means. 

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe is North Carolina’s first donate-what-you-can cafe.  It prescribes a triple-bottom line approach to its operations and provides access to healthy, high quality meals to all community members, regardless of ability to pay.  F.A.R.M. Cafe supports a strong local economy and food system by purchasing as many ingredients as possible from local farmers and producers.  This action keeps dollars in the High Country economy and encourages equitable access to locally grown ingredients. 

 During non-Covid times, individuals unable to make a monetary contribution for their meal are strongly encouraged to volunteer an hour of their time in exchange.  Patrons able to make above the suggested donation “pay it forward”  and help cover the costs of meals provided for neighbors unable to pay.  Over time, volunteers gain skills and knowledge that can contribute to gainful employment.  For example, volunteer tasks include food service, dishwashing, food preparation, and working in a diverse setting. 

F.A.R.M. Cafe’s food recovery and redistribution program, F.A.R.M. Full Circle creates meals and ingredients using foods which would otherwise be landfilled.  Mostly deemed unsellable due to aesthetic imperfections, these foods are collected weekly and processed in F.A.R.M. Cafe’s certified commercial kitchen.  Any unusable scraps are composted, further reducing materials and dollars entering the waste stream.

F.A.R.M. Full Circle distributes meals at no charge through partnerships with organizations providing outreach and assistance to food insecure individuals.  Products are also offered on a donate-what-you-can basis at the High Country Food Hub.  Donations made for these products help cover the costs of materials not donated in-kind (packaging, dry goods, etc.), allowing the program to continue distributing free meals while generating a sustainable revenue stream.  

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 5/1 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 5/0 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $319,065/$319,065

Q6. Fiscal Year: Calendar

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $345747 / $308085

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $319,065 / $319,065

Balance Sheet

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($44,289)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): Yes ($28,000)
Received From: Paycheck Protection Program   Date Received: 04/14/2020
For What Purpose(s): 75% staff, 25% overhead

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

F.A.R.M. Cafe’s Board of Directors made the difficult decision to restrict volunteers at the beginning of Covid in early March.  As the cafe is ninety percent volunteer run, this dramatically affected operations and demand on its five full time staff.  Out of an abundance of caution, F.A.R.M. Cafe solely offers meals on a takeout and curbside basis and has not reopened its dining room to the public.  While outreach has dramatically increased and more meals than ever are being prepared for food pantries and other community organizations, daily meal sales in the cafe have decreased significantly.  All in-person fundraisers for 2020 were cancelled, further decreasing anticipated revenues for this fiscal year.   A major impact of Covid-19 on our organization is the sense of community and personal relationships built at the cafe.  On a normal day, an individual experiencing homelessness, a university student, and a lawyer may enjoy a meal together at our lunch counter.  Volunteers from all walks of life engage with one another in a meaningful way.  Individuals who may never cross paths in any other place get to know each other and share life experiences.  This integral piece of our mission- the building of community, is one of the greatest perceived casualties of our operational shift.  

Another concerning occurrence is the closing of similar cafe’s around the United States. As part of One World Everybody Eats, an umbrella network connecting donate-what-you-can cafe’s, we have learned of several organizations who have not been able to sustain operations through Covid.   Factors include increases in demands coinciding with decreases in funding and revenue.  As we are currently experiencing these same issues, the need for out-of-the-box fundraising options are more necessary than ever before for long-term survival. 

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
How can we cultivate community and stay true to our mission while operating without direct contact with volunteers, patrons, or individuals in need who utilize our services?
Loss of fundraising revenue and long-term financial sustainability
Staff burnout

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

Participation in this program can help staff and leadership develop an annual fund program adapted to the unique environment created by Covid.  This opportunity would allow us to learn and share with nonprofits learning to weather the current state of Appalachia.    If selected for the Missions and Operations program, we hope to gain perspective into how to best continue evolving our mission of building community while meeting the needs of the High Country during Covid-19. An additional motivator is to reconnect with the ARC network.  Past partnerships, such as the Bon Appetit Appalachia Regional Map,  demonstrated the value in working with organizations who focus on the unique economic needs of the Appalachian region.  We recognize this program as a platform to connect with nonprofits with similar demographics, challenges, and opportunities in their communities. 


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? No

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Fundraising

Course #2 Choice: 2-Mission & Operations

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Winter 2021: 10-Week Course (Jan. 25. 2021 – Apr. 4, 2021)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021 B: 5-Week Course (Mar. 1, 2021-April 4, 2021)


Name: Elena Dalton, Program Director

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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