By Joanna Levin
October 6, 2020
Stefaun Avakian is no stranger to the sustainable food space. Stefaun worked as a buyer for Imperfect Produce before transitioning to a sales role at Homegrown Organic Farms and spoke highly of Homegrown Organic Farms’ focus on growing organic produce while having reverence for growers and the land that the produce is grown on.
Homegrown Organic Farms is a conglomerate of family farms that operate in different areas of the agricultural industry along the west coast. A family of companies comprised of 100 different growers, they grow on farms ranging from fifteen to a few thousand acres of land. The families that make up Homegrown Organic Farms work together to deliver the best organic produce to Americans’ tables. Homegrown Organic Farms grows citrus, blueberries, stone fruit, pomegranates, and grapes throughout California and along the coast of Oregon, and they sell their organic yields to both retailers and wholesalers. In addition to growing quality organic produce, Homegrown Organic Farms is mission-driven and prioritizes sustainable farming practices. Since its founding in 1998, Homegrown Organic Farms has committed to growing the best organic produce with care for the land, environment, growers, and consumers in mind.
Many of the organizations that The Farmlink Project partners with were sought out by Farmlink Project team members; however, Stefaun reached out to The Farmlink Project first through LinkedIn to begin our partnership. Homegrown Organic Farms was lucky enough to not be gravely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, but Stefaun was determined to not let even the smallest amount of surplus grapes go to waste. “Homegrown Organic Farms has focused on sustainability for so long, and as the food waste issue gained awareness, it seemed natural for Homegrown to start seeking out different ways to address food waste concerns,” he remarked on what inspired him to seek out The Farmlink Project. We are grateful Stefaun reached out to The Farmlink Project and enabled us to help move 12,500 pounds of organic red grapes on October 2 to Vida-Life Ministries in Bloomington, California.
Stefaun commented that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to entirely eliminate food waste and better support growers, but he reflected that prioritizing sustainability is better for the produce, the land, the growers, and the consumers. “The biggest thing is that if you focus on sustainability and make it part of your business practice, there are no downsides. It will pay off.”
We are grateful to partner with mission-driven organizations like Homegrown Organic Farms and are especially thankful to people like Stefaun who actively seek to help spread the mission of eliminating food waste and food insecurity. We are proud to partner with organizations that do not compromise stewardship for the quality of their produce and we are fortunate to work with such inspiring and thoughtful people at Homegrown Organic Farms.