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Kiva Zip helps businesses grow with 0% interest loans. Making a small loan can change a life.


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Dan & Joanne

Little Apple Granola / Flatland Flower Farm

Sebastopol, CA

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Personal Story

Neither one of us grew up on a farm. But we knew we wanted to move from the Berkeley flatlands to somewhere quiet. A place where we could see the stars at night.

We left our city jobs (suit, tie, BART commute, the whole nine yards) in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 and moved to a little house surrounded by apple trees on a windy hillside in western Sonoma County. We had the dream of making our little backyard plant nursery a business that could keep us in this beautiful place.

At first we didn't know what we were doing. It's been a lot of work -- actually, the work never stops -- but we are still here, facing the challenges and enjoying the view. Over the years, we've figured out how to run the farm, and when we're not socked in by fog, the Milky Way glows in the sky.

Our son was born a year after we moved here, and he now helps out at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' market. If you're in San Francisco on a Saturday morning, stop by and say Hello! Our stall is in the shadow of the Gandhi statue.

Business Description

We started the plant nursery in the back yard of our house in the Berkeley flats in 1995, thus the name: Flatland Flower Farm. We used to call it the smallest organic farm in California! Now we live in the middle of a 22 acre orchard on a hillside. It's not flat, but it's an actual farm.

Over the years we've shifted our production from organic ornamental plants to organic herbs and vegetable starts, which we raise in three greenhouses. We sell most of our nursery starts wholesale to independent nurseries in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Marin.

You can also find us at two farmers' markets: the downtown Berkeley market, and the San Francisco Ferry Plaza market, both on Saturday mornings. We've been at both of those two markets since our start, 18 years ago.

Since moving to Sebastopol in 1999, we've been selling the apples from the orchard that already existed on the property. We've planted a few trees of specialty varieties of apples -- Pink Pearl, Magnum Bonum, Hauer Pippin, Yellow Bellflower, Kandil Sinap -- but our main apple is the Red Rome Beauty, a late-ripening, versatile wonder of flavor and texture.

We dry farm our apples, meaning the orchard isn't irrigated, and the resulting fruit is denser, crisper, keeps better, and has a more concentrated flavor. We've always sold the apples as a fresh product, but are now developing value-added products, like our brand-new apple granola, which you can find at littleapplegranola.com.

What is the purpose of this loan?

We have two businesses: a plant nursery and an organic apple orchard. Growth in the nursery has been steady over the past 14 years. But we haven't taken advantage of the apples as well as we could have.

We are focusing on creating value-added food products with our organic apples, in part because we have a surplus of apples, and in part because we haven't used Joanne's creative skill in the kitchen.

About a month ago we bought a commercial, made-in-Sacramento dehydrator from Excalibur to dry apples for the three flavors of apple granola that Joanne has created. It became pretty clear the first week that we need more capacity. We can sell every apple we dry, either as an ingredient in the granola or another product.

We just need a second dehydrator. It costs a little more than the $5,000 Kiva Zip loan we're looking to get funded.

We chose Kiva Zip as a way to finance our dehydrator because we want to be able to connect with our community. We want people to know the process, not just the product. And it's important for small family farms to figure out a way together to thrive in the mess that is our food distribution system!

Dan & Joanne's loan is endorsed by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture). The information below explains why his trustee thinks Dan & Joanne is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

More than 5 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Dan is the owner of Flatland Flower Farm, who sell in the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. I am the Executive Director of CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), the nonprofit that operates that market.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Dan is committed to producing high quality plant starts and delicious apples for sale at the farmers market. In addition to educating his own customers, he has been serving as a mentor for two years to high school students participating in our CUESA Schoolyard to Market program, teaching them how he grows his plant starts so they can be successful in growing their own. He is an active and engaged member of our farmers market community.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Dan is working to find ways to extend his product mix so that he can grow his sales. This loan will allow him to purchase a dehydrator so that he can dry his apples and use them in value added products such as granola. This will result in increased overall sales for his family run operation (and as the market's operators, we have seen repeatedly that this strategy does work).

117 Total , 10 invited by Dan & Joanne , 6 invited by Trustee
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PAYING BACK

A loan of $5,000 helps me to buy a second dehydrator to dry our organic apples from our orchard to put into our granola and other apple-related products!

Disbursed Dec 18, 2013
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Nov 27, 2013
Disbursed:
Dec 18, 2013
Paying Back:
Dec 18, 2013

About Little Apple Granola / Flatland Flower Farm

Industry:
Agriculture
Years in Operation:
More than 5 years
Website:
littleapplegranola.com
Follow:
Facebook
Badges:
Badge_connectedness_gold_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
501c3 nonprofit
Location:
San Francisco/San Francisco, CA
Badges:
None
On Zip Since:
Nov 19, 2013
(16 months)
Loans Endorsed:
3
Total Value:
$14,700
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
3
Paying Back Late:
0
Repaid in Full:
0
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
100%
Why are you endorsing Dan & Joanne?

Dan is committed to producing high quality plant starts and delicious apples for sale at the farmers market. In addition to educating his own customers, he has been serving as a mentor for two years to high school students participating in our CUESA Schoolyard to Market program, teaching them how...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.