Happy Boy Farms
Internal Operations Strategist
November 2016–March 2017
Happy Boy Farms is a powerhouse pioneer in the Northern California organic produce world. They’ve been growing and distributing their organic produce for over 20 years, and they feed thousands of families in the Bay Area each week. Their sales manager, Jenn, and owner Greg reached out to me in late 2016 with the need to them streamline internal organization, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to work with them.
As with any decades-old business, some of their systems needed updating. By meeting with them and really hearing what issues were stifling their efficiency, I created actionable, bite-sized projects to help organize internal operations, including updating their training materials, and optimizing communications across different teams on the farm.
In the middle of hustling to complete these projects, the Watsonville area where the farm is located experienced the most severe flooding on record with the El Niño rains of 2016–2017. In addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to wells and tractors, over 100 acres of Happy Boy’s spring crops were flooded and entirely lost. The fate of the farm was severely threatened by the disaster, and it was clear that the priorities had shifted from organizing systems to organizing our community to help save the farm. Springing into action, I worked closely with the Happy Boy team to develop a fundraising strategy that consisted not only in online donations, but in a CSA style program that allowed Happy Boy’s farmers’ market community to step up and invest in the the future success of the farm following it’s recovery.
The flood damage set the farm back in innumerable ways, but it also reminded us all how dependent farmers are on their communities to support them in times of adversity, which is a natural trade off for the risk farmers take to grow food for the families that depend on them.
In all, the diversity of the work I did with Happy Boy gave me experience at working with larger scale farms; this required me to be more organized, a better communicator, and to be flexible with what tasks were put in front of me.