Meet Motley Crew Ranch, a Farmer Relief Fund Recipient
On the scenic, rolling Santa Rita Hills of Central California lies the Motley Crew Ranch, operated by Marko Alexandrou and his wife, Cassidy. Since 2017, they have pasture-raised chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and more, which they sold wholesale until the coronavirus pandemic struck in spring 2020.
Like many farmers across the nation, the pandemic hit the small-scale farm hard, according to Alexandrou.
“Sales dropped significantly,” he remembers. “We are still trying to recover, but the reduced demand from restaurants and catering businesses is making it difficult. We are trying to adapt by switching from wholesale to direct sales, but it takes time to build a client base.”
Whether selling wholesale or direct to consumers, Motley Crew Ranch has always focused on soil health, land stewardship, diversity of life on the farm, and a love and respect for the animals.
“We practice regenerative agriculture by rotating animals on pastures,” Marko says. “We make an active effort to remove invasive plant species and promote native vegetation. We source our feed locally. We also feed our ruminants kelp to reduce their methane emissions by up to 90%. Our animals’ well-being is the top priority of our ranch.”
As a recipient of AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund, the ranch received $1,000 to help it during this tough period.
“We applied our grant directly towards the purchase of animal feed, specifically organic wheat hay,” says Marko. “My wife and I would like to thank the American Farmland Trust for their generous donations at a time when no other lifelines presented themselves.”
Marko encourages the public to realize local farms and restaurants need support more than ever now.
“Local farms are the backbone of our community and are capable of feeding everyone locally when the supermarket supply chains break down. It is imperative to prepare for the next crisis by bolstering support for local farmers, and by relying more on local products rather than imported goods.”
So, how can people support Motley Crew Ranch now?
“The best way to support us is to come to the farm and see what we do,” says Marko. “Cuddle some baby goats and buy some chicken and eggs.”
Photos courtesy of Motley Crew Ranch.