Feeding The Community With Love
A 5-acre farm on the south end of Healdsburg aims to fight hunger across the community and the entire county—one meal at a time.
The farm, run by Bruce Mentzer and his husband Anthony Solar, gives everything away.
The men operate their domain as a nonprofit named Farm to Fight Hunger. Last year alone, they gave 10,000 pounds of produce to community organizations and more than 20,000 chicken eggs to the Redwood Empire Food Bank. All told, they donated 78,000 servings of food.
“We are growing and donating culturally relevant sustainably grown nutritious produce and eggs to those most in need,” Bruce wrote in a recent message. “There’s so much of the local hard-working community that needs food assistance and is often sadly overlooked. We just glad to be in a position to help.”
Bruce and Anthony, both in their 50s, started the farm in 2018, after purchasing it for the express purpose of turning it into a nonprofit and giving food away. Bruce had just finished a two-year degree in sustainable agriculture at Santa Rosa Junior College and was itching to get his hands dirty.
He told the Press-Democrat in 2020 that working the land is the realization of a long-held dream after decades in the high-stress, high-stakes world of political marketing and advertising.
“We really just wanted to do something and do something to be helpful,” Bruce said.
Anthony had a similarly stressful career—first in the grocery business, then as a chef. Today, he heads the farm’s chicken operation; he refers to himself as “The Chicken Whisperer,” and refers to the 100 hens that lay eggs year-round as “the ladies.”
He also takes the bird life very seriously; he feeds them organic kibble, and has secured for the hens a movable trailer coop. The chickens also have their own pasture.
All this tender love and care pays huge dividends. As a group, the birds lay more than 20,000 eggs per year, and the men donate these eggs to a variety of food assistance organizations around the county. In 2022, some of the recipients have included the food bank, Alliance Medical Center, and Corazon Healdsburg, to name a few.
Farm to Fight Hunger also regularly donates eggs and produce to Farm to Pantry, one of the largest food assistance organizations in the county. Gradually, together, these groups are helping reduce food insecurity across the region.