By Raiza Giorgi

The economic impact of the Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flows reached far beyond the South Coast when mud and water shut down Highway 101 for several weeks.

For Santa Ynez farmer Marcie Jimenez of Jimenez Family Farms, it was impossible for her to get to Los Angeles to sell sells her produce and meats.

“Most of our income is based on us being able to get to those markets, selling directly to the customer. Since we weren’t able to get there, it was really stressful, and I am so thankful to Women’s Economic Ventures for selecting us as a grant recipient,” Jimenez said.

With a contribution from Wells Fargo, Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) recently awarded 38 business-recovery grants, totaling $238,500, to small businesses including Jimenez Family Farms, that were harmed by the Thomas, Hill and Woolsey fires in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Jimenez took the business plan course offered by WEV more than 10 years ago, and she said that she is reviewing her business model since the fires and mudslides to adapt in case this situation ever happens again.

“A huge factor that has come into play since my WEV course is social media, which is a huge source for us. I am looking at getting more tech savvy to help keep our farm operations going. People love seeing where their food comes from, and back stories on the farming operations,” Jimenez said.

All 38 grant recipients are listed at

Recovery grants were awarded for businesses that lost revenue, contracts, services, equipment, operations or inventory as a result of the fires. Of the 38 business owners who received the recovery grants, 21 suffered significant or total loss.