Tag Archives: Farmers

GREAT Free Food Series

Week 7 | Wednesday, February 28: Food and Farmers With Guest Speakers Judith Redmond and Craig McNamara

One of the most opaque relationships in the food system lies behind the relationship between eaters and the farmers who make it possible for us to eat. This class aims to bridge the connection by exploring life as a farmer.

Judith Redmond is a native Californian who has been farming in Northern California since 1989.  She is one of four owners of Full Belly Farm where a diverse assortment of fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown, sheep and chickens are pastured, and training for interns and children’s educational programming is offered.

Craig McNamara is the president and owner of Sierra Orchards, a diversified farming operation producing primarily organic walnuts. Craig serves as the founder Center for Land-Based Learning, the President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, on the UC President’s Advisory Commission and the UC Davis Dean’s Advisory Council. He is an advisory board member of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, and active in the American Farmland Trust, Roots of Change, and the Public Policy Institute of California.

Edible Education 101 meets at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the Anderson Auditorium on Wednesday evenings from 6:15-8PM Pacific Time. You can watch the conversation live online or join us in class on campus. Participation to the community is free of charge.



FarmFresh DATE & TIME Saturday, March 18  11:00 am – 2:00 pm

WHERE: Capay Organic Farm 23808 State Highway 16, Capay CA

You can come see where it Happens! Head to the farm in Capay! Get to know your farmer, harvest your own fruits and veggies, ride the tractor-tram, picnic near the fields and participate in our fun farm activities!

  • Farm Talk with your Farmer–Get to know your farmer! Meet us at the lower event site at noon. Thaddeus and Brendan will share tidbits about Farm Fresh To You, organic produce and sustainable agriculture. Get your questions answered!
  • Kids’ Activities — We will have tractor-tram rides every 15 minutes touring you around the farm. The Esparto/Capay 4-H Club will have a mini petting zoo set up and we will also have a face painting booth!
  • Organic Market Stand — Our Farm Fresh To You Market Stand will be selling seasonal, organic produce as well as fun Farm Fresh To You swag! Pick up a canvas tote featuring one of our favorite fruits/vegetables and load it with seasonal produce.
  • Tasty Treats  — Tacos 911 will have authentic, Mexican tacos available for purchase. Luciano’s Scoop will be selling their artisan gelato, The Rustic Puff will be selling their homemade marshmallows, and Pachamama Coffee will be serving up hot coffee and cold brew. We will also have Township Valley Farms selling their homemade pesto, and Capay Valley Ranches offering premium olive oils.


$5 per adult | Children 12 and under FREE!

No RSVP necessary for Farm Tours. Just come out and have fun!

For more information please visit us at


Hatching New Farmers at Grass + Grit Farm in New Paltz, New York

The owners of Grass + Grit Farm in New Paltz, New York, never imagined they’d pursue careers in farming. Instead, they pursued art, culinary arts, and architecture.

Today, Maddie Morley, Ben Roberts, and James Walton operate a small, sustainable farm that focuses on providing pasture-raised meat and eggs.

“It’s really hard work that’s never felt so good to do,” Walton says. “It’s extremely gratifying knowing what I’m doing is beneficial to society by providing nutritious and delicious food.”

Morley, Roberts, and Walton are able to get their farm off the ground as participants in the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator program. Partially funded by Wells Fargo, the agricultural nonprofit Glynwood offers the program for newcomers who want to focus their work on food and sustainable farming. Through the program, they farm the land that Glynwood leases from Mohonk Preserve, use its equipment, and receive training on farm management.

New Farmers

The three didn’t grow up in farming families, but as adults they were all drawn to food and nutrition.

  • Walton, who previously worked in art galleries, started focusing on his own health and nutrition when his grandfather was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. He then started working at community gardens.
  • Morley was a vegetarian for 14 years and didn’t consider a career in agriculture until taking a college course in sustainability. After college, she participated in an apprenticeship focused on organic vegetable production.
  • Roberts grew up with a large family garden and an appreciation for hard work. He initially pursued architecture and then culinary school before deciding he wanted to learn more about where food comes from and how it’s produced.

But Walton, Morley, and Roberts — all in their 30s — had a desire to work with animals, so they applied to Glynwood’s Apprentice Program,   where they met. The 10-month program allows new farmers to get paid for their work (through an hourly wage and affordable housing) and learn about farming in the field and classroom. During their time there, they learned about managing a variety of livestock, managing a pasture, and operating farm equipment.


Agriculture harvesting  farmers market

Farming with More Assurance

After finishing the apprenticeship, the three joined Glynwood’s incubator program and started Grass + Grit Farm in December 2015. In the program, they attend workshops on topics such as building fences, maintaining tractors, building a business, and budgeting. Once they complete the incubator program, Glynwood will help them secure land through a network of landowners who lease their property to farmers looking for land.

“It provides a way to launch your business with less of a financial investment and risk,” Roberts says.

The farmers at Grass + Grit raise chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, and goats, and sell most of their products directly to the public. The three of them split their time on the farm and supplement their income with part-time jobs. Morley works at a food packing company; Roberts works on a goat dairy farm; and Walton works in catering and at a vegetable farm.

They can remain on the Glynwood property for up to three years. The 323-acre property hosts one other farm and a compost company.

Support for Training Programs

Wells Fargo Foundation has supported Glynwood’s farmer training programs with a $150,000 Clean Technology and Innovation grant in 2014 and a $50,000 grant in 2016.

“We love their programs and share mutual goals of sustainability and job creation with Glynwood,” says Stephanie Rico, business initiatives consultant for Environmental Affairs. “Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator program is a great model. It’s important to preserve land in the Hudson Valley and maintain its farming value.”

The nonprofit used some of the Wells Fargo funds to provide financial training for participants, says Liz Corio, Glynwood’s vice president of development. The group hired a consulting firm to provide business-related workshops and help with strategic planning.

“There’s a movement among young people to become food entrepreneurs because it’s a profession that combines their environmental ethics with a strong desire to return to the land,” Corio says. “These emerging farmers may not necessarily want to develop business skills, but it’s crucial to their long-term success.”

The Farmers’ Future

Grass + Grit Farm’s first animals arrived in January 2016, and the farmers began selling their meats and eggs in summer 2016.

“It’s a huge stress reliever that we didn’t have to shell out capital to start this,” Walton says. “We have minimal cash flow because many of the animals won’t be processed until the fall or winter. Without the incubator’s support, we’d be struggling and have to work longer hours at our other jobs. That sense of security allows us to make better and smarter decisions.”

Morley says, “For people like us who grew up in a city or the suburbs, it’s extremely important to have groups like Glynwood. Also, a lot of farmers are aging out, and their kids won’t necessarily take their place.”

Roberts concludes, “It’s been a challenging year but an exciting one. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, doing what I’m meant to be doing.”

The Delta and Water

In case you missed it…

Valley Voices June 13, 2015

Esperanza Vielma: Gov. Brown, abandon delta tunnels plan

By Esperanza Vielma in the Fresno Bee

Growers are paying farmworkers to ride buses to serve as props for their pro-delta tunnels campaign

“Pro-tunnels growers decry pollution of rural drinking water — which their pesticides polluted

“We who live and work in the delta need water, fish and farms …

“…My personal perspective leads me to strongly oppose the governor’s massive underground water export tunnels. It saddens me to see huge growers and water exporters using farmworkers’ unemployment to push for even more exports that will doom the delta and our salmon fisheries. These growers don’t care about farmworkers. They exploit chronic unemployment they built into their industrial agriculture to justify ruining delta communities. …

“…It’s not farmers against fish. It’s south Valley corporate agribusiness versus the rest of us. These mega-growers have the political clout to move delta water to their farms. Part of their game is to hide behind farmworkers like my family. It’s time to pull back the mask.

“Esperanza Vielma is a Stockton resident, and executive director for Café Coop, a nonprofit assisting young entrepreneurs in San Joaquin County.”

Read the complete article here:


Restore the Delta is a 20,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  www.restorethedelta.org

The Farmer’s Kitchen Handbook: More Than 200 Recipes for Making Cheese, Curing Meat, Preserving, Fermenting, and More

Marie W. Lawrence makes it easy with The Farmer’s Kitchen Handbook: More Than 200 Recipes for Making Cheese, Curing Meat, Preserving, Fermenting, and More (Skyhorse Publishing, June 2014).

Lawrence, who’s been cooking with produce from her gardens and buying milk from farmers ever since she was a kid, knows how to make seasonal cooking easy and inexpensive. AND FUN!! It is wonderful to cook with the seasons.

Organized by month to coordinate with farmers’ calendars, The Farmer’s Kitchen Handbook serves up old-fashioned pot roast in January, seafood artichoke casserole in March, red, white, and blue salad in July, and crispy ginger cookies in December. Lawrence also provides instructions on making cheese, curing meats, canning, preserving, pasteurizing, and pickling.

You’ll love the  old-fashioned household hints (did you know that placing green sage in the pantry will keep out red ants?), a harvest guide, and a place to record your own favorite family recipes. Whether you live in a fifth-floor walkup or a countryside ranch, Lawrence’s comprehensive guidebook makes seasonal cooking a delicious, rewarding experience.

After you read it you may just say….. NOW I know Mama was right!  — the editor

FARM KINGS – 3rd Season – Dec 19, Stay Tuned

Great American Country Renews Hit Original Series ‘Farm Kings’ For Third Season

Season Three Premieres Thursday, December 19 at 9pm ET/8pm CT on Great American Country

NASHVILLE, TENN. [December 12, 2013]  Great American Country has renewed its original television series Farm Kings for a third season, the network announced today. A strong ratings performer that year-to-date has registered nearly 13 million primetime viewers according to Nielsen, Farm Kings celebrates family, food and home while chronicling the hard-working lives of a real, authentic, American farm family near Pittsburgh, PA: the Kings of Freedom Farms, a big, broad-shouldered group of nine brothers, one sister and a dynamic mother. Season three launches onThursday, December 19 at 9pm ET/8c on Great American Country.

It’s been a long time since Farming was on Primetime. In the SF Bay Area, we are going to Farmer’s Markets and learning about Organic Gardening. This is a eye-opener and a great family show. If you can’t manage 200 acres, watch the show – you’ll see the King family in action!

Farm Kings has steadily grown its fan base and viewership over the first two seasons,” said Sarah Trahern, senior vice president and general manager of Great American Country. “Viewers genuinely relate to this family’s honest hard work and dedication to the farm and each other.”

For the King family, the goal is simple – to make farming cool again. With that in mind, cameras follow the Kings into their fields, their homes and their various business units – including retail markets where they sell their wares and a bakery – to showcase the grueling, 24/7 work schedule of this American family out to support themselves and each other off the land and the sweat of their own brow. But hard work alone doesn’t pay the bills, as Mother Nature always has the final say.

Following a second season of both trials and triumphs – including the creation of a 2014 calendar starring the shirtless King brothers revealing their hard-earned, chiseled physiques, and the failed effort to acquire their father’s farmland when they couldn’t meet the asking price – season three kicks off with some exciting developments both on and off the farm. With the summer growing season winding down, the brothers tackle the long hours of harvest season. Plus, wedding bells are chiming for one King family member, Lisa’s baking skills are challenged in a blind taste test in a pie bake-off, Pete hosts a wood-carving contest, and some of the boys get rough and rowdy at the demolition derby. Add in increased attention on their community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and new efforts to improve the bakery and farmers’ markets businesses, and there’s no slowing down for the King family in season three!


About Great American Country

From Main Street USA to the biggest coastal cities and everywhere in between, Great American Country celebrates the best of American living with original lifestyle entertainment spanning themes of home, family, food, travel and music. Great American Country honors America with series profiling families, exploring top U.S. destinations, and highlighting country music’s biggest stars and events. See America as never before with Great American Country, available in more than 63 million households and online at http://GACTV.com.

Great American Country is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. (NYSE: SNI), the leading developer of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet, including HGTVDIY NetworkFood NetworkCooking Channel andTravel Channel. Scripps Networks Interactive is based in Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Chevy Chase, Md. and Nashville.

Venice Victory Garden

On Tuesday, July 16th, The Venice Victory Garden in Venice, CA, had its grand opening fundraiser. The fundraiser had a great live acoustic performance by Finian Makepeace, Avasa & Matty Love and a special guest artist, Jason Mraz! Including the acoustic artists were a number of celebrities that attended the occasion! The list includes, Actresses Daryl Hannah, Zoe Bell as well as TV actor, Josh Radnor, and Grammy award winning recording artist Jason Mraz, all who are interested or work on environmental causes.

Venice Victory Garden is a movement to inspire a generation of regenerative farmers. Inspired by the teachings of Graeme Sait, this group is seeking to put Graeme’s thoughts into action and improve the quality of our soil and ultimately reverse the dangerous path our planet is on. Venice Victory Garden is strongly passionate about supporting a healthy planet through active steps that include restoring our soil, creating mineral rich foods, and reversing global warming. With the support of notable celebrities there was a great turnout for the grand opener!

Greenhouse Gases and Agriculture

Increased growth in agricultural production has resulted in increased agricultural greenhouse gas emissions—with a huge proportion of emissions coming from livestock production.

Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, with methane accounting for just under half of total agricultural emissions, nitrous oxide for 36 percent, and carbon dioxide for some 14 percent.
Enteric fermentation or the digestion of organic materials by livestock is the largest source of agricultural emissions overall, contributing 37 percent of the total.
One way to reduce agricultural emissions is for people to minimize their consumption of meat and dairy products.
Related Posts

In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxideequivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the THIRD largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation. In 2010, emissions from electricity and heat production reached 12.5 billion tons, and emissions from transport totaled 6.7 billion tons.

Agriculture harvesting

Despite their continuing rise, emissions from agriculture are growing at a much slower rate than the sector as a whole, demonstrating the increasing carbon efficiency of agriculture. From 1990 to 2010, the volume of agricultural production overall increased nearly 23 percent, according to data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for its program, FAOSTAT. FAO released a new Greenhouse Gas Emissions database for agriculture, forestry and other land use changes in December 2012, which can be found here.

According to FAO, methane accounts for just under half of total agricultural emissions, nitrous oxide for 36 percent, and carbon dioxide for some 14 percent. The largest source of methane emissions is enteric fermentation, or the digestion of organic materials by livestock, predominantly beef cattle. This is also the largest source of agricultural emissions overall, contributing 37 percent of the total.

Livestock contribute to global emissions in other ways as well. Manure deposited and left on pastures is a major source of nitrous oxide emissions because of its high nitrogen content. When more nitrogen is added to soil than is needed, bacteria convert the extra nitrogen into nitrous oxide and release it into the atmosphere. Emissions from manure on pasture in Asia, Africa, and South America together account for as much as 81 percent of global emissions from this source. These emissions from the three regions increased 42 percent on average between 1990 and 2010, reflecting an increase in range-based livestock populations; elsewhere, these emissions either decreased or stagnated.

Carbon dioxide emissions from cultivated organic soils account for some 14 percent of total agricultural emissions, with Asia contributing 54 percent of these emissions. Deforestation and clearing for agricultural land in many tropical South and Southeast Asian countries are a leading cause of these emissions. Asia is home to four out of the top five countries with the highest CO2 emissions from cultivated organic soils, with Indonesia contributing 279 million tons, Papua New Guinea 41 million tons, Malaysia 35 million tons, and Bangladesh 31 million tons.

These data clearly indicate that livestock production accounts for an enormous share of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together, emissions from enteric fermentation, manure left on pastures, manure applied to soils, cropland devoted to feed production, and manure treated in management systems contribute more than 80 percent of total emissions. Meanwhile, emissions related to the direct human consumption of food crops represent less than 20 percent of the total.

One obvious way to reduce agricultural emissions is for people to minimize their consumption of meat and dairy products. This would help stabilize or shrink livestock populations, lessen the pressure to clear additional land for livestock, and reduce the proportion of grain that is grown for livestock feed instead of for direct human consumption.

Farmers and landowners have numerous opportunities to mitigate these impacts as well, bringing environmental and even economic co-benefits. For example, applying fertilizer more efficiently, precisely, and at times when plants can absorb it can significantly reduce nitrous oxide emissions while lowering fertilizer costs. Planting fallow fields with nitrogen-fixing legume crops—such as soybeans, alfalfa, and clover—can also naturally rebuild nitrogen and other nutrients in soils.

Growing trees and woody perennials on land can sequester carbon while simultaneously helping to restore soils, reduce water contamination, and provide beneficial wildlife habitat. Reducing soil tillage can also rebuild soils while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Some practices can even result in increased income for farmers: “cap-and-trade” programs allow farmers to monetize and sell certain sequestration practices, while government programs like the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program pay farmers to set aside some of their land for long-term restoration. As detailed in the 2012 Worldwatch report, Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture: Supporting Climate-Friendly Food Production, many mitigation practices use existing and accessible technologies and can be implemented immediately.

Read the full report at Vital Signs Online.

Laura Reynolds is a Food and Agriculture Staff Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute