26 May 2015

Upcoming Grant and Cost-Share Program Deadlines for Producers

Value-Added Producer Grants – July 2
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program provides competitively awarded grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, organizations representing agricultural producers, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses. These grants may be used to fund business and marketing plans and feasibility studies or to acquire working capital to operate a value-added business venture or alliance. On May 8th , the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $30 million in funding through the competitive VAPG Program. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through Grants.gov are due July 2.

Organic Certification Cost Share Programs – Reimbursement On-going
USDA offers farmers two programs to help defray a portion of the annual costs associated with organic certification: the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program (AMA). Both programs are noncompetitive financial assistance programs that help defray the costs of organic certification and are administered by the National Organic Program (NOP). NOCCSP is available nationally, while AMA is available only in certain states in the northeast and west.
On May 14, the USDA announced the availability of approximately $11.9 million in funding for organic certification cost-share assistance for organic producers and handlers through state departments of agriculture. 
Payments for certification-related expenses incurred from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015 can reimburse up to 75% of an individual producer’s or handler’s certification costs and up to a maximum of $750 per farm certification.

21 May 2015

Heaven and Earth Farm for lease in Nevada County, CA!

Turn key, complete ready-to-go farm for lease. Heaven and Earth Farm is comprised of 11.5 acres, of which approximately 3.5 acres are in production. The farm is a mixture of wooded areas, grasslands, hillside and bottomland production areas. The farm has been in diversified production since 2000. We grow mixed seasonal vegetables, nursery stock and seedlings, seed, numerous fruits including apples, pears, cherries, plums, figs, mulberries, peaches, nectarines and nuts, 8 vars of table grapes grapes, seed crops, flowers, herbs, chickens, bees, hops, boysenberries, marionberries, ollalieberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, and more. All production uses organic farming principles since the farm was established. We use cover crops extensively, composts both from on farm and purchased, rock minerals, foliar feeding, fertilization, animal protein nitrogen sources. The farm is currently registered organic with the state of California, and is eligible to become certified organic, which will be one of the requirements of the lessee.

Soil is a mixture of Class II and Class III bottomland and foothill soils. Irrigation is provided by a 35 GPM well. We utilize limited motorized equipment, predominately relying on hand work with rototillers, hand tillage, backpack sprayers, and other assorted manual tools. The farm is completely equipped for virtually all needs for the production of the crops now on the property. The lessee will have access to all of the equipment, tools and necessary infrastructure. Equipment includes mowers, weed eaters, rototiller, push seeders, motorized backpack sprayer, large array of hand tools, lots of irrigation supplies, propagation supplies, harvest tools, and much more. We have all the equipment for marketing as well including scales, tents, F150 Ford pickup, tables and other materials.

The lessee will occupy a small, modern wood heated cabin with kitchen, power and potable water, sleeping loft, outdoor heated shower, covered outdoor composting toilet, wifi and more. The space is very comfortable for one, and two will be cozy. Also there are two small trailers, powered by solar electricity, which have been used for employees or apprentices.

The farm has numerous small fields, each individually fenced to exclude deer, rabbits and other critters. The largest area is approximately 1 acre of vegetable ground, bottomland, and the rest are in smaller blocks, mostly flat, some on hillsides. Irrigation is a mixture of mini sprinklers, sprinklers, drip tape, drip emitters, and some dry farmed crops. Currently the well is powered by electricity from PG & E, although we are installing solar panels this winter to offset a portion of the electricity charges.

There is a 24’ x 50' double poly unheated greenhouse, with production area for starting seedlings using supplemental heat; approximately half of the house used for seasonal crop production, the other half for seedling production. Most propagating supplies and equipment are available. There is also a 24’ x 50' seasonal hoop house. We have a 8’ x 12’ walk-in refrigeration, dry storage, freezer, and additional storage. The walk-in is equipped with lighting and heat for use as a seed germination chamber, when not used for cooling produce. There is a large, completely equipped outdoor kitchen, used seasonally for production of on farm value-added products, as well as harvest, cleaning and packing of crops. This area has been used by us, employees and apprentices for meal production, processing, gatherings and relaxation. We have nearly all the equipment for preserving foods including juice press, extractors, fermentation supplies, canning equipment, dehydrator, freezer and more. The farm and all the equipment, including a 400 sq ft. cabin and two 20ft trailers are available for lease for the cost of the cabin rental plus shared utilities. It's a deal!
We are willing to share our knowledge as needed including all the basic aspects of how the farm works to date, and encourage ongoing conversation and advice as needed, if you ask for it.. We have extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of running a small farm, food processing, herbal preparations, homesteading skills and much more. We are willing to provide training and advice as needed with all aspects of the farms crop production and overall management. 

Heaven and Earth Farm is located on the San Juan Ridge of Nevada County, California in the Sierra foothills at 2400 feet elevation, between the South and Middle forks of the Yuba River. We are in the zone of transition between oaks and pines, with madrone and manzanita, with long Mediterranean summer and fall, rainy cool to cold winters, and usually rainy spring. The average rainfall is 60 inches, however the range has been between 30 and 115 inches in the last 10 years. We have four distinct seasons. Most years we get little or no rain from early May to mid October. We get occasional snow, 3 to 5 times per year, usually no more than a few inches per snowfall. The Northern Sierras, a vast and beautiful mountain range, is our back yard. Recreation opportunities are huge. The farm is located in a rural area, populated by long-time residents and a mix of long time and new back to the landers. We are 15 miles from the nearest urban area, Nevada City and Grass Valley. The county population is approximately 100,000. We have an extremely active community with social and political diversity. Although the towns are relatively small, they have all of the features of a large city. Where we live on the ridge is much smaller, but it also has an active social and educational scene. If you're interested in social, entertainment and educational opportunities, the list is almost endless. We need a highly motivated, friendly and innovative person(s) to lease this small farm and grow it to its ultimate potential. The successful applicant will have a minimum of two years of organic farming experience, preferably in a management role. We are not able to accommodate recent apprentices or interns, as we need a more experienced farmer. Applicants should have experience in a variety of vegetable and flower production, greenhouse and hoop house, and preferably perennial crops as well. Knowledge and ability to organize a farm work plan, manage interns or employees, market crops, use basic farm equipment and maintain as needed, crop rotation, fertility, pest and weed management, irrigation, bookkeeping skills, record-keeping skills are all essential. Please provide resume, farming references and personal references. We look forward to hearing from you and establishing a great, nourishing, mutually beneficial friendship.
Please contact Liya Schwartzman at liya@cafarmlink.org to contact landowners. 

18 May 2015

Join Kitchen Table Advisors and Bucio Organic Farm this Saturday for a Farm Tour en Español!

Acompáñanos a nuestro próximo excursión a la granja en español.
Involúcrate más con nuestro trabajo…
Un tercio de los clientes de Kitchen Table Advisors son de habla hispana.
En este excursión, nuestra meta es promover y construir una comunidad de hispanohablantes que apoyen nuestro trabajo con nuestros clientes de habla hispana.
El 23 de Mayo, ven y escucha a nuestro cliente, Rigo Bucio, compartir sus experiencias cultivando su tierra, y conoce más sobre el impacto que esperamos tener impulsando a la próxima generación de agricultores sustentables a pequeña escala.

Acompáñanos en un increíble, delicioso e inspirador excursión a la granja en español.

Compartiendo b, podrás conectarte con otras personas interesadas en crecer la comunidad de Kitchen Table Advisors y en apoyar la viabilidad económica a largo plazo de la agricultura sustentable a pequeña escala.

*Si conoces a alguien que hable español y que pueda estar interesado en apoyarnos como voluntario, donador o embajador de nuestro trabajo, nos encantaría conocerlo. Por favor, comparte esta invitación con ellos.   

Sobre nuestro cliente:
Bucio Organic Farm está dedicada a crecer alimentos saludables y deliciosos  en armonía con el medio ambiente. Cuando Rigo aprendió a cultivar alimentos orgánicos, decidió que para él no hay otro método de cultivar sus frutas y vegetales. A Rigo le encantaría poder seguir creciendo alimentos de forma sustentable, crecer sus canales de venta y en un futuro ser dueño de sus propias tierras.

Sabado 23 de Mayo
10:30 am a 12:30 pm
Haz click aquí para registrarte.


Join us for an upcoming farm tour in Spanish.

Engage further in our work...
One third of our clients at Kitchen Table Advisors are native Spanish speakers. 
In this special farm tour, our goal is to build a base and community of Spanish speakers to support our work with our native Spanish speaking clients.  
On May 23rd, come and hear our client, Rigo Bucio, share his experiences farming the land, and learn more about the impact we hope to have in nurturing the next generation of sustainable small farms. 
Join us for a beautiful, delicious, and inspiring farm tour. 

Over light fare, connect with like-minded people to learn how you can grow our Kitchen Table Advisors community and support the long-term economic viability of sustainable small farms.

*If you know someone who speaks Spanish fluently and who would be interested in becoming a volunteer, donor, or champion of our work, we would love to meet them; please extend this invitation to them.

About our Client:
Bucio Organic Farm is dedicated to growing delicious healthy food in harmony with the environment.  When Rigo first learned about organic practices, he knew there was no other way he would grow fruits and vegetables.  Rigo would love to continue growing food in a sustainable way, increase his sales channels and ultimately own his own farmland.

Saturday, May 23rd.
10:30am to 12:30pm.
Click here to Register.

13 May 2015

Land History, Natural Resources, and Conservation Ag Practices Workshop for Food Safety and Organic Requirements by ALBA

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Land History, Natural Resources, and Conservation Ag Practices Workshop for Food Safety and Organic Requirements
When:                 May 18, 2015 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Location: ALBA RDC classroom
                            1700 Old Stage Road
                            Salinas, CA

This workshop will discuss how to meet both food safety audit and organic certification requirements with respect to management of natural resources and biodiversity on or around farmland. The topic is applicable both to selecting a farm site, and when implementing and maintaining conservation practices on agricultural land you already manage.
Field and farm border management must reduce risks of pathogen contamination to meet food safety concerns and audit requirements, and fulfill organic regulations to "foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity"; and "maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation: its physical, hydrological, and biological features including soil and water quality, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife". (See organic regulations in 7 CFR §205.2 Terms defined: Organic production; Natural resources of the operation, and §205.200, §205.203, §205.239, §205.240).
This workshop is open to the public and free of charge. This workshop is offered as part of a National Organic Program (NOP) Sound and Sensible project. Please sign in to register upon arrival. You may express your intention to participate by email Kaley@albafarmers.org

Presentation in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish. Food will be provided

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Taller sobre Historia de Tierras, Recursos Naturales y Prácticas Agrícolas de Conservación para la Higiene de los Alimentos y Requisitos Orgánicos
Cuando: Mayo 18, 2015 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Lugar:    ALBA RDC salon de clases
                1700 Old Stage Road
                Salinas, CA

En este taller aprenderá sobre:
Cómo  cumplir tanto auditoría de “Food Safety”  y los requisitos de certificación orgánica con respecto a la gestión de los recursos naturales y la biodiversidad alrededor de sus tierras. El tema se aplica  tanto a la selección de un sitio de la granja, como a  la ejecución y el mantenimiento de las prácticas de conservación en tierras que ya esta administrando.
El campo y la gestión de las fronteras agrícolas deben reducir los riesgos de contaminación por patógenos para satisfacer las preocupaciones de seguridad de los alimentos y los requisitos de auditoría, y cumplir con los reglamentos orgánicos para "fomentar el ciclo de los recursos, promover el equilibrio ecológico y la conservación de la biodiversidad" y "mantener o mejorar los recursos naturales de la operación: sus características físicas, hidrológicas y biológicas incluyendo suelo y la calidad del agua, humedales, bosques y vida silvestre". (Véase reglamentos orgánicos en 7 CFR §205.2 términos definidos: la producción orgánica; Recursos naturales de la operación, y § 205.200, §205.203, § 205.239, §205.240).
Este taller está abierto al público y de forma gratuita. Este taller se ofrece como parte de un Programa Nacional Orgánico (NOP). Por favor, inicie sesión para registrar su llegada. Usted puede expresar su intención de participar por email Kaley@albafarmers.org

Presentación en Inglés con traducción simultánea al español. Se proporcionará comida

12 May 2015

Updated Manual on Direct Marketing From CASFS

UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) has updated its manual for teaching direct marketing for small farms. 

The second edition of Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors builds on CASFS’s first training manual of the same title. It is based on CASFS's experience educating more than 1,500 apprentice growers over the course of nearly 50 years in organic production, farm and business planning, direct marketing at a roadside farm stand, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) management through hands-on training.

New features of the 2nd edition include–
• Revised and expanded lecture outlines and resource sections
• New units on labor, food safety, and marketing basics
• New information on social media and on-farm events
• A new focus on business planning for building resilience

Click here to access the online version. Click here for information on how to order a hard copy.

06 May 2015

*FREE* Workshops for Farmers coming up on Tuesday, 12 May

Two fantastic learning opportunities for farmers coming up next week, 12 May:

Location: Pie Ranch
                2080 Cabrillo Highway
                Pescadero, CA 94060
When:     10:30am-4:30pm
RSVP / Contact: email Rosemary Quinn or call 831.761.8507
Cost: $0 free!
The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and CCOF invite farmers to a free training on food safety and Good Agricultural Practices (or GAPs). The goal of this training is to provide growers with a solid understanding of what GAPs are and how to get started on developing a plan.

The workshop will include examples of how to implement food safety practices/GAPs and participants will see how to assess and manage risks in the field through a farm sitr visit. Thee day will also include in-depth presentations and group discussions. Growers will leave with resources, tool sand templates. Spanish translation will be offered at this workshop. Lunch will be provided!
sponsored by CCOF and Community Alliance with Family Farmers

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Location: ALBA / Rural Development Center
                1700 Old Stage Road
                Salinas, CA 93908
When:      6pm-7:30pm
RSVP / Contact: email ccoffoundation@ccof.org or call 831.346.6244
Cost: $0 free!
Currently growers are under increased pressure to create budgets, monitor nitrogen use, and monitor nitrogen leaching into waterways. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to use your farm management records to create a nitrogen budget. Local conservation experts will walk you through the process—from identifying the documents you need to gather information, to filling out the budget itself. This hands-on workshop will introduce you to the skills that you need to create a nitrogen budget of your own. The workshop will be presented in Spanish with English translation and is a collaboration between CCOF, ALBA, and the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County.

Our speaker, Ben Burgoa of the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County spent six years as an Associate Professor in the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He taught and performed research related to on-farm irrigation management and ways to improve the efficiency and reliability of irrigation water delivery systems. Ben’s other experience includes design and evaluation of irrigation, pumping, and distribution systems; water management practices in field and greenhouse seed production; the study of runoff and leaching losses of pesticides and nutrients from soils; and measuring movement of contaminated sediments in watersheds during storm events. Ben has a B.S. in Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Panama, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from the University of Florida, and a M.S. in Water Engineering from the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. His areas of interest are water movement and nutrient transport in soil, soil-water-crop relationships, and water resources engineering.
sponsored by ALBA, CCOF, and the Monterey County RCD

Seminario Sobre Presupuestos de Nitrógeno
Lugar:   1700 Old Stage Road

              Salinas, CA 93908

Tiempo: 6:00pm- 7:30 pm
Costo: Este seminario es gratuito.
Registro: comuníquese con la Fundación CCOF en ccoffoundation@ccof.org ó (831) 423-2263, ext. 25

Únete a CCOF, ALBA, y una agencia local de conservación para un seminario sobre cómo crear un presupuesto de nitrógeno para su granja.

Actualmente agricultores están bajo mucha presión para crear presupuestos, controlar el uso de nitrógeno, y controlar la lixiviación de nitrógeno en las vías fluviales. No te pierdas esta oportunidad de aprender a utilizar sus registros de gestión agrícola para crear un presupuesto de nitrógeno. Expertos en conservación locales le guiarán a través del proceso--desde identificación de los documentos que se necesitan para recabar información, hasta llenar el mismo presupuesto. Este seminario práctico le dará a conocer las habilidades que usted necesita para crear un presupuesto de nitrógeno de su propia cuenta. El seminario se presentará en español con traducción al inglés y es una colaboración entre CCOF, ALBA, y Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (Distrito de Conservación de Recursos del Condado de Monterey.)

Sobre nuestro orador Ben Burgoa: Ben Burgoa del Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (Distrito de Conservación de Recursos del Condado de Monterey) trabajó seis años como profesor asociado en el departamento de recursos biológicos e ingeniería agrícola en Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Él enseñó y realizó investigaciones relacionadas con la gestión y las formas de mejorar la eficiencia y la fiabilidad de los sistemas de distribución de agua de riego en la granja. Otra experiencia de Ben incluye el diseño y la evaluación de riego, bombeo, y los sistemas de distribución; las prácticas de gestión del agua en el campo y producción de semillas de efecto invernadero; el estudio de la escorrentía y las pérdidas por lixiviación de plaguicidas y nutrientes de los suelos; también medir el movimiento de los sedimentos contaminados en las cuencas hidrográficas durante las tormentas. Ben tiene una Licenciatura en Ciencias en Agronomía e Ingeniería Agrícola de la Universidad de Panamá, máster de ciencia y doctorados en edafología de la Universidad de Florida, y un máster de ciencia en Ingeniería del Agua de California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Universidad Politécnica del Estado de California San Luis Obispo.) Sus áreas de interés son el movimiento del agua y el transporte de nutrientes en el suelo, relaciones de cultivos de agua del suelo, y la ingeniería de los recursos hídricos.

ALBA/Rural Development Center Direcciones -- Desde la autopista 101 hacia el sur, al sur de Salinas, girar a la izquierda (este) en Potter Road.
En la intersección "T" de Old Stage Rd, gire a la derecha (sur) y proceder 7/10 de una milla de nuestra entrada a la derecha en la calle 1700 Old Stage Road. Girar en la entrada y proceder casi una milla, tomar la curva a la derecha, y proceder al edificio de la oficina/clases.
Si está viajando desde el sur por la autopista 101, proceda tres millas al norte de Chualar y girar a la derecha en Potter Road. Siga las instrucciones anteriores.

04 May 2015

Write an Essay, Win a Goat Farm!

Have you dreamed of having your own farm? Complete with fields of frolicking goats? A couple in Elkmont, Alabama is looking to give their $350,000 goat farm away to whoever writes them the best essay.

Owners of Humble Heart Farms Leslie and Paul Spell decided to give their 20-acre farm away via an essay contest when they noticed that most interested potential buyers were running into the major barriers that FarmLink has also identified:

 1) Finances.  You may not have money to purchase a dairy outright. Banks are not lending easily and if you get a loan you have a large debt.  Plus you need help with day-to-day operating expenses.

 2) Opportunity.  How often does one come across 20-acres, a home, a goat herd, a complete equipment, an established market, training, and no mortgage? Finding good land to begin your farm business on is hard enough!

Details: The Spells are asking each entrant to pay a $150 submission fee, and said they hope to get 2,500 entries in all, which would total $375,000. Revenue from these fees will be used to pay off the rest of the farm's mortgage, while the remaining $20,000 will be given to the contest winner to jump start operations. The winner’s name will be announced October 15th.
Take a moment and jot down why you or your organization is the perfect fit to continue the farmstead goat cheese tradition. Contest rules and regulations can be found here.

Those interested can submit an essay through the contest website.