01 July 2015

FarmLink's Succession Planning & Conservation in a Changing Climate

Fiesta Farm in Watsonville worked with FarmLink to help business. Source: http://adventuresportsjournal.com/epic-california-farmlink/ 
View California FarmLink's contribution to the Land Trust Alliance's online resource "The Climate Change Toolkit," in which the Alliance and its partners highlight stories of organizations conserving working lands in ways that involve strategic conservation planning, vulnerability assessment, mitigation, and adaptation, in light of the increasing pressures of climate change. 

Click here to check out our contribution: "Preserving farmland through thoughtful succession planning."

29 June 2015

Build the Farm or Ranch of Your Dreams!: Another great farm/ranch-planning course

No matter where you live, you can either start learning Holistic Management®, or further your knowledge and skills.  HMI has been helping farmers, ranchers and land stewards develop and manage sustainable profitable, enterprises for thirty years. Graziers with thousands of acres, as well as vegetable farmers with less than an acre, have all reaped the benefits of practicing Holistic Management. You can too: Register for the online learning series here.

Financial assistance is available! The Holistic Grazing Planning and Holistic Financial Planning courses, as well as a number of other courses qualify for FSA Borrower Training Credit. Find out more by clicking here
The Getting Started courses are eligible for HMI's Terry Gompert Memorial Scholarship. Find out more by clicking here.
If you are a qualified beginning farmer/rancher and a Nebraska resident, you may receive a one-time Nebraska state income tax credit (up to $500) for completing Getting Started  Introduction to Holistic Management Whole Farm/Ranch Planning AND Getting Stared Holistic Financial Planning  See the Next Gen website for details and an application.

Holistic Management International will also be holding an Open Gate with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Markegard Family Grass-Fed on Sunday, 12 July. 

Where: Markegard Family Grass-Fed at Cloverdale Coastal Ranches in Pescadero, CA
When: Sunday, 12 July from 9am-4pm
Markegard Family Grass-Fed Day is part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series. Open Gates are peer-to-peer action-based learning days with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers.
Whether you are an agricultural producer, wildlife manager, local agency representative or just interested in ranching, land stewardship and grass-fed meats, this is a day for you. Register here!

24 June 2015

Organic Trumps Conventional Across the Board! according to The Rodale Institute’s 30-Year Report

After a 30-year, side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agricultural systems, the Rodale Institute reports that organic systems match, or even outperform, conventional systems in terms of yield, profitability, and energy efficiency, while having positive effects on soil health, water quality, and rural communities.

The Farming Systems Trial (FST) at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. Started in 1981 to study what happens during the transition from chemical to organic agriculture, the FST surprised a food community that still scoffed at organic practices. After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems.
As we face uncertain and extreme weather patterns, growing scarcity and expense of oil, lack of water, and a growing population, we will require farming systems that can adapt, withstand or even mitigate these problems while producing healthy, nourishing food. After more than 30 years of side-by-side research in the Farming Systems Trial, Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future.
CLICK HERE to read the complete 30-year Farming Systems Trial report.

22 June 2015

Upcoming Irrigation and Water-Efficiency Workshop (30 June)

What: Irrigation and Water Efficiency Workshop
             near Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains
When: Tuesday, 30 June
            2:30 pm – 5 pm

Join Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) for an irrigation/water efficiency workshop at Silver Mountain Vineyards. They will be discussing various approaches to farm management and water conservation. 
Registration may be required-- click here for more information. Please contact dave@caff.org with any questions.

19 June 2015

Exciting Land Opportunity at Sunol Ag Park!

There are at least 2 vacant acres at the Sunol Ag Park that will be leased beginning in September of 2015. This land is located within the 18 acre organic Ag Park in Sunol, CA and is adjacent to farms currently in production. The Sunol Ag Park is a project of Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) in conjunction with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). The Ag Park itself is located near the Sunol Water temple on land in the Sunol Valley owned by the SFPUC. 
The land has a long history of agricultural production over the past century ranging from walnut orchards, hay fields, to row crops. Two creeks, Alameda Creek and Arroyo de la Laguna border the property. This is an ideal setting for a new or existing farmer to grow a farm business as there is not only easy access to water with meters adjacent to each acre it  is also conveniently situated in the Tri Valley region of Alameda County, only miles away from major market outlets.  

Water is billed at $496.58/ac/ft. Land is leased at $1000/ac/yr.

The following is some criteria which will help a farmer be successful at the Ag Park:

  • Prior knowledge and experience in organic farming principles
  • Must have or be working towards organic certification
  • Ability to manage land without compromising the ecosystem
  • Have a business plan and the resources to sustain a business
  • Can successfully and respectfully cooperate and interact with farmers and other Ag Park community members

      Any interested farmer or prospective farmer is encouraged to apply! Basic written and spoken English language is required. English language learners are welcome to apply. Please fill out the prospective farmer interest form which can be found on the SAGE website: http://www.sagecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Prospective-Sunol-AgPark-farmer-form_2014.pdf

Please send requests for more information or completed interest forms to Aspen: aspen@sagecenter.org
Applications are due at the end of June. SAGE and Sunol Ag Park would like to select a farmer by the end of July.

16 June 2015

California Winegrape Growers: Complete a Sustainability Assessment today!

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) is partnering with Community Alliance for Family Farmers to run several workshops this year. In addition, they are gearing up for their 2015 Sustainability Report to be released in January 2016. This 5-year report will provide a statewide overview of adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices, and is a valuable communication tool for the California wine industry. 
CSWA encourages all winegrape growers and vintners to help meet the industry goal of 80% of California's winegrape acreage and case production assessed with the new 3rd Edition Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook before the August 30, 2015 cut-off date. Beyond the benefits of self-assessing your operations (e.g., operational efficiencies and cost savings; marketing and communication opportunities; free data storage, tracking and analysis), your participation helps the industry as a whole. The higher the participation level, the more the industry's sustainability message resonates with policymakers, regulators, environmental and community organizations, trade and media. Sign up here to access the free online assessment system and explore the many tools offered.

Celebrate Agroecology World Fair Day on July 17th at UCSC

Agroecology World Fair Day takes place during the 16th Annual International Agroecology Shortcourse. Participate in an exchange between course participants, the UCSC campus, and the greater Santa Cruz community.

Events include:
  • Displays featuring models of food systems from around the world. 
  • A panel of local and international experts on agroecology, moderated by Dr. Stephen Gliessman.
  • Honoring the past, present, and future of agroecology at UCSC.
     PLUS ... enjoy a light dinner of delicious, locally prepared, sustainably grown food served by Zameen Restaurant's Food Truck.
Cowell Ranch Hay Barn
UCSC Campus (near entrance)
Santa Cruz, California

4-7 PM

FREE; RSVP required; limited to the first 200. 
RSVP by clicking here to e-mail