27 January 2016

3rd Annual Farmers Guild Raising

On February 20, agrarian communities from across California converge in Sonoma County's Shone Farm to re-envision our food system at The Farmers Guild's 3rd Annual Farmers Guild Raising. We call upon you, farmers and good food advocates alike, to come forge local solutions to our agricultural and food system challenges, all while celebrating the newest generation of food and farms.

All eight Farmers Guilds—from the Mendocino Coast down to San Luis Obisbo—unite for this day of workshops and networking to engage on vital issues such as:

  • carbon farming
  • land access and agricultural policy
  • growers’ cooperatives  
  • innovative  markets for organic produce 

Return home with new connections, tools and inspiration to enhance your farm and empower your community. Check out the schedule so far by clicking here. And don't forget to stick around for a farm-fresh dinner and the Agrarian Lover's Ball

Questions? Interested in donating to the Silent Auction or providing some libations? Contact Evan Wiig at evan@farmersguild.org.

21 December 2015

Join us at our "Organic Elders and the Next Generation: Planning for Succession" Pre-Conference

Many farmers will retire in the next 10 years and are struggling with the questions: "How can I retire and how will I pass my knowledge to the next generation?" At the same time, young farmers are asking, "How can I get started, and build on what the elders have accomplished?"
We invite farmers of all generations to join California FarmLink and organic industry partners to explore options and learn about farmland and business succession strategies.
In the morning, farmers and stakeholders will gather for a facilitated discussion of key succession issues and challenges, transition needs, and new ideas and approaches to shape and provide the framework for FarmLink's new Organic Elders Succession project.
After a delicious organic lunch, succession planning experts will present tools and strategies for retirement planning; business transitions, family communications and goal setting; passing down land and other assets; tax demystification; transitioning to non-heir successors; and mentoring new farmers. California FarmLink will discuss creative financing opportunities. Then farmers, families, and advisors will work together in small groups.

Registration: $50 (organic lunch included)

Scholarships are available.
Questions? Interested in a scholarship? 
Please call Mika Maekawa: 831.425.0303 Ext. 7022 or email mika@cafarmlink.org 

08 December 2015

Register for the 36th Annual EcoFarm Conference

The need for an ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable food and farming system has never been more urgent. Our work as EcoFarmers has never been more needed or more relevant to the major issues of our day—from reversing climate change to improving human health. Many answers to the problems inherent in the extractive, chemically intensive, conventional agricultural model can be found within the ecological and organic approaches that EcoFarm works to champion. The beauty is that EcoFarm’s offerings represent some of the best work we all are all doing as a community and as a movement! Together we are “Regenerating Our Lands and Water.”
Inside this agenda you will find workshops and plenary presentations that cover the big picture and literally get into the weeds (how to manage them in an organic system). From technical discussions on biological methods, to sessions and office hours dealing with the business of farming, the conference is a roll-up-your sleeves affair that supports our individual and organizational efforts. This year we continue and expand the conference emphasis on discussion groups and peer-to-peer sharing forums, recognizing the value of all of our combined efforts and knowledge. We feature working meetings and strategy sessions, providing an opportunity to reflect on achievements and plot the course of action for the coming year. And we include topics to inspire and frame our shared project: overgrowing the conventional agricultural system, replacing it with a healthier, safer, more just food and farming system.

Join FarmLink for our pre-conference workshop, Organic Elders and the Next Generation: Planning for Succession, on Wednesday (20 Jan), where we'll dig in to specific succession planning tools and strategies for retirement planning, the valuation process, business and management transfer, and much more! This is a great opportunity to learn from succession planning experts, as well as elder and young farmers' success stories. Register for this pre-conference workshop here!

And don't forget to join us for brews, tunes, and light bites at the Farmers & Ranchers Mixer on Thursday night (6:30-9:30pm). Get to know the people that provide support to new farmers in the sustainable agriculture landscape. Meet other beginners, connect with resources and link up with potential partners, landowners, and supporters. 

Can't wait to see you all there!

04 November 2015

Join us for Monterey County's Landowner Farmer Mixer on November 19th!

Please join us on Thursday, November 19 at 6pm for some farm-fresh bites, local beer, and an opportunity to learn and network! This mixer will connect farmers seeking land with established farmers or farmland and provide information and resources to sustain farming in the Central Coast.

What: Monterey County Landowner and Farmer Mixer
WhenThursday, November 19th {6pm-8pm}
LocationMonterey County Ag Center Conference Room {1432 Abbott Street / Salinas}

Farmers, this is a great opportunity to find land and connect with your community!

Landowners, learn how you can take an active role in growing our region's small and sustainable farms by leasing your land to a local farmer!

This is a free event for farmers, landowners, and retiring farmers. Please RSVP (cafarmlink.bpt.me) so we will have enough food an drinks to go around!


14 October 2015

Cover Crop Field Day in Watsonville: Preparing for El Niño

Low Residue Cover Crops for Soil Erosion Control, Groundwater Recharge, and El Niño Preparation 

Field Day/Demo

Friday, October 23, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Watsonville Slough Farms (Matulich Ranch)
560 Harkins Slough Rd, Watsonville

Learn about the use of cover crops to increase groundwater recharge and reduce soil erosion during heavy rainfall predicted for this year’s El Niño.

  • Sign up for RCD’s cover crop seed cost-share program (up to $300 per grower)
  • All growers and ranch managers are invited.
  • Topics will include:
    • Use of low-residue cover crops in vegetable and strawberry systems to increase infiltration of rainfall for groundwater recharge and erosion control
    • Selection of cover crop varieties and management of low-residue cover crops
    • Use of low-residue cover crops in organic strawberries
  • Speakers:
    • Eric Brennan, Horticulturalist, USDA ARS, Salinas
    • Rich Casale, District Conservationist, NRCS

  • For more information call: Sacha Lozano or Lisa Lurie (831) 464-2950.

    06 October 2015

    Great new Farmland Finance guide from Farm Commons!

    Last winter, Farm Commons hosted a great webinar, "Financing a Farmland Purchase: Legal basics for traditional and non-traditional farmland purchases." They have since aggregated the information from that webinar, updated it, and added new case studies and topics in a brand new guide! 
    In this guide you will:

    • Get comfortable with the 7 most common strategies used to finance a farmland purchase
    • Hear (and learn from) a member of our farming community who learned the hard way what happens to your farm if you break up with your partner
    • Learn creative and innovate loan payment options
    … And much more information to increase your chances of having a legally-secure financing experience and getting onto land of your own.
    Even if you’ve already financed your land purchase, this guide is still useful to make sure that you have your ducks in a row when it comes to organizational documents, tax regulations, and contracts. This guide is free to download now, but we can’t guarantee that it will stay that way forever! So head over to FarmCommons.org and download the financing guide today.
    >>> Download the FREE Farmland Financing Legal GUIDE here! <<<
    After you’ve downloaded the guide, please drop a note to info@farmcommons.org and give them feedback on the publication. If you have any questions about accessing Farm Commons' resources, there is a brief tutorial on how to use the website.

    Happy harvest, everyone!

    23 September 2015

    Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association's 2015 Guide to Laws

    Check out this awesome resource from PCFMA (Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association), a guide to the changes to California's direct marketing laws:

    In March, PCFMA received a grant from the Western Center for Risk Management Education at Washington State University for a project to help educate California farmers on the recent changes to the state's direct marketing laws and regulations. In addition to the comprehensive guide (link above), an executive summary of the guide is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.