Monday, December 26, 2011

Upcoming Events in 2012

Farmer-to-Farmer Networking Breakfast
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 7:00-8:30 AM
Mel's Diner "The Back Room" 1730 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn
Join us for the first Placer/Nevada Farmer-to-Farmer networking breakfast of 2012. Come & meet other farmers and ranchers in Placer and Nevada counties. Enjoy a chance to relax and talk with other producers about issues affecting local agriculture. Full menu will be available, each producer will pay for his/her own breakfast, 18% tip will be added.
Please RSVP to Cindy Fake ( by 9 AM Jan. 3rd so we can give the restaurant a count. Hope to see you there!

Farm Marketing Academy

Friday, January 13th, 8 AM to 8 PM, and Saturday January 14, 8 AM to 5 PM.
UC Cooperative Extension, 11477 E Avenue, DeWitt Center, Auburn
Topics include:
· Growing for market
· Conducting market research
· Choosing your market strategy
· Prioritizing your markets
· Determining your market costs
· Determining your prices
· Managing your marketing risks
· Merchandizing and sales

$60 per person, meals included. Scholarships are available from the Placer Ag Futures Project.
Pre-registration is required, as class size is limited. Online registration at
For more information and scholarships, contact Cindy Fake,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

California FarmLink 2011 Highlights

Meet Vonita Murray – young mom, farmer and veteran

Vonita came to us for help in starting her farm business. FarmLink helped her secure a lease that was advantageous and inclusive for both her and the landowner. Envisioning expansion, she said, “Given my limited experience and income, without FarmLink’s help it will be close to impossible for me to purchase the equipment I need for my operation.”

DONATE on our website: - click on the “Donate” button and help us reach our $25,000 goal.

Your contribution will directly help provide technical assistance, education, loans, mentors, linking to land, as well as help families pass on their farms/ranches to the next generation. We’re proud to partner with organizations like the Farmer Vet Coalition to have the biggest impact.

CA FarmLink is building regional food systems throughout California by providing access to land and capital for small-scale and beginning farmers. Reggie Knox, longtime farm program leader, is FarmLink’s new executive director.

• 35 farmers linked with land leases and partnerships
• 15 farmers with loans

• 193 farmers with leases and purchases
• 130 farmers with financial management, business planning, building and maintaining credit
• 15 farm families with succession planning
• 21% of this assistance went to Latino and SE Asian farmers, 60% to limited-resource farmers, and 29% to women farmers

Serving Farmers Loan Program and Matched Savings Program
• CFL’s independent loan program fills a critical niche, serving small, direct-market, limited resource, organic and beginning farmers. FarmLink:
o is now a certified independent lender with the Department of Corporations
o became the first non-profit in 23 years to receive guaranteed lender status from the Farm Service Agency
o has made 30 farm loans, averaging $25,000 each, since beginning our loan program
• CFL’s matched-savings program deposits $200 each month into savings for 3 Santa Cruz County farmers towards farm asset purchases for every $100 they put in (collaboration with Santa Cruz Community Credit Union)

Monday, December 19, 2011

As of Thursday, videos of NRCS conservation practices will be available on the same medium, and with the same world-wide ease and accessibility, that is enjoyed by everyone from world leaders to piano-playing cats: YouTube.

Using the tagline "Conservation: There's a Plan for that," the videos introduce eight different scenarios where the NRCS approach of voluntary conservation has made a difference to satisfied customers in California. A brief glimpse is given of the planning and techniques used to benefit the land and the landowner. The NRCS "actors" are simply employees doing their everyday jobs, who are passionate professionals dedicated to helping people help the land. Hopefully, for many, these will make the world of NRCS conservation practices seem more accessible and familiar.

The eight practices portrayed are as follows:

* Conservation Planning
* Managing/Monitoring Irrigation Water (2 videos)
* Improving Forest Stands
* Managing for Livestock and Wildlife on Rangeland
* Building Hedgerows for Pollinators and other Benefits
* Decommissioning a Well
* Managing Nutrients (Wastewater) on Dairies

This link will connect to the new stories on Thursday, Dec. 15:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Land Listing in El Dorado county!

El Dorado County ID #1368: 10 acre farm and home in Apple Hill for lease or partnership
Property features a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with two wood burning fireplaces, close to highway 50 in Camino. The ten acres is composed of about 5 acres of established apple orchard (~15 years old), and 3 acres of open ground. The owner intends to plant 1-2 acres of grapes. Remaining acreage is occupied by a Bake shop, commercial kitchen, indoor dining room and outdoor picnic area, all available to the tenant. The owner intends to use one building as a tasting room. Fudge and caramel corn equipment are also included in lease the lease. Additionally, use of 1/3 of a cold storage unit is available for tenant. Water is supplied by El Dorado Irrigation district water. This landowner also owns ID #1229, and is amendable to a joint venture between the two properties.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Today, the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply launches a new and expanded online Agricultural Water Stewardship Resource Center to assist growers and ranchers, water suppliers, and others in making effective farm water management decisions. The Resource Center, online at, includes a new searchable databaseand interactive map of innovative efforts around California to improve on-farm and regional water management. In addition, the website includes an expanded catalogue of information about a range of on-farm practices, as well as a library of technical support information and policy documents.

The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS), a project of Ag Innovations Network, is a consensus-based forum for a broad range of leaders focused on enhancing water security for agriculture, the public and the environment. CRWFS appointed an Editorial Board of experts from the agricultural sector, University of California and California State University systems, the environmental community, and the water supply community to moderate the website and ensure balanced and accurate content.

We invite you to explore the Resource Center and share the on-farm practices, case studies, and ag water stewardship information with your networks.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Land Listing in Solano County

Solano County ID #1361: 2 acres and 2 bedroom home available for organic farmer.
2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with garage and two horse barn on 2.5 acre property. Property features Solano Irrigation District water and is eligible for organic certification. Property is fenced.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet Vonita Murray - Young farmer, Veteran, Mom

Farmers and Ranchers provide the bounty
Help us continue to support them

We all know beginning farmers and ranchers face many challenges, and two of the biggest are access to land and money. California FarmLink provides both to our clients, and more. You can help them reach their goals with your donation to our organization. Please help us reach our goal of $25,000 by the end of the year. Your support and generosity is critical to our future.
Vonita Murray, a young mother and Navy veteran, came to us for help in starting her farm business. FarmLink helped her secure a lease that was advantageous and inclusive for both her and the landowner. Envisioning expansion, she said, "Given my limited experience and income, without FarmLink's help, it will be close to impossible for me to purchase the equipment I need for my operation." Connecting Vonita with an experienced farmer to mentor her has boosted her confidence, and her business.

Your contribution will directly help provide technical assistance, education, loans, mentors, linking to land, as well as help families pass on their farms/ranches to the next generation. We're proud to partner with organizations like the Farmer Vet Coalition (who've also helped Vonita) to have the biggest impact.

Please donate on our website via PayPal or send your check payable to California FarmLink at 609 Pacific Ave., # 101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. No amount is too big or too small, as long as we reach our $25,000 goal!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 3rd Info session for the Farm Academy in Winters

Interested in becoming a farmer? Know someone who is? Well, here is your chance! The Center for Land-Based Learning is thrilled to announce that the California Farm Academy is now accepting applications through December 9, 2011 for its inaugural session. Classes are set to begin in mid-February, 2012 and run through early August. Get your application submitted early for preferred consideration, as space is limited!

Our tagline says it all - WE GROW FARMERS! In partnership with the Center for Land-Based Learning and a Specialty Block Crop Grant, the California Farm Academy trains, mentors, and leases land to beginning farmers. Our six month program will give you the practical know-how to start your own farming business!

Encompassing the basics of production of specialty crops and business planning and marketing, the training will include guest speakers, hands-on activities, field work, and farm visits. In addition, each participant's experience in the program will be tailored to their background and farming goals through their individual learning plan and an independent study project. We are accommodating the working professional by holding classes in early evenings and on weekends.

We invite you to find out more, share this program with your friends and apply online at: or call us at (530) 795-4146

Visit us out at the farm on Saturday, December 3rd for an information session - free of charge. The Information Session will be held at the Center for Land-Based Learning from 1-4 p.m. at 5265 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA 95694. Hope to see you there as we take the first steps in growing tomorrow's farmers!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advancing Organic 2012: Practices and Policies

February 1, 2012

Asilomar Conference Grounds

Pacific Grove, California

A Pre-Conference to EcoFarm

Register NOW - Early bird discounts end December 9, 2011.

Join us for CCOF’s Annual Meeting & Conference on February 1, 2012, which will be held as a pre-conference to EcoFarm. The theme of this full-day conference is Advancing Organic 2012: Practices and Policies. The conference will focus on advancing strong organic practices and shaping policies that support organic research, soil management, food safety, and farming innovation. Conference participants will explore advanced practices and techniques in sessions led by expert organic producers and handlers. Topics will include soil fertility, weed management, range management, and innovation in green energy for organic processing. In addition, we will explore the connection between implementing these practices and advancing federal food and farm policies that value and support the work of organic producers. Experts will address compliance with the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010. 2012 Farm Bill provisions and how they connect to our work will also be discussed.

For a full agenda, please visit the event page.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Internship Program Living Lands Agrarian Network Nevada City, CA

Begins March 5 and ends November 3, 2012.

As a diverse group of passionate farmers, we consider it our responsibility and honor to mentor aspiring farmers in the art of small-scale, ecological agriculture. The 2012 Internship program is designed for those who have a strong interest in ecological farming and want to learn from those who are actively engaged in their own small-scale farming business.

Education & Training

Living Lands is a network of independent farmers who work collaboratively to mentor and train interns. This year, we are offering three distinct internship tracks: Market Garden, Animal Husbandry, and Community Education.

The 2012 internship program is an eight-month program, starting March 5 and ending November 2. Interns are engaged in work and education Monday through Friday - see more details under "Expectations".

Supplemental Income

This is an educational internship, whereby you receive education, room, and a food stipend. Our network of farmers donate their own time to your education, and in return they receive your support on their farms. Education and mentoring is core part of our organizational vision, and our farmers are dedicated to this work.

If you anticipate the need to find supplemental income during the internship, we have a small network of community members who frequently hire our interns for farm or garden related labor. While we cannot guarantee any set amount of hours, we can use our community connections to help you find some part-time work.

A scholarship stipend may be available for those in special financial need. If this applies to you, please include more details on your application form.

How to Apply

Please download our 2012 Internship Application from our website at Applications are currently being accepted and reviewed, with a cut off date of January 15th. Notifications on program acceptance will be made no later than February 1, 2012.

Come for a Visit

If you are interested in joining our 2012 internship program, we strongly encourage you to come visit our community and meet some of our farmers.

Please consider the following dates when we have community events this winter:

December 14th

January 14th & 15th

Contact us for more details.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Farmer -to-Farmer Networking Breakfast
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:00-8:30 AM
Mel's Diner "The Back Room" 1730 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn

Join us for the inaugural Placer/Nevada Farmer-to-Farmer networking breakfast. Come & meet other farmers and ranchers. Enjoy a chance to relax and talk with other producers about issues affecting local agriculture. Attendance is limited to local farmers within Placer and Nevada counties.

Full menu will be available, each producer will pay for his/her own breakfast, 18% tip will be added.
Please RSVP to Cindy Fake ( by 9 AM Nov 28 so we can give the restaurant a count.


Sierra CRAFT Cool Season Vegetable Workshop for Commercial Vegetable Growers

Twin Brooks Farm, Loomis, CA

December 2nd, 10 AM to 3 PM

Rain Date December 7th

$5 per person, $10 per farm (up to 3 people)

Are you a commercial vegetable grower interested in expanding your production season? Local markets are in need of more cool season vegetable producers. Come to this workshop and learn about what is involved in winter and spring production - planning, seedbed preparation, varieties, and techniques.

Learn from expert local growers:

Alan Haight, Riverhill Farm

Jim Muck, Jim's Produce

Jan & Francis Thompson, Twin Brooks Farm

Space is limited so pre-registration is required! Register on line at

Scholarships are available on request. Contact Cindy Fake,

SARE_Western_CMYK (2).jpg

RMAlogo3pClr (JPG format).jpg

This workshop is funded in part by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Revolutionary Tools for Beginning Farmers

Thursday, November 17
3:30 - 4:45pm ET

Free! Register Now

Time and time again we hear that amongst the biggest hurdles for beginning farmers are designing a business model which creditors will fund, and creating a comprehensive food safety plan for their farm. Each of the online tools presented on this webinar addresses one of those hurdles.

Farm Credit Council and the National Good Food Network have teamed up to create a website designed to illustrate the myriad ways that farmers have been successful in the "The Field Guide to the New American Foodshed." Many different routes into many different markets are explained, and then illustrated with case studies of actual farms and other businesses using each model. Designed for farmers and those who might provide credit to farmers, this tool helps people to "speak the same language.", with support from the Wallace Center, has developed an on-farm food safety tool. By answering a series of questions about their operations, farmers can have this website generate all of the documentation and forms for a complete food safety plan. This is the first tool of its kind.

Learn about these amazing new tools, their background and get a sense for how they start to change the landscape for a regional food system.

Reserve your spot - click here

Friday, November 11, 2011

California FarmLink appoints Reggie Knox as new Executive Director

California FarmLink is pleased to announce that Reggie Knox, longtime farm program leader, has been promoted to serve as Executive Director. Knox will lead the organization into its twelfth year of providing unique business, land access, and financing services to small- and mid-scale farmers.

“These are challenging and exciting times for California FarmLink,” says Knox. “Key priorities are expanding our ability to provide capital through our new independent loan fund to farmers who typically can’t obtain financing and, leading a training program for organizations in eight U.S. states to enable them to create matched savings programs for beginning farmers.” Also high on Knox’s list of priorities is fundraising, as the organization strives to continue to help farmers succeed and thrive in a field laden with risk even in a stable economy.

Knox, who has spent the past few weeks transitioning from the position of Director of Field Operations into his new role, has been with FarmLink for seven years, assisting hundreds of beginning farmers and ranchers to access land and financing and build sustainable businesses. His distinguished 23-year career in farmer education and advocacy includes stints with Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and CA Certified Organic Farmers.

His accomplishments include running the Lighthouse Farm Network ­– where farmers gathered monthly in 14 California counties to share information; helping to develop national organic production standards; and consulting in rural economic development in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

This promotion, with the support of the entire board, is a natural evolution for FarmLink, and for Knox. Known for his strengths as an organizer, team builder, program developer, and farm business consultant, he brings a high level of expertise in a wide variety of service areas, including farm leases, land transactions, organic production and certification, finance, farmland protection, resource conservation, and economic options for farmers.

“Reggie has the right combination of skills and experience to take California FarmLink forward,” says Board member and social entrepreneur Jeffrey Westman, who has been assisting with the transition. “I’m honored and excited to be part of CFL's evolution into a stronger, more diversified organization. I look forward to working closely with Reggie and the rest of the FarmLink team, helping to support family farming and the conservation of farmland in California.” Westman will continue to work closely with Knox, and is spearheading a multi-faceted fundraising campaign that will include reaching out to businesses and foundations, and some surprise events showcasing California’s most intriguing food, wine, and visual arts talent.

The board and staff are grateful to Board Chairman Brett Melone, who served for the past two months as Interim Executive Director.

For more information, contact Reggie Knox at 831/425-0303 or Jeffrey Westman at 707/477-5367,