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,

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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,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Full Season Apprentices Soil Born Farms Sacramento, CA

We are accepting applications for the 2012 season. The apprenticeship runs from March 1 to November 1.

The goal of the apprenticeship program at Soil Born Farms is to provide a training ground for aspiring farmers by teaching the basic concepts and practical applications of organic food production. This experience is contextualized within Soil Born Farm's work using agriculture as a platform to tie Food Systems into the larger social issues of food security, social justice, and public health.

Apprentices are exposed to all aspects of food production. They learn about propagation, irrigation, soil management, harvesting, marketing and many other related skills through a combination of hands-on learning and structured classes. Apprentices work and live on the American River Ranch, a 25-acre ranch utilizing field-scale agricultural techniques. At some point during the season, they also have the opportunity to work on our smaller Farm on Hurley Way, a 1.5 acre market garden, applying hand-scale bio-intensive gardening methods. Produce is distributed to several outlets in the county of Sacramento including an on-site farm stand, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and retail and restaurant sales. Additionally a significant portion of our produce is sold or donated to low income residents. This program is an educational experience but it is also a working Apprenticeship, applicants should be prepared to work hard and commit themselves to the task of running a farm.

Housing: Canvas tents with access to shared kitchen, living room and bathroom.

Compensation: Food from the farm (vegetables, eggs, dairy, etc), modest allotment for supplementary foodstuff and compensation for a portion of hours worked on the farm.

More information and application available at:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

California Farm Academy in Winters now accepting applications!

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!

NRCS Conservation Programs Deadline Fast Approaching

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for assistance through Nov. 18, 2011

Jonathan Groveman (530) 792-5692
Alan Forkey (530) 792-5653

DAVIS, Calif., October 19, 2011—For those farmers, ranchers, forestry landowners and Tribes who are interested in applying for Fiscal Year 2012 Farm Bill conservation program-financial assistance, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has set Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, as the application cutoff for ranking consideration.

This deadline includes all California Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and existing Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) project priorities. The deadline for NRCS’s National Initiatives (EQIP Organic, High Tunnels, Energy and Air Quality) will be provided at a later date.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that supports agricultural productivity and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive technical and financial assistance to implement projects that address resource concerns such as water conservation and water and air quality.

WHIP is a voluntary program for private landowners who want to develop or improve wildlife habitat on private farms and ranch lands. It provides both technical and financial assistance to help establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

AWEP is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality. As part of EQIP, AWEP operates through program contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements.

For additional information, landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at