Thursday, February 26, 2015

Invitation to Sustainable Small Farm Summit, Mar 18-21, [FREE & ONLINE]

Join other farmers on March 18-21 for the upcoming FREE online Sustainable Small Farm Summit, an exciting gathering of 18 farmers and activists who are coming together to share valuable insights into the often neglected business side of farming. The goal is to support new farmers and people transitioning into farming to become even more effective at creating financially viable farms. New farmers, wanna-be farmers & farmer-curious people- join this webinar!

If you haven’t done so yet, click here to register for free. It’s best to do this now, so you can see the schedule and mark the sessions you’d like to attend. Registering also gives you access to 48-hour free replays. Yes, there will be an OPTIONAL upgrade package available for purchase if the 4 days of free interviews leave you wanting more.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Soil Born Farms is seeking full-season farm apprentices for the 2015 season!!!

The apprenticeship runs from March 3 to October 31.

The goal of the apprenticeship program at Soil Born Farms is to provide training for aspiring farmers by teaching the basic concepts and practical applications of organic food production.  At Soil Born Farms, organic food production is a piece of the broader work of the organization, tying food systems into the larger social issues of food security, social justice, and public and ecological health.

This full-time apprenticeship is designed for people who want to pursue a career in sustainable “specialty crop production” or mixed fruit and vegetable farming.  Interested applicants can apply with an intention to participate in only the first-year apprenticeship, but the ideal candidate will be interested in pursuing the second-year apprenticeship as well.  Apprentices are exposed to all aspects of food production through hands-on field work (40-45 hours/week), formal classes on sustainable crop production farm business skills (30-35 hours total), monthly readings and discussions, and monthly regional farm tours.  Three positions are available each season for Second-Year Apprentices, taking on increased responsibility at either the American River Ranch or the Farm on Hurley Way. 

Required Qualifications:
     Ability to commit to a full-time eight-month apprenticeship, from March through October.  Late arrivals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
     Commitment to sustainable agriculture
     Strong interest in pursuing a career in farming or community food systems
     Interest in working in a physically-demanding position in all kinds of weather
     Ability to lift at least 50 lbs.

Preferred Qualifications:
     An interest in pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture in the Sacramento region
     Some experience working or volunteering on farms and/or doing outdoor manual labor

Housing & Compensation:
10’x10’ canvas platform tents with access to kitchen, living room and bathroom shared between the five apprentices.  Apprentices will receive a stipend for a portion of the hours worked on the farm.  Staff eat together daily during the work week to eat a prepared lunch.  Apprentices will also receive food from the farm (vegetables, eggs, etc) and a stipend for supplementary food.

Start date: March 3, 2015

More information and application available at:

Contact with questions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hi friends and gardeners:

Our Intermediate Home Gardener course is launching this weekend, and it’s going to be amazing!  Focusing on garden ecology, perennials, and creating a healthy, diverse garden to increase your bounty and make your thumb greener, it’s a great excuse to spend Saturday mornings at this beautiful farm with your hands in the soil.

We want to fill this course, but we have a ways to go!  Would you help us by forwarding this to the gardeners in your life? 

Thank you so much, and happy gardening!

Sarah Barnes
Education Coordinator
Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project

Farmers and ranchers have until February 27 to sign up for nation’s largest federal conservation program!

February 3, 2015, Washington, DC – With a February 27 deadline approaching, farmers and ranchers in California have only a few weeks to apply to enroll in the federal Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

CSP rewards producers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce on their working agricultural lands; all private agricultural land, including cropland, pasture, and rangeland, is eligible to enroll in CSP.  For example, CSP contract-holding farmers can receive payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming.

Details on this year’s program are available for free in an Information Alert published this  week by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  Farmers and ranchers must submit initial applications to their local NRCS office by Feb 27 to have their applications considered for 2015.  Applications will be scored and ranked based on farmers’ current and planned on-farm conservation activities, and the applications offering the highest level of environmental benefits will be awarded CSP contracts.

CSP contract holders that enrolled in 2011 are now in the final year of their five-year contract and are therefore eligible to renew for another five years.  Initial requests to renew must be submitted to local NRCS offices by March 31.

CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage and is widely popular among farmers and ranchers.  Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Great Opportunity! Tell Your Story - Sell Your Products: Bay Area Market Tour for Farmers

Are you interested in selling your produce to wholesale buyers but not sure how? The produce distribution industry is mobilizing to meet consumer demand to “know your farmer” and needs well--prepared farmers to work with.

Join us on a tour of wholesale markets, retailers, and food hubs to meet buyers interested in supporting small farms. You’ll make valuable contacts, learn the requirements for wholesale-ready sales, and learn how to help your story travel with your products all the way from farm to fork. Tours are all day, with a light breakfast and lunch provided.

February 18, 2015: San Francisco Bay Area Markets
*This tour is specifically for Southeast Asian farmers in the Fresno area.
To register for the tour, contact Michael Yang,
UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County, (559) 241-7523 or
Tour stops will include: Pacific Rim Produce (wholesaler), San Francisco Specialty (distributor), Cal Dining (university food service), And more (retailer)

February 24, 2015: San Francisco Bay Area Markets
*North Bay growers can board the bus at several locations to be determined.
To register for the Bay Area tour, visit
Tour Stops will include: SF Wholesale Produce Market (several wholesalers and distributors), The FruitGuys, Cal Dining (university food service), And more (food hub)

Visit UC SAREP’s website for more information on the tour program and resources for selling wholesale
This tour is hosted by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and UC Cooperative Extension (Marin County and Fresno County).

See you on the bus!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Specialty Crop Institute      Western Nevada College      NV Dept of Agriculture      Resources               
WNC Specialty Crop Institute presents 
Beyond CSA: Online Marketing & Sales Workshop
Saturday, March 7
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
WNC Fallon Campus, Virgil Getto Hall
160 Campus Way, Fallon
$25 Early Bird - $35 after March 1
Registration required - Lunch included

CSAs, also known as community supported agriculture, have long been a favorite direct marketing tool for family farms. CSAs had their beginnings in the 1980s with farmers selling "shares" to community members. Today's consumers want choice and flexibility. Learn how to increase sales and retain customers by creatively marketing your CSA online.

Topics include: 
  • How to develop a consumer-friendly CSA with personalized shares
  • How to improve customer retention rates
  • The benefits of collaborative sales with other farms
  • How to involve businesses in community supported agriculture
  • What is required to set up a website and shopping cart
Randy & Chris Treichler have owned and managed Star Hollow Farm in southern Pennsylvania since 1992. They sell through their online CSA, farmers market and restaurants. For the past decade, they have been mastering their online CSA that offers produce in addition to cheese, honey and products from other local farms. Randy earned a Masters Degree in International Agricultural Development at the University of California, Davis.

Jennifer Ott is project manager for the High Desert Farming Initiative at University of Nevada, Reno, a collaboration between the university and community groups. She received her Masters degree in Business from UNR. Jennifer has diverse experience with project management, marketing and business counseling for startup enterprises.

Past Workshops
Commercial Berry Production, December 2014

High desert berry and orchard production expert Brent Black captivated a crowd of more than 50 producers at the workshop in Carson City. Brent hails from Utah State University where he focuses on new cultivars, alternative fruit crops and system sustainability. Berry production looks promising for Nevada and could prove to be "berry" lucrative!
Upcoming Events
March 28 - Hoop House Production Workshop, Yerington

April 18 - Build a Website for Your Farm, Fallon

Visit our website for details. 


WNC Specialty Crop Institute | 775-423-7565 ext. 2260 | |

Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.