Friday, May 22, 2015

Upcoming Grant Deadlines for Producers

Value-Added Producer Grants – July 2
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program provides competitively awarded grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, organizations representing agricultural producers, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses. These grants may be used to fund business and marketing plans and feasibility studies or to acquire working capital to operate a value-added business venture or alliance. On May 8th , the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $30 million in funding through the competitive VAPG Program. The deadline to submit paper applications isJuly 7. Electronic applications submitted through are due July 2.

Organic Certification Cost Share Programs – Reimbursement On-going
USDA offers farmers two programs to help defray a portion of the annual costs associated with organic certification: the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program (AMA). Both programs are noncompetitive financial assistance programs that help defray the costs of organic certification and are administered by the National Organic Program (NOP). NOCCSP is available nationally, while AMA is available only in certain states in the northeast and west.
On May 14, the USDA announced the availability of approximately $11.9 million in funding for organic certification cost-share assistance for organic producers and handlers through state departments of agriculture. Payments for certification-related expenses incurred from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015 can reimburse up to 75 percent of an individual producer’s or handler’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per farm certification.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heaven and Earth Farm for lease in Nevada County!

Turn key, complete ready-to-go farm for lease. Heaven and Earth farm comprises 11.5 acres, of which approximately 3.5 acres are in production. The farm is a mixture of wooded areas, grasslands, hillside and bottomland production areas. The farm has been in diversified production since 2000. We grow mixed seasonal vegetables, nursery stock and seedlings, seed, numerous fruits including apples, pears, cherries, plums, figs, mulberries, peaches, nectarines and nuts, 8 vars of table grapes grapes, seed crops, flowers, herbs, chickens, bees, hops, boysenberries, marionberries, ollalieberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, and more. All production uses organic farming principles since the farm was established. We use cover crops extensively, composts both from on farm and purchased, rock minerals, foliar feeding, fertilization, animal protein nitrogen sources. The farm is currently registered organic with the state of California, and is eligible to become certified organic, which will be one of the requirements of the lessee. Soil is a mixture of Class II and Class III bottomland and foothill soils. Irrigation is provided by a 35 GPM well. We utilize limited motorized equipment, predominately relying on hand work with rototillers, hand tillage, backpack sprayers, and other assorted manual tools. The farm is completely equipped for virtually all needs for the production of the crops now on the property. The lessee will have access to all of the equipment, tools and necessary infrastructure. Equipment includes mowers, weed eaters, rototiller, push seeders, motorized backpack sprayer, large array of hand tools, lots of irrigation supplies, propagation supplies, harvest tools, and much more. We have all the equipment for marketing as well including scales, tents, F150 Ford pickup, tables and other materials. The lessee will occupy a small, modern wood heated cabin with kitchen, power and potable water, sleeping loft, outdoor heated shower, covered outdoor composting toilet, wifi and more. The space is very comfortable for one, and two will be cozy. Also there are two small trailers, powered by solar electricity, which have been used for employees or apprentices. The farm has numerous small fields, each individually fenced to exclude deer, rabbits and other critters. The largest area is approximately 1 acre of vegetable ground, bottomland, and the rest are in smaller blocks, mostly flat, some on hillsides. Irrigation is a mixture of mini sprinklers, sprinklers, drip tape, drip emitters, and some dry farmed crops. Currently the well is powered by electricity from PG & E, although we are installing solar panels this winter to offset a portion of the electricity charges. There is a 24’ x 50' double poly unheated greenhouse, with production area for starting seedlings using supplemental heat; approximately half of the house used for seasonal crop production, the other half for seedling production. Most propagating supplies and equipment are available. There is also a 24’ x 50' seasonal hoop house. We have a 8’ x 12’ walk-in refrigeration, dry storage, freezer, and additional storage. The walk-in is equipped with lighting and heat for use as a seed germination chamber, when not used for cooling produce. There is a large, completely equipped outdoor kitchen, used seasonally for production of on farm value-added products, as well as harvest, cleaning and packing of crops. This area has been used by us, employees and apprentices for meal production, processing, gatherings and relaxation. We have nearly all the equipment for preserving foods including juice press, extractors, fermentation supplies, canning equipment, dehydrator, freezer and more. The farm and all the equipment, including a 400 sq ft. cabin and two 20ft trailers are available for lease for the cost of the cabin rental plus shared utilities. It's a deal!

We are willing to share our knowledge as needed including all the basic aspects of how the farm works to date, and encourage ongoing conversation and advice as needed, if you ask for it.. We have extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of running a small farm, food processing, herbal preparations, homesteading skills and much more. We are willing to provide training and advice as needed with all aspects of the farms crop production and overall management. 

Heaven and Earth Farm is located on the San Juan Ridge of Nevada County, California in the Sierra foothills at 2400 feet elevation, between the South and Middle forks of the Yuba River. We are in the zone of transition between oaks and pines, with madrone and manzanita, with long Mediterranean summer and fall, rainy cool to cold winters, and usually rainy spring. The average rainfall is 60 inches, however the range has been between 30 and 115 inches in the last 10 years. We have four distinct seasons. Most years we get little or no rain from early May to mid October. We get occasional snow, 3 to 5 times per year, usually no more than a few inches per snowfall. The Northern Sierras, a vast and beautiful mountain range, is our back yard. Recreation opportunities are huge. The farm is located in a rural area, populated by long-time residents and a mix of long time and new back to the landers. We are 15 miles from the nearest urban area, Nevada City and Grass Valley. The county population is approximately 100,000. We have an extremely active community with social and political diversity. Although the towns are relatively small, they have all of the features of a large city. Where we live on the ridge is much smaller, but it also has an active social and educational scene. If you're interested in social, entertainment and educational opportunities, the list is almost endless. We need a highly motivated, friendly and innovative person(s) to lease this small farm and grow it to its ultimate potential. The successful applicant will have a minimum of two years of organic farming experience, preferably in a management role. We are not able to accommodate recent apprentices or interns, as we need a more experienced farmer. Applicants should have experience in a variety of vegetable and flower production, greenhouse and hoop house, and preferably perennial crops as well. Knowledge and ability to organize a farm work plan, manage interns or employees, market crops, use basic farm equipment and maintain as needed, crop rotation, fertility, pest and weed management, irrigation, bookkeeping skills, record-keeping skills are all essential. Please provide resume, farming references and personal references. We look forward to hearing from you and establishing a great, nourishing, mutually beneficial friendship.

Please contact Liya Schwartzman at to contact landowners. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Updated Manual on Direct Marketing From CASFS

UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) has updated its manual for teaching direct marketing for small farms. 

The second edition of Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructorsbuilds on CASFS’s first training manual of the same title. It is based on CASFS's experience educating more than 1,500 apprentice growers over the course of nearly 50 years in organic production, farm and business planning, direct marketing at a roadside farm stand, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) management through hands-on training.

New features of the 2nd edition include–
• Revised and expanded lecture outlines and resource sections
• New units on labor, food safety, and marketing basics
• New information on social media and on-farm events
• A new focus on business planning for building resilience

Click here to access the online version. Click here for information on how to order a hard copy.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Understanding your Soil Analysis Report
May 28th, 2015, 6:30- 9 PM
Cypress Room, CDRA Building, DeWitt Center, Auburn

Come and learn about
·       Soil terminology
·       Reading your soil analysis report
·       Developing a crop nutrient program based on your soil analysis

Reservations are required as space is limited. Sign up early to reserve your place!
Cost is $10.00 per person and covers refreshments and materials, payable by credit card at Payment is non-refundable.
This workshop is funded by a grant from the USDA Risk Management Agency to help growers reduce farming risks.

Farm Employee Position with Riverhill Farm!

Nevada City, California

One of our employees is going to graduate school this Fall, so we have an opening for a full time employee starting any time, preferably in May.

Riverhill Farm is a thriving, successful twenty-acre farm three miles from Nevada City, California near the canyon of the Yuba River.  The farm is at the end of a dead end road.  It's always quiet, and the farm is teeming with wildlife.  We cultivate ten acres of mixed vegetables and perennial berries, and we’re certified organic.  Our markets include three farmers’ markets, our farm stand at the farm, our local natural foods co-op and local restaurants.  We sell our produce direct to customers through our innovative Friend of the Farm program.  More information about the farm can be found on our website, and you can find photos of the farm via the Riverhill Farm Facebook page.

The term of employment is through the end of the season in December.  For an interested employee, there may also be winter work, and the whole crew restarts employment in March.  Employees are paid hourly (the typical week is a 40-hour work week) and, in rotation with the rest of the crew, one farmers’ market per month on a Saturday.

We pride ourselves on the quality of our produce, the beauty of our farm, and our relationship with our community.  We are a small, tight-knit group working together to bring beautiful produce to our community, and to enhance the lives of our community through healthy food, a healthy and diverse ecosystem, and by maintaining a farm that is open to the public.  Many of our customers have children that have grown up coming to our farm, and those weekly visits to our farm stand encourage a deeper understanding and experience of our dependence on a healthy environment as well as an appreciation of the quality of good, tasty food.

Over the fourteen years that we've been in business, we've constantly adapted to enhance the economic, environmental and social viability of the farm.  We've developed many systems and made many choices about what we grow for the farm to be economically viable and for the work load to be balanced, manageable and productive.  Our sales are strong in the various markets we grow for.  As farm owners, we are fully engaged in the process and products of the farm, and we personally attend all of our farmers' markets in order to maintain a strong relationship with our customers and with our community.

Together with the farm owners, farm employees at Riverhill Farm are involved in:

•    Greenhouse production of transplants;
•    Care of transplants, including thinning, irrigation and fertilization;
•    Field planting;
•    Field cultivation and weeding;
•    Drip installation and irrigation management;
•    Pruning, trellising and other crop maintenance activities;
•    Harvesting and packaging;
•    Record keeping;
•    Farm stand and farmers’ market sales;
•    End of season preparations for winter, including cover cropping.

The preferred applicant will have at least 2 years of experience in agricultural production and be able to demonstrate increasing responsibility over time.  An applicant should be internally motivated to help operate a diversified organic production system, and be able to work independently with close attention to quality and detail.

Applicants should be energetic, physically fit and without significant physical limitation. In order to be successful, applicants should be able to demonstrate experience and knowledge in one or more of these areas: organic seedling production, vegetable crop production and management, cane berry production and management, knowledge of general organic production practices, and experience in direct sales of farm products.  Familiarity with farm machinery and equipment operations is desired but not required.

The preferred applicant must make a commitment for the full term of one season, and will be given preference if he or she is competent to take on increased responsibility for farm operations and management over time, including staying on for multiple years.  Areas of increased responsibility include production planning and management, irrigation management, tractor work, and yearly planning.

Housing is available, and pay is commensurate with experience.  To apply, please send a detailed letter of interest and a complete resume, including at least three professional references, preferably farm related, to

All qualified applicants will receive a reply.  A farm visit is a condition of an offer of employment.

Friday, May 8, 2015

There is one week left to apply for the Farm Manager position with FARM Davis!

If you are a skilled grower of food, if you have a passion for economic equality, if you believe that food is a human right, and if you are transparent in your work so that others may learn from you, we want to meet you. (there are a few other requirements, but those are most important!)

The position is for the summer; to be possibly renewed for next school year.
10 hours / week
$14/hr. (+ bumper produce every week)

Below is a link to the job description. Just send your cover letter and resume to: (Attn: Robyn Waxman)