Blog posts by Guest Blogger

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 19, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, grower


Market

Breaking into new markets may seem daunting when other farms grow or raise similar products. I remember trying to navigate this when I was first starting out. There were so many farmers with strong followings who already grew unique varieties that I questioned my ability to make a name for my farm.But that wasn’t the case at all! With a little forethought and planning, I found that there is lots of room for innovation. Don’t be discouraged as the new farmer in town. With a little creativity, there is always a way to set yourself apart from other farms!Here are some things I considered to make...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 5, 2021 on education


Greenhouse seedlings

Extending your farm’s production season—either by getting a jump on an early harvest or by continuing into the winter months—is a great way to bring additional income to the farm. Both early-season or late-season extensions are worth considering. However, if you can offer spring and summer crops before other farms, you will reap more of the benefits. Customers drawn to your early produce are more likely to stick with your stand throughout the entire season. It is much harder to get customers to shop with you once they have already found another source they like. Customers are more excited to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 15, 2021 on education, events


soil

The California Farm Demonstration Network (CDFN) is hosting a four-part series about California soils. This series will feature four speakers, each with extensive knowledge of California agriculture and soils. Speakers will cover various topics, including composting, orchard recycling, soil sampling, testing for microbial dynamics, and more.PART 1 | March 24, 2021 | 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.“What happens to soil properties when you add compost or cover crop?”Meeting RegistrationPART 2 | April 21, 2021 | 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.“What are the benefits of whole orchard recycling, including disease...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 8, 2021 on conservation


The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address high-priority concerns around natural resources. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance–the higher the performance, the higher the payment. The 2021 CSP application deadline is March 26, 2021.Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners expand stewardship activities and receive payments for both their existing conservation...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 1, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, education


collaboration

In my last blog, Delegating Responsibilities to Lighten Your Workload, I discussed strategies for handing off tasks to employees to allow for personal time or exciting work projects.With my extra time, I like to cultivate creative collaborations with other food businesses. These mutually beneficial relationships increase marketing exposure and income for both businesses.Typically, these collaborations arise organically. For instance, I have excess blueberries, and a fellow business owner who I know from the farmers' market makes a product that can utilize blueberries.Benefits of...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on advocacy, food safety, grower

When it comes to U.S. agriculture regulations, one size does not fit all. That was the message that Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and thousands of family farmers delivered ten years ago when the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began hashing out the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Had it not been for that advocacy, FSMA would likely have regulated small family farms the same way it regulates larger corporate growers, and would have buried small farms beneath paperwork.FDA needs to hear the message again. Speak up by February 22!The FDA is again proposing...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 8, 2021 on CCOF Foundation

In my last blog article, Striking a Balance: A Recipe to Become a Happier Farmer, I wrote in depth about how I reflect on the past season in an effort to make time for personal activities, improve my business, and keep my interest and passion in farming. This week, we take a closer look at staffing and how to delegate responsibilities to lighten your workload.As your business grows, so do your responsibilities. During your first year of farming, you likely fulfilled every role­: business planner, farm laborer, marketer, and administrator. This makes sense when you start small and are getting...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 8, 2021 on grower, research

University of California, Davis wants to hear from California dried fruit processors.California is a major producer of dried fruits, and we at UC Davis want to support the production of high-quality dried products. A team of researchers in the Food Science and Technology Department is interested in developing guidance on the best practices to ensure the safety and quality of dried California specialty crops.To support our California dried fruit producers, we need information on the most common industry practices currently being employed for dehydrating. Do you sun dry or use a mechanical...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 1, 2021 on advocacy, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be holding stakeholder meetings in February to solicit feedback from the public and agricultural stakeholders on farmer- and rancher-led climate solutions that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and enhance biodiversity.“These outreach meetings are essential to ensure we gain information and knowledge from the people who live and work on the land and the organizations that support them,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We want to hear from all those interested in discussing farmer- and rancher-led efforts to help ensure...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 25, 2021 on CCOF Foundation

In my last blog post, "Reflect, Refine, and Refresh for a Long Farming Career," I talked about the importance of setting boundaries between farming and personal life to sustain a farming business over the long haul. This week, I’ll go into more depth on how I reflect on the past season to make time for personal activities, improve my business, and maintain my passion for farming.A simple way to do this is to grab a piece of paper and a pen and list what did work over the past farming season and what didn't.Nothing is too little or too odd to add to the list. The point is to have all of your...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 11, 2021 on CCOF Foundation

I don’t know about you, but, like most of my farmer friends, I’m looking forward to a winter break where production naturally slows or stops and the constant farm workload is reduced. As farmers, we juggle so much. There typically isn’t any time or energy left for thinking about how we could have done better until winter provides us the opportunity. One thing I love about farming is that every year there is an opportunity to make changes and redesign my business. Not many other professions allow for such creativity and challenge. At the end of the season, I reflect on how I feel about farming...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 on events, general organic

The 41st EcoFarm Conference, Reimagining Our Future, will be live online in collaboration with Sierra Harvest, Jan 20–23, 2021, featuring over 50 workshops, intensives, keynotes, Spanish content, a virtual expo, networking, special events, and more! Using a farmer-to-farmer education model, EcoFarm is an essential networking and educational hub for ecologically minded farmers, ranchers, and all who support their success in growing a healthy and just food system and world. Register by Tuesday, December 15 with code reimagine and save $30! There's something for everyone at EcoFarm Conference....
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 14, 2020 on


Farm cat

The bright spot in coronavirus-and-smoke summer was the surprise appearance of a feline family in our backyard. The first things I noticed about Nefertiti were her wide, crazy-looking eyes and her boldness; she came right up to the door and craned her neck to look in, even putting a paw in the sliding doorways of the living room and my brother’s bedroom on a couple of occasions. She seemed wilder than the two orange cats who had visited the prior two summertimes since I had moved to Pinole, a small city with a semirural feel in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I soon recognized...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 7, 2020 on education, general organic, webinar

Are you a farmer or prospective farmer in inland Southern California who wants to learn more about organic farming methods and regulations? Attend the free Zoom workshop, Introduction to Small Scale Organic Farming, on December 15, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., taught by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE).  Topics include UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Program (SAREP) Goals and Resources (Gail Feenstra, director),UC ANR Organic Agriculture Institute (OAI) Goals...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 23, 2020 on events, general organic

The Real Organic Project celebrates nearly 500 farms nationwide and is expanding its educational efforts this winter by inviting farmers and students to attend their Virtual Symposium each Sunday in January from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. PST at a reduced rate, or to view the recorded sessions for free. The 2021 symposium, titled “Can Real Organic Farming Be Saved?” features over 60 leading voices in sustainable agriculture and food, including Al Gore, Vandana Shiva, Leah Penniman, Paul Hawkin, Chanowk Yisrael, JM Fortier, Elliot Coleman, and Dan Barber. Did you know California is the third highest...

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