Theme: community partners

News from the Farm | February 12, 2024

Today’s Farm News covers two small ways you can get involved to help combat food insecurity. It’s a huge, complicated problem, but that means that any measures to chip away at it are important.

First, our CSA donation program. We’ve gotten a few inquiries recently, thus wanted to explain how it currently works! On a week that you don’t want a box, you have the option to donate or skip. Skipping means we move the box to the end of your schedule, or to a date you’ve specified. When you donate your box, the value of the box (or flowers, or whatever you’ve donated) goes into our Good Food Community Fund. When it comes time to set up donation boxes, we pull from the Fund. We don’t make the box and then donate it, thus why we need as much advance notice for skips and donations. We also have a few particularly generous CSA members who make separate donation payments just to the fund.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 16, 2023

We appreciate everyone checking in to see how we’re doing. We’ve gotten a lot of water, 16 inches since January 1, and some strong winds, but we’re doing fine. Our crew was able to get to and from work without incident and we finished up early each day to get everyone home where they could take off their rain gear and boots and dry out and warm up. Shorter days does mean less pay, but that’s better than no work, as was the case at some other farms. The delivery drivers were able to safely navigate the roads and drop off produce and CSA orders, and our three farmers market teams had safe, successful, though not dry, days. There are some very soggy areas of the farm, and little rivers and waterfalls all around the Capay Valley that normally aren’t there, but no damage here. There were many flooded roads in Yolo County and some temporary closures on Highway 16, and plenty of people taking advantage of the sandbag supplies at the local fire stations. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 30, 2022

This week’s News from the Farm is from guest writer Dave Runsten, Senior Policy Analyst, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Dave and CAFF are long-time friends of Full Belly and advocates for farms like ours in Washington and Sacramento. We appreciate the great work that they do on our behalf and hope that you’ll support them (and us) by participating in their campaign. The images are some examples of the great artwork that recent farm guests with the Art & Ag Project from Yolo Arts shared with us. The top watercolor is from Johanna Pack and the bottom from is from Elly Gould.

The Drought and Small Farmers: #Don’t Let Small Farms Dry Up!

Like Full Belly Farm, there are many small farms in California that produce food for local communities. These are the thousands of farms at farmers’ markets, running CSAs and farm stands, and selling to restaurants. This group includes most beginning farmers, immigrant farmers, and farms run by people of color. Most of these farms are dependent on groundwater for food safety or because they are located outside irrigation districts. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 23, 2021

Recently transplanted broccoli for the fall, grown in soil like we’ve always done  —  

We wear many different hats here at the farm. Each partner tries to embody their ideal and spirit of being activist farmers on top of our day-to-day work. There is an underlying sensibility that comes from the simple act of growing food and making a farm into a living, breathing, productive whole. We have been active in the Organic Food movement for over 40 years as our effort to solve for a pattern of health: in rural communities, in order to eliminate toxic pesticides from farms, in order to make safer workplaces for farmers and farm workers, and in order to supply better, safer food for those consuming what we produce. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 1, 2021

We are so happy to have had rain — and we are hoping for more, much more.  This week’s storm is just a start on what the land needs.  We woke up last Tuesday morning to frosty and freezing scenery, and a few days later the beautiful sight of a ribbon of snow snaking along the tops of the western hills.  Farmers love weather, and this was a big weather week.  As the snow melted, the report came that the snow melt could be seen running down the hills and into the Creeks on the Valley floor. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 19, 2020

Arrayed on the table are 6 butternut, 1 delicata (a squirrel ate the big one), 3 kabocha (1 other became a pie and a main course), and 19 acorn squashes.  All are volunteers from Full Belly squash seeds in the compost (bin on the right) that grew when compost was strewn over the garden beds.  Thank you, Full Belly, for providing us not just with winter squash, but with a Squash Dynasty!  Oh, behind the table?  That’s Paul, who tends the garden and never plants squash. (Story & photo by member Helen Gerken)

Shortly before Full Belly Farm became part of my life I was the Executive Director of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF).  Even after I became a co-owner of Full Belly – before I was forced to admit that the farm was pretty much a 100-percent kind of lifestyle – I tried to do both — split the week between Full Belly and then CAFF. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 4, 2020

Our friend Nate Norris, the Chef de Cuisine at Zuni Café was one of the first restauranteurs to contact Full Belly after the shelter in place started and Zuni closed its doors to the public.  Nate was thinking about how farmers and restaurants might cooperate to respond to the crisis.  Zuni Café, located in a unique and historic triangular 1913 building on Market Street in San Francisco, was established in 1979 and has long been an outstanding example of classic meals, a warm and convivial atmosphere, and a beloved neighborhood gathering place.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 18, 2019

Hello Fellow CSA Members,

As the year draws to an end, it is once again time for a report from the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC) which provides free integrative health services to low-income women who are living with a diagnosis of cancer. The produce boxes donated each week by Full Belly Farm and its CSA members who donate a skipped vacation box or add a box when they renew are visible manifestation of support and kindness, and they are received with joy. 

Earlier this year CMC moved into a beautiful, welcoming new space. The rooms are light, airy, and bright with color. During each shift, when they arrive for their acupuncture, bodywork, herbal healing, or other services, CMC clients can pick up fresh FBF produce to take home for themselves and their families.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 29, 2019

We have benefitted tremendously from our Full Belly internship program which brings energetic, positive and inquisitive young people from all over the world to the farm to learn about sustainable agriculture. The benefits go beyond a great work team and into the realm of life-long friendships. Yuma moved on from the farm last week. He hails from Japan and is going to be at UC Davis for a couple of months — but that feels like a long way away after 15 months of working and living together.  

Deeper Significance in the CSA Boxes

We are writing to introduce you to Mary Cherry, who is helping to start Family Harvest Farm, a 3.5 acre urban farm that will be located in Pittsburg, California.  The farm will employ transition age foster youth and teach them to grow organic produce, along with other skills.  Family Harvest Farm is still getting off the ground, and in the meantime Mary has been busy organizing cooking classes for youth using facilities available through the Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP). [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 19, 2018

I am a volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic. We provide free holistic health services and produce donated by Full Belly Farm to low-income women living with a diagnosis of cancer. Over the past years, I have written several columns from my perspective as a volunteer and long-time Full Belly Farm member, thanking the Full Belly Farm community and encouraging members to contribute to the Good Food Community Fund that supports the donations. 

This year I asked CMC clients, staff, and volunteers for their comments about the program. Here’s some of what they had to say:  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 24, 2018

Excerpts from graduation address to the 7th California Farm Academy class on the steps of the state Capitol, Autumn Equinox 2018.

I want to talk a little bit about why I feel blessed to be a farmer. I have always loved and still love being outside, nurturing things as they grow.  Taking care of crops is a form of connection with things that are real and honest — the challenge of pests, the effort of weeds, the anticipation of seeds. It is a true blessing to have work that includes a connection to Nature.

Another way that I love farming and can recommend it, is that I enjoy the Full Belly Farm community.  Both the interns and the year-round crew have taught me a lot over the years, including a lot of the Spanish that I know. Speaking Spanish made my visits to Mexico more meaningful, not to mention the fact that Spanish is pretty useful for living in California, not just for visiting Mexico!  Being a farmer in California is a bicultural experience, with many farms employing a majority of Spanish-speakers and operating in Spanish much of the time.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 10, 2018

This weekend I want to share a few thoughts about farmland under threat because many of us from Full Belly Farm will be at the annual Yolo Land Trust event, called “Day in the Country,” on Sunday 9/9. We have been involved in this event for many years now with Full Belly owner Paul Muller doing a spectacular job of organizing several dozen restaurants, breweries, wineries and farms to attend and serve their favorite Yolo County-sourced dish to the guests.  The event is an important fundraiser for the Land Trust. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 2, 2018

We are in the first week of a beautiful spring – warm temperatures, soil drying, pears blooming snow white, the pink peach blossoms finishing while the oaks, willows and walnuts that are woven into the farm are bursting with a myriad of greens.

We are busy planting the first tomatoes, beans, squash, and corn – summertime treats that are a couple of months away. We have also been busy these past few weeks with some work that takes us away from the farm. Judith is working with a group called the Organic Farmers Association to advocate politically for Organic farmers; Dru is tending to the Ecological Farmers Association; Andrew is steeped in the work of the Marin Farmers Market; and I had an opportunity to meet with a group of leaders last week in Vermont to talk about the future credibility of the Organic farming movement.  This group is coming together and is proposing an add-on label to organic certification called, at this time, the Real Organic Project. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 27, 2017

Full Belly Farm has donated 5 CSA boxes per week to the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC) since 1992.  This program is sustained through the generosity of our CSA members who donate their boxes when they leave town, or purchase an extra box during the holidays, as a gift. We have little bit of additional information about this program on our web site

This year, Full Belly is donating $5 to CMC for every Yarn Gift Box, Sampler Gift Box or Wreath purchased by our CSA members through Thanksgiving. That donation of $400 worth of produce will supplement the donations of CSA members. 

This week, we heard from one of the CMC volunteers and decided to share her note with you. [Read more…]

Tule Elk in the Capay Valley

This beautiful photo is from a group of tule elk that live in the Capay Valley and are under study by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. DFW is monitoring the elk population’s size, movements and demography, and they use melons from Full Belly to feed and briefly trap the elk so that they can collar them.  The Cache Creek herd is the oldest free ranging tule elk herd in California and was established in 1922 with 21 elk from Monterey County.

News From the Farm | September 11, 2017

A Day in the Country

Full Belly is very lucky to be surrounded by open space, riparian habitat and native grasslands.  Our County is relatively rural and agricultural, producing processing tomatoes, rice, alfalfa hay, wine grapes, almonds and walnuts.  But not just agricultural — the County is also home to a significant number of rare and threatened plants and animals.

The predominance of open space and agriculture in this region is really not an accident — it’s the result of the efforts over time of people who live here working together to build organizations that support habitat conservation and viable business opportunities for agriculture. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 28, 2017

Why We Farm

Our neighbor Elvira just published a book telling the stories of 15 Capay Valley farms in all their diversity — truck farmers, plant breeders, farms of 3000 acres or 1-acre, conventional and organic. Full Belly is included. 

The challenges faced by the farms and the innovations that they invent make an inspiring set of vignettes. Many of the farmers learned a lot on the job and leaned a lot on advice and assistance from the Capay Valley community of farms. Each of the stories illustrates a solution to the puzzle of putting people, land, and production agriculture together in a way that is sustainable. There’s Charlie Opper, owner of Cache Creek Lavender Farm, who says, “I found a niche and focused on it.”  There’s Grumpy Goats Farm, producing olive oil, and named Grumpy Goats in reference to the two owners “stubbornly butting heads as they make decisions.”  There’s Annie Hehner who says, “When farming by yourself, you have a lot of time to think.  So I think about how I can help build community.”

Find out more about the book, Why We Farm – Farmers’ stories of growing our food and sustaining their businesses, by Elvira Dibrigit here.

“The fight to save family farms isn’t just about farmers. It’s about making sure that there is a safe and healthy food supply for all of us. It’s about jobs, from Main Street to Wall Street. It’s about a better America.” — Willie Nelson

News From the Farm | August 7, 2017

On July 8th, our friends Danny and Drew at Peach Jamboree Farm lost their entire homestead and all of their personal possessions to the destructive and fiery-hot Wall Fire in Oroville California. Danny and Drew were assured that the fire wouldn’t make it to their farm, when suddenly the winds shifted and they had 30 minutes to gather animals and get out of harms way. The wildfire tragically took their house and belongings, their workshop, packing shed, cooler, several other structures and most of their tools and equipment.  The buildings were left as tons of rubble on their land that they now need to clean up.  The fire melted irrigation lines, damaged the electrical system, destroyed the plumbing and torched the native oaks. The buildings were all treasures, built by Carl, a master craftsman and their loss is especially sad to those of us who know the farm well.

Peach Jamboree Farm was known to us previously as Woodleaf Farm, established by our good friend Carl Rosato in 1980.  We know Carl as one of California’s very best organic peach growers and we are among his many students.  In 2015, Carl sold Woodleaf Farm to Danny and Drew so that he could move on to new projects. Carl has continued to mentor Danny and Drew and when he heard the bad news, arrived at the farm to help locate and cap underground irrigation lines that had melted and were creating geysers in the destroyed buildings. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 14, 2016

Guest contribution from our friends at the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)

Healthy soils not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration, but also provide tangible benefits to farmers’ bottom lines, their communities’ health, and the wildlife around them. So wouldn’t it be great if farmers could get paid to improve soil health? Thanks to new groundbreaking legislation, they can.

California is launching a first-of-its-kind program to pay farmers to adopt agricultural practices that enhance soil health and mitigate climate change. The state legislature established the Healthy Soils Program in late August and provided $7.5 million in start-up funding. The program will provide grants to growers for on-farm demonstration projects and soil management practices that provide clear climate benefits such as applying compost, mulching, and planting hedgerows.

img_0945Food “waste,” or food production? [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 7, 2016

As the season of autumn abundance is upon us, I am checking in from the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC), where I have the privilege of working as a volunteer, providing free holistic and integrative healthcare to underserved women who are living with cancer. For the past 25 years, CMC has offered a wide range of holistic services to women who could not otherwise afford them: therapeutic massage and other kinds of bodywork, acupuncture, Chinese and western herbal medicine, exercise classes, as well as referrals to medical and social services. For many of those 25 years, the Full Belly Farm community has delivered produce boxes to CMC though the Farm Box Donation Program.

Women whose lives are often complicated, hectic, and difficult enter a serene healing space that is entirely dedicated to their own health and healing when they arrive at the Clinic. They are greeted by caring, compassionate staff and hot herbal tea.  And the first thing they see when they walk in, is a beautiful display of Full Belly fruits and vegetables, free for the taking. They are always taken – by the end of each shift, the fruits and veggies are gone. [Read more…]