Theme: Eco Farm

News From the Farm | January 27, 2020

A group of us were at the Ecological Farming Conference last week and many were involved in presentations on quite a range of subjects — Hannah and Dru Muller were facilitators of a day-long session on Women/Womxn in Food and Agriculture; Paul Muller participated in a series of workshops exploring reduced and targeted tillage as a way to minimize soil disturbance; Hannah Muller described her use of social media to tell the story of her love of flowers and floral arranging; Jenna Muller talked with attendees about the Environmental Mediation Center; and Judith Redmond moderated a panel on issues in national organic policy. Full Belly’s Harvest Manager, Jan Velilla, presented at a workshop posing the somewhat leading question:  “Biodiversity or Sterility: Which Ensures Safe Food?”  Reflections on the past, present and future of organic farming continued throughout, as well as deep discussions about challenges to the integrity of the organic label. African American, American Indian and a Quecha farmer shared their stories. All the Full Belly kids got to enjoy EcoFarm, as well.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 29, 2018

Last week, farmers from Full Belly as well as from several other Capay Valley farms, left their winter farm work behind and got together for the Ecological Farming Association’s (EFA) 38th annual EcoFarm Conference.  With workshops organized around 12 themes (like ‘Soil, Roots, Water’ or ‘Activist, Policy and Community’), there was an impressive line-up of activities to choose from, not to mention old and new friends to walk with on the beach where the waves were crashing so powerfully that they could be heard all over the sprawling grounds.

The conference, which now attracts well over a thousand people from far and wide, has its roots in a small gathering in 1981 in Winters California, 11 years after the first Earth Day and 8 years after several farmers sitting around a kitchen table formed California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).  Several years later, EFA was founded and Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm served as an early Executive Director.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 30, 2017

During the rainy season, in those years when there IS rain, there is a constant conversation about soil conditions at Full Belly as the tractor-driving farmers hope for a window, even if only for a day or two, when the soil has dried out enough to plant spring crops. This week, Monday and Tuesday promise to be those days, although the soil is still quite wet if you check a few inches down.  While we may not be able to cultivate out our weeds and lift new beds, we do have lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale and fennel transplants that are well-overdue for planting.  We also have beds that are still covered with plastic mulch.  Our plan is to hand-plant into the plastic mulch.  If we are able to get some light machinery into the fields we may try to deal with the weeds and do some additional planting.

Several of us went to the annual Ecological Farming Conference last week, for both education and inspiration — a wonderful gathering of practitioners from many fields.  Co-Owner Paul and a dedicated crew of shepherds stayed home to keep an eye on our herd of mama sheep giving birth to lambs earlier than expected.  As of today we already have 50 baby lambs. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | Week of January 27, 2014

There is a significant amount of sand hiding in the cuff of my pants, or rather there was. It is now a lone little dune on the floor of my yurt after I unfolded the cuff while unpacking my bags from the annual Eco-farm conference held every year in Pacific Grove. I was wearing these pants during a rain dance we did on the beach. At the end of the conference a number of us attendees gathered in front of the ocean to ask for rain. Please. Drought being the great equalizer, we dancers came from all different backgrounds; farmers, scientists, sustainable food advocates, farm educators, random passersby, and many others. Dance with us if you can, or sing, or just clap, but please focus on gentle penetrating rain, on the squishy feeling of mud between your toes, on the smell of wet soil, on jumping in a creek on a hot day, on full rivers that allow salmon to race upstream, on whatever brings to mind the feeling of moisture. Wet, juicy thoughts as we reminded ourselves throughout the dancing. 

The workshops available to the eager minds at this conference ranged in topics from irrigation basics to setting up a local food commons. There were discussions on dry farming, how to handle live stock in ways that keep them happy and stress free, and regenerative farming to encourage healthy salmon runs. It was an inspiring amount of information, but for me the most compelling part was the recognized need to farm from a more holistic approach, an undercurrent reminding us to learn and work with the ecology of the farm environment that we are working in to produce good food, and the often unintentional positive side effects that those healthy farm environments have on the larger community.  [Read more…]