Theme: sustainability

News From the Farm | January 9, 2017

A note about our ‘Stop Waste’ boxes

Welcome back to Full Belly veggies!  We hope that you had some wonderful meals during our holiday rest.  We are excited to be your fruit and vegetable farmers for 2017.  We appreciate all of you who are continuing members, as well as all of you who are trying out a Full Belly CSA box for the first time.  We have had a lot of rain and some nice cold weather over the last few weeks, so our fields are muddy, slowing down the process of getting your veggies out of the field, to be washed, and packed.  You may notice that the cold weather brings out the sweetness in our greens and carrots.

One of the chores of our winter break every year, is to collect and count our inventory of ‘Stop Waste’ CSA boxes.  For our members who have been with us for awhile, the hard plastic green boxes that we pack your vegetables in, are old friends.  We call them our Stop Waste boxes, because they are an alternative to the ubiquitous waxed cardboard boxes, usually used to pack produce, that go straight to the landfill after use.  But the hard plastic boxes are expensive — we paid $12.25 for each one when we first purchased them in 2013, so we try to encourage all of our members, including those who get home delivered veggies, to make sure that all of the boxes are returned to the farm. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 28, 2016

Much of the rich diversity and prosperity of California’s remarkable agricultural landscape came from the efforts of immigrants. Men and women settlers who came, occupied a landscape that was incredibly rich in an abundance of resources—cheap land, deep fertility of remarkable soils, abundant water, a sparsely settled landscape, along with oil, gold, fish, timber and rich grasslands. They undertook a vast harvest of timeless wealth with the energy of new converts to a religion of abundance. Hard work enabled so much harvest.

My father was one such immigrant, as were my mother’s parents, emigrating from Switzerland to California where opportunities seemed limitless. My father immigrated after the war and first worked in the Redwood forests of Northern California, felling what he called ‘beautiful giants’.  He and my mother went on to establish a successful dairy in part of “the Valley of the Hearts Delight” – the Santa Clara Valley – now Silicon Valley. The cows left as the silicon moved in… By 1968 most of the cows were gone and the fabric of the native landscape torn and forgotten.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 4, 2015

Agriculture Climate Benefits Act 

Climate change, and unusual weather may fall with a heavy hand on California agriculture: more frequent and more severe droughts; less water storage in the Sierra snowpack; increased pests and invasive species; heat waves; and reduced chill hours for fruit trees… all of which translate into fewer Full Belly peaches in your boxes? Yes, the peaches may be a problem, but because Full Belly is so diverse, we will try to pick up the slack with more melons and tomatoes.

Setting the Full Belly specifics aside for a moment, people who think a lot about climate change talk about “ADAPTATION” — learning to live with it and reduce our vulnerability – and “MITIGATION” – figuring out how to limit the magnitude and rate of climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. 

In agriculture, we have to do both – and our CSA members can help us.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 30, 2015

One of the things that we have been committed to experimenting with in the last few years is reduced tillage on our farm – in other words, fewer tractor passes through our fields and less turnover of the soil. Among other things, we normally use tractors to cultivate out weeds, turn under our cover crops and make beds ready for planting after we have disked a field. There are two ways that we are thinking about reducing the use of tractors and soil turnover.  One is using black poly mulch on our beds and the other is using our cover crops as mulch. The former has proven itself to have been an interim success, while the latter is our ultimate hope and long-term strategy.  

The use of poly mulch on the surface of our beds started about three or four years ago, despite our immense dislike of plastic.  We trialed it in our early tomato plantings, and what we quickly realized was that the plastic cover significantly reduced our energy and water use.  Petroleum comes in many different forms, plastic is one, but diesel fuel is another.  Even after the first time we used the plastic, it was clear to us that we were seeing several big benefits with regard to energy, water and soil/plant health. [Read more…]


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Full Belly Farm has been awarded the 2014 California Leopold Conservation Award. We hope to use this opportunity as a way to deepen the conversation about land stewardship and conservation in agriculture.  

Full Belly recognized for Excellence in Reusable Packaging!

July 14, 2014

We were so grateful to be recognized by the Reusable Packaging Association with an Excellence in Reusable Packaging award for our awesome CSA boxes! These boxes have helped us avoid 6.54 tons of cardboard waste per year, which results in an annual reduction of 34.1 tons of greenhouse gas emissions! Hooray! To make sure that we can continue to be as environmentally responsible as possible, please return your box to your CSA site! 

New Stop Waste CSA Box

Full Belly CSA members who didn’t get a box last week may have missed our newsletter article about the new boxes.  It is still available on the Full Belly website (  We ask that you leave these boxes at your pick-up site and do not take them home with you!

Dear Beet,

This weeks article regarding the new Stop Waste CSA Box is long overdue. Having been a long time CSA person, I (we, my family) learned very early on to bring our own reusable canvas bags. In the beginning, we found we’d forgotten to bring back our wax boxes, and would find ourselves bringing back 2, 3 or 4 at a time, and while they were returned, they often sat out in the rain, and their reuse was diminished. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | Week of July 15, 2013

We hope that you like the new Stop Waste CSA Box that we have put into use this week! The goal of replacing the waxed cardboard boxes that we have been using is to eliminate the waste of sending them to the landfill.

Most produce is shipped from farms in single use containers. The predominant container is a waxed box, the wax being necessary because un-waxed boxes will not hold up stacked on a pallet when they are full of wet and iced produce. Waxed boxes cannot be recycled and are rarely composted. They generally end up in the landfill.

For farmers markets and many restaurants, Full Belly packs our boxes into permanent plastic totes, so why not do that for our CSA members as well? The trick will be that since every Stop Waste CSA Box is worth $12, every CSA member will have to return the box faithfully, but preferably leave it at their pick-up site. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 11, 2013

Sometimes Seeing the Beauty

There is an eye with which we experience the world, an interaction between the object perceived and the observer. Often times two people looking at the same object or event can see very different things. It is a Confucius-like allusion that could be stated as: “What you see depends upon where you look,” or “how you look depends upon where you go,” or even “what you see depends upon how you know to see.”  An eye trained with experience and wisdom might see an object or situation differently than a younger one trained in the same discipline. If  ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ we may develop a collective eye for what is considered beautiful, or the appreciation of beauty may be as varied as cultures, sensibilities or each perceiver. 

We had our Open Farm Day this weekend and had about 150 farm-curious come by to take a wagon ride, see the farm, have their kids run around, and/or listen to one of the partners squawk about fields, fruit trees, hedgerows for pollinator habitat or farm fertility. These subjects are not so glamorous, but are beautiful from our perspective, as we witness the complex textures of nature and the myriad forms of life that we are entrusted to consider as we go about the act of producing and exporting food from this land. No doubt, each visitor was looking at the farm and seeing the peach bloom, flower fields, and green crops of broccoli or spinach through their own lenses of appreciation, while the tour helped to inform what they were seeing.

[Read more…]