Calaveras Grown Program
Farming in the foothills of California is a challenging way of life. With the Sierra on one side and the lush Central Valley on the other, the oak woodland of the foothills offers a unique landscape for farming operations. The moderately fertile to poor soils provide for a variety of commodities ranging from livestock on dry rangeland, fruit and nut orchards and vineyards on deeper soils, and annual fruit and vegetable crops in between. Most farms in the Sierra Nevada foothills are small operations. With an ever-increasing supply of commodities from other countries, many farmers are feeling financial pressure and those on smaller farms even more. Small operations that don’t have the money to market their products through commercial channels are usually the first to go under. However marketing in a small community can have its advantages. Many consumers have come to realize the benefits of buying local products. Food which has not traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles will be fresher, riper, tastier and more nutritious.
What Has ANR Done?
We provided the leadership and expertise to organize and launch this new program. By obtaining grant funding we were able to develop a logo and numerous marketing materials. We helped the group gain their non-profit status. We have organized and presented three educational conferences. We have written and recorded 52 weekly educational radio programs supporting the organization.
Calaveras Grown Helps the Local Economy
Local markets now carry locally produced items bearing the Calaveras Grown logo. Calaveras Grown, which now has about 60 members, has become the predominant agricultural organization and educator. Growers have increased profitability. Four producers have developed new niche products to market under the Calaveras Grown logo.
Ken R. Churches
UC Cooperative Extension
891 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249