UCCE Marin County 2013 Annual Report
University of California
UCCE Marin County 2013 Annual Report

Agricultural Sustainability

Ellie Rilla, Community Development Advisor
Juliet Braslow, Program Coordinator
Paige Phinney, Program Coordinator

Program Summary

The "Grown in Marin" program helps strengthen the viability and long-term success of agriculture in Marin by assisting farmers and ranchers with business and crop diversification. This program is made possible with the support of the County of Marin and the Marin Board of Supervisors.

Calling the Marin Food Policy Council back into action

The Marin Food Policy, after being dormant since 2005, was reconstituted to take up the task of improving Marin’s food system.  In collaboration with Marin Health and Human Services, the Agricultural Institute of Marin, and Council members, we are developing beneficial policies that improve access and production of healthy food for all members of the Marin community.  This call to action picks up where the Council left off with its efforts to shape  the Agriculture and Food Element of the 2007 Marin Countywide Plan Update.  Many of the policies advanced by the Council for the Update were included and have been implemented.   Current focus for the Food Policy Council includes integrating with Marin’s Healthy Eating Active Living implementation plan through the advancement of policies that support increased participating in CalFresh and the removal of barriers to expanding community and school gardens.  The Council’s resources, including meeting agendas, notes, and policy recommendations, are available online.

Kinsey presents to MG_cropped

Uniting around local
In partnership with the Agricultural Institute of Marin and a wonderful steering committee comprised of Marin ranchers and farmers, we kicked-off the Grown Local united campaign.  The campaign was a need expressed by agricultural producers during the 2010 Marin Agricultural Summit, as a way to communicate and connect with consumers around Marin produced agricultural goods.  More than 25 ranchers and farmers signed up during the first year of the two-year pilot, with many more requesting applications.  Additionally, plans are being made for including retail partners in the program.

Grown Local_True Grass

The Next Generation and Getting Started in Farming and Ranching
ON-Farm Innovations_cropped
Our Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator and Community Development Advisor combined forces to create new resources that support the next generation of Marin farmers and ranchers.  This included two factsheets – “Getting Started Farming and Ranching in Marin” and "Community Food Systems: Resources & Information for the North Bay.”  They also partnered with Marin Organic to bring educational workshops on Agricultural Innovations.  These efforts are helping in the transition and hand-off of farms and ranches from the current generation to the next up-and-coming farmers and ranchers.

Figuring out which wheat varieties grow and bake well
Our team partnered with the North Coast Grain Growers Association and Organic Seed Alliance to test different wheat varieties of in Marin, Sonoma, and Humboldt Counties.  This effort was supported with funding from the California Wheat Commission.  In addition to tracking the productivity of eight different varieties in the field, grain from each of the varieties were submitted to the California Wheat Commission’s test kitchen and to local bakers to see which wheat did best in the oven.  Preliminary results are being shared with area farmers to help them in their selection of wheat varieties and a second trial is underway to explore additional types and build a production seed bank.
Wheat trial

Testimonials

Juliet was instrumental in helping us layout our apple orchard.  The trees are doing great and that is due to her knowledge and help.” 
- Tamara Hicks, Toluma Farms

Important things for Marin’s farmers and ranchers are happening because of Cooperative Extension and the Farm Advisor’s efforts.” 
- Janet Brown, Allstar Organics

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu