North Coast Farmers Guild’s Eats & Ideas

GrowKitchen, kitchenIMG_1085

There’s probably no better way to learn more about your food than to meet the farmers who grow it and share a meal with them. The North Coast Young Farmer’s Guild met for their fourth monthly gathering at GrowKitchen in Sebastopol. The guild isn’t confined to just farmers. They welcome “ranchers, milkmaids, food artisans, chefs, butchers and anyone else with a vested interest in the next generation” of good and healthy eats.

farm, garden, GrowKitchen, leaves, lettuce, organicIMG_1076The early evening starts with a mix-and-mingle, kombucha on tap, drinks and nibbles, potluck style. After working a day in the city (Berkeley), we were only too happy to greet the goats in the back, chewing on grass near the organic vegetable garden boxes. The sun set a golden sheen on the outdoors and the smell of burger patties on the grill herded us back in.

GrowKitchen, kitchenIMG_0305There was a cork board welcoming everyone to post their have’s and want’s. A spread of sweet strawberries, leafy greens, a crockpot of rabbit pasta and other dinner fixins brought in by guests sets the tone for the evening’s exchange of ideas. We were in the best company — we ate well and there was no shortage of helpful ideas.

GrowKitchen, kitchen, Nick PapadopoulosIMG_1086Nick Papadopoulos, founder of, introduced a novel online platform calling upon communities to eliminate food waste. Only a portion of produce in the fields reaches supermarket aisles, and the rest – as Papadopoulos coins ‘ugly food’ – is left in the fields. Cropmobster connects farmers with excess produce to other community businesses who help distribute the food and feed more people. There’s obvious synergy in the room as Papadopoulos explains how we’re all in this together, to help each other  – a great segue into Melanie‘s introduction to FarmsReach.

GrowKitchen, kitchenIMG_0322Along the same values as Cropmobster, Melanie introduced the FarmsReach platform and upcoming features for group connections and community information and resource-sharing.  To illustrate how farms can take advantage of the growing FarmsReach community of farmers of all experience levels, Extension advisors and partner organizations, Melanie asked the room to share questions they had ruminating in their minds and how they currently get their questions answered.  As we expected, when one person asked a question, the best answer ended up being a combination of input and ideas from multiple people in the room.  There are many ways to skin a … rabbit, and the most valuable advice clearly comes from more than just one person.  It was a great example of the value of the community, and so Melanie asked for everyone to post their questions!  The FarmsReach team ensures that every question gets answered within a day or so!

GrowKitchen, Kelly Osman, kitchen, Melanie Cheng, OZ Family FarmIMG_0314Eva and I spoke to Kelly Oswald of Oz Family Farm, who raises rabbits. She had a great number of questions pertaining to more than just rabbits. She asked a couple questions like, “What can we do with seeds after they expire?” and “Where can we source organic rabbit feed?” We hope to find more questions and conversation starters like these online, soon.

So the night was as inspiring as it was fun and filling. There are more events to come. We give a warm thanks to Evan Wiig, owner and organizer of True Grass Farms and The Young Farmers Guild. The Guild meets again next month, June 11 6-9pm.

We’d also like to extend our thanks to  Jeffrey Westman for hosting the event at his beautiful GrowKitchen space, and to the chef behind the burgers, Matthew Elias. Great food, and great people!


One Thought on “North Coast Farmers Guild’s Eats & Ideas

  1. Pingback: My food journey continues into the farm | ShowShanti

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