The Farmers Guild Expands to the Sierra Region!

Tim Van Wagner & Leo Chapman

Tim Van Wagner & Leo Chapman

Next Thursday evening, Nevada County will carry on a long legacy of agricultural community-building with the launch of a brand new Farmers Guild!

Over a century ago, Grange Halls emerged all over California to serve the growing farming community. Three of these halls still stand in Nevada County today. The county has changed a lot since the Gold Rush, but the miners of the past and the new tech workers who call the Sierra foothills home today have one thing in common: they all must eat.  And, in order to eat, you still need farmers.

Robbie & Deena, Sweet Roots Farm

Robbie & Deena, Sweet Roots Farm

Welcome Living Lands Agrarian Network (LLAN). Founded by Leo Chapman in Nevada City a few years ago, this organization formed to provide mentorship for a new generation of farmers. Their distinctive model is a combination of cooperative sustainable agriculture education, resource sharing, community partnerships and celebration around the food they grow.

From this movement arose a popular series of Soup Nights, aimed at bringing together their whole community (consumers and producers) in the name of local food, both grown and shared.

The LLAN has since joined forces with Sierra Harvest, an organization dedicated to educating, inspiring and connecting Nevada County’s families to local foods.  Sierra Harvest provides farm-to-school programming, farm-fresh school meals, and mentors for aspiring farmers and gardeners.

Grazing sheep, Fowler Family Farm

Grazing sheep, Fowler Family Farm

This connection between communities, their food, and their farmers represents a new shift toward more local and healthy food culture. But, for farmers, like those attending other Farmers Guilds around the state, having a local hub aimed specifically at fellow farmers is also vital to their success. A Farmers Guild offers a place to belong, find solidarity, and talk shop with those who understand, whether about drip-tape, pig breeds or the price of alfalfa.

Understanding the needs of the food and agriculture community, Sierra Harvest is continuing their ever-popular Soup Nights for the wider community, as well as kicking off the new Nevada County Farmers Guild.  These gatherings will take place throughout the growing season at host farms such as First Rain Farm, Sweet Roots Farm and Fowler Family Farm.

These parallel events offer both specialization as well as cross-pollination, much like the existing communities at the Grange Halls in Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Cruz do for their own Farmers Guilds.

Is this kind of synergy what the local food and farming movement will look like in the years to come? We hope so!

Join us this season at the Nevada County Farmers Guild gatherings! We’d love to see you!

When: May 22nd, 6pm
Where: First Rain Farm
Hosts: Tim Van Wagner and Ashley Votaw
19832 Rector Rd
Nevada City, CA 95959

When: July 3rd, time TBD
Where: Fowler Family Farm
Hosts: Brad and Alana Fowler
12332 Silver Springs Place
Grass Valley, CA 95949

When: July 31st, TBD
Where: Sweet Roots Farm
Hosts: Deena Miller and Robbie Martin
14805 Auburn Rd.
Grass Valley, CA 95949

Interested in learning more about the Farmers Guilds or starting one in your area? For more information on getting started and/or joining our existing Guilds in Sebastopol, Sonoma Valley, Yolo County, Mendocino, and the Central Coast, contact Evan Wiig

To see the latest resources and wisdom shared among regional farmers, check out the Farmers Guild Groups pages and general FarmsReach Conversations.

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