FARMS Leadership – Central Valley – March 31, 2021
The Kings River Conservancy was able to host us virtually this year to learn about the river. In addition to learning how to care for our fresh water system, students were able to hear from multiple other individuals that all contributed to our natural water resources. Park Ranger, Chelsea Jones, provided some great information and photos about position and role with the river. Watermaster, Mathew Meadows, shared a great presentation about where our water comes from and when we get our water distributions.
Wild Oak Vineyards SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | May 20, 2021
Partners/Landowners Solano Resource Conservation District Wild Oak Vineyards
Volunteers Gina Radieve Josh McCabe Dominic Carrillo Sara Lipschutz Weipeng Wang Samuel Flohr Natalie Ruckstuhl Noreen Mabini Karyn Utsumi Teresa Clapham
Summary of the Day This season (our 20th!) of SLEWS has looked different than all others before it. The glaring difference? A distinct lack of high school students. I have been extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of adult volunteers, but I know all of us are eagerly awaiting the moment we can have a field day with high school students once again.
To cap off our 2020-21 season, we held a long-awaited field day at Wild Oak Vineyards in Fairfield. This was actually meant to be a SLEWS site in the 2019-20 season, but when the project was delayed we relocated to a project at Lake Dalwigk in Vallejo (blog post here: http://landbasedlearning.org/blog/2020/03/12/urban-greening-in-vallejo/). It was fun to finally make this day happen with volunteers and Solano RCD staff!
At our opening circle many volunteers were surprised to recognize each other from class at UC Davis – what a coincidence! Amy King from Solano RCD introduced us to the project site and the day’s activities, and Sarah McKibbin presented about monarch butterfly conservation and the role of farms like this one in the effort to save them. One of our volunteers shared that she had been planting pollinator plants in her apartment complex and asked for resources to continue doing so!
After our introductions, it was time to get to work. The first task was spreading piles mulch in a future planting area – this will help prevent weed growth and improve water retention in the soil to give those plants a better foundation. There was one area that didn’t have enough mulch, so half our group stayed to cart wheelbarrows full of mulch back and forth to fill in the area while the other half started the other task – weeding. Volunteers made their way along a previously planted hedgerow of native plants and used hoes to remove weeds growing near the plants. This will reduce competition between the native and non-native plants and give them a better chance of survival. We even found a patch of milkweed that had popped up on its own!
After a vigorous morning of work, it was time to break for lunch. I enjoyed spending lunch chatting with some of our volunteers – many of whom are hoping to find a career in habitat restoration! Off to a great start, I’d say. Cheers to a great, albeit strange, 2020-2021 SLEWS season!
FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin x Sacramento Valley | Friday, May 14, 2021
Location(s) of Field Day: Lange Twins Vineyard — Acampo, CA
Field Day Host(s) and Mentor(s): Aaron Lange — VP, Vineyard Operations Alex Farber — Winemaker Shakib Ali — Manager, Bottling Line Patty Vega — Director, Human Resources Kendra Lange — Director, Marketing
The Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Program concludes with a final double-header event featuring Lange Twins Vineyard of Acampo, CA. Arron Lange, fifth-generation San Joaquin farmer and VP of Vineyard Operations, hosts our Virtual Field Day. Featuring pre-recorded interviews with Lange Twins Vineyard staff members, FARMS students receive insight into many of the behind-the-scenes operations at Lange Twins Vineyard. Careers in marketing to winemaking, manufacturing to human resources are explored in this expansive look into the collection of talent and expertise that is required to maintain and grow a successful, multi-generational, Ag-business. As this year’s program is unprecedented, reflective of a year full of challenges, I felt it best to cap this event with a good surprise and rewards for FARMS Leadership students’ commitment and perseverance; Kits for this Field Day include an Aloe plant, personal ‘thank you’, organic seed packet, Certificate of Completion for the 2020/2021 FARMS Leadership Program, and a Leadership session dedicated to a student-led reflection of the year.