The Founder’s Harvest

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | Thursday November 12, 2020

Location(s) of Field Day:
Sierra Orchards – Winters, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Craig McNamara – Owner & Founder
Ramon Del Toro – Farm Manager
Sean McNamara – Farm Manager
Emily McNamara – Apprentice Farm Supervisor
Attila Kolozsi – Loading Supervisor & Farmhand

Theme:
Organic Walnut Production, Conservation, & Food Security

Summary of the Day:
The Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership class commenced the 2020-2021 program a bit differently than previous years; Opting for a digital model that abides by the social-distancing safety standards necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Students and teachers from Grant Union High School, Luther Burbank High School, and River City High School all joined Craig McNamara, owner of Sierra Orchards in a Zoom webinar for a screening of the virtual tour of his organic walnut orchard. In the post-tour Q&A session, one standout Junior of Luther Burbank, held Mr. McNamara to task with a battery of questions about his experience in the organic growing industry. FARMS Leadership students and a couple lucky teachers were provided Hands-On Learning Kits that included: organic walnut pieces, organic in-shell walnuts, crushed walnut shells, Sierra Orchards compost, organic cover crop mix, and a walnut grading sheet exhibiting the various defects that can befall the nutty legume; all complements of Craig McNamara and Sierra Orchards.


For more information or to view November’s Field Day, ‘click’ the YouTube link below:

Urban, Free-Range, and Organic

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | October 30, 2020

Location(s) of Field Day:
Boggs Tract Community Farm – 466 S Ventura Ave Stockton, CA 95203

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kenda Templeton – Executive Director
Clifton Maxwell – Farm Manager
Bethany Spangler – Office Assistant
Alison Calkins – Farm Apprentice
Ernay Nino – Volunteer Coordinator
Jessica Bryant – Owner, Corn Poppy Produce & P.U.E.N.T.E.S. Land Lesee
George Dale – Owner, Honeydale Beekeeping & Resident Beekeeper

Theme:
Urban Farming, Nutrition Education and Advocacy

Summary of the Day:
The San Joaquin region’s FARMS Leadership class began the 2020-2021 program with a (Virtual) Field Day that ensures the health and safety of students, teachers, and partners. The FARMS Leadership team developed the distanced-learning model to prevail through constraints of social-distancing practices as necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Attendees from Langston Hughes Aspire Academy, Health Careers Academy High School, and Historic Durham Ferry Academy joined the Zoom webinar with Farm Manager Clifton Maxwell and Bethany Spangler and were brought on a virtual tour of P.U.E.N.T.E.S. programs at Boggs Tract Community Farm. The P.U.E.N.T.E.S. Program, an abbreviation for Promotores Unidas Para La Educacion Nacional Technologias Sostenibles (roughly translated: United Promoters for National Sustainable Technologies Education), empowers urban families to learn about nutritional value, cultivate healthier foods, and even pursue entrepreneurship via leasing a planter box and selling the harvest. FARMS Leadership students were provided Hands-On Learning Kits that included: two sticks local honey (complements of Honeydale Beekeeping), a planter pot, apricot pits, coriander (cilantro) seeds, and a 50/50 mix of local and organic composts courtesy of the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program and City of Stockton.


For more information or to view October’s Field Day, ‘click’ the YouTube link below:

Take the Weiß Pill

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | February 20, 2020

Location of Field Day: Bayer, 37437 CA-16 Woodland, CA 95695

Hosts: Lisa McDaniel, Head of Global Outreach & Engagement

The Sacramento Valley Field Day at Bayer Woodland began in the front lobby of the sprawling, iron-gated compound. We were promptly met by Lisa McDaniel, Head of Global Outreach & Engagement.

Once our entire class arrived, Lisa escorted us to a boardroom on the second floor of an even larger building on the opposite side of the Bayer Woodland campus. Upon arrival at our second meeting place, we conducted an “open circle”, students introduced themselves, we reviewed the day’s itinerary, and we were provided id badges to wear for the duration of our tour. Following a ‘hotel breakfast’ of multigrain bars, muffins, yogurt, juice, and coffee, we headed out for a tour the various research and development facilities.

Our first stops were a series of greenhouses where we learned about the safety measures taken to protect crop yields. We learned about specialty breeding and the genome-tracking processes that ensure the strongest, most drought-resistant produce. We then toured their maintenance facility where we learned that the use of GPS systems can help better track crop development.

After our tour of the grounds, we regrouped in the boardroom and were treated to pizza for lunch! During our lunch, we were joined by a diverse panel of Bayer professionals who introduced themselves told us all a little bit about their background and their work at Bayer. After lunch and thanking the panel for their time, we headed downstairs to participate in a hands-on activity that mimicked the science of tracking disease by inspecting samples and referring to a checklist for tell-tale signs of illness in plants. We then headed back upstairs to take part in a market research survey to compare and contrast the tastes of tomatoes. And we learned that taste-preferences can vary widely in the global market.

We concluded this trip with a “closing circle” that asked students to recall something they learned during their tour at Bayer. We thanked our hosts and departed.