Cannery Urban Farm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Who owns the land that The Cannery Farm occupies?

The City of Davis owns the land and leased it to the Center for Land-Based Learning until August 7, 2020.

Was there a focus on sustainable/organic crop production during CLBL's tenure?

We only grew organically at the Cannery Farm. We did not use any inorganic (synthetic) pesticides (e.g. herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) or fertilizers. We used organic fungicide spray for our stone fruit orchard and compost for fertilizer.

Why don’t I see food being grown on the farmland currently?

In Spring of 2017, vegetables planted on the farm were growing poorly and not producing at expected levels. After exhaustive soil tests, experts determined that the soils were heavily compacted, which was causing poor drainage and salt accumulation in the topsoil. They suggested planting cover crop for 3 years to increase soil organic matter, break the compaction and improve soil tilth. CLBL applied for and received funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program to implement a three-year soil restoration plan.

What is the Healthy Soils Program?

The Healthy Soils Program was created from the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments to promote the development of healthy soils on California's farmlands and ranchlands.

Why is the Cannery Farm participating in the Healthy Soils Program?

The Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL) was awarded a Healthy Soils Program grant in 2017 after working with experts to determine the best way to restore soil health at the Cannery Farm. As a non-profit, CLBL needed funding to carry-out this intensive plan, and we were awarded a grant in the first round of funding available. It is important to note that the Cannery Farm was the only urban farm funded in this first round. More information »

What did CLBL do to restore soil health at the Cannery Farm?

From 2017-2020, CLBL ran a three year cover crop rotation, planting two crops per year, one winter cover crop and one summer cover crop. The winter cover crop consisted of peas, oats, fava beans, and vetch, and the summer cover crop was sorghum sudan-grass. In addition to planting cover crops each season, CLBL added compost each year and did light tillage to break up the deeply compacted soil.

Why were cover crops used at the Cannery Farm?

Cover crops can be used to address a wide variety of issues on all types of farms. At the Cannery Farm, cover crops were being used primarily to break up deeply compacted clay soil to improve drainage, add nitrogen, organic matter and other plant nutrients to the soil, and to cover the ground to prevent the spread of weeds and diseases.

How many different farmers have plots at the Cannery Farm?

As of 2020 we had two farm business incubators at the farm: The Beecharmers and Leaf & Lark Farm. The Beecharmers maintain five beehives and provide educational workshops and tours to students and the greater community about beekeeping and the importance of pollinators. Leaf & Lark Farm sells plants from their greenhouse nursery and hosts summer u-picks of primarily flowers and fall edible pumpkin u-picks. Both businesses will continue at the Cannery under new agreements with the City of Davis.

Questions about the future of the Cannery Urban Farm should be directed to the City of Davis.

For more information on our efforts to renew the soil at the Cannery Urban Farm, go here.

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