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Posted by on in Food and Farm Advocacy

It was a beautiful and rare sunny day on the coast at Pie Ranch. Sitting on a straw bale and listening to the blue grass band strum away, I took in the scene. In the open valley below the eucalyptus grove, people in the crowd chatted, shook hands, and exchanged information. Others waited in line for the potluck, to slip enchiladas and homemade pie onto their plates. Some casually stopped at tables to try samples and pick up information about the showcased entrepreneurs. Farm Fest, an event organized by Slow Money, brought together food entrepreneurs and local investors. As the program started, people took their seats, eager to hear about the new businesses taking their place in the local food economy.

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Just last week the Senate approved the latest edition of the Farm Bill, and the House will begin reviewing it in July. Some argue the changes are for the better, but others say that changes aren’t fundamental enough to support a healthier food system. Here’s an update on the Farm Bill and some of my ideas, from a young farmer's perspective, about creating the food system we want.

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Legend has it that composting dates back to the early Roman Empire. Roman farmers put left over organic material in piles to sit over winter, and by the next season they had decayed into fertilizer to use in the soil. But no matter who “discovered” composting, we do know that thousands of years of successful agriculture preceded industrial, synthetic fertilizers. So how does decomposing stuff turn into fertilizer and why does it work?

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Posted by on in Food and Farm Advocacy

It’s hard to compete with the Bay Area in terms of its foodie passion and support of locavore eating. Nonetheless, I find that people I meet from San Francisco or the Silicon Valley are still surprised to hear that I’m a farmer. I see a look in their eye that says, “Whoa… that’s crazy.” But the longer I farm, the more I wonder how much is wrong with our food system if people have never met a farmer. How much trouble are we in if people my age (27) haven’t heard of anyone choosing it as a career? Next time I get that look, I want to say, “Don’t you eat? How do you not know a farmer?"

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Posted by on in Food and Farm Advocacy

The Hidden Villa Farm Crew picks what to plant not just from seed catalogues but also through trial and error and collective memory. What varieties of peppers have done well here? Which broccoli gave us the best heads and regrowth? I am learning that there are a lot of considerations when choosing seeds and plant varieties. Each seed we grow is a dedication of time and resources, so we make careful selections based on what has been successful in the past, what works for our climate, and what other local growers recommend.

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