Farmers Guild meeting/potluck in Willits 12/13: local organizing, seed hubs, farm tours, and future planning

Farmers Guild meeting tonight at the Little Lake Grange - last of the year!

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WILLITS, 12/13/16 — The Inland Mendocino Farmers’ Guild will meet tonight, Tuesday Dec. 13, at 6pm at the Little Lake Grange in Willits, for a potluck and end of the year discussion. The meetings are typically held the third Tuesday of every month but this month will be a week early.

The Farmers Guild is an organization that tries to build connections between local farmers, ranchers, “sustainable food systems advocates,” and friends. In particular, the Guild focuses on building intergenerational connections between farmers and helping the new generation of farmers find land, work, share advice, and create community. All are welcome to attend meetings, which usually include a potluck so participants can meet and talk with neighbors, as well as share delicious local food!

Information for inland Mendo farmers is regularly posted on the group’s Facebook page, which currently has about 200 members, and through the mailing list on the group’s website. There is also a chapter of the Farmers Guild on the coast and the south coast, and regional events are held to build a broader local farming community. Members receive benefits such as discounts on organic certification, scholarships, and more.

This month’s meeting centers on plans for 2017, with a focus on political engagement and how to motivate the community, including lobbying needs of local farmers, whether to write initiatives or undertake political organizing, and how to best work with the Farm Bureau.

The meeting will also feature a discussion about two recently awarded grants that will go towards strengthening the local farming and food community in Mendocino County. The first grant will fund peer-to-peer education through a series of local farm tours in Mendocino and Lake counties over the next three years, awarded by the University of California’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program based at UC Davis. The second grant, awarded to the Organic Seed Alliance, will help Mendocino County become a hub in a statewide network “to encourage the proliferation of small seed growers and buyers in California. They are looking at providing seed cleaning equipment at ‘seed hubs’ scattered across the state close to areas where there are farmers growing seed who are too small to afford on-farm equipment.”

The Little Lake Grange is located at 291 School Street in Willits, and the Farmers Guild meetings are held in the Great Hall.

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