MENDOCINO CO., 2/5/17 — Although we're still in the midst of winter, many farmers are beginning to plan for the upcoming season. These stalwart tillers of the earth pour through seed catalogs, mend the tractor, and repair the plough, plotting and preparing to bring forth from brown dirt the green of life.
And they are also meeting with other foodies, and food-interested-types, to create a stronger local food community. Here's a few events coming up:
Monday, Feb. 13, 2pm - 4pm at the Little Lake Grange in Willits: Previously scheduled for January, this public workshop hosted by the Mendocino Food Policy Council will focus on "defining Willits as a food and restaurant destination." The discussion includes how to strengthen the local food and farming community now that the Willits Bypass is open, and what opportunities may be available to make Willits into a local food attraction for tourists and residents alike. More info here, event listing here.
Saturday, Feb. 18, 9:30am - 11pm: annual Guild-Raising event at Shone Farm in Sonoma: The Farmers Guild recently merged with the Community Alliance for Family Farmers, and they're holding their annual Guild-raising event.
"From 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., California farmers, ranchers and local food advocates will meet for workshops, keynote presentations, panel discussion and demonstrations related to agricultural and food systems. The Agrarian Lovers Ball, a public celebration of the organizations' farmers and the bounty of the region, will take place from 5:30-11:00 p.m" and include a locally-sourced dinner, performances by the Black Sheep Brass Band, the Farmers Guild Awards, and presentations by local farmers and food advocates.
Tuesday, Feb. 28: Fifth annual North Coast Opportunities' Farmers Convergence, 8:30am - 4pm, followed by a mixer for farmers and markets at 5:30pm at Ridgewood Ranch, south of Willits. The day will include networking, skill-sharing, "farm to fork" breakfast and lunch, and celebrating all things farming with attendees from Humboldt, Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Marin and Mendocino counties. Activities include a keynote presentation from Michael Foley, roundtable sessions on land access, seed saving, Prop 64, composting, marketing, and more, with opportunities to propose topics. The day will also conclude with a mixer for farmers to connect with local retailers and other market buyers.
Now in its fifth year, the Farmers Convergence is a popular event for farmers, food advocates around the region to build community and share ideas. The press release states, "The Convergence is an opportunity for the widespread farming community to gather to learn and connect while honoring the profession of farming. Farmers, ranchers, dairy producers, seed growers, beekeepers, grain growers, vendors, buyers, retailers, and food producer supporters from organizations like California FarmLink, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, The Farmers Guild, The Farm Bureau, the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Grange Farm School of Adaptive Agriculture will join arms to build a network of support while sharing best practices."
Event listing and ticket info here, space is limited so you are encouraged to reserve your ticket early.
March 3 - 5: Three Day Grow-Biointensive Workshop hosted by Willits' Ecology Action. More information, including how to register and pre-workshop reading materials, can all be found here. Early registration has ended but you can still reserve your place up until March 2. Food and lodging are also available.
Of course, there are also weekly farmers markets happening around the county — if you're looking to connect with local farmers and artisans, plus get some delicious locally produced goods, this is the best place to start. You can find the closest one to you on our calendar.