Happy Spring!
Dear Friends,

Last week while celebrating California Agriculture Day on the West steps of the Capitol, I had the distinct pleasure of running into a FARMS Leadership program alumna named Joyce Lee. Joyce attended Florin High School in the mid-1990's, just a few short years after the program was launched by Center for Land-Based Learning founder Craig McNamara and his wife Julie. As she began sharing some of her memories, I could tell that FARMS Leadership was a transformational experience for her and that it influenced her future. I asked her to recount some of her experiences for me to share with all of you. Enjoy.


Christine McMorrow
Director of Development and Communications
Although it's been over 20 years, I still vividly remember some of the things I learned. I remember learning about using legumes to replenish soils because they can provide nitrogen fixation depleted through farming. I learned how worms can positively be used in sustainable agriculture. I also met several barn owls that Craig (McNamara) showed us from the little owl houses he had built. He explained how they are used for pest control for on his walnut farm. He even let us ride on and operate (to some extent) the machinery that was used to shake the walnut trees during harvest time. I remember how I thought it was so interesting that the "arms" have padding, like those used in gymnastics or wrestling, to protect the trees' bark from damage by the metal arms. And of course, we got to ride and "operate" a tractor.
In between our visits to the McNamara Farm (Sierra Orchards), we did experiments at school with soils and learned about the chemistry and biology behind various ag-related science experiments. We also did experiments on the farm with worms and soils to make connections between the science of agriculture and the practice of farming. At the end of the program year, FARMS students were even invited with our teachers as chaperones, to spend one night at the McNamara's home. During our stay we got to meet their children and to see what life is like for a farm family. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. The McNamara's are among the nicest, most down-to-earth and unassuming people I have ever met. And though they're very successful in farming, they were not only concerned about the economics of their agriculture business, but they also took the time to educate FARMS Leadership students despite their already busy schedules.

From the start it was clear that they were forward-thinking environmentalists who cared so much about the land and the whole eco-system.  It was passionately communicated to us as students that sustainable farming and environmentally responsible agriculture are very important for several reasons. We owe it to the land we harvest our food from and to our children who will inherit our State, to take care of our planet, starting from our own backyard and our local farms. We were always encouraged to educate ourselves about how to live sustainably whether or not we end up going into a career in agriculture.

Even though I did not end up with a career in science, the FARMS Leadership program made a huge impact on me. It solidified my determination to be the first college graduate in my family. It made research applicable to real life for me. I realized that research in academia is not an abstract endeavor, but practical and useful for everyone in their everyday life. I went on to graduate school at Sac State and obtained a Master's degree from UC Davis. Programs for high school students, such as FARMS Leadership, are especially important to first-generation college students and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The experiences are pivotal in their education journey.

Joyce Lee
Research Analyst
Labor Market Information Division
Employment Development Department

California Farm Academy mentioned in CSA Cookbook

Author Mi Ae Lipe, born in South Korea, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she first became interested in food and gardening.
A self-taught illustrator, she lived and worked in Wisconsin and Minnesota for over a decade, during which time she met Jack Hedin, owner of Featherstone Farm, one of largest CSAs in southeastern Minnesota. After doing a logo project for the farm, she became one of its subscribers, and the idea for a cookbook that could help people figure out what to do with their CSA produce was born. 

Sample Recipe

She self-published  Tastes from Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook in 2007, which included 300 recipes and featured Featherstone exclusively. The book met with great regional success and acclaim, and was even used by the personal chef to the governor of Minnesota.

Several years later, she decided to expand the original cookbook to include nearly 40 new fruits and vegetables, as well as to showcase remarkable CSA farms throughout the United States. This new book, Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, was published in the summer of 2015.  Bounty from the Box can be purchased here for $35. 

Upcoming Events

March 26th - Spring Celebration

At this West Sacramento festival, you can step in time with Zumba instructor Lucy Ramos and learn how to tie knots with West Sacramento's Boy Scout troops. Plus, nosh on baked goods from West Sacramento's Girl Scouts and join activities like face painting, egg hunts and tie-dying. West Sacramento Urban Farm agriculturalist Aimee Sisson will host a mock harvest tutorial while West Sacramento mascot Mooey the Cow will make the rounds. Local DJ Eric Romel will also officiate the egg hunts while mixing kid-friendly tunes. Free. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. West Sacramento Recreation Center. 2801 Jefferson Blvd. West Sacramento. (916) 617-4770, cityofwestsacramento.org

Are You Staying Connected?

Did you know that the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program has its own Facebook page?

Follow us on Instagram for the latest and greatest photos from Land-Based Learning. Apply to be a guest instagrammer this spring! Send requests to Jen Allen, jen@landbasedlearning.org. Or tag your best #agproud photos for a chance to be featured.


Don't miss the latest news articles and event photos from Land-Based Learning.  Follow a specific board or all of our boards, to stay informed. Pin Boards include:
  • California Farm Academy
  • Events
  • Davis Cannery Farm
  • We Grow Farmers
  • and more!
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Center for Land-Based Learning | 5265 Putah Creek Road | Winters | CA | 95694