As we work towards increasing the demand for fresh, local food, we need to increase production to meet the growing need. The average age of a farmer in Nevada County is 58 years old, and only 2% have succession plan. Sierra Harvest has trained 30 farmers under 30, and placed many of them on local farmland. However, we still need more young farmers trained in sustainable and organic agriculture, and to give them the mentorship, business skills, and land opportunities they need to be economically successful growing food for our community. Here is what we’re doing to help launch the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
Sierra Harvest Farm Institute
The Sierra Harvest Farm Institute is a comprehensive program designed to train and mentor new organic farmers, provide education in business planning and promotion, and provide access to land to begin or expand a local farm. The Sierra Harvest Farm Institute will help us meet our goal of increasing local food production from 2% to 25% in the next 10 years, bringing $67 million dollars spent on food from other places back to our own community. Are you a beginning or aspiring farmer? Learn more about the program.
Matching Farmers and Farmland
In a recent five year period, Nevada County lost 40% of its agricultural land – that’s 28,000 acres. Sierra Harvest is working towards preserving agricultural lands and help connect farmers to long-term, affordable leases. Are you a farmer or rancher looking for land, or a land-owner with property to lease? Find out more about our resources for land matching.
Sustainable Food & Farm Conference
Sierra Harvest hosts the Sustainable Food & Farm Conference, bringing nationally recognized experts like Joel Salatin, Elaine Ingham, Elliot Coleman, Paul Stamets to our region to inspire and teach our local farmers. In 2016, we hosted over 500 attendees, where 95% of attendees were inspired to implement a new, sustainable practice on their farm or home garden. Interested in attending this conference? Learn more about this year’s line-up.
Know Your Farmer
Interested in getting your business promoted among local foodies? Sierra Harvest hosts dozens of events each year connecting farmers and ranchers with consumers who value fresh, local food. Since 2007, thousands have attended over 100 community events to celebrate our local food culture. Join us for Soup Nights in the winter season and our Farm Potlucks Summer Series, where community members learn how to buy fresh, healthy food directly from our farmers. We also promote local farms through our through our Farm to School Program. Read more about how Sierra Harvest can promote your farm.