Local food movement sprouting
A buy local food movement continues to gain momentum just as the first warm days in weeks send farmers such as Andrew Meyers outside to prepare for the growing season.
In a natural meadow overlooking the South Yuba River canyon, Meyers has been digging fences and raising a hoop house for his first ambitious farming venture.
At 23, Meyers represents a younger generation of farmer. He plans to sell 30 subscriptions of weekly fresh produce from his Community Supported Agriculture farm called Wildgrace Organics.
Next week, organizers of a newly emerging agriculture non-profit marketing group called Nevada County Grown will seek support from county officials at a budget subcommittee meeting. The group hopes to collect $10,000 of seed money to promote local farmers like Meyers.
“We just need a chunk of money to get ourselves going,” said Rita de Quercus of the Local Food Coalition.
Today at 6 p.m., the coalition will hold its monthly meeting at the BriarPatch community room to gain public input about Nevada County Grown’s by-laws relating to membership and the composition of a future board. Nevada County Grown will be a membership group for farmers, ranchers and other agriculture producers.
In the past two years, a group of volunteers with the food coalition produced a local farm guide, a Web site and an email list connecting the community with farmers.
A paid staff and a reliable funding stream is required for a whole hearted marketing campaign to get off the ground, de Quercus said.
Neighboring Placer County contributed $100,000 to jump start its highly visible Placer Grown label years ago, de Quercus added.
Some of the objectives of Nevada County Grown include developing a marketable logo, publishing the annual farm guide and establishing a Web site for the guide with farmer profiles.
The high cost of raw land in the county acts as a deterrent for most young farmers, said Meyers, who is still paying off his college loans. Fortunately for Meyers, he has friends who want to see their land devoted to agriculture and have paid for the tractor, tilling implement, fencing and water.
“There is no way I could afford land, fencing and implements,” said Meyers. “Land is the big issue, especially here.”
Meyers will chronicle his first year farming by blogging on the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Web site in hopes he can inspire younger farmers. The blog will appear at in the loop.groworganic.com
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@the union.com or call 477-4231.
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