Looking for a story angle that would interest your readers? Talk with us about agriculture stewardship in Marin County. Or let us introduce you to the farmers, ranchers and producers so they can tell you first-hand about the work they do every day.
To get started, contact us and check back from time to time for fresh ideas and seasonal story leads below.
Working with Farmers & Ranchers to Beat the Effects of Drought
Since 2021, MALT’s Drought Resilience and Water Security (DRAWS) initiative has provided $750,000 in grants to Marin County farmers and ranchers experiencing critical water problems because of the ongoing drought. Among the drought resilience and water security projects funded by DRAWS are the following examples:
· Mike Giammona, owner of Millerton Creek Ranch, reported that the drought has caused natural springs to dry up, risking the health of his cattle herd. A new technical plan and funding assistance allowed Giammona to pipe water from the ranch’s reservoir to their existing water infrastructure. “Without this immediate support, I’m not sure our cattle would have survived.”
· Linda Righetti Judah’s Lazy R Ranch went completely dry in 2021. “Storage ponds dried up. Wells dried up. We were completely reliant on trucked-in water. Thanks to DRAWS, we have installed a rain catchment system and a new 5,000-gallon storage tank. This has been a game changer for us. Our DRAWS water infrastructure project is part of a broader effort on our ranch to fence off and restore riparian habitat along Stemple Creek.”
· Terry Sawyer, co-owner of Hog Island Oyster Company and Leali Ranch, was able to repair an old spring whose water quality and performance had been impacted by cattle grazing. “We were able to improve production, secure the spring with gravel and a casing, create water storage and install a water trough away from the source. What seems like a small step enhanced this section of the ranch and allowed us to be better stewards of the land.”
Agricultural Women of Marin County
The US Department of Agriculture Statistics Service’s most recent census figures show many more women are working in agriculture than in all 29 of its previous counts. Of course, women have always farmed. It’s just that now that they are more visible.
The trend is evident in Marin County, Calif., where women founded the agricultural land trust movement 42 years ago, and where their biological — and spiritual — descendants continue to influence the farm economy of the region.
Standout women in Marin County agriculture include activists, land stewards and advisors, dairy farmers and cheesemakers, cattle ranchers, natural fiber producers, egg purveyors, growers of row crops, and agritourism promoters. Let us introduce you to some of them.
Farming with Nature in Mind
Sustainable farming, as practiced in Marin County, could be a model for strengthening the American food system and the natural resources on which we all depend. Many Marin ranchers and farmers are demonstrating how agriculture is being done in ways that align with the land, water and air and build towards the future.
Farmers and ranchers with sustainable practices in Marin are available to show you how they are working to:
- Mitigate greenhouse gasses released into the air
- Keep the watershed clean and the use of water judicious
- Return carbon to the soil and prevent erosion
- Promote and preserve wildlife habitat
- Use less – or alternative sources of — energy
- Treat livestock humanely and promote responsible grazing to prevent wildfire
Day-Trippers to West Marin Revel in Area’s Agricultural Bounty
Just-picked fruits and vegetables, grass-grazed beef and lamb, Tomales Bay shellfish, farm-fresh eggs, specialty cheeses, sweet honey and fragrant flowers are just a few examples of the bounty of seasonal choices from Marin County farmers and producers ready to receive travelers and area shoppers.
MALT’s Buy Local guide points visitors to farm stands that beckon visitors with summer produce and flowers, pasture-raised eggs and other finds from MALT-affiliated growers like Farmer Joy, Little Wing Farm, Table Top Farm, Tomales Bay Pastures and Chi’ken City by Kitty.
Of particular note is the Marin leg of the California Cheese Trail, that includes Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Marin French Cheese, and Tomales Farmstead Creamery.