Have Your Pie and Healthy Soil Too!
Saturday, March 29, 1:00 – 5:00 pm
2014 Fundraising Kick-Off for Farm Fuel at Pie Ranch
Pie Ranch and Farm Fuel, two visionary organizations championing solutions for farmers, are joining forces to host a fun educational afternoon on the farm Saturday, March 29, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. From the smallest organic backyard garden to thousand-acre operations, Farm Fuel and Pie Ranch are influencing the way food is grown.
By guiding consumers to support agricultural practices that are better for the environment, workers, and our communities, these organizations want to help inspire sophistication among those who eat. At 3:30 pm, a panel of experts will address the topic: Innovations in Agriculture: How Can Consumers Support Changes in Big Ag?
What’s Up With Mustard Seed Meal?
Since 2006, Farm Fuel has been developing a variety of uses for the mustard seen growing along the highway in orchards and vineyards this time of year. Promoted as a biofumigant cover crop by Mighty Mustard, several varieties of mustard seed have been identified to control weeds and soil borne pathogens. Taking this a step further, the researchers at Farm Fuel press mustard seed for fuel oil, and in the process create a useful mustard meal fertilizer (NPK 4.50-1.50-1.15) with excellent soil amending capacity.
Steve Pederson of High Ground Organics in Watsonville, McKay Smith in Irvine, and the Homeless Garden Project Natural Bridges Farm in Santa Cruz are using tons of mustard meal fertilizer to amend and fertilize their soil. Soil amendment sessions will be taught for free on March 29 by Farm Fuel Field Services Manager Jonathan Winslow.
As a kick-off for their 2014 fundraising campaigns, Farm Fuel asks you to get involved in the purchase of four additional seed oil presses for their manufacturing operation in Watsonville so they can scale up to meet demand. An Indiegogo campaign will be launched at the event. Pie Ranch invites you to donate to their nonprofit educational work that reaches students from around the Bay Area.
Grow Your Own Fuel on the Farm
After the purchase of a biodiesel “cooker” this past November, Farm Fuel is quickly learning to produce biodiesel fuel from its mustard seed oil. The mustard, grown to a 7-ft yellow field of flowers in places like Pescadero, Idaho and Washington, can produce up to 60 gallons of usable oil per acre. Once converted to biodiesel, this home-grown fuel can be used in farm equipment from trucks to tractors to irrigation pumps, which run 24/7 on some farms. A free learning station on biodiesel essentials is offered.
Farm Fuel’s board includes Larry Jacobs and Henry Smith of Jacobs Farm, Ken Kimes of New Natives, and Jim Cochran of Swanton Berry Farm, active pioneers of the organic movement running successful farms of their own.
Where Does Pie Come From?
Pie Ranch, named for its wedged shape on the land near Pescadero and Año Nuevo, is a nonprofit educational organization and a working farm. Collaborating with communities around the Bay Area to teach children and their families about the sources of their favorite foods, founders Jered Lawson and Nancy Vail, are well known visionaries always looking to showcase improvements in the way we farm. This year Pie Ranch has become one of the first two farms in California, with Swanton Berry Farm, awarded food justice certification. The focus is on living wages and safe working conditions for farm workers.
As a way of encouraging deeper connections with an age old treat, pie chef Amy Glaze offers a Pie-Baking Class starting at 1:30 pm for 15 lucky participants who register in advance. The cost is $25 per person. Children 5 and under are free accompanied by an adult.
Why Change Big Ag?
All farmers, even those who focus on pie ingredients, need choices when they have to confront soil pest issues. Traditionally, conventional farmers have applied chemical fumigants before planting to help eliminate soil pests, while organic farmers use a range of techniques including crop rotation. Overall, they both need more choices, and it is the aim of Pie Ranch and Farm Fuel to help foodies become sophisticated advocates for innovative farming.
Farm Fuel received a $250,000 grant in 2013 from the California State Department of Pesticide Regulation to introduce a chemical-free treatment – Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) to berry growers throughout the state. Results of its implementation are promising, and yields will be reported next fall. In the meantime, Farm Fuel continues advising farmers who have learned about this demonstration project and want to try ASD on their farms.
Looking for ways to support the Sustainable Ag Movement?
If you’re simply voting with your dollars by shopping organic, that’s a great start, but there’s more to learn. For example, how can we support the move away from synthetic fumigants such as methyl bromide, a chemical that has been banned but will continue to be approved for use where affordable substitutes have not been created? Are there viable alternatives that keep farmers profitable and in business? If we want the agriculture sector of our community to thrive, what kind of hands-on practices will help farmers in California move toward sustainability?
Please Join Us:
Saturday, March 29, 1-5 pm
Pie Ranch, 2080 Cabrillo Hwy (Hwy 1), Pescadero, CA 94060
Free Farm Tour & Learning Stations
- Amending Your Soil
- Grow Your Own Fuel
- Children’s Activities
Pie-Baking Class – 1:30 pm — $25/pp, Pre-registration required (limited to 15 students) – contact Kelly@pieranch.org to register. (Children under 5 free)
Expert Panel – 3:30 pm – by donation –Panel Speakers:
Innovations in Agriculture: How Can Consumers Support Changes in Big Ag?
- Stefanie Bourcier, CEO and Research Director, Farm Fuel
- Miguel Ramos, Small scale conventional farmer, Ramos Farms
- Rod Koda, Shinta Kawahara Company, Conventional and Organic berry production
- Margaret Reeves, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Program Coordinator (Environmental Health and Workers’ Rights), Pesticide Action Network North America
- Mark Bolda, County Director, Santa Cruz County and Farm Advisor, Strawberries and Caneberries, UCCooperative Extension
(Pie available at the Farm Stand)
Co-Presented by Farm Fuel Inc and Pie Ranch
Check our Websites to view short films about each of our missions. We will also post event updates:
“Expect weather and wear boots – This is a working farm!”
Kelly Muñoz, Event Manager Pie Ranch