Welcome to the online newsroom for the California Farmland Trust. Here you’ll find all the elements you need to craft a story on California farmland conservation. For media inquiries, please contact us at (916) 687-3178 or by email.
Local students get the full farm-to-fork experience:
Field Trips on the Farm start in April – come join us!
BRENTWOOD, CA: Many of us ‘get’ the farm-to-fork concept in theory, but how many of us really get to see it in action? How many kids get the chance to see where their food comes from? Although we are surrounded by farmland, most students have little to no understanding of where their food grows.
California Farmland Trust (CFT) is excited to announce the continuation of Raley’s Field Trips on the Farm. Sponsored by Raley’s, with educational materials provided by the California Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, field trips bring the farm-to-fork concept to life.
“This program helps students gain an understanding of the process to get food from the farm to their lunch boxes and appreciation for the farmland that surrounds them.” said Melanee Cottrill, CFT Associate Director. “Our hope is that these kids will see farmland is inherently valuable and a fundamental, irreplaceable part of our food system, not just open space to be built upon.”
In April and May students will visit First Generation Farmers, an organic farm in Knightsen, with an educational tour led by several first generation farmers and owner Barbara Cecchini.
Tours are hands-on with educational activities. Students will discover the differences between conventional and organic farming, how to make vermicompost, how to identify various fruit trees, and get up close and personal with chickens, ducks, goats, and sheep.
The tours will culminate at the local Raley’s grocery store, where managers show students how produce is delivered to the store, is organized, and then readied for purchase. The students will finish off with a nutritious lunch provided by Raley’s – bringing the farm to fork concept full circle for them.
Part of the mission of the California Farmland Trust is to connect the next generation with the farms and farmers that grow their food. In doing so, we hope to give them a memorable experience that deepens their understanding of the preciousness of these resources – and the necessity to protect them.
“Raley’s is committed to growing the next generation of healthy eaters and in that vein, we need farmers who are focused on sustaining our farm land,” said Becca Whitman, Raley’s Community Relations Manager & Executive Director, Food for Families. “Our partnership with California Farmland Trust allows us to show youth how their food is grown and at the same time, emphasize the importance of preserving agricultural lands. It’s a great combination of nutrition education, sustainability education, and workforce development.”
Media interested in attending may contact CFT for more information. We invite you to come see for yourself the light in these kids’ eyes as they learn about their food, touch and taste on the farm, and make the full circle connection at Raley’s. Upcoming tour dates are: April 4, April 9, May 16, and May 30.
As the California Farmland Trust (CFT) works with more farmers and protects more farmland, the team is growing to meet the demand. We are pleased to announce Chelsea Molina as our new Conservation Project Coordinator.
Chelsea has a dynamic style and the experience needed to deeply connect farmers and CFT. A deep connection is paramount to building the trust and rapport required through the lengthy process of protecting farmland among agency funders, farmers and their family members, and CFT.
“Chelsea has in-depth knowledge of agriculture and the diversity of the participants involved in conservation work. This knowledge will contribute greatly to the overall success of the California Farmland Trust,” said Charlotte Mitchell, CFT executive director. Chelsea will be in charge of conservation easement coordination and helping the CFT project team and landowners with a clear, concise, and orderly transaction process.
Chelsea comes to CFT from the California Waterfowl Association as director of development and prior to that managed the Political Affairs Department of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Thanks to an internship in Washington DC where she worked on the Farm Bill and agricultural policy, Chelsea has a keen awareness that it takes many contributing parties to succeed in conservation. “For long-term and widespread farmland conservation across a diverse state like California, the future will require support and consideration of many stakeholders, such as environmentalists, agriculturalists, agencies, and the public,” said Chelsea.
“Here, we are all part of this mission and want to move it forward as a team – to protect ag land in CA,” continues Chelsea. “I am very detail oriented, enjoy working with people (especially farmers), and towards a common goal. Agricultural easement transactions take all three. I look forward to moving us forward to protect more of the best farmland in the world.”
Chelsea is a native of Elk Grove and a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where she majored in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Ag Business.
A farming family with Italian roots looks at the next 100 years on the land
ELK GROVE, CA: The Prosperi family farm began in 1920, nearly 100 years ago. Today, several generations later, the family is still farming and has permanently protected their 228 acres from development, so they can continue to farm for at least 100 more years.
The City of Madera is rapidly growing, like most other cities in California, and acres upon acres of prime farmland throughout the region are paved over every year. But thanks to the Prosperi family and the California Farmland Trust (CFT), these 228 conserved acres will help balance the city’s growth, supply local industry, and allow this farming family to continue feeding your family.
The Prosperi family’s cluster of three farms is run by Denis and Terri, their son Kyle and his family, along with their cousins Michael Prosperi & Karla Bauman. They grow a variety of wine grapes that supply nearby wineries like Quady Winery and The Wine Group. These properties have been home to wine grapes since 1948 when the original farm holdings grew after Victor Prosperi, Denis’ father, purchased additional acres.
“Working with Charlotte Mitchell and her staff was a very pleasurable experience because of their knowledge and professionalism,” says Denis Prosperi. “My family and I are very happy that we were able to make sure the land that I and my children grew up on will forever be dedicated to food production.”
The family owes their farming heritage to their grandfather, who arrived in California from Italy in 1905. He worked for the Sugar Pine Lumber Company and in 1920 bought his first 20-acre farm in the LaVina area. He had three sons who all farmed until they passed away. Now the current generation, and many more to come, can freely carry on their family’s tradition of land stewardship without the threat to convert to other uses.
“Like most farm families in the Central Valley, the Prosperis’ have been working this land for generations,” says CFT Executive Director, Charlotte Mitchell. “We were honored to help them forever protect the legacy of this fertile farmland.”
The Prosperi farms are located in a scenic agricultural area that supports numerous orchards and vineyards. However, these lands are facing increasing growth pressure from the nearby City of Madera and are in need of protection. Now, these lands cannot be developed and will forever feed our families.
The California Farmland Trust is proud to have been an accredited land trust since 2008. We were one of the first land trusts ever to be accredited. The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence. Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices.