Food and community

A union worth celebrating

As we begin this new year filled with hope and opportunity, Solano Land Trust is proud to announce two newly-formed unions that took place at the end of last year.

One was a not-so-traditional wedding. The other is an alliance between Solano Land Trust and Fully Belly Farm. Both unions offer reasons to celebrate.

Solano Land Trust’s very own field operation’s manager, Jordan Knippenberg, recently wed Janvier Marie Velilla, farm harvest manager of Full Belly Farm. On a windy morning in October, Jan and Jordan, joined by a small group of friends, hiked up a mountain overlooking the Capay Valley. It was here where they made vows to honor their love, the land, and their communities. Jordan and Jan are so committed to the health of land and people that they even chose career paths that support this passion.  Little did they know, their shared values and partnership would bring their jobs together, too.

Solano Land Trust and Full Belly Farm, a certified organic farm in Capay Valley since 1985, has started our own partnership! As of January, Rush Ranch will serve as a location for members to pick-up the farm’s community-supported-agriculture (CSA) produce boxes.

“I am excited to help join these two similar minded agencies together,” says Jordan, who will deliver the weekly boxes to Rush Ranch from his home in Capay Valley. “I hope this collaboration strengthens our like-minded goals of supporting land, food, and people of this region.”

Diversity has helped to keep the farm economically viable. With six owners — two of whom are second generation — and 80 employees, Full Belly Farm grows vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and nuts. They also offer products from pasture animals.

Two peas in a pod

Solano Land Trust and the farm share common missions, which includes practicing sustainable management of the land. “The preservation of working landscapes is very important to us. One of our goals is to integrate farm production with longer-term environmental stewardship,” says Judith Redmond, part owner of Full Belly Farm.

Another important part of their job is to help people understand the importance of eating locally-grown, high-quality food, and to help subscribers connect their food with the farm. “After a while, it’s not just about the food; it’s a relationship with the place that grows it,” Judith says. This meaningful work, however, is getting increasingly difficult for small farm owners like Judy. “CSA’s are hard to keep going. Running a farm business in California is on the margin economically. It requires a lot of labor to farm land, and labor is more expensive here than in any other state in the country,” she adds.

Thanks to you, we are able to honor our commitment to support local agriculture and family farms. Oh, and when you subscribe to a weekly box of Full Belly Farm produce, you get the added advantage of visiting Rush Ranch once a week, where fresh air and a large open sky await you!

Learn more about Full Belly Farm and sign-up for a veggie box HERE.

Photos courtesy of Jordan Knippenberg and Full Belly Farm.