Sustaining an Agricultural Region: Capay Valley Grown

Final Report for FW05-026

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2005: $14,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Judith Redmond
Full Belly Farm
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Capay Valley, northwest of Davis, is distinguished by abundant biological diversity, rich soils, and the flow of Cache Creek, contributing to a viable agricultural economy. More than 200 farms and ranches in western Yolo County harvest products consumed by tens of thousands of Californians. Yet most of those products, once they
enter the food distribution chains, lose their identity, leaving them to compete in an unstable global marketplace.

At the same time, a casino in the Capay Valley draws visitors from the San Francisco Bay Area, adding pressure for land development. The attendant rising land prices and shifting land uses, along with depressed commodity prices, constrain opportunities for new and current farmers and threaten to destabilize agriculture. Capay Valley agriculture could benefit from a local agriculture products branding
program that includes sustainability goals.

Introduction

See Summary

Project Objectives:

- Establish standards for the “Capay Valley Grown” label, including sustainability goals that balance the values and expectations of producers and consumers

- Implement the “Capay Valley Grown” marketing plan

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Mario Moratorio

Research

Materials and methods:

Producers were invited to become a Capay Valley Grown Partner to strengthen the Capay Valley Vision Agriculture Task Force and its efforts to maintain and strengthen farming and ranching opportunities
in the region. For a $100 annual fee, partners could market their products under the Capay Valley Grown program and receive various
marketing materials.

Local businesses were engaged with invitations to become business partners with the Capay Valley Grown brand. Membership was offered
at $200 a year. Among benefits, members were linked to the Capay Valley Grown website, received the newsletter, and were given a
color sign for displaying on the premises.

The Agricultural and Environment Task Force scheduled regular meetings that included discussions on a variety of marketing opportunities,
events, and venues in the Capay Valley.

A field day was planned for April 2, 2006, with an agenda that included farm visits and discussions on direct marketing.

Marketing materials featuring the Capay Valley Grown branding logo were developed and printed, including a brochure, farm signs, newsletter, grower card, and point-of purchase material.

Research results and discussion:

The project team convened dialogue with partner producers that resulted in the development of agreed-upon standards for addressing product
quality, committing to stewardship and health, and sustaining the economic viability of local farms and ranches.

The campaign has helped to reinforce the established identity that captures the region’s unique products, environments, and rural communities.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:

- Created and published five issues of Capay Valley Harvest, a quarterly insert in local newspapers featuring local farmers’
contact information and products. Between 2,000 and 4,000 copies
of each issue were distributed.

- Enhanced the Capay Valley Grown website: www.CapayValleyGrown.com, which provides farm biographies (including contact information, crop lists, and where to get farm products) and a calendar of agriculture-related events in the region.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Over the course of the project, participation in the Capay Valley Grown partnership grew to 31 farmer and rancher partners and 11 business partners. The Agricultural Task force continues to be the forum for growers, individuals, and organizations to discuss agricultural issues in the Capay Valley. The project:

- Created and published five issues of Capay Valley Harvest, a quarterly insert in local newspapers featuring local farmers’
contact information and products. Between 2,000 and 4,000 copies
of each issue were distributed.

Conducted the Capay Valley Grown Field Day in April 2007 attended by
more than 60 people. The field day featured tours of two diverse farm
businesses and presentations on topics like value-added products,
Ventura County Growers’ Collaborative model for distribution to institutions, county ordinances that support agriculture, and marketing of local agricultural products.

- Enhanced the Capay Valley Grown website: www.CapayValleyGrown.com, which provides farm biographies (including contact information, crop lists, and where to get farm products) and a calendar of agriculture-related events in the region.

- Supported Agriculture Task Force meetings (“the place to get the ear
of busy farmers and ranchers”), which have featured such topics as
opening a Capay Valley Grown store, the Yolo Valley Olive Oil Competition, agricultural easement programs, the Capay Valley Regional
Farmers Market, and planning for a local meat cut and wrap facility.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

See accomplishments

Future Recommendations

None provided

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.