Sierra CRAFT

Project Overview

SW10-803
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $30,653.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Bill Bennett
High Sierra RC&D Council, Inc.

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: melons, apples, apricots, berries (other), berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), cherries, citrus, grapes, olives, peaches, pears, plums, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: walnuts
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, swine, sheep

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, free-range, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, hedgerows, wetlands, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management, mating disruption, mulching - vegetative
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development, partnerships, employment opportunities, social networks, sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    The Sierra CRAFT project, in the foothills of Northern California, focused on training beginning and existing farmers and ranchers in sustainable production, marketing and business practices through farmer-to farmer training. Training occurred primarily through on-farm workshops where producers shared their expertise and results of their own on-farm testing of various practices. In addition, Sierra CRAFT has fostered networking among producers through these workshops, a business planning short course, as well as a farmer moderated listserv. In addition, a clearinghouse website, "Foothill Farming," became a critical source of information for farmers across the region.

    Project objectives:

    •Develop and implement a farmer-to-farmer network supported by a listserv to facilitate communication. Listserv is moderated by a Farmer-Coordinator.

    •Gather and prioritize educational and on-farm research topics from regional producers for farm field day workshops. Workshops are hosted on area farms and coordinated by a Farmer-Coordinator.

    •Provide eight to ten on-farm field days at area farms, including farms participating in collaborative on-farm research. Prepare research-based information sheets relevant to each field day.

    •Implement farm business planning training for 10-18 producers.

    •Provide beginning farming training to beginning farmers and ranchers and farm interns.

    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.