EcoFarm Bus Tour 2017 promises a diverse and informative farm tour on the first day of the EcoFarm Conference, Wednesday, January 25, 2017.
This all-day field trip will visit 3 organic farms and a composting project in the Salinas Valley. World famous as the nation’s “Salad Bowl," this region right next to the Pacific Ocean is an area of cool, foggy summers, sunny springs and falls, mild wet winters (we are praying!), and features a great range of crops suited to the climate and fertile coastal soils.
Tour stops and speakers will include:
1) Jeff Lindenthal will detail the innovative composting project of the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, featuring the nation’s first anaerobic methane digester utilizing kitchen scraps and produce “waste” to generate electricity - all of the kitchen waste produced at the Asilomar Conference Grounds is processed at the facility. The material is then windrow composted with other green “waste” and sold as an OMRI listed compost to local farmers and landscapers.
2) Eric Brennan, USDA lead scientist of organic research, will tour the USDA organic plots in Salinas, featuring research on cover crops, fertility, crop rotations, hedgerows, hand held and small equipment, beneficial insects and more.
3) Roy Fuentes of LG Organic Farm will show his 30 acres of organic strawberries and tell his story of shifting from migrant farmworker to farm owner while working the family farm with his wife and children.
4) Nathan Harkleroad, Program Manager of Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), will lead us on a tour of the small farms managed by 35 beginning farmers, 98% Hispanic, growing organic vegetables and berries. We will meet and learn from some of the farmers as they transition from being farmworkers to farm owners. About 50% of the farmers sell their produce through ALBA Organics, the marketing arm of the ALBA project.
Amigo Bob Cantisano of Organic Ag Advisors, Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited, and Richard Smith of UC Cooperative Extension lead the tour. Lunch will be a hearty natural foods meal prepared by noted chef Jim Denevan, of Outstanding In The Field in Santa Cruz, with many ingredients provided by the bus tour hosts. Morning coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided. Every year the bus tour is a sellout, usually by the early registration deadline. Participant comments: "The best farm tour I've been on" "Excellent presentations by the growers” "For me, the best part of Eco Farm!”. Sign up on the registration form or call for further details at (831) 763-2111.
Registration: $85 early-bird, $95 regular (organic lunch included)
The buses depart from Asilomar at 8am, promptly. We have rooms available for those needing accommodations at Asilomar on the night before the tour (Tuesday, January 24). Don't wait - This always sells out early. All aboard!