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eNewsletter | January 2022

In This Month's Edition

  • RCD Updates: EARTHseed Farm Project Update, Food Forests, Board Meeting Information
  • People Spotlight: Ann Cassidy, Board of Directors
  • Resources: Healthy Soils Incentives Program 2021/2022 UPDATE, Community Wildfire Protection Plans Public Review Meetings, Fire Safe Sonoma - Fire Safe Alliance Meeting, Notice of Funds Available: Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program (FY 2021-22), UCCE: Fast Approaching Deadline for Drought and Disaster Relief, CA Small Farm Conference
  • Workshops: Making the Connection - Soil Biology & Soil Health, Farm PPE Webinar Series, Monitoring Oak Woodland Wildlife Communities following the Mendocino Complex Fire, Healthy Soils Program Webinar Series, A Basket Weaver's Journey, UC Climate Stewards Course w/ Sonoma Ecology Center
  • Other News: Sonoma County Youth Livestock Judging Contest, AG Census 2022: Make Sure Your Farm or Ranch Counts!, Fire Safe Sonoma is Looking for an Executive Coordinator!

What's New at Gold Ridge?

EARTHseed Farm Project UPDATE


Interested in learning more about climate-beneficial farming practices and the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Healthy Soils Program? Then this video is for you.

In partnership with EARTHseed Farm, a Sonoma County Afro-Indigenous Permaculture orchard and diverse farm, the Gold Ridge RCD is studying the effects of actively aerated compost tea on greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon sequestration. The research is being conducted by the Dept. of Geography and Environment at San Francisco State University.

Watch Here

If you attended the EARTHseed Compost Tea Workshop, please click on the link below to take a brief survey to provide us feedback about the workshop, as well as, resources that we think you will find interesting and educational. 

Link to survey is here: Compost Tea Workshop Follow up Survey

What is a Food Forest?

By Mason Inumerable


Have you ever thought about what typically goes into getting food on your plate? For many of us, it is the typical industrialized food system that gets food from point A (the source) to point B (your stomach). Between these two points, we are seeing an increase in injustices and inefficiencies occuring in the food production process, causing conflict and waste within communities. We live in a time where there are food deserts, where certain communities have little to no access to affordable and nutritious food, causing many communities to lose control over their food.. To combat this loss of control some communities have banned together to feed themselves. One of the strategies they’ve used to increase food sovereignty are food forests.

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A food forest, or forest garden, is unlike other forms of agriculture. Food forests incorporate up to nine different layers of life, in contrast to orchards that focus on one crop and needs to be replanted every year. Food forests layers are the canopy layer, low tree layer, shrub layer, herbaceous layer, rhizosphere layer (root vegetables), ground cover layer, vine layer, and fungal layer (not always present), and a microbial layer. This system of layers mimics what is often found in nature, which means that it does not need to be replanted every year. 

The main point of a food forest is fruit and vegetable production for human consumption. With a food forest, you should be able to feed yourself and your community more efficiently, less extractively, and more regeneratively (Parkrose Permaculture). There is nothing as diverse, stable, or fertile where the production of soil is constant and the diversity of production is nonstop with the smallest input (Geoff Lawton). The neighborhoods who have implemented public food forests have found that it is a great way to build community through collaboration. They are found to beautify neighborhoods and even offer a public green space for community members, similar to a park.

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A neighborhood in Atlanta was recently transformed by the creation of a food forest. The Lakewood-Browns Mill neighborhood in East Atlanta used to be what some would call a food desert. Healthy food is difficult to come by, as the closest grocery store is a 30 minute bus ride away, and a third of the residents live below the poverty line. This food forest brings Atlanta closer to its goal to bring healthy food to within a half mile of 80 percent of its residents. It also hosts students for field trips so they can experience urban agriculture and forestry, and is maintained by more than 1000 volunteers and neighbors. Though it may not solve hunger on its own, a food forest is a productive way to manage land and can bring communities together. 

There are over 70 free food forests in the country and thousands of pounds of harvest coming from them every year. You can visit one food forest locally at Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma Campus. 


To Learn more about food forests check these out:

To Learn More about Atlanta’s Food Forests check these out:

To learn more about the SRJC Food Forest check this out:

Board Meetings

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Want to know more about what the RCD is doing? Want to get to know our Board? You can find details on our Board Meetings here

People Spotlight

Ann Cassidy, Board of Directors

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Ann Cassidy is on our Board of Directors and has been with us for so long that she does not remember, only that she has spent at least 10 years with the RCD. Being someone who has worked with water and led rafting tours across the American Southwest for about 20 years, Ann has always been interested in water and water management. With that being said, watershed work was what piqued her interest in local conservation efforts. She saw a sign that said, “Salmon Creek Watershed Needs Help,” and became interested instantly. She went to that meeting in Bodega Firehall, and eventually helped form the Salmon Creek Watershed Council. During that time, she helped write a grant to study Salmon Creek and the lack of Salmon present in the watershed. This then led to developing a grant, which they presented to the RCD for funding. This was when Ann began to get more involved with the RCD. Eventually, someone asked her if she wanted to become an associate director, and she is now one of our directors. 

Ann used to work as a clinical laboratory scientist in hospitals on and off for about 40 years, as she simultaneously traveled the world. She loves English Shepherds and is actually on the board of the National English Shepherd Rescue. She moved to Bodega in 1993 and lives on 10 acres with two horses, her husband, their dogs, and some sheep. Ann is extremely proud of the work the RCD does, and believes it is continuously going in the right direction. 


Healthy Soils Incentives Program 2021/2022 UPDATE


As of January 13, 2022, CDFA has awarded $19.9 millionA total of $68.6 million has been requested: a total of $67.5 million is available for HSP incentive grants.

The HSP Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health. GHGs benefits are estimated using quantification methodology and tools developed by California Air Resources Board (CARB), USDA-NRCS and CDFA and soil health improvement will be assessed by measuring soil organic matter content.

Gold Ridge RCD is here to help you apply to CDFA's Healthy Soils Program.

Contact William Hart for one-on-one assistance on your application.

Phone: (707) 823-5244 ext. 15


Learn How to Apply 
Click Here to Apply

Community Wildfire Protection Plans Public Review Meetings

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Permit Sonoma invites you to participate in a Public Review Meeting of the newly updated 2022 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). A CWPP is one of the best tools we have to make progress in adapting our county to a wildfire-prone environment. Five public meetings will be held virtually over Zoom this month for each Supervisory District. To review the CWPP and register for your district’s public meeting, please visit the CWPP website.

Fire Safe Sonoma - Fire Safe Alliance Meeting

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This presentation will be done by David Henry of Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a primarily military veteran volunteer force that stands ready to respond when disaster strikes. Team Rubicon is a non-profit organization that is supported by generous individual and corporate donors and is ready to serve any community. 

Click Here to Register

Notice of Funds Available: Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program

(FY 2021-22)


The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) administers a program to provide opportunities for the the cleanup of illegal disposal sites on farm and ranch property.

 Since this is the last/third cycle of the FY21-22 Application Period, you may submit your application using the pilot option:

Use the Application Guidelines and Instructions and Procedures and Requirements resource documents like a checklist when submitting your application.

Find more information about this funding on their website.

UCCE: Fast Approaching Deadline for Drought and Disaster Relief

These two programs listed below have a deadline of January 30th, 2022.


Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2021 Losses


Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) for 2021 Losses

More information here
More information here

CA Small Farm Conference


This year’s hybrid conference features over 50 different online workshops, forums and videos for the California small farm and local food community as well as several in-person gatherings around the state. Entry to this year’s conference is on a pay-what-you-can basis. Once registered, you’ll receive a password giving you access to all the virtual workshops below.

Sign up in advance or just jump in when the day arrives! 

Click Here to Register


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Making the Connection - Soil Biology & Soil Health

Feb 10, 9-10:30am, Online

Register Here

Join Sonoma RCD as we hear from Dr. Jennifer Moore, Research Soil Scientist at USDA-ARS, about soil microbial community composition, the impacts of drought and heat on soil organisms, and how soil organisms respond to different management practices.

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Farm PPE Webinar Series

Jan 4-Mar 1, 5:30-6pm, Online

Register Here

University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are holding a series of webinars to provide you with information on animal health and biosecurity, and to guide you in the development of a biosecurity plan for your operation.

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Monitoring Oak Woodland Wildlife Communities following the Mendocino Complex Fire

Jan 21, 11am-12pm, Online

Register Here

Hosted by Pepperwood in partnership with Conservation Biology Institute, you will hear from Kendall Calhoun on Monitoring Oak Woodland Wildlife Communities following the Mendocino Complex Fire


Healthy Soils Program Webinar Series

Feb 16, Mar 2, Mar 16, 6pm - Online

Register Here

This 3-part series for Healthy Soils Program awardees offers in-depth information on compost creation and use, and how to incorporate it into your funded project with plants for soil, watershed, and ecosystem health.


A Basket Weaver's Journey

Jan 26, 7-8:30pm - Online

Register Here

Join us to hear Clint McKay reflect on his journey of learning basket-weaving traditions, native plants and other wisdom from his elders. Clint McKay will reflect on the gifts, spiritual lessons and weaving traditions he learned from weavers like Mabel McKay, Laura Somersal and other Pomo and Wappo elders.

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UC Climate Stewards Course w/ Sonoma Ecology Center

Jan 29-Mar 12, All Day - In person

Register Here

As one of 9 pilot programs across the state, the 7-week UC Climate Stewards Course seeks to foster a committed corps of volunteers ready to effectively engage in transformative local solutions to promote community and ecosystem resilience in a changing climate.

Other News

Sonoma County Youth Livestock Judging Contest

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University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources 4-H youth development program will be hosting a youth livestock judging contest on January 29th, make sure to register by Januray 26th!

Click here for more information + the sign-up sheet!

AG Census 2022: Make Sure Your Farm or Ranch Counts!


Your agricultural operation, large or small, is important to U.S. agriculture. NASS conducts a census of all agricultural operations every five years as well as other agricultural surveys. We need to know about all types of agricultural operations of all sizes. 

Click Here to Take the Survey!

Fire Safe Sonoma is Looking for an Executive Coordinator!


The ideal candidate for this position is someone who can: educate, encourage and develop collaboration among many groups throughout Sonoma County that carry out wildfire mitigation, preparation, or resiliency work; help these groups communicate, strategize, and coordinate projects and plans; develop mechanisms as needed such as public outreach, funding plans, governance structures, planning efforts, and formation of new groups, with the goal of addressing gaps and supporting ongoing projects and programs to reduce wildfire risk countywide.

Email for more information.

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most pressing natural resource needs like climate adaptation, food security, clean water, thriving habitats, and ecosystem resiliency.


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