Dear Friends of the Center for Land-Based Learning,

Happy New Year! The last two months here in Winters and in the Sacramento region have been monumental in terms of rainfall...we are now well on our way to ending the 5-year drought, and everyone is very, very thankful. Today, the skies are blue and the grass is quickly growing in the orchards and fields around our office, which is a perfect analogy to what we here at the Center for Land-Based Learning are experiencing. Tremendous growth! In 2016, we added nine (9) new staff members to the organization. Most of these staff members are supporting two of our many model programs; California Farm Academy and the FARMS Leadership Program.

Tremendous support from Rabobank, Driscoll's, and GAR Tootelian are fueling expansion of the first year FARMS Leadership Program into new counties in California; In two years time, we have increased our reach from 250 to 450 high school students per year in FARMS Year 1, and have added Tulare, Kings, Kern, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Tehama Counties...with goals for Stanislaus County in 2018. We have added a second year, FARMS Advanced Program in the Fresno region, serving close to 20 students in a deep-dive, problem-solving, network-creating, workforce development opportunity for our 1st year FARMS graduates. We have partnered with My Job Depends on Ag to provide 15 scholarships to our alumni that are studying agriculture at college. And this summer, we will be piloting even more opportunity - PAID internships and job shadows with our industry partners, such as Ingleby, TerraNova Farms, Bee Sweet, GAR Tootelian, and so many others. Interested? Give us a call, we'd be happy to talk to you about getting your company involved with these opportunities around the state.

The California Farm Academy expanded in 2016 to include a new pilot program, a 3,000 hour accredited Apprenticeship Program for beginning farmers. Over 50 people applied for five Apprentice positions with Soil Born Farm, Say Hay Farms, and Rominger Brothers. We added the Cannery Farm to our Farm Business Incubator, and now taking shape in West Sacramento is our new Farm at the BARN. The BARN Farm wouldn't be possible without our lead partners; Raley's, Fulcrum Properties, Morton-Marcine Friedman Foundation, and Wells Fargo. If you live or work in the region, let us know if you would like a tour of either of these very exciting new Incubator farms, and the amazing beginning farmers that are up and running, growing and providing healthy, fresh veggies for the community.

I was very honored to be interviewed just a few weeks ago for Farm to Table Talk, hosted by Roger Wasson, regarding all of our work training and developing the next generation of farmers. If you haven't heard of this podcast - check it out - Roger does a great job of spanning the food and agriculture sector, and you can find the podcast on SoundCloud.

Finally, one of our longest running programs, SLEWS, turned 15 in 2016. We were honored with a tremendous award from SACOG in December, called the Mary Brill Youth Excellence Award, for the SLEWS Program. You can read more about the award here. We are excited to be planning a wonderful celebration of the past 15 years, and to launch the next 15, with an event on April 2nd to celebrate all that is SLEWS!

Thanks to all of you, again, for your tremendous support of ALL of our programming and work throughout the state - now reaching 28 counties! Again, a Happy New Year to all.


New Executive Committee Announced
Board Chair

David Shabazian, Sacramento Area Council of Governments

Vice Board Chair

Nicole Rogers, Nugget Market, Inc.

Treasurer (continuing)

Ana Klein, Sunsweet Growers Inc.


Jeana K. Hultquist, American AgCredit

Introducing Our New Board Member
Dawn Miller, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

Dawn Miller has worked in the areas of organization development, change management, training and communication since 1988. She is currently Director of Organization and Workforce Development for SMUD. In that capacity, she leads a team chartered to help SMUD envision and create the SMUD organization of the future while also providing tactics to develop the workforce of today into one that can embody the SMUD of tomorrow.

Dawn joined the Center for Land-Based Learning Board of Directors in December of 2016.

SLEWS Program Project at River Garden Farms
Twelve Woodland High School students (along with their teacher and a chaperone) participating in the Center for Land-Based Learning's SLEWS programs braved the cold foggy morning and returned to River Garden Farms Wednesday, January 25 for the second in a series of three visits to continue work on our Riparian Habitat Project.

The goal for the day was planting a variety of sixteen species of shrubs, trees, and grasses that are native to the area. The day was headed up by Matt Lechmaier from the Center for Land-Based Learning, while Matthew Danielczyk from Audubon provided the planting layout and instruction. On hand to assist and mentor once again were Jacob Byers from US Fish and Wildlife Service, and UC Davis Grad Students Ross Brennan, Katy Dynarski, and Jared Borba.

Excerpted from River Garden Farms blog.  Read the full article here.
Upcoming Highlights
Sacramento Kings Ticket Night

Want to see the Sacramento Kings vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 27, 2017? Contact Christine McMorrow at

SLEWS Program 15th Anniversary Celebration

Calling all SLEWS Alumni, mentors and partners! On Sunday, April 2nd we will be hosting a 15th Anniversary Celebration at Yolo Land & Cattle.  Save the date!
2017 Veggie Box Program

The new and improved weekly subscription veggie box is coming in May. Email Matthew Clement at
for more information.


The Center for Land-Based Learning exists to
cultivate opportunity. 

For the land.
For youth.
For the environment.
For business.
For the economy.
For the future of agriculture.

Please make a tax-deductible contribution today.  

Thank you for your support.


CENTER FOR LAND-BASED LEARNING, 5265 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA 95694  ■  (530) 795-1520