Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

New UCCE Marin interns connect partnership circle

Jenna and Bonnie
Jenna Brager (left in photo) and Bonnie Nielsen (right in photo) started work at UCCE Marin in February. Both women come from the Indian Valley College and Conservation Corps North Bay Student Work/Study Farm Program of the IVC Organic Farm. They are also former students at the innovative Organic Farming class, now in its third semester at the college.

Four years ago, an unusual and highly successful partnership was formed to facilitate the implementation of the new organic farm on campus, a new organic farming program through the college, a work/study program for Conservation Corps North Bay members, and an ongoing education program for the UCCE Master Gardeners. Ellie Rilla, then County Director for Cooperative Extension, Nanda Schorske, Dean of Indian Valley College, and Marilee Eckert, Executive Director for Conservation Corps North Bay, put the partnership together. “We really wanted to be a true partnership, and to offer young people a way to move into professional life through the combined efforts of the three organizations,” stated Nanda Schorske.
Bonnie Nielsen joined the Conservation Corps in 2009 and was assigned to work on the then just-developing farm project. Her enthusiasm led to her enrollment in the second semester of the extremely popular “Introduction to Organic Farming” class taught by the Master Horticulturist Wendy Johnson, and also attended by Jenna Brager, a talented young woman with a deep and serious passion for organic living. Both women went on to become farmers in the CCNB Work/Study Program, and eventually ended up splitting their time at UCCE Marin in Novato, helping with workshops, newsletters, and playing a major role in planning the 2010 Agriculture Summit in November.
This kind of collaboration is rare, with three important public service organizations coming together to educate, train, and prepare talented young people to assume the reins of leadership for the next decade.
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