Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

Summit 1997 to Summit 2010

Calf Buddies
What has happened in Marin since the Agricultural Summit in 1997 and the first agricultural diversification workshop in 1998? Forty-one Marin dairies were still providing almost a quarter of the Bay Area’s fresh milk. However, there was no real diversification into other specialty crops and only 312 acres were farmed organically. Land costs were climbing and more stringent water quality regulations were pressuring ranchers to do something. 

In the foreword to the 1988 book, Farming on the Edge, about Marin agriculture, Wendell Berry writes about his wish “- as this Marin conversation continues - that it might involve more thought about the value of locally produced food.”
 
Today there are 52 certified organic farms on 18,000 acres in Marin. Many ranches and farms have sprung a new generation of young ranchers and farmers growing and direct-marketing more than 40 types of unique products. Dairy and livestock operations are diversified: growing and direct-marketing pastured poultry and eggs, farmstead and artisan cheese, and organic and grass-fed beef. Marin and the North Bay have become the Normandy of the North Coast, where quality artisanal and farmstead products are ubiquitous. 

Marin Agriculture Statistics
1997
2009
Gross value
$57.3 million
$52.7 million
Organic farms
29
56
Acres certified organic
312
18,033
Acres in organic pasture           
0
17,649
Acres in organic row crop operation
312
384
Organic production value
$3.1 million
$13.9 million
Value of direct market
$800,000
$1.6 million
Number of farmstead/artisan cheese makers
1
8
Number of cow dairies
41
23
Value of pastured poultry operations
$2.2 million
$6.8 million
Number of MALT easements
38
66
MALT protected acreage
25,500
41,892

Figures obtained from CDFA, Marin Ag Commissioner Crop Report, MALT, and UC data archives.

-- Ellie Rilla, UCCE Marin

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