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Notes from the editor

Finding niches and filling needs

Niche - A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s abilities or character. 
From the American Heritage Dictionary

All across Marin and within its agricultural community we are fortunate to have people that have found their calling.  None of these producer specialists happened overnight, and all of them continue to adapt and evolve as part of cultivating their niche.  This is really true for so many of Marin’s farmers and ranchers that have navigated a path for farm and ranch viability.  Examples of this perseverance and success are featured in Ellie Rilla’s article, "Farm to table success through diversified markets."  Developing high quality locally produced products and then telling the story is a journey that each of these producers have taken.

Complementing these on-farm specialists, Marin also has organizations and agencies that are filling vital needs.  After 30 years, Agricultural Institute of Marin and Marin County have found the location for a permanent Marin Farmers Market.  What is already an institution will now be able to take community learning and the farmer-customer relationships to new heights.  Similarly, NWP Co. (Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company) is a year into serving the feed mills in Petaluma and demand for the service is growing.  Freight transportation by rail is proving to have multiple benefits for dairy and poultry farmers and the local feed mills that support them.

Here in the UCCE office, we welcome Juliet Braslow into the Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator role.  Juliet is already connecting clientele with resources for apple orchard installation, thistle management, and school gardens.  She fit into our team from day one and is quickly growing our program to meet the community needs.

To these and the many intrepid niche builders across Marin, we salute your passion, commitment, and success.