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Implementing the Marin Agricultural Summit and Support Plan

Marin farmers, ranchers, and allies met on November 13, 2010 to participate in the Marin Agricultural Summit.  During industry specific break out groups and small table discussions these more than 90 participants provided input and direction on issues, programs, and initiatives that will foster continued and future success for Marin agriculture.  This input was captured in the day’s Notes and Memory and were subsequently formed into near, medium, and long-term action items within the Marin Agricultural Support Action Plan  through a broad based partnership.

On January 31, 2012, the County of Marin Board of Supervisors received a full report a full report on the Summit including a progress update on the Action Plan.  Supervisor Judy Arnold said of the Summit and Plan “Diversification, Communication equals Beautification and that’s what I think you have done.”  “Here we have very clear direction of where we need to go,” added Supervisor Kinsey.  The complete presentation and comments of support from the Supervisors are available online at the Board’s website.

Thanks to multiple partners and leads many of these action items are being implemented.  These include:

  • Signing ceremony for California's first organic agriculture apprenticeship program.
    Signing ceremony for California's first organic agriculture apprenticeship program.
    At the College of Marin, Nanda Schorske and Peter Martinelli have lead a partnership to implement the state’s first approved apprenticeship program for Organic Farming.  Complementing this will be the start of the Farming Work Experience course this summer.  Combined these programs provide opportunities for students to learn about farming on-farm.
  • Discussions and agreements are moving forward to use the Go Local materials in a united promotional campaign.  The aim is to increase viability of local Marin agricultural products.  Tentative plans are for these materials to be available for individual producer use in the next year.
  • Supervisor Steve Kinsey has had two meetings with Sonoma Supervisor David Rabbit to develop collaboration on support for infrastructure required for harvesting, processing, packaging, and distribution of multiple species, organic and grass-fed livestock products.  Outcomes from this effort will be longer-term in their delivery but already the willingness to work across county lines is opening doors to meeting local rancher needs.
  • Through analysis and collaboration between Marin County Parks Department and Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the Count of Marin has revised its policy in support of agricultural land conservation including approval to develop and administer a program for that purpose.  Read the specifics of the policy language and view the presentation by Linda Dahl, Director Marin Parks, and Board of Supervisors discussion and vote on January 31, 2012.
  • Dominic Grossi hosting Coastal Commission Staff tour.
    Dominic Grossi hosting Coastal Commission Staff tour.
    Currently the Local Coastal Plan is moving from the Marin County Planning Commission to workshops and hearings with the Board of Supervisors.  Drafts of this land use plan for the Marin’s coastal zone has been revised to support on-farm retail sales and processing similar to the remainder of the County.  Recently, a tour for Coastal Commission staff of Marin coastal farms for organized and hosted by Dominic Grossi and Marin County Farm Bureau.

All the of Summit and Action Plan partners look forward to continued progress and welcome participation and support to continue action item implementation.

David Lewis, Director