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Stories from the Field - Live!

By Julia Van Soelen Kim with David Lewis, Vince Trotter, and Paulette Swallow

In newly released short videos from UCCE Marin, new and multi-generational Marin County farmers and ranchers share their personal stories, accomplishments, and inspirations on their path towards agricultural diversification. The stories highlight local successes in agricultural diversification including the additions of pasture-based livestock products, organic certification, and value-added production such as artisan and farmstead cheeses. Agricultural diversification has helped producers meet changing market demands, rise above volatile commodity prices for milk and meat, and leverage the growing popularity of organic, as well as niche and artisanal products. This trend across the Marin County agricultural community over the last 20 years has enhanced the environmental and economic sustainability of local operations and helped ensure the viability of agriculture for generations to come. As Karen Taylor, an organic dairy farmer with Bivalve Dairy explains in her video, “We talk a lot about ‘sustainability’ and part of sustainability is also about being profitable.”

These important stories highlight the ways in which Marin County agriculture has simultaneously changed in recent years, yet its core character has remained much the same over time. Karen goes on to explain, “I love the fact that Marin is increasing the idea of diversification […] I love the idea that we can try something new and there are people around us willing to support something new.” Rick Lafranchi, an organic dairy farmer and farmstead cheese maker with Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, echoes the ways in which Marin agriculture is unique: “The North Bay is actually home to many of the best cheeses made in the United States” and “There is still a real community of cheese-makers where you’re always doing what you can to help the other guy.”

Hear directly from these hard working, entrepreneurial, and creative individuals in these Local Stories on Agricultural Diversification.

Karen Taylor, Bivalve Dairy - organic dairy farmer

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