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Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden

UC Cooperative Extension is happy to collaborate with the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus and to feature guest-author, Amy Ridout, the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden Coordinator with Conservation Corps North Bay.

By Amy Ridout, Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden 

Acorns in Hand 1
2014 begins our sixth season of growing, harvesting, and learning together at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden (IVOF&G).  In the past five years, the farm has transformed from a hillside in the Oak Woodland Marin County Open Space, to a thriving organic farm ecosystem hosting over 150 crops and over 300 cultivars of vegetables, herbs, flowers, berries, fruit trees, natives, and more.  

The plants we cultivate and the crops we harvest make their way into the Marin County local food system through sales at our Farm Stand (open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm),  local restaurants and markets, the Novato Unified School District school lunch program, and our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. While CSA’s are challenging to run from a planning and logistics standpoint, we enjoy getting to know the 30 local families who we grow food and flowers for over the 28-week CSA season, and we like that they can directly see and taste the results of our organic farming practices.

The diversity of the crops we grow mirrors the myriad learning opportunities that abound at our Farm. We just completed the thirteenth semester of the Principles and Practices of Organic Farming and Gardening, a course taught by Wendy Johnson and Henry Wallace which draws over forty students each semester.  A handful of these students with the passion to gain experience in our fields, then join the ranks of our farm crew through the College of Marin’s Work Study Program.  In fact, right now we have openings on our crew. If you are interested in expanding your farming and gardening tool belt working side-by-side with our farming team, please apply to become a farm corps member.  Another learning opportunity are our farm and garden workshops co-hosted with the UC Cooperative Extension Marin Master Gardeners.  These workshops drawn a steady crowd of hungry-for-knowledge community members who benefit from hands-on learning at our Farm.  We also host numerous local schools who come to the farm to learn about compost, identify crops and insects, and understand what organic farming is all about. 

The 2014 season is off to a robust start despite the challenges of growing in a drought. We just survived the spring planting grind and now the weeds are upon us and the bounty of the fields is ready for the picking.  We are eager to grow our volunteer program and would love to have Marin community members be a part of our farm community through volunteering on Tuesday and Fridays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and on the second Saturday of every month for a “Work Party and potluck” from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

To learn more about our programs, visit conservationcorpsnorthbay.org. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact me at 415-454-4554 or aridout@conservationcorpsnorthbay.org.


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