WFA acknowledges with gratitude the farmers and farm workers who labor to put food on our tables and made recent feasts around the country possible. We also thank the many land stewards who are improving ecosystem health and biodiversity. We thank the Indigenous peoples who first stewarded these lands and continue to utilize their traditional ecological knowledge to protect and restore wild nature.
In this newsletter we share successes from a recent field day, welcome new and returning team members, and share an article featuring our advocacy for installation of hedgerows. If you have an applicator license in California, be sure to utilize our online Continuing Education Courses on avian pest control, linked below, before the end of the year. Finally, it’s the season when we ask for your financial support to do the work it takes to bring nature back to our farms and ranches! This year, we brought back the popular WFA hats and added sets of Wild and Wondrous greeting cards. Thank you for your support and commitment to building a wild and resilient farming system.
Enjoy this month’s news from the wild!
Vegetable Crops Field Day at Braga Fresh
Before the Salinas Valley wrapped up production for the winter, approximately 80 farmers and others gathered to learn about habitat, natural enemies, food safety and healthy soils. We met at Braga Fresh, a progressive, large vegetable operation that is bringing biodiversity back to the farm, one step at a time. This is a welcome and exciting change for a farming region that was previously required to forsake ecosystem health and sustainable pest management for strict buyer food safety requirements–no matter that the science has proven otherwise. Today, buyers also want regenerative agriculture and Braga is leading the way to achieve both.
WFA Welcomes New and Returning Team Members
WFA is thrilled to welcome Tenaya Bearmar as our newest GrizzlyCorps Fellow. Tenaya grew up on a homestead turned small farm near San Diego. In recent years she supported operations on her family’s farm as well as other farms in the region. She has partnered with community groups in San Diego to implement climate resilient practices and healthy food systems, and helped restore damaged vernal pool and native chaparral habitat in San Diego County. She is excited to join the WFA team to help farmers implement practices that benefit ecosystem health.
Tenaya is part of GrizzlyCorps, which is an AmeriCorps program designed by Project Climate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment. This program works to promote regenerative agri-food systems and fire and forest resilience across California.
We also welcome back Nick Filannino, our previous GrizzlyCorps Fellow, who is now WFA’s Technical Advisor - Ecologist. Nick has a background in ornithology and botany, working on multiple breeding bird and rare plant surveys and bird banding studies. He will support WFA programming through a variety of tasks, including working with our team to design and build conservation projects and create new resources to help growers benefit from and contribute to more resilient ecosystems.
California Farmers Plant Hedgerows to Conserve Water, Improve Soil Health
By Thomas Sechehaye
Jo Ann Baumgartner, the executive director of Wild Farm Alliance (WFA), told Olive Oil Times that hedgerows provide a range of benefits for farmers and the environment.
“Installing hedgerows along field edges supports natural enemy insects, beneficial birds for pest control and pollinators for increased pollination services,” she said.
Besides adding biodiversity and beauty to the farm, the shrubs and trees within a hedgerow can also improve water quality, prevent erosion and store significant amounts of carbon in their tissues and the soil.
Enroll in Avian Pest Control Services Continuing Education Courses
WFA currently offers two free California Continuing Education Courses about supporting avian pest control. These courses are approved for credit through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation through the end of 2023.
“I enjoyed the courses, especially since this is the first I've seen of this nature on the topics of bird housing and raptor influence. I would absolutely take these again in the future.” -Stephen S.
Thank You for Supporting Wild Farming
We are grateful for our community of supporters who are joining us in the wild farming movement. In 2023, hundreds of farmers were inspired to bring nature back to our farms and ranches. You helped provide farmers and agricultural professionals resources to plan and install hedgerows, attract and support beneficial birds for pest control and build wild and resilient farms.
Help us continue this work in 2024 with a donation today. The first 100 supporters to make a year-end gift of $75 or more will get a choice between a Wild Farm Alliance organic cotton embroidered hat or a set of 10 Wild and Wondrous Greeting Cards. Donate $125 or more and get both!