A Pie in the Sky Approach to a New Generation of Farming

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Imagine a slice of pie that does more than reward you in ways your grandmother used to do: flaky crust, vividly colored fruit that tastes like it was just picked in the orchard, and that archetypal shape that implies, “Hey, this is meant to be cut into wedges and shared!”

Then imagine if all the ingredients (wheat, eggs, butter and fruit) came from one farm, sustainably managed, and with a staff that simply loves to teach.  One of these businesses is Pie Ranch, a Northern California farm that’s (guess what) shaped like a pie. Here’s part of their manifesto:

The promise of pie will encourage city youth and adults to come discover the beauty and importance of rapidly disappearing farms to the future of people in the Bay Area, our food security, health and our understanding and appreciation of life and nature.”

With a focus on food education and farmer training, this next generation farm founded by Nancy Vail, Jered Lawson, and Karen Heisler, forges a path that connects seed to table. Their idealistic thinking encourages social change via making fresh, locally grown food more accessible to the community. Their student and youth program...

…allows students to make cross-curricular connections and advances a comprehensive understanding of how the food we eat has economic, social, environmental and political implications — both individually and globally!”

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Pie Ranch’s farmer-training program includes yearlong as well as short-term apprenticeships—all designed to train future farmers who are interested in working towards social change through organic farming. It “ain’t easy,” but what farming is when you consider it must include:

...sowing, planting, weeding irrigating, and harvesting a variety of crops; animal husbandry; experiential education with your and other groups; direct marketing through our farm stand, Community Supported Agricultural program and sales to local restaurant & bakeries.”

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In addition to these tasks, farm workers also participate in monthly meetings and classes focusing on sustainable food production. Don’t miss their Strategic Plan: you’ll be impressed. Definitely worth a trip if you find yourself near the Bay Area!

PHOTOS: via pieranch.org

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Read all articles by Juniper Briggs

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