Ag Field Day in Richfield focuses on sustainable farming

Aug. 31—More than 40 people gathered at the Handy's Farm in Richfield for a Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) sponsored agriculture field day on Aug. 19.

Most of those attending the event were owners of family farms or employees of larger farming companies in the Northstate.

Founded in 1978, CAFF is a California-based nonprofit focused on building sustainable food and farming systems through local and statewide policy advocacy.

It also organizes and sponsors on-the-ground programs such as the field day in Richfield.

According to Hanna Kahl, CAFF ecological pest management specialist, CAFF programs address current problems and challenges in food and farming systems, creating more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems.

Clayton Handy, owner and operator of Handy Farms, hosted the event at his organic walnut orchard on Piedmont Road.

"It was a successful day for both the presenters and those attending," he said.

Handy, as one of the event's presenters, spoke about alternative way for gopher control in lieu of poisons, such as diversity in food sources and own boxes.

He also presented information about the benefits of planting daffodil bulb around new plantings, plant sap analysis, direct marketing of walnuts and google analytics.

The other presenter for the day was Cindy Daley, director of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University, Chico.

She talked about soil health and regenerative agriculture practices, including water conservation, soil fertility, carbon sequestration and the benefits of cover crops in the orchard to increase water-holding capacity.

Daley is an advocate of the Center's guiding principle that agriculture, when done, regeneratively, can be the solution to soil degradation and climate change.

Kahl explained CAFF's work to support family farmers and serve community members throughout the state, including consumers, food service directors, schoolchildren and low-income populations with the aim of growing a more resilient, just and abundant food system for all Californians.

Most recently, CAFF relaunched the Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems (BIOS) program, which was originally launched in 1991, with six demonstration sites located in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

CAFF was selected in 2021 as a "California Nonprofit of the Year", by state Sen. Sydney Kamlager.