North Yuba Grown
North Yuba Grown was formed as a community based non-profit organization in 2012 in response to growing calls for tasty, nutritious food and direct, honest relationships with farmers. People from all walks of life across the nation, and especially California, are now demanding more knowledge about where their food originates and integrity from their food producers. North Yuba Grown serves to both support local producers and connect consumers directly to farms and vendors of our region’s world- class olive oil, wine, and specialty crops. Our mission is to reestablish the relationship between the land, farmer, and consumer in order to build our local economy and promote a healthy and vibrant community.
How We Got Started—
By Charles Sharp
In late 2011 and early 2012, a number of events came together that gave rise to North Yuba Grown. As 2011 was ending, Jenny Cavaliere’s Oregon House Farm Store was granted an operating permit by an unanimous vote (4/0) of the Yuba County Board of Supervisors. Concurrently, the drive to get signatures to put an initiative before the voters of California requiring the labeling of GMO food products was happening across the state. No less so was this happening, than in the communities of Oregon House and Dobbins..Then, Janet Marchant, one of our founding members, invited Bob McFarland, president of the California State Grange, speak on behalf of what the Grange could offer to farmers. This perfect storm of events came together, making people in the community aware of the food resources available locally.
A few of us began meeting on a semi-regular basics to discuss what we could to do to promote local agriculture. At this point, another member of our nascent group, Steven Dambeck, contacted Joanne Neft. Ms. Neft had been instrumental in founding the nationally know brand Placer Grown during the early 90’s in bordering Placer County. Steven invited Joanne to come visit our community and talk about local food. Joanne accepted and toured our local farms, hosted a community question and answer session, and was treated to a dinner from locally grown products at Cafe Collage, a local resturant. Later, she invited several of our county Supervisors to have lunch at her home in Placer County. County officials were hearing about our cause. Joanne has now become a mentor and advisor for our group.
At the same time, another member of our group, Randy Fletcher, began actively promoting our aims. As it so happened, Randy was on a economic advisory committee appointed by the Board of Supervisors to advise on how to encourage economic activity in the county. The owner of a foothill chestnut grove himself, Randy was perfectly situated in the right place at the right time to “bend the ear” of our county Supervisors to think about foothill agriculture. With his help and another member of the economic advisory committee Wayne Bishop, owner of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, a tour of local farms was organized for about twenty Yuba/Sutter dignitaries. (We called them the Bigwigs). The attendees included three county supervisors, several bankers, the Yuba-Sutter EDC, the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, and a number of other “movers and shakers”. It was a smashing success.
After this event, it was becoming painfully obvious that referring to ourselves as “food activists” was becoming awkard. We decided we needed a real name, thus North Yuba Grown was formed. (Note: For those of you who might be wondering, the term “North Yuba” comes from a reference to the North Fork of the Yuba River. For us locals, North Yuba is synonymous with the foothills of Yuba County.)