Nevada County Grown (NCG) supporting local farmers for a better community
Many know Nevada County Grown (NCG) as the non-profit group with the gorgeous logo that publishes the yearly Nevada County Farm Guide. This Guide provides a directory of where to find food from local farms as well as shopping and growing information suited to farmers and consumers alike.
But Nevada County Grown is so much more. They are leading the way in creating new approaches to sustainable agricultural business and fostering economic self-reliance. Although over $250 million is spent on food in Nevada County, in 2015 Nevada County farms reported a value of only $1.6 million in vegetable crops, and fruit and nuts were a mere $1 million. Today, about 40 acres are devoted to fruit trees. By contrast, in 1964, active pear and apple orchards occupied 250 acres. That means millions of dollars of food sales goes to farms and businesses outside of the county, while our local farm economy loses a large portion of that business.
Recognizing that our local food purchases impact the economy, environment, health, and happiness of Nevada County, NCG in conjunction with other like-minded organizations hopes to dramatically increase both local crops and livestock sales and restore the vibrant agricultural economy of past years. NCG believes taking the lead on this goal is a worthy cause that extends beyond the farming community. Simply put, NCG knows that when local farms do well, the whole community benefits.
“Not only is local food more delicious, but research has shown it is more nutritious. And small, bio diverse farms are terrific stewards of the land, keeping soil, the environment, and wildlife healthy. Besides that, a beautiful farm is an image of an enterprise we can all embrace,” says Debbie Gibbs, President of NCG. “We need to support the farms that support our way of life. They can’t support us if we don’t support them.”
One way NCG is already making a difference is through The Nevada County Food Hub, a sales and marketing center for local farms and ranches to post available products for purchase by wholesale buyers like restaurants, grocers, caterers, and schools. “We’ve shown substantial growth this year and are actively researching ways to better serve both the farmers and the businesses. Because we are a relatively small community, we feel it is important to stay open to new ideas and learn from what is actually working in the field. Adapting quickly is a big part of helping farms succeed,” says Food Hub Operations Manager Rachel Klein.
Farming has never been an easy path but we are farmers ourselves, so we know how meaningful it is. It is a way of life we strive to protect and share,” she adds. Learn more about Nevada County Grown and The Nevada County Food Hub at NevadaCountyGrown.org.