Media & Press Resources

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Press Releases


A New Generation Of Farmers
5 New Organic Farms Get A Helping Hand
Grass Valley, CA, March 18, 2009 – What do a cookbook author, IT professionals, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and recent college graduates have in common? They’re all “Freshman Farmers,” taking the leap into their first year operating their own organic farms. Five new organic farms will be putting down roots this Spring with a little help from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, which has been one of the pioneers in organic growing since 1976. The program is in its second year after a very successful trial year during which the original Freshman Farmer, Andrew Meyers, 24, started an organic farm, provided boxes of vegetables to 30 families on a weekly basis and sold produce at markets. He was successful enough to reinvest in a larger piece of land and grow his operations this year.
The goal of the Freshman Farmer program is to help new organic farms get established with less of a financial burden than is typical in the first few years of farming. The program gives the new farms “big farmer” discounts on all the supplies they’ll need in their first four years, so that they will be established and thriving by the time they “graduate”. This year’s crop of farms, located in Missouri, Washington and California, will be documenting their successes and challenges through blogs, photo journals and how-to videos. You can follow their story at www.FreshmanFarmer.com.
“With the right combination of healthy growing practices, CSA marketing, and an accessible location, I’ve seen how a farm can be a powerful community builder.” said Eddie Tanner, 29, an Arcata, CA based Freshman Farmer. His plan this season is to create a 100 member, 9 acre CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm near the heart of his community. He has worked many farms in the past and is putting his experience into his own operation. “I’ve become hooked on the challenges and nuances that each year brings. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience.”
Drew and Dan Hogan live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area and are two of the new batch of Freshman Farmers. They have two college age kids and bought 20 acres of land in 2005. They are just beginning to farm it this year. “We grew up with the message that there were ‘city’ people and ‘farm’ people and that one could not become the other without huge sacrifice and risk. We believe this is not so,” said Dan. “With creative thinking, hard work, and an active exchange of ideas with our fellow farmers, we think we can show that anyone can become part of a healthier food production system.”
“We want to see more organic farmers nationwide supplying their local communities with seasonal, organic produce” said Eric Boudier, President of Peaceful Valley. “There are many factors that can make it difficult to start an organic farm these days. High costs of land, tightened lending amidst the economic downturn, and a lack of interest from a new generation of farmers are just the beginning.”
For a younger generation raised on fast-food and supermarkets, the connection between farmer and food can be tenuous. “These days you don’t talk to your farmer that much. You don’t know what his or her week was like, how the weather affected their crops, what they learned. We want to change that,” said Lee Dickerson, General Manager of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. “It’s easier to want to start a farm when you are familiar with how it works.”
None of the Freshman Farmers grew up farming, however a love of working outdoors and a love of food lead Willow Hein and Billy Raaen, both in their late 20’s, to start their farm in Nevada City, CA. “Organic farming is the best way we can think of that will allow us to live with integrity, work outside, create a lifestyle that necessitates a stewardship of the land and the people who live on it, and give back to the community.”
When asked what drew them to organic farming, Jared and Sara Hankins, 30, from Poulsbo, WA said, “It was our pursuit as concerned and responsible eaters to locate the healthiest and most nutritious foods available. It was through this pursuit that we became aware of the major problems that industrial agriculture has caused throughout the world – toxic food, poisoned waterways, increased greenhouse gas emissions, vanishing topsoil, genetic loss, eroded/depleted lands, and the decline of the small family farms. It was through this awareness that we decided to confront our shared curiosity and interest with farming.”
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Molly Rockamann, 27, returned home to St. Louis to start her own farm in her own vision after stints in Florida, Fiji, Santa Cruz, Ghana, and Thailand exploring the field of sustainable agriculture. “Our vision is to incorporate the visual and performing arts and music into the farmscape as much as possible – to really celebrate the culture in agriculture. Our mission is to grow and inspire local FARMS – Food, Art, Relationships, and Music, Sustainability – and Food comes first,” said Rockamann.
The Freshman Farmers (6 total farms, 9 farmers) have plans of establishing Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) shares, selling at Farmers’ Markets, and selling wholesale produce directly to restaurants. Some will be focusing on providing “value-added” items year-round including jam and pickles, others will be growing unique crops. Follow them through their growing pains and learning experiences on their blogs at FreshmanFarmer.com. You may become inspired to start your own vegetable garden or at least subscribe to a local CSA. You may even decide to become a Freshman Farmer next year.
# # #
For more information about the Freshman Farmer program sponsored by Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, visit the website at FreshmanFarmer.com call 888-784-1722 x127 (Autumn) or e-mail freshmanfarmer@groworganic.com.

Jump-Starting A New Food Economy
5 New Organic Farms Get A Helping Hand
Grass Valley, CA, March 16, 2009 –Five new organic farms are starting this spring as part of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply’s “Freshman Farmer” initiative. The goal of the program is to help new organic farms get established with less of a financial burden than is typical in the first year of farming. The program gives the new farms “big farmer” discounts on all the supplies they’ll need in their first four years, so that they will be established and thriving by the time they “graduate”. This year’s crop of farms, located in Missouri, Washington and California, will be documenting their successes and challenges through blogs, photo journals and how-to videos. You can follow their story at www.FreshmanFarmer.com.
“We want to see more organic farmers nationwide supplying their local communities with seasonal, organic produce,” said Eric Boudier, President of Peaceful Valley, one of the very few companies that have pioneered the organic movement since 1976. “There are many factors that can make it difficult to start an organic farm these days. High costs of land, tightened lending amidst the economic downturn, and a lack of interest from a new generation of farmers.”
With food costs on the rise, consumers are embracing the opportunity to buy affordable produce at markets or to subscribe to a farm share and receive a box of fresh, seasonal veggies every week. The market for local farms is growing, but the supply of younger farmers to fill the demand has slipped behind.
For a younger generation raised on fast-food and supermarkets, the connection between farmer and food can be tenuous. “These days you don’t talk to your farmer that much. You don’t know what his or her week was like, how the weather affected their crops, what they learned. We want to change that,” said Lee Dickerson, general manager of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. “It’s easier to want to start a farm when you are familiar with how it works.”
In 2008 the first Freshman Farmer, Andrew Meyers, 24, started an organic farm, provided boxes of vegetables to 30 families on a weekly basis and sold produce at markets. He was successful enough to re-invest in a larger piece of land and grow his operations this year.
The Freshman Farmers (6 total farms, 9 farmers) have plans of establishing Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) shares, selling at Farmers’ Markets, and selling wholesale produce directly to restaurants. Some will be focusing on providing “value-added” items year-round including jam and pickles, others will be growing unique crops. Follow them through their growing pains and learning experiences on their blogs at FreshmanFarmer.com. You may become inspired to start your own vegetable garden or at least subscribe to a local CSA. You may even decide to become a Freshman Farmer next year.
You may also wish to incorporate some of all of:
Freshman Farmer Entrepreneur Profiles
Peaceful Valley’s history, pioneering the organic movement,
continuing to grow during the current recession
Freshman Farmer Entrepreneur Profiles:
“With the right combination of healthy growing practices, CSA marketing, and an accessible location, I’ve seen how a farm can be a powerful community builder.” said Eddie Tanner, 29, an Arcata, CA based Freshman Farmer. His plan this season is to create a 100 member, 9 acre CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm near the heart of his community. He has worked many farms in the past and is putting his experience into his own operation. “I’ve become hooked on the challenges and nuances that each year brings. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience.”
Drew and Dan Hogan are in their 40’s and live and work as IT professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have two college age kids and bought 20 acres of land in 2005 in Palermo, CA. They are just beginning to farm it this year. “We grew up with the message that there were ‘city’ people and ‘farm’ people and that one could not become the other without huge sacrifice and risk. We believe this is not so,” said Dan. “With creative thinking, hard work, and an active exchange of ideas with our fellow farmers, we think we can show that anyone can become part of a healthier food production system.”
When asked what drew them to organic farming, Jared and Sara Hankins, 30, from Poulsbo, WA said, “It was our pursuit as concerned and responsible eaters to locate the healthiest and most nutritious foods available. It was through this pursuit that we became aware of the major problems that industrial agriculture has caused throughout the world – toxic food, poisoned waterways, increased greenhouse gas emissions, vanishing topsoil, genetic loss, eroded/depleted lands, and the decline of the small family farms. It was through this awareness that we decided to confront our shared curiosity and interest with farming.”
None of the Freshman Farmers grew up farming, however a love of working outdoors and a love of food lead Willow Hein and Billy Raaen, both in their late 20’s, to start their farm in Nevada City, CA. “Organic farming is the best way we can think of that will allow us to live with integrity, work outside, create a lifestyle that necessitates a stewardship of the land and the people who live on it, and give back to the community.”
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Molly Rockamann, 27, returned home to St. Louis to start her own farm in her own vision after stints in Florida, Fiji, Santa Cruz, Ghana, and Thailand exploring the field of sustainable agriculture. “Our vision is to incorporate the visual and performing arts and music into the farmscape as much as possible – to really celebrate the culture in agriculture. Our mission is to grow and inspire local FARMS – Food, Art, Relationships, and Music, Sustainability – and Food comes first,” said Rockamann.
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply – company history
In 1976, when the organic farming movement was first getting going, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply was born out of a desire to provide growers with natural solutions to farming and gardening problems. To this day, PVF&GS is dedicated to preserving the environment by providing customers with cost-effective, state-of-the-art organic growing supplies and the information and tools needed to apply them. They strive to provide growers at every level, from home gardeners to commercial farmers, with great service, low prices and then best selection of quality products available. PVF&GS has promised to remain focused on “organic” and will continue to participate in outreach programs to promote the benefits of organic growing, while maintaining its leadership as one of the pioneers of America’s organic marketplace. Peaceful Valley’s motto is to, “Grow Organic… for Life!” and their informational guides and organic products can be found at www.GrowOrganic.com.
Humble Beginnings in 1976
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply originated in 1976 on tiny Peaceful Valley Road in Nevada City, California. The business started in a small garage and sent out a four-page newsletter to growers. As the business expanded, it moved down Peaceful Valley Road where they leased a few acres and a shed. The shed was only about 12′ x 20′ and employees had to use an outhouse! Since the business was in a rural area, they were able to have a greenhouse and grow nursery plants to sell to local customers.
We Grow As Organic Farming & Gardening Grows
In 1985, the first year a complete catalog was published, PVFGS burned down and many of the records, information and inventory were lost. A bigger building was then rebuilt, mainly through the help of its dedicated customers. When the business started to really gain in popularity, the tiny, private Peaceful Valley Road got so congested that Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply employees had to meet customers at the end of the road, 1/4 mile away, to help alleviate the volume of traffic. In 1989, the founder of PVFGS sold the business, which was soon relocated to a business district near downtown Grass Valley. The business moved another 2 times, within the same area, because of its increase in popularity. Eric and Patricia Boudier acquired the business in July of 1996.
Today
PVFGS now enjoys ever-increasing recognition as one of the leaders in the field of organic supplies. Today, they have tens of thousands of customers and recently hired another 8 employees, bringing their total to 58 employees. In January of 2005 PVF&GS purchased and moved into its current facility at 125 Clydesdale Court, Grass Valley, CA. The 2,500 sq ft store is over twice the size of its predecessor, and includes a conference & training room. The warehouse (15,500 sq ft with a loading dock and two bays) has increased storage capacity by approximately 50%. In addition, the two-acre site on a cul-de-sac features an organic nursery that specializes in California native plants, bare root fruit trees, and certified organic vegetable starts.
# # #
For more information about the Freshman Farmer program sponsored by Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, visit the website at FreshmanFarmer.com call 888-784-1722 x127 (Autumn) or e-mail freshmanfarmer@groworganic.com

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The Farm Blogs

Freshman:
New Farms Coming Soon!
Sophomores:
Graduates:
Daily Grace Farms
Crescent City, CA
Driftwood Farm
Fort Bragg, CA
Ellwood Canyon Farms
Goleta, CA
Freestone Family Farm
Vernal, UT
Home Plate Organic Farm
Orleans, CA
Laughing Duck Farm
Newcastle, CA
Starbright Acres
12575 Polaris Dr, Grass Valley, CA
Willow Springs Farm
Penn Valley, CA
Wise Moon Farm
Redding, CA

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About the Farms

Coyote House Farm
Palermo, CA
Daily Grace Farms
Crescent City, CA
DeepSeeded Community Farm
Arcata, CA
Driftwood Farm
Fort Bragg, CA
EarthDance Farm
St. Louis, MO
Ellwood Canyon Farms
Goleta, CA
Four Frog Farm
Penn Valley, CA
Freestone Family Farm
Vernal, UT
Hand Sown Homegrown Heritage Farm
Poulsbo, WA
Home Plate Organic Farm
Orleans, CA
Honey in the Heart Farm
Nevada City, CA
Laughing Duck Farm
Newcastle, CA
Starbright Acres
12575 Polaris Dr, Grass Valley, CA
Willow Springs Farm
Penn Valley, CA
Wise Moon Farm
Redding, CA

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