There’s no better time to appreciate the Earth than right now. Super storms have wreaked havoc in the Northeast, massive droughts have devastated California, and Antarctica is hotter than ever. OK, so of course it’s not the greatest time to be celebrating something that we’re slowly killing, but it is a good time to start learning how to be more eco-friendly in the midst of climate change disasters.
And Branch Mill Organics has got your back. The farm will be holding an Earth Day Fair & Fun*raiser this April. Live music will be provided by Gone Afar and Shadowlands, and the event will also feature locally produced beer, wine, and artisan goods. Free yoga classes will be provided throughout the day, as well as plant sales, farm tours, and raffle drawings. A portion of all the proceeds will be used to support Branch Mill’s nonprofit organization.
Ruth Madocks, the organizer of the event, as well as the owner of Branch Mill, grew up in rural Marin County. Her family grew and harvested most of their vegetables, which started her love of working on the land.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANCH MILL ORGANICS
- GET PICKY : Branch Mill Organic Farm operates a food stand where customers can take their pick of produce and leave their money in a cash box.
“I began the farm in 2012, which is when we received our organic certification,” Madocks said. “I was an ESL teacher for 33 years, and retired in 2011, so I hired a consultant to teach me about farming. I farmed a 2-acre field and also grew various veggies to sell at local organic markets and restaurants for almost three years.”
Now, Branch Mill is farming on 5 acres of their 10-acre plot, with plans to expand even further. The farm has a fruit and berry orchard, plots of vegetables with five kinds of winter squash, corn, watermelons, garlic, four different kinds of potatoes, three kinds of kale, chard, and scores of herbs. People in the community can purchase boxes of organic fruit and vegetables, as well as buy from their honor stand located on Branch Mill Road. People take fresh produce such as eggs and vegetables, and leave their money in a box. Additionally, there’s a retreat center dedicated to yoga, meditation, and other personal growth classes.
“We want to create an educational environment where we can teach people, especially children, about the benefits of organic farming practices and how to grow their own food,” Madocks said. “We believe strongly in our organic certification, so the customer knows what they are getting. Our produce is produced without GMOs or harmful, toxic pesticides. We undergo a rigorous inspection each year to ensure that we are following all organic practices and meeting the USDA’s National Organic Program requirements.”
Madocks said she’s hoping to expand community awareness of Branch Mill with the fundraiser, in order to help move their nonprofit program forward. They plan on working with local schools and other organizations to teach people about sustainable local agriculture.
“We also plan to teach about rain catchment systems, drought-tolerant landscaping, solar energy, and many other things,” Madocks said. “We want to teach sustainable living practices with food and also with lifestyle. We hope to expand on that in the future.”
The fundraiser will be held on April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is $5 entrance fee for adults. Kids and teens get in free. There is a $10 pre-packaged meal deal provided by Bliss Café. Branch Mill Organic Farm is located in Arroyo Grande at 2815 Branch Mill Road. For more information about the fundraiser or the farm, visit branchmillorganics.com, or call 481-9205.
Morro Bay’s LEAP (Local Economic Action Plan) began an initiative to renovate the city’s business districts on April 4. More than 20 volunteers from Morro Bay in Bloom, Rotary Morro Bay, Eco-Rotary Morro Bay, and local merchants came together to clean up trees and install new lights along Main Street and Morro Bay Boulevard. With the help of local businesses, volunteers were able to raise enough funds to refurbish and replace lights with new commercial-grade LED lighting. Nine outlet boxes and nine extension cords were replaced, with 30 sets of LED lighting installed, and 10 sets of lights restrung. For more information about LEAP’s future projects, visit morro-bay.ca.us./LEAP.
Intern Adriana Catanzarite organically farmed this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business and nonprofit news to firstname.lastname@example.org.