As the need for new farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards continues to increase, the Center for Land-Based Learning is announcing its unprecedented organizational growth in response to this need.
The Center, which started offering its FARMS program in 1993, has remained committed to inspiring, educating, and cultivating future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards in California over the long haul.
In 2017, the Center set forth a multi-year strategy plan to, among other goals, “build a new home in a new place.”
In May 2020, the Center moved to Woodland, after a successful capital campaign. The Center for Land-Based Learning’s Headquarters at Maples Farm is a 30-acre campus that houses their new offices, the Best Classroom where they will hold in-person classes when it is again safe to do so, and productive farmland and associated infrastructure. Beginning farmers in the Center’s California Farm Academy Farm Business Incubator Program can lease plots of farmland on Maples Farm or in West Sacramento, to grow their nascent agricultural ventures.
“We have been overwhelmed by the incredible support and the ability to propel innovative new programs and services at our new facility”, says Jeana Hultquist, Chair of the Center’s Board. “This also meant aligning our leadership with comparable forward-looking non-profit organizations.”
In the fall of 2020, the Board promoted Mary Kimball from Executive Director to CEO. Mary was the first employee hired to work with the Center back in 1998 and has served at its helm since 2003. Under Kimball’s leadership, the move to Maples Farm positions the Center for growing success for another 25 years.
The Center has also created several new positions in recent months. These include their new Director of Operations, filled by Jesus Zavala since December, their West Sacramento Urban Farm Program Coordinator, filled by Heather Lyon since April, and their Beginning Farm and Ranch Management Apprentice, filled by Erin Morris since April.
California Farm Academy Director, Dr. Sridharan (Sri) Sethuratnam, added, “At the Maples Farm, we have access to quadruple the amount of land, and dramatically improved infrastructure and equipment. The land and infrastructure provide us with the capacity to better support the beginning farmers in the region and will eventually contribute to growing the next generation of farmers that our country needs.”