We are thrilled to learn that Full Belly Farm has been recognized for its leadership in sustainable agriculture by winning the prestigious 2014 Leopold Conservation Award. Full Belly, located on 350 acres in the Capay Valley northwest of Sacramento, is a shining example of the criteria for the award: responsible management of natural resources, economic sustainability, land health, leadership, innovation and outreach.
Full Belly’s original four owners—Judith Redmond, Andrew Brait, Paul Muller and Dru Rivers—started farming organically 25 years ago, growing over 80 row crops, tree crops and livestock products. They were pioneers in the establishment of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and employ a spectrum of direct and wholesale marketing strategies. They have added two next-generation owners, Jenna Clemens and Amon Muller. And they provide year-round jobs for their approximately 80 employees, many of who have been with them for years.
In addition to growing healthy, organic and delicious fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, eggs and more, the Full Belly team prioritizes soil building and conservation plantings. One of the farm’s goals is to integrate food production with longer-term environmental stewardship. They have installed hedgerows and other habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife. They use cover crops and compost for fertility and to build soil organic matter.
Full Belly does more than produce good food in an ecological sustainable way. They offer educational programs, summer camps for kids, and host an annual harvest festival called the Hoes Down to raise money for several non-profit sustainable agriculture organizations. They speak at conferences and events to share their stories and knowledge, and conduct on-farm research with various academic partners. They are also advocates for sustainable and organic agriculture on many policy issues. We are honored to benefit from the engagement of co-owner Judith Redmond, a core member of CalCAN’s Farmer Advisory Council.
We can’t think of a more worthy recipient of the Leopold Award. Congratulations and thank you for your remarkable contributions, Full Belly!