By Timothy Collins, Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers
The Young Farmers & Ranchers kept busy over the summer holding our 7th annual Charity Farmers Market and attending the YF&R State Leaders Meeting. Our Charity Farmers Market is one of the major events we hold each year. Produce is donated to us from local farms and we use the donation money we receive from the market to support a local garden project. In 2022 we supported Norris Middle School’s garden project and were hoping to hold the farmers market there but were unable to because of Covid restrictions. This year we supported Edible School Yard Kern County and were thankful to Norris Middle School for allowing us to hold the event at their school this year in place of last year.
The Charity Farmers Market is only a single Saturday morning event for those that come by for produce, but for us it takes a team of YF&R members to plan out the event months in advance and spend multiple days preparing and picking up donated produce leading up to the event. This year’s event proved to be another success in getting fresh local produce out into the community and raising money for the Edible Schoolyard that will be further used to teach kids about growing produce. We are looking forward to working with the Edible Schoolyard this fall to help with improvements to their garden and strengthen our relationship with them.
After canceling because of Covid in summer of 2020 we brought the farmers market back last summer and were able to continue improving on it this summer by receiving more donated produce and raising more money. We are very thankful for all the local farms, companies, and those in the community that were able to donate produce and support not only us but the Edible Schoolyard this year! We are also thankful for all those who came out on one of the hottest days of the year to get produce and give donations. If you were not able to attend this year be sure to make it out next July!
As I mentioned before, to make an event like our Charity Farmers Market happen it takes a leadership team willing to work. One of the ways we build that leadership team is through the California Young Farmers & Ranchers Summer Leaders Meeting. This is an annual event which was held this year at the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau office. Four of us from Kern County were able to attend. We took tours of some of their local vegetable and citrus farming operations on Friday afternoon and then had dinner while meeting and networking with leaders from all the other YF&R groups throughout California.
We spent Saturday morning learning from the state organization and from the other counties about the benefits of Farm Bureau and YF&R, building membership, holding events and fundraisers, and improving personal leadership skills. We were able to report on Kern County YF&R’s successful farmers market, clay shoot fundraiser, and many industry tours this year. Young farmers and ranchers are alive and well across the state and your Kern County YF&R is proud to be a part of what makes California the top ag-producing state in America.