On the Cover of this Spring/Summer Edition are Amanda Thibodeau, Program Director and Katie Turner, Farm Manager of The Food Love Project, an educational farm designed to share the love of fresh, local, seasonal, whole foods with our community. Started in partnership with the Bear Yuba Land Trust in 2010, this site is a growing program that teaches kids to engage in the cycle of how food is produced.
The Food Love Project was established by Amanda Thibodeau, a graduate of the 2010 Living Lands Agrarian Network internship program, as a part of the community education program offered by the Living Lands Agrarian Network or LLAN. Katie Turner interned with LLAN and Food Love last year, and has stayed on this season to manage the production and farming at FLP as her journeyman project.
The LLAN is a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen our community by teaching small scale farmers how to establish sustainable farms, to educate our youth about farming, and to help establish diversified farms throughout the community, whose value is recognized and supported by a Western Nevada County population that, each year, buys an increasing share of its food locally.
After graduating from the LLAN internship program three years ago and while looking for a place to establish an educational site on behalf of the LLAN, Amanda could not help but notice a beautiful piece of land located at 16200 Lake Vera Rd. in Nevada City, and owned by the Bear Yuba Land Trust.
“I drove by all the time and one day decided to inquire about the property for use as an educational farm. With the help of LLAN, I asked the Land Trust Board if I could farm the land and establish the educational program here, and they agreed. They have been incredibly supportive and we are grateful to be here in such a great location. In addition to the support of the Bear Yuba Land Trust, we rely heavily on donations and grants to help us run the program. Some of our biggest sponsors have been the Briar Patch, Peaceful Valley, and Vital Garden Supply” Amanda told Insight.
Besides hosting gardening workshops and farming internship programs for adults who are interested in establishing their own sustainable farms or gardens, The Food Love Project hosts classes and Field Trips for youth ages 5 and up. The Project not only teaches them where their food comes from and the value of those who grow it, but it also teaches them to respect their local ecosystem and to be better stewards of the land on which they live.
Now in its third season, the Food Love Project has provided over 4,000 hours of education to local public school children, at risk youth, homeless adults, and many local volunteers. And they are poised to double that number this year! During the growing season they host field trips, camps, workshops, service projects and potlucks.
Amanda is also the Project Coordinator for Live Healthy’s Farm to School Program and is working on implementing school and farm partnerships and programming throughout the County. To learn more about Farm to School programming happening county wide, visit www.livehealthynevadacounty.org.
When asked how the community can support this valuable program, Amanda replied, “There are many ways to get involved, firstly, by becoming a member of the LLAN, donating supplies or equipment, individuals or businesses can sponsor a child, a class, or even an entire grade level to attend the workshops and field trips. The cost is only $15 per student and the sponsorship will positively impact the life of a child and the wider community. This year, we will be holding our first Summer Camp for children ages 6 and up with the first session beginning July 15th. You can also, come by our stand this summer at the Nevada City Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and purchase some of the produce grown on the farm, or stop by our Farm for our U-Pick nights which will be held on Tuesday nights from 4:30-7PM starting June 18th 2013. There are so many ways to get involved and anyone interested can go to our website or give us a call to learn more.”