Category Archives: News
Planting Seeds for the Future: River City High School Farm Program Students Harness the Power of Food
By Bia Riaz
Five years ago, a very important seed was planted at River City High School’s after school Greenhouse and Gardens Club. Under guidance of teachers like Ellen Hoffman (retired), and Jennifer McAllister (AP Biology), students learned and shared the values of nurturing and caring for plant life. This love of gardening bloomed into the Farm to Fork Program and Pathway.
The energy and excitement exhibited by the students prompted the school to ask Ms. McAllister to write a course outline and develop a curriculum for the Farm to Fork Program. The first Farm to Fork class started in the spring 2015 term.
Initially, students were placed in the class and had to become familiar with the concept, as it related to their day-to-day lives. McAllister also reached out to parents about the program. Once the students understood the impact of growing and eating seasonal and healthy ingredients, they were motivated to continue the pathway and signed up for additional classes. The pathway for the program offers students the opportunity to learn and understand agriculture and the properties of soil, fertilizers, carbon, nitrogen, water, and the concept of seasonal crops.
As part of the program, the Farm to Fork students participate in planting and caring for the RCHS urban garden located on the school grounds. The most recent crops in the garden include; garlic, onions, beets, radishes, carrots, collards, broccoli, and many more. In the class, students learn how to plant, harvest, wash and pack the produce from the garden. All the produce is then provided to the school cafeteria. The cafeteria at RCHS focuses on developing lunches using the produce in conjunction with other locally sourced ingredients.
According to McAllister, the program has generated a lot of lively discussion in the classroom. The students have developed an understanding of how their food is grown, where it comes from, and the economic issues related to cost and production. “They raised the issue of equality and access to healthy food. They find it frustrating that healthy food is expensive, but they also understand the triple bottom line. You have to have a quality environment, you have to care for the people and animals, but you still need to make a profit. They understand that quality food costs more” Observed McAllister.
Last year the class had the opportunity to visit the Bryte Garden Caffe (Culinary Arts and Food Education) site and learned how to incorporate fresh produce, like pumpkins, into a scratch made pie. They also attended the Farm-to-Fork Festival and the First Harvest Festival. McAllister mentioned that the students were excited to share information and learn more about the Farm to Fork movement in the region. Several students have already volunteered to return to the festival next year.
Although it started as a small class, the interest in the program has grown and more students are requesting enrollment in the classes. Currently, there are 37 students in the Farm to Fork class. On February 9th, the students will be visiting the Fiery Ginger Farm, behind Yolo High School, to experience a working local urban farm. As a teacher at RCHS for 20 years, McAllister expressed how much she enjoyed working with the students. “It is inspiring to see young people get excited about learning. They understand and care about eating healthy. They also understand that they ‘vote’ every time they choose to eat healthy. They let the corporations know, they choose healthy!”
For more on the RCHS Farm to Fork Program, visit their website http://rivercity.wusd.k12.ca.us/farmtoforks
Butane honey oil lab found on Kinsington Street
By Monica Stark
At about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13, an officer detained eight suspects located in a residence of a butane honey oil lab on Kinsington Street. The lab consisted of a glass extraction vessel, numerous cans of butane, pounds of marijuana shake, stems, buds, two pumps, methamphetamine and methamphetamine pipes. After investigation, it was determined that five of the eight contacted could not be tied directly to the butane honey oil lab or any criminal behavior.
In one of the bedrooms, the officer located marijuana shake stem and buds, extraction vessel and pumps, methamphetamine and two glass meth pipes. The individual who resides in that bedroom was arrested for charges related to those violations. In another bedroom, the officer located Xanax in an unmarked Rx bottle, methamphetamine, a meth pipe, butane, marijuana shake stem and buds, and a digital scale. Two individuals who reside in that bedroom were arrested for charges related to those violations.
In the third bedroom, a marijuana shake stem and bud and a minor amount of finished butane honey oil was found.
It was later found that three suspects were hiding inside the attic. After numerous announcements, the West Sacramento Police Department was preparing to deploy the K-9 when two of the suspects made their presence known. They were taken into custody at that time. Everyone but the third suspect was arrested for manufacturing the butane honey oil.
Based on the officer’s training and experience, the extraction vessel, combined with butane, pumps and a quantity of marijuana is consistent with manufacturing of butane honey oil, a dangerous combination.
A new brewery to open in West Sacramento with intention of hiring low-income staff
By Monica Stark
A new brewery, called Revision Brewing, will open in West Sacramento with the intention of hiring low-income staff after the West Sacramento City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 13, approved his application to the State of California Community Development Block Grant Over-the-Counter Program.
At the meeting, Revision Brewing owner Jeremy Warren addressed the council with the following statement: “We are excited to be able to come to West Sacramento and build a very large state-of-the-art brewing facility that will not only have high recognition in the state of California but also on a national level. We kind of like the approach that you have in the city, being a mosaic. Just want to take the time to say hi.”
The council authorized an amount of a CDBG business loan not to exceed $330,000 to Revision Brewing Company. According to background analysis by Louise Collis, city of West Sacramento senior program manager, the city of West Sacramento receives U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CDBG funding from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
Warren said he found out about the CDBG from the cities of West Sacramento and Auburn. “I used the CDBG program for my previous company Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn and when I left they were helpful in referring other cities that might be able to offer the program. I decided to apply for the CDBG as I feel it is great program that assists in hiring low income employees and it helps in creating additional jobs. Without the grant we would have hired fewer employees.,” he said.
Collis’ staff report states that all CDBG funds must be used for projects that address at least one of the three CDBG national objectives:
1) Benefit Low-income households, defined as households at or below 80 percent of area median
household income for Yolo County;
2) the elimination of slums and blight related to physical structures such as homes or commercial
3) Urgent need, which refers to emergencies such as earthquake or flood damage.
According to background analysis by Collis, Revision Brewing Company LLC was formed in August 2015 by Warren, founder and former brewmaster of Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn, in partnership with James (Jeb) Taylor.
Revision planned on opening a craft microbrewery and tap room at 825 F St., on the western border of the Washington District, but that location didn’t pan out, noting that they have found several alternatives.
“Right know we don’t want to disclose the locations of the two buildings we are looking at. We did submit LOI’s (letter of intent) to the locations this morning and are waiting to hear back from them. Once we have a signed LOI, I can disclose the locations… In regards to the F street location, we were going back and forth with LOI negotiations and last minute the owners of the building decided to sell the build and felt that the brewery lease would be detrimental to the sale of the building,” Warren said in a written statement.
According to her Collis’ report, the owners of Revision Brewing have a loyal following not just in Sacramento, but across the Western U.S. and East Coast States. A dozen distributors have indicated interest in carrying Revision products. Revision anticipates producing 1,200 barrels in the first year, increasing to 10,000 barrels within five years. Projected revenues are $2 million in 2017, increasing to $4 million by 2019. The total project is expected to cost $1.3 million. Revision Brewing has applied for a $400,000 SBA loan from Community Business Bank and have requested a $330,000 CDBG loan. With the SBA and CDBG financing, they will be able to purchase sufficient brewing equipment to produce quantities needed for interested distributors.
The remaining cost will be paid by the owners. Fulfilling the demands of distributors and staffing the taproom will require the hiring of 13 new employees (11 full-time employee positions) during the first year of operation and Revision anticipates a staff of 25 within four years. At least seven of the initial new hires must be from low-income households. The city’s loan will be secured against the equipment purchased with CDBG funds and with personal guarantees from the business owners. The city currently has a balance of $443,951 in CDBG program income which is dedicated to the completion of the West Gateway Place project and to Bryte Park Phase 2. Additional program income for business loans is not available at this time.
A fiery gem grows in West Sacramento
By Bia Riaz
As graduates from the Center for Land-Based Learning’s Farm Academy, Hope and Shayne were excited to have the opportunity to farm in an urban area, and share their agricultural knowledge and experience with the community and the students from local high schools.
Hope had prior experience working with youth at the School Gardens Program at Davis Joint Unified School District. Fellow Farm Academy graduate, Shayne, as a school teacher from Stockton, also had considerable experience working with children and agriculture. “The idea was to have a farm that would provide a hands-on agricultural experience for the kids at the local schools,” Hope said.
Although it is the quiet time of the season, the students from Yolo High have been helping Hope and Shayne get ready for the coming year. Every Thursday, the students learn about the basics of farming and the harvesting process. Some of their activities include: inspecting the vegetables for quality, washing, and packing. Hope shared her excitement about how the students really enjoy the learning process and are very engaged and eager. They recently harvested purple carrots and one of the students expressed, “This one’s rotten!”
As a small urban farm, they do enjoy partnering with other farmers, selling to local restaurants, providing produce for the CSA in the spring season, building strong relationships with surrounding communities, and facing some unique challenges of dealing with different types of soil, land, and infrastructure.
Recently, they partnered with Good Foot Farms to bring a flock of 17 chickens to Friery Ginger Farm. Now their Tuesday and Thursday Farm Stand will feature fresh eggs from their poultry farm partner. This week’s farm stand also offered broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.
They are excited about the coming year and have many activities planned with both Yolo, and River City High School.
Stop by and visit them on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Fiery Ginger Farm Stand behind Yolo High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and enjoy the healthy harvests of the new year.
For more information, visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fieryginger12