Growing A Small Farm In Norco, California
The Windy River Farm Experience March 31, 2021
So, as many of you know, I have been advocating for the creation of small farm community, a movement if you will, here in Norco, California. I have been running a training program and small farm education center (The Ecological Agriculture Training Cultural Center). I ran for city council with agriculture as the foundation of my platform and have been working on an agricultural plan for the city that includes policy changes to encourage small farmers as well as recognition of Horse Town’s agricultural heritage.
We have an aging town. Our infrastructure and our population are in need of assistance. I will discuss the infrastructure some other time. It’s the population that most interests me here and now. Many of our older residents own larger lots and struggle to maintain them. As developers salivate at the possibilities, people like me dream of the opportunities to put that land back to work. Small vegetable operations, orchards, egg ranches and goat dairies are all viable operations here.
I have been growing flowers, raising chickens and making compost on my small ranch, and for the past year have been farming diversified produce on a neighbor’s ¼ acre. I recently received a grant from American Farmland Trust to increase the size and economic stability of my operation. This funding has also given me the opportunity to put my philosophical belief that Norco can be the epicenter of the Southern California Small Farm Movement to work.
I reached out to the community in search of land. And just as I thought, a longtime resident, who recently lost a spouse, offered her land for use in exchange for maintenance and care of said property. I will provide more details on the fine print and land use agreement later, but suffice it to say that our signed agreement is a win for all involved. The land is less space than I originally wanted at just over 1/3 of an acre, but the situation as a whole is more than I could have hope for.
Over the next several months and maybe longer, I will be documenting my process and experience on this blog. Enjoy the story, observe my world through pictures and please ask questions and provide feedback as you join me on this wild ride.