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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tonight’s screening addresses local farm affordability

The Davis Farmers Market and the Food Co-op can attribute their success, at least in part, to the efforts of a local couple.

UC Davis graduates Annie and Jeff Main were instrumental in the market and the co-op’s establishment through a partnership with three families. They are now the owners of the farm Good Humus.

Visitors have been coming to the market and co-op for Good Humus products every week for over 33 years.

Their farm Good Humus is the subject of a recent documentary filmThe Last Cropby Chuck Schultz. A sneak peak into the work-in-progress will be held tonight at the Davis Senior High School Performing Arts Building.

Schultz and Annie and Jeff Main will attend the screening, presented by Davis Farm to School Connection and Slow Food Yolo.

Good Humus, which they began in 1976, covers 20 acres in Yolo County’s Capay Valley. The farm is located about 45 minutes from Davis. It is unique in that it is organic, which was unusual for the area at the time. The mixed-diverse farm produces about 60 different crops, like vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs.

The film addresses farm affordability for young farmers. The Mains see many young workers and interns at the Good Humus farm wanting to start their own farms but not being able to due to affordability of land, housing and farm infrastructure, such as planting trees and building barns.

Using the Main family farm, the film captures an issue that is prevalent worldwide. Jeff and Annie Main have three children ages 20-25 who are choosing not to continue work on the farm. The Mains must decide how the farm will remain viable in future generations following their retirement. The film explores their work with the Solano Land Trust and other local organizations to create an agricultural conservation easement.

“If you look at the maturity of what we have donethe market and selling to the communitythe obvious next step in maturity is who’s is going to take this farm and be the next generation,Annie Main said.

Annie said that awareness is important, especially at a time when people are asking where their food comes from, if it is local and who is the farmer.

The Mains are requiring that the future owner of the land must farm the land, 50 percent of the farm must grow food, the farm must be sustainable and the farmers must live on the property. These restrictions reduce the value of the farm which makes it more affordable.

The conservation easement will stop development on the land, but Annie Main said their vision goes beyond that.

“We want to make sure the farm is farmed by someone here, from our community,she said.It’s going beyond. That’s what’s different about it because there are only a couple in California that have done this. [We are] pushing the envelope.

“The film explores the mounting struggles of sustaining a small farm when set against the pressures of competition with sprawl, large-scale farm production, and the difficulties of passing land onto the next generation, a generation that increasingly leaves farming for other opportunities, thus makingthe last crop‘ – the sale of the family farm to the highest bidder – an increasingly common reality,Schultz said in a Daily Democrat article.

Jeff and Annie Main also created one of the first local community-supported agriculture programs in the country. In this program, which is a major source of income, the farm delivers to various locations such as schools, houses and stores where people come to these places and purchase products. There are about 200 members that purchase from Good Humus.

The preview is about 20 minutes, since the film is currently one-third of the way complete.

The screening will begin at 7 p.m. at the Davis Senior High School Performing Arts Building at 108 W. 14th St.

For tickets and information, visit brownpapertickets.com or buy tickets at the door. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors and students and children 11 and under are free.

 

POOJA KUMAR can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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