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Farmers’ Bill of Rights

Petaluma Grange Host Farmers’ Bill of Rights Meeting,

w/State Grange President Bob McFarland                  

June 23, Monday 7pm  ~   Lydia’s Sunflower Center, Petaluma

All who Eat

Grange members, Farmers’ Guild members, Farmers, food producers, advocates, activists, consumers and everyone who eats is encouraged to attend a Farmers’ Bill of Rights meeting. There is strength from numbers. Let’s send a message.

Featuring California State Grange President Bob McFarland, at Lydia’s Sunflower Center, 1435 N. McDowell Blvd, Ste. 100 in Petaluma, on Monday, June 23 at 7pm.

Since 2012, the California Grange has held a series of meetings across the state to discuss a declaration of a Farmers’ Bill of Rights that would recognize the essential role which farmers will play in creating a resilient & sustainable local food and agricultural system.


According to McFarland, “It is important that consumers, retailers, and regulators understand and respect the needs and expectations of the people who grow our food. The Farmers’ Bill of Rights will promote awareness and appreciation for the tillers of the soil.”

This ongoing public discussion has yielded a growing list of common concerns among farmers, including:

  • A farmer’s right to provide access to fresh fruit, vegetables and food products which encourage healthier food choices at home and in schools

  • A farmer’s right to grow crops without the danger of off-farm pollution, be it chemical or genetic, borne by water, soil, or air

  • A farmer’s right to germinate, save and use their own seed

  • A farmer’s right to protect agricultural land for the benefit of future generations

  • A farmer’s right to use and store any water that comes from or falls on their land

  • A farmer’s right to produce food free of unwarranted government interference



Join in, as we cultivate a sustainable community with universal access to:

  • healthy food,
  • promote reinvestment in our local economies,
  • embrace our diverse cultural heritage,
  • honor the wisdom of our elders,
  • and support each other in our efforts to be responsible stewards of the land for the benefit of future generations.

Directions: Take Hwy 101 to Petaluma. Exit N Petaluma Blvd, Turn East (toward hills). Take a Left @ N McDowell Blvd, located at 1435,  #100 on your right.

The Sunflower Center
1435 N McDowell Blvd #100
Petaluma, CA 94954


Self-Watering Containers SWC

May Monthly Grange Meeting Topic:

It’s called Self Watering, NOT because you don’t ever have to water, but because the plant pulls the water on the schedule IT determines.

It self-waters from the pool you provide (and refill). We saw a Slide show on how to create your own productive container garden, using Self-Watering Containers!

Dramatically increased production!
Dramatically increased production!
SWC - Self-Watering Containers
SWC – Self-Watering Containers

         By creating a water reservoir, an air space, and utilizing slow release organic fertilizers, production increases dramatically as the stress on the plant is decreased.

Water reserve,  air space, organic fertilizer
Water reserve, air space, organic fertilizer

Critical to the technique is to provide an overflow opening in the outer/bottom tub so that water cannot fill up the air space. To allow the roots to exchange air easily, many 1/4″ holes perforate the base of the inner tub. The tub is lined with landscape

top Container prepped
top Container prepped

fabric, except where the wicking pot is, and filled with potting soil.  Roots need air for high performance (exchanging CO2 & O2) and this method allows for easy air access.

The wicking pot, sits in the  3-4″ water reservoir , and is filled with the potting soil mixture which touches the inner tub soil; it enables the plant to pull up water as it needs it.  Landscape fabric is utilized to prevent the soil from falling through the air holes in the upper tub or leaking out of the wicking pot, and filling the water reservoir.

wicking pot~fill with potting soil & will sit into water reservoir
wicking pot~fill with potting soil & will sit into water reservoir

The water reserve tub is filled every 2-4 days, depending on outdoor temperatures & plant size.


It’s called Self Watering, NOT because you don’t ever have to water, but because the plant pulls the water on the schedule IT determines.  It self-waters from the pool you provide (and refill).

A YouTube link that shows how to build: Variation of SWC – home video

An overview page Pot within a Pot (water reservoir) method can be found at this link: SWC – Self-Watering Containers

Veggies & Flowers

Dirty Dozen, Clean Thirteen

Dirty Dozen, Clean Thirteen

Confronted with a budget, when going to the market and facing the produce available, a question often comes to mind. WHICH fruits/veggies should I be most careful of purchasing as organic.  Hopefully all, but if I have to make a choice… what do I base it on?


An excellent resource is the “Environmental Working Group” (EWG), which is tasked to do studies on products, evaluating contamination levels.

All 48 of the most popular fruits and vegetables had pesticide residue data and were placed on a list from the most to the least contaminated. Residue that could not be washed off. Three items, nectarines, blueberries and snap pea had very different ratings depending on whether they were imported or not.