Agritourism "Field Trips"   A Pathway to Food Security A Message From Marissa: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “the average age of

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Agritourism "Field Trips"

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Sabor Mexicano Farm

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Tree House at Forest View Ranch

A Pathway to Food Security

A Message From Marissa:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “the average age of today's farmer is 57 years, with one-quarter of American farmers 65 or older.” As this population ages, who in the future will be tending the fields that supply our food -- faceless agribusiness or the local family farm? 85% of California’s population now lives in cities and every year our land is losing more ground to commercial development. This raises the question: how can we cultivate our next crop of farmers if our young people have never visited a farm or considered farming as a viable occupation? Millennials are drawn to city life and their computer screens and are increasingly removed from the land that supplies the nutrients which sustain us. Many don’t have personal experience to make informed decisions about the true value of the food they put on their tables. In 2008 when we launched BAGT, over 2.4 million people experienced agritourism attractions in California. Since then we’ve seen an escalation of interest in school gardens and “field” trips to place-based agricultural sites. This movement is important in order to preserve the small family farm -- so that we maintain biodiversity and don’t wind up relying on large agribusinesses for our food.

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Fruit at Frog Hollow Farm

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Touring Sabor Mexicano

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Kids and Kids at Sabor Mexicano

This important issue was made clear to me when I attended my first National Heirloom Exposition in 2011, where I discovered that there were hundreds of apples and kinds of produce I’d never heard of! Why? Because most giant growers and suppliers provide us with a few common easy-to-grow apples which come from genetically modified seeds. The Heirloom Festival is billed as the “World’s Pure Food Fair”. Sponsored by the Seed Bank in Petaluma, it attracts an assembly of food enthusiasts, home gardeners, farmers and school groups. One of my favorite food activists, Vandana Shiva, is the keynote speaker at this year’s exposition, taking place in Santa Rosa September 8-10th. I’ll be speaking Monday at 5:00 pm on a panel about Agritourism, so if are able to attend this wonderful event, please come by and say hello!

Coming up sooner is the Farm to Fork SF Expo at 969 Market Street, which will take place TOMORROW in San Francisco, with a fun after-party in the evening. The goals for this gathering is to bring together advocates and lovers of food, raise awareness of sustainability issues, and showcase the best farms, artisan food producers, chefs, breweries, cideries, distilleries, and wineries in the Bay Area. It’s the first in the “Sustainability Element Series”, which will focus on the 4 elements throughout the year, with Farm to Fork as the “Earth" event. The “Water” event will take place at Impact Hub Oakland on October 24th, so save the date! We’ll write in subsequent newsletters about the “Air” and “Fire” events, to be held in the South and North Bays, respectively. Our team will be there this Saturday offering apples, cider, chips and salsa from both of the beautiful farms in our growing circle of overnight farm stays locations. Guests who #TweetToEat and #PostToToast, with a #zerowaste mindset stand to win free passes to the after-party and also to the next event!

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Since we started managing the rentals of the beautiful Sabor Mexicano Farm in June, located in Guerneville in the Russian River area, we’ve brought a diverse group of city dwellers to experience life on this extraordinary property. We’ve hosted a wedding, bachelorette party, reunion, birthday parties and teacher training, as well as college food activists and corporate leadership teams who want to spend quality time together at the farm. A percentage of the Sabor Mexicano rental fees support our nonprofit’s work, which gave us the opportunity to work on Sonoma County tour development this summer (more info. on these tours below). We’re thrilled to have added a Cider Tour and our new Field to Forest Destination Tour to our list of available offerings. We’ve also begun working with Forest View Ranch, across the road from Sabor Mexicano and adjacent to our new partner, the nonprofit Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, located at Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve.

The Field to Forest Destination Tour is the jewel in our menu of offerings. In line with our partner Eco Ring’s mission of encouraging the use of low-carbon transportation, this tour allows participants to literally walk between the two farms and the stunning redwood forest next door. One of BAGT’s goals is to bring corporate groups for tours and/or farm stays at one destination, while enabling a low income youth group to stay at
the other through the use of matching funds. A retreat could include a home cooked rustic field picnic prepared by third generation Mexican Farmer Jorge Saldana, or a hayride and apple picking and pressing at Forest View Ranch with Fred Von Renner, a third generation Guerneville resident. We can also arrange for a “Forest Therapy” walk with Pete Bidigare, Programs Director of Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods… all without having to get in your car!

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Agritourism, which as a former school teacher I call “field” trips, is vital because it facilitates a deeper understanding of food production and preserves local ecological, social, and cultural values and hence is a pathway to food security! Aside from that, it helps get people out of the city, plant their feet on the earth and have a really fun and enriching time!



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The beautiful backyard of Sabor Mexicano

Launching Sabor Mexicano Farm for Rentals!

After years of collaboration and renovation we are thrilled to announce the recent opening of Sabor Mexicano Farm for vacation rentals, retreats and other events. Since launching in June, Sabor has been booked every weekend, hosting corporate leadership and nonprofit staff retreats for Whole Foods and the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (“CoFED”), and a variety of special occasions for groups of families and friends. Next month we are excited to host our second wedding on the property.

This stunning 130-acre property is nestled in a fertile valley just outside the hip town of Guerneville, two miles from the Russian River and a quarter-mile from the Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve. The Colonel Armstrong Home, a historic farmhouse on the property, was built circa 1890. It has been completely renovated and is now open to the public for the first time. It’s the ultimate setting for garden parties, weddings, receptions, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, and business, yoga and meditation retreats -- or simply as your next incredible escape from the city.

To learn about the philosophy of Chef Jorge Saldana, owner of Sabor Mexicano, read Made Local Magzine’s article!

If you are planning to attend the highly anticipated Heirloom Exposition on September 8 - 10th, consider embracing nature to the fullest by staying at one of the working organic farms we manage rentals for - Sabor Mexicano or Forest View Ranch. Come experience the serenity and activities this amazing area has to offer! To book a stay at Sabor Mexicano, click here. Reserve this incredible destination soon to lock in the lowest rates - whether your stay is in the next few weeks or next year!

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Plowing the fields of Sabor Mexicano

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One varietal of Jorge's famous peppers

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A beautiful day at the farm

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Chickens at Sabor Mexicano


Forest View Ranch Stays Now Offered by BAGT!

Lastly, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Forest View Ranch, a fabulous farm just across the road from Sabor Mexicano. Offering camping and also room rentals in the ranch house or unique “stump-house” built on top of a redwood stump, this unusual property features a beautiful stretch of Fife Creek, a treehouse, a pool, and a prolific grove of fruit trees. Come up to pick and juice apples, try out the hammock and rope swing, and otherwise relax at this very special property!

A retreat could include a home cooked rustic field picnic prepared by third generation Mexican Farmer Jorge Saldana, or a hayride and apple picking and pressing at Forest View Ranch with Fred Van Renner, a third generation Guerneville resident.

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The Stump House

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The Apple Press

New BAGT Tours!

In conjunction with the launch of Sabor Mexicano, we spent the summer researching and developing partnerships in Sonoma County specifically designed around agritourism. We are thrilled to offer several new tour itineraries and packages! Our Food & Agriculture tours take people behind the scenes to visit sustainable regional operations (organic and biodynamic farms, ranches, cideries, wineries and creameries) -- to learn how sustainable practices preserve our foodshed by influencing the local agriculture and surrounding communities, including urban farming. Each of our unique, customizable tours is led by a knowledgeable and trained guide who will facilitate stimulating conversations with local owners and purveyors. These visits are designed to inspire you to think green, to become a more informed consumer and advocate, and to understand the true value of the food sourced in our own abundant backyards.

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Apple Picking at Forest View Ranch

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Farm Tour at First Light Farm


Permaculture practiced at Littorai Winery

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A Happy Pig at Happy Hen's Farm


Cider Tours:

Experience the beautiful and abundant apple growing areas of Sonoma and Medocino counties. Tour local apple orchards and cideries and witness the entire sustainable process from apple harvesting to the bottling/kegging of cider with our Tour Guide extraordinarie John Pomeroy, contributing writer to Cidercraft Magazine.

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Anna of Pug's Leap Creamery

Cheese Tours:

Catch an insider’s glimpse into the fine craft of local cheese making. Participants visit goat, cow and sheep dairies and explore barns, milking parlors and creameries.

Farm Tours:

Visit local agritourism stops dedicated to providing high-quality produce and livestock for the community. Return with a renewed understanding of your food supply and a deepened appreciation for local agriculture!

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Sheep of the Fibershed Movement

Fibershed Tours:

Learn about the Sonoma County’s wool economy and the amazing variety of products using locally raised alpaca, llama and angora wool. The mission of this tour is to inspire participants to consider the way we clothe ourselves, and to support the creation of local textile cultures.

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Winery Grapes

Wine Tours:

Visit an organic, biodynamic, or sustainable Bay Area winery and engage in dialogue with winemakers on the management of sustainable vineyards and its effects on the wine. Enjoy a tour of the vineyard, taste wine, and purchase products on site.

Now Introducing...

Field to Forest Tours:

We are so excited to reveal our newest endeavor in eco-agritourism, a fully immersive day exploring some of Sonoma’s finest destinations by foot. That’s right! We have packaged an exclusive walking-tour linking Sabor Mexicano Farm to our newest partners, Forest View Ranch and Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. These three destinations are within five minutes of each other but are uniquely impressive. Join us as we visit an operating organic farm, enjoy a locally prepared meal, press apples into cider, and embark on a Forest Therapy walk with the Stewards of the Redwoods. If you are not quite ready to leave, you can choose to spend the night at either of these two Farm Stay locations!

Learn even more about our farm and agricultural tours here. To book or inquire about a tour, click here.


Sustainable Spotlight

Rebuilding the FoodShed

Eat Locally!

There is no question that the movement surrounding local food is growing rapidly. “Locavore,” the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2007, is defined as “one who eats locally.” According to Gail Feenstra, a nutritionist and food systems analyst at U.C. Davis’s Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program, the local food movement is a “collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies – [an effort] in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption [are] integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place.”

No place in the United States, and perhaps the world, is as blessed as San Francisco by the amazing cornucopia produced on farmland located within 100 miles of the Golden Gate. Within this area farmers and ranchers grow over 20 million tons of food every year -- enough produce, meat, dairy, nuts, and grains to feed every Bay Area resident more than three times over. Ironically, a great deal of that food gets shipped elsewhere (40 percent of California’s crops are exported out of state), while a big portion of what we eat here comes straight off the same trucks, boats and airplanes that ship our own local food away.

Between producers and consumers is an elaborate food distribution system. It has been geared to deliver inexpensive, standardized food products, but is evolving in the direction of delivering the “story behind the food” in response to growing consumer demand. One of BAGT’s goals is to help to bring this story to life, thereby supporting small farms and advocating for food justice and access!

To learn more about the Bay Area “Foodshed” read this article published by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. You can also check out this study entitled Think Globally, Eat Locally: San Francisco Foodshed Assessment, prepared by Sustainable Agriculture Education, American Farmland Trust, and Agriculture in Metropolitan Regions.


Community News

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Farm to Fork at Madrone Studios

When: TOMORROW Saturday, August 29th!
Where: The Village, 969 Market St., SF
The Mission of Farm To Fork SF is to gather advocates and lovers of food, raise awareness around sustainability issues, and showcase the best farms, artisan food producers, breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries in the Bay Area. Guests can join in the interactive social media contest #TweetToEat and #PostToToast to taste free samples, join in educational demonstrations, and win tickets to the afterparty!

Look for our booth and sample our farm partners products: Sabor Mexicano Chips and Salsa and Forest View Ranch fresh apple cider and apples!


Sustainable Market & Trade Fair

San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week International

When: Last day is tomorrow!
Where: Grand Hyatt Union Square & other SF locations

The goal of this event is for sustainable artists to unite, as one community, expanding the awareness of healthy-fashion and eco-friendly apparel and products for people and the planet.


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Peninsula Open Space Trust - Wallace Stegner Lecture Series: Ruth Riechl

When: August 31st
Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

Join author, food critic and restauranteur Ruth Reichl for an exciting on-stage conversation with Michael Krasny, host of Forum. Ruth Reichl is author of books including Delicious!, Comfort Me with Apples, and Tender at the Bone.


Speaker Vandana Shiva

Soil Not Oil

When: September 4th - 5th
Where: Memorial Civic Center Complex, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA

This conference will examine the crisis on food security while highlighting the implications of oil-based agro-chemicals and fossil fuels in soil depletion and climate change.

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National Heirloom Expo 2013

Heirloom Festival

When: September 8th - 10th
Where: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

Agritourism Panel at 5:00!
Marissa will be speaking with two colleagues, Pamela Lanier and Heather Gordy. **

Come and tour the aisles at the event dubbed “the world’s pure food fair!”, a massive assembly of pure food enthusiasts, talented home gardeners, farmers, school groups and leaders in the food industry.


Sunol AgPark

Sunol Ag Park Harvest Festival

When: September 27th
Where: Sunol AgPark, 505 Paloma Way, Sunol, CA 94586

The Sunol AgPark is home to eight small, organic farms that produce delicious, fresh food for diverse Bay Area communities. This festival offers farm tours, fresh produce, gardening demonstrations, crafts, games, flower arranging, face painting, and more!

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Building Resilience Communities Convergence

Permaculture/Building Resilient Communities Convergence

When: October 8th -11th
Where: Solar Living Institute, 13771 S Highway 101, Hopland CA 95449

Experience a dynamic and engaging weekend designed to build a powerful movement for community resilience. Whether you are a seasoned Permaculturalist, Hardcore Community Organizer, or just excited to learn about a new ways of living in thriving resilience with people and the planet, there is something at this conference for you!


Bioneers Conference

The National Bioneers Conference

When: October 16th -18th
Where: Marin Center, 10 Ave of the Flags, San Rafael, CA 94903

Explore breakthrough ideas and practices in electrifying keynote talks, panels and participatory workshops, often featuring “the greatest people you’ve never heard of” from a wide range of fields. Network with dynamic change-makers and cultivate important professional and personal relationships. Celebrate the rising tide of positive change cresting around the country and world, rooted in values of justice, equity, diversity, democracy and peace.

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San Francisco Green Festival 2014

San Francisco Green Festival

When: November 13th -15th
Where: Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014

We're please to be on the Advisory Board of Green Festival. Come out to America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event! Shop eco-friendly products, taste organic food, listen to live music, and enjoy family activities, yoga, culinary workshops, fashion shows, and more. The Party with a Purpose!


New Collaborations & Partners

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Much of our growth in Sonoma is from our partnership with EcoRing, whose mission is to forge alliances among community organizations and green businesses to promote ecotourism in a truly responsible and fun-filled way using low carbon transport- ation including: hiking, biking, kayaking and even ziplining while staying in certified green lodging, sampling healthy food and organic wine while supporting locally owned agriculture.

We are very happy to announce several new partnerships:

We will soon be working with Stewards of the Coast and Redwoodsto bring bilingual children to Sabor Mexicano Farm and to offer unique “Forest Therapy” tours in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve! We are also working closely with Sonoma Tourism promoting tours in Sonoma County and agricultural sustainability. Lastly, we have begun collaborating with the Peninsula Open Space Trust (“POST”) to broaden our resources, advocacy and outreach in and around Silicon Valley. Lastly, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Forest View Ranch, mentioned above. Tucked below the redwoods and across the way from Sabor Mexicano, this operating apple orchard and organic farm offers fresh apple cider, hayrides, a pool, and so much more!

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Intern Update

BAGT interns and staff had the opportunity to visit Fred’s Forest View Ranch, enjoy his plentiful crops, and press our own apples into cider -- take a look!


Beginning the Cider-making process at Forest View Ranch


Exploring Armstrong Redwood Park

Ways You Can Help Sustain BAGT


All Donations are Tax Deductible!

Donate to our Campaign to Keep Field Trips Alive!
Send a check to Bay Area Green Tours at 2150 Allston Way Suite 280, Berkeley, CA 94704
Become a sponsor: contact
Organize a tour with your friends
Book Sabor Mexicano Farm or Forest View Ranch
Tell your friends about us
Suggest sponsors
Connect us to teachers
Donate to 1% for the Planet
Install a solar roof from Sungevity (see details below)
Like us or post about us on Facebook
YELP us!

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Sungevity Discount Offer—$750 Credit for You, $750 Donation to BAGT

Get a $750 discount off every solar purchase. Go to BAGT's Sungevity page, or enter the referral code BAGT on their home page.


BAGT Gratitude

Thank you to the following people and organizations who have supported our work in a variety of unique and important ways:
Kari Wrede for your marketing and graphics help
Sharmila Singh and Robert Girling for your constant support
John Michels for your support and editing skills
Mo and Biggi from Sonoma Tourism
John Pomeroy for your involvement
Fred Von Renner for hosting us at Forest View Ranch and the Apple Pressing
... and all our wonderful volunteers and interns!

Wishing You a Very Healthy and Happy End of Summer!


Bay Area Green Tours Mission

Bay Area Green Tours provides educational tours and events that demonstrate the sustainable economy in action, inspire support of local green businesses, and empower people to incorporate environmental responsibility and social justice into their personal and professional lives.