Opportunity Knocked. So, I Answered!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Don't Miss This!
Someone who is much wiser than me (which is just about everyone on God's Green Earth) told me it would happen like this. After months of looking for new opportunities following 18-years in a number of Republican State Capitol Offices, and encountering a lot of closed doors (it's tough to be a Republican looking for work in a city dominated by Democrats), fate smiled upon me in a way that I was not expecting.

A door just didn't open. It blasted me in the face. "Hello," opportunity said. "It's not just a job, it's a calling. It's a dream come true." Since this blog deals with all things vegetable and fruit gardening, featuring one fantastic screw up after another, how would you react with the following line from opportunity knocking? "We'll pay you X amount of dollars to write about all things vegetable and fruit gardening on a much grander scale."

Sacramento County Farm Bureau Logo
I didn't have the heart to tell them that I'd been doing the exact same thing for free since I launched this blog nearly a decade ago. Instead, I just stammered, "great, when do I start?" I didn't walk home following that first interview. I sort of floated through the air. The fact I didn't drive into the nearest Delta Slough was really quite amazing when you think about it.

As the Executive Director of the Sacramento County Farm Bureau, I get to represent the best of what Sacramento County agriculture has to offer. Although the agriculture industry here isn't quite what it once was, and Sacramento County is still considered the center for state government employment, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of growers still plying their trades in the Delta areas and south Sacramento County.

Farm Bureau Logo
I get to write about each and every one of them. I get to represent an industry that churns out pears, apples, cherries, wine grapes, nuts of all shapes and sizes, cattle, chickens, goats and everything in between. You name the product and I'll find someone who grows it here. If Sacramento County truly is the "farm to fork" Capitol, then Sacramento County farmers and ranchers are the fine people "who put the food on your fork."

As it turns out, that happens to be the Farm Bureau motto. I like it. I plan on using it as often as I can. It's catchy. And it's also happens to be true.

I know for a fact that Sacramento County residents love to support local agriculture. You see that love demonstrated every week during the spring, summer and fall at Certified Farmer's Markets across the city and elsewhere. These markets are always packed with shoppers, and for good reason. Sacramento County shoppers demand only the best. And they know that the best comes from right here, in their own backyards.

Certified Farmer's Market-Elk Grove
That's why farmer's markets, once they open and set up shop in a particular location, never leave. Growers are looking for a place to sell their bounty, and at a fair price. They find the market they are looking for in throngs of people who flock to these markets on a year-round basis. Indeed, one of the biggest complaints I hear is "how come there are no farmer's markets in winter?"

Although agriculture has come a long way since California's earliest pioneers discovered this magical farming location, farmers still haven't discovered a way to grow acres of peaches in December. Yet. Given the inventiveness of this industry, I say "give them time." Someone is always building a better mousetrap.

A Publication for CA Agriculture in the Classroom
The Farm Bureau exists for a reason, and it belongs to more than just farmers, although farmers are a big part of this organization. The truth is, anyone can join the farm bureau. If you're growing a single tomato plant in the backyard or a houseplant in your kitchen, you qualify for farm bureau membership. A big part of this job is about education and what Sacramento County farmers do for Sacramento County.

I am just beginning to visit the many farm owners who make up the Sacramento County Farm Bureau. As the new Executive Director, I plan to dispel the mistaken notion that all of agriculture is now "corporate." That is a flat out lie. It couldn't be further from the truth. I don't work for a corporation. I work for a non-profit organization. My email address ends with a dot-o-r-g. And a big part of my job will be to introduce you to Sacramento County's family farming industry. I have a lot of them to meet.

Mike and Patty Wackman-McConnell Estates Winery
Some of those meetings have already started. I had the good fortune of meeting Mike and Patty Wackman of McConnell Estates Winery in Elk Grove. You're going to hear a great deal more about them, and every other family dedicated to agriculture in Sacramento County. These are the people who put the food on your fork, although in the case of Mike and Patty Wackman, the wine in your glass.

This isn't a job. This is just fun.


Bruce Ross said...

Bill, I had no doubt your abundant talents would be recognized. Glad to see you've landed in such a wonderfully suited spot.

KLW said...


Unknown said...

Best kind of a job is a job you love doing. And, with your talents and love of the garden, makes you a great person for the job. Congrates!

Mike the Gardener said...

That is awesome to hear that you landed a job where you get to write about all kinds of gardening ventures in your area. And, they are going to pay you to do it. Double bonus!

Bill Bird said...

Thank you! Learning something new everyday! Great opportunity!