Center for Land-Based Learning

Our mission is to inspire, educate, and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards.

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Address: 5265 Putah Creek Rd.
Winters, CA 95694
County or Parish: Yolo County
Executive Director: Mary Kimball
Contact Email:
Primary Phone: 530-867-3231
Walnut farmers Craig and Julie McNamara founded the Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability (FARMS) Leadership Program in 1993 out of concern for what they believed was the disconnect between people, their food supply and the land. They saw that youth were increasingly lacking connections to the outdoors as well as an understanding of where their food comes from and how it is grown. They also recognized that high-school students need hands-on experiences in real-life situations to compliment their academic achievement, and that these experiences were becoming less and less available. With the formal organization of Center for Land-Based Learning as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2001, FARMS Leadership became the solid building block to grow Land-Based Learning into a premier agricultural and natural resource education organization in California.
Some estimates predict the need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to sustain a world population expected to grow to 10 billion. To keep pace, a well-trained agriculture and environmental science workforce will be needed. Current projections show the number of people qualified in these fields will not be enough to fulfill the demand for jobs over the next five years. Educating high school youth and adults looking for a new career in California's food system is a critical step in fulfilling this need. The Center for Land-Based Learning is taking a proactive approach to solving these problems and as a result, demand for our programs has quadrupled over the past five years. And, our programs are effective, 80% of adult program graduates are farming or working in agricultural businesses; 56% of our youth program alumni are working jobs in agriculture and/or environmental science. Each program model is replicable and scalable. We are expanding our youth programs to put additional emphasis on career pathways and ensuring youth understand how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs in agriculture/natural resources are vital to the future of the industry. The California Farm Academy, is tackling these same issues by training adults to become farmers. We continue to develop opportunities for these new farmers through a Farm Incubator Program. A mobile farm stand and five urban farms sites are helping to combat food deserts in West Sacramento. The Center for Land-Based Learning administers programs in 27 California counties. Our agriculture and natural resource conservation education programs serve over 2,000 youth and adults annually. Our top needs: 1. Funding: Unrestricted - Unrestricted funds will support our capacity building efforts. 2. Funding: Program - Funds will support specific program needs. 3. In-Kind Donations - Please contact us to discuss. 4. Volunteers - Please contact us to discuss. 5. Space: Office or Other - Please contact us to discuss.
"When Land-Based Learning began introducing urban youth to agriculture and natural resource conservation twenty-five years ago, our founders recognized that youth needed more hands-on experiences in the natural environment to give their academic experiences context and bring their learning to life. Today, however, the need for our programs is at a critical point: Aging farmers, population growth, environmental regulation, and decreasing amounts of arable land are real issues facing agriculture today. Solving these problems will require an influx of people, technology, and innovation to keep our food system functioning and our economy thriving. Land-Based Learning is committed to solving these problems through strong leadership and dynamic programs. Our experienced staff and a dedicated Board of Directors work to build partnerships with schools, businesses, farmers and conservation organizations to inspire youth and adults into careers in agriculture and environmental science. Land-Based Learning is committed to the sustainability of our food system, our environment and our future."

Christine McMorrow
Director of Development and Communications
Center for Land-Based Learning
-- Christine McMorrow, Director of Development and Communications