California Farmland Trust

Our mission is to work with farmers to protect the best farmland in the world. From our humble beginning at a farmhouse kitchen table in order protect one, solitary family farm, to now protecting over 50 family farms, our impact has grown every year. We are dedicated to protecting the farms that feed your family.

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Address: 8788 Elk Grove Blvd. Building 1, Suite I
Elk Grove, CA 95624
County or Parish: Sacramento
Primary NTEE: Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 
Sub NTEE: Farmland Preservation 
Executive Director: Charlotte Mitchell
Contact Email:
Primary Phone: 916-687-3178
Fax: 916-685-1041
Every human being has one thing in common - we need to eat! At least three times a day (and for some of us, many more than three times a day…), we need the fruits of a farmer's labor to survive.

Did you know that California is America's largest agriculture-producing state? With nearly 80,000 family farms, California is truly a farm state. Our farms produce 80% of the world's almonds; 99% of America's artichokes, raisins, rice, and walnuts; and over 80% of America's apricots, lemons, and strawberries. The industry contributes more than $23 billion dollars to the American economy, and provides over $6 billion in wages to its employees every year. Farming also has environmental benefits, with carbon-reducing trees creating shade and fighting climate change, with irrigation recharging groundwater, and with orchards and fields providing wildlife habitat.

All of this is enabled by the unique combination of climate, soil, and water found in the Golden State. California's land is the foundation that makes it all possible - nowhere else can farmers grow the abundance and quality of food produced here. Unfortunately, over 50,000 acres of farmland are lost to development every year (at an average farm size of 369 acres, that's potentially 135 family farms lost every year). And once those acres of farmland are developed, the chances of them being returned to productive farming are effectively nil. If we pave over our farmland, where will America's almonds, walnuts, raisins, rice, apricots, lemons, and strawberries grow?
The most productive natural resource in the world is threatened by over development. California is the fruit basket of the world as well as providing open space, a haven for habitat, and a means for natural carbon sequestration that positively impacts climate change. We see a future in which people and produce live side-by-side, where farmland is protected and producing the food we need forever.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Unrestricted - Funding for our ongoing efforts to protect the farms that feed our families. Every dollar we raise is matched with three more to protect California family farms.
  2. Funding: Program - Matching funding for the Kids to Farm program, which is primarily funded by a sponsorship from Raley's Family of Fine Stores.
  3. Board Members - Enhancing board governance by recruiting knowledgeable and passionate board members.
  4. Volunteers - Increasing capable volunteer base for protection and stewardship of our conservation easements.
  5. In-Kind Donations - High quality in kind donations for use in raffles and other fundraising events.
"California's family farmers toil, day in and day out, to feed us. Even more dedicated than the mailman, farmers are on the job every day, all day, rain or shine, weekends and holidays to feed and clothe us. It's a tough job. It's a dirty job. It's a backbreaking, lucky-if-you-break-even, pray the tractor doesn't break down today job.

For many of our family farms, the temptation to sell their land for development is nearly impossible to resist. After all, developers offer top dollar to free our family farmers of their dirty jobs. "We've had friends that have sold to development, we've seen what it does to them," says one of our farmers, Tom. "Money doesn't do anybody any good - as long as we have enough to survive," he likes to say.

That's where CFT comes in. We keep farmers farming, by putting legal protections on their land so that it can't be developed… ever. Our work guarantees that California's farmland, which doesn't exist anywhere else, will continue to grow the food and fiber our families need for generations to come. Our work ensures we have fresh, local, safe food for our families.

After all, there can be no farm to fork…without the farm."

Charlotte Mitchell,
Executive Director
3rd Generation Farmer