By Gabe Meline
In the next few years, it's a guarantee that organic and sustainable farming will experience incredible growth. It's a subsequent guarantee, then, that those same farms will be looking for farmhands—and while older farm owners sell their land, or die without interested kin, they're especially looking for workers who are young, disciplined and accustomed to hard work.
Enter the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, whose mission is to connect returning soldiers with organic farming. "Some of the veterans coming back aren't sure what they can do—they're coming back kind of confused and looking for something to do," says the FVC's Linda Speer. "We've had some meetings with veteran groups, and they've said that just putting their hands into the earth has been so healing."
The organization hosts a benefit kickoff dinner on Sept. 14 with speakers including Iowa corn farmer and family-farming advocate George Naylor and Gold Star mother and Veterans' Village founder Nadia McCaffrey. Daniel Ellsberg, famed author and leak source of the Pentagon Papers, will also be in attendance. Sunday, Sept. 14, at French Garden Restaurant, 850 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol. 3pm. $100. 707.981.8010. . . .
Hark! Oak Hill Farm in Sonoma offers a Slow Food dinner from chef John McReynolds, prepared largely from veggies picked fresh from the farm to benefit the Sonoma Land Trust and Sonoma Community Center. Regional wines, olive oils, cheeses and meats will be part of a family-style dinner with "heaping platters of food" promised for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. In a tactical co-opting of the supreme diss in the regional lexicon, Anne Teller, owner of Oak Hill Farm, quips of the event, "It's about savoring Slow-noma." Tee-hee. Monday, Sept. 15, at Oak Hill Farm, 14805 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen. Farm tour at 5pm; dinner at 6:30pm. $80. 707.939.9394. . . .
After the grand wine auctions in Sonoma County that raised $1.5 million over Labor Day weekend, it's now Marin County's turn to start the bidding. The first annual Marin Wine Auction features live music, tapas, theatrical performances, two silent auctions and a live auction to benefit charities supporting affordable housing, local agriculture and the arts. Hosted by the Kieretsu Forum on 11 acres of gardens and featuring over 20 wineries, the inaugural gala pounds the gavel on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. 3–9pm. $125. 415.244.9890. . . .
And for those without a hundred or so dollars to throw around, Santa Rosa's Fourth Street, for the last 25 years, has been the home of piping pedestals of pizza at La Vera Pizza, which celebrates the anniversary of its Sept. 17, 1983, opening with 25 days of "25"-related specials. Twenty-five cent dinner salads, $2.50 beers and $25 gift certificate giveaways are just a few of the deals underway until Sept. 25. Our favorite special: the 25 cent corkage fee—but only for Sonoma County wines! Right on! See www.laverapizza.com for details.
Send a letter to the editor about this story.