What an opportunity! I am blessed to have a chance to “get under the tent” and take on the role as Interim Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
As a Sonoma County native raised on a small family farm in west county, agriculture shaped my life. I remember as a little girl going to all the local fairs with my family to watch my older siblings show their animals. I couldn’t wait until I could join them. Finally, when I was 8 years old I was old enough to show my first steer at Cow Palace and I was hooked. The local 4-H and FFA programs provided me an opportunity to develop leadership skills, earn money for college and understand the importance of community service. Some of my closest friends today are kids that I met at the fairs decades ago.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that in addition to the support I had from my family, there was plethora of community members constantly encouraging me to excel. I wasn’t unique. This network of supporters and benefactors made sure all youth involved in agriculture had a safety net ensuring they thrived. 4-H leaders, FFA advisors, auction buyers, fair staff and so many others gave their time, guidance and financial contributions to all of us.
Last week’s crab feed was a testimonial to the generosity and goodwill afforded our future farmers and agriculturalists. Companies, individuals and organizations gave generously to the Foundation. Funds raised that night will provide scholarships to college-bound ag students, teach elementary school kids about farming and educate the public about the benefit of locally grown food. 4-H and FFA members served chowder and crab to our guests, while learning the importance of community service.
And to complete the circle, past scholarship recipients who had gone on to complete their education and have come back to Sonoma County to begin their career were there helping to make the evening a success. Many of these young adults are members of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program. During the reception and dinner programs, the video screens featured pictures of these successful people. If you didn’t see it, I encourage you to go to our website and view it. It will make you Sonoma County proud.
What a few months it has been! I stepped in as Executive Director of the Farm Bureau at the height of crab feed planning and preparation. The event is a well-oiled machine, with staff and board members all knowing their role and the tasks that need to be done. On the day before the crab feed, I watched with awe as the 30,000 square foot Grace Pavilion was transformed from a Quonset hut to a magical event center, sparkling with lit trees and colorful balloons. It a matter of hours the feed came together as if it was being orchestrated by a maestro.
It took approximately 1,560 guests, around 100 adult volunteers, at least 60 4-H and FFA members, 110 gallons of chowder and almost 5,000 pounds of crab to make our Crab Feed a success. Thank you to everyone who assisted with set-up, worked the night of the event or supported our auctions and raffles. Your gift of time, auction items and money is greatly appreciated.
Some would say it took a “Village” to make the Crab Feed a success, but in this case it took the “Farm Bureau Family” to pull it off.
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