Courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
The Full Belly family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new member – the first of the third generation – due in late August, a perfect melon ripened baby who will certainly have at least a dozen arms outstretched each day for holding. Amon and Jenna are undoubtedly the most eager and it is a joy to watch these two “first timers” as the belly gets bigger and more beautiful each passing month. Of course, as the official “first time” Grandma I have the ultimate pleasure of watching the process unfold right before my eyes each day, with a plethora of farm pregnancy memories of my own that now seem so long ago.
It is an incredibly full circle that is happening, this new miracle of life about to emerge. The farm’s namesake is Amon – the Full Belly Farm name came from that ripening belly 28 years ago as we searched to find the perfect farm and the perfect name simultaneously. And there it was right before our eyes! A belly glistening in its ninth month and it seemed such a wonderful name that would be appropriate on so many levels, a name that would keep a smile on our faces with the thought of babies and birth and most importantly, the food that nourishes them both. Right as Amon emerged into the world we also found the farm here in the Capay Valley, a rather run down 110 acres that, along with the new baby, begged for a little love, water and a lot of hard work! Now, after a lot of all of those things there is a vibrant farm and a son about to have his first child!
This farm is a perfect place for nurturing a new life, with the best of all possible nutrients coming from peaches, chard, cantaloupes, garlic, fresh cow or goat milk, homemade ice cream smoothies and organic lamb! The farm has literally given birth to hundreds of amazingly healthy babies over the past many years – goats, lambs, calves, chicks and wild creatures that we don’t even know were feeding on the land borders. A place full of bellies in need of food that is grown with loving care and good organic compost!
One thing that is very exciting for me as this third generation now emerges are the myriad of positive changes that have happened in the community in the last thirty years. In 1984, when we first arrived, there were two other organic farms. Now there are over 30! We can get seven different kinds organic olive oil from our neighbors, organic pork, organic pistachios and even organic lavender soap! There is renewed vigor in our Grange Hall, the local ag- based organization with young blood getting things shaking and moving. The local school has a gorgeous vegetable garden out front that used to be bare ground. There is an active community garden, a new non profit working on local energy-shed possibilities, and new young ag teachers in the high school bringing progressive ideas to the students. Another new nonprofit provides quality childcare for farm working families and another free medical screenings for low income folks. There is now a vision for the valley’s future that sprung up from the desire to preserve its rich agricultural history, with farmers talking together about crop planning and marketing strategies! Other neighbors are teaching a workshop about sustainable building techniques using cob and adobe construction.
All of these exciting changes combined make for a new Grandma that is hopeful and excited for this baby. A world full of possibilities and positive thinkers for him or her. And really, what more could we ask for but a world like that?