On April 19th, a group of Organic Valley farmers and employees will begin a cycling journey through critical California watersheds. They’ll meet with farmers and retailers and conservationists to see up close the current state of soil, water and climate issues as they relate to the food and agriculture system in California. They’ll be sharing the experience here on Rootstock.coop as well as on Organic Valley’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

CROPP-SR14-PowerPoint-Slide10

The group will depart from Auburn, northeast of Sacramento near the headwaters of the American River. The first stop along the tour will be at the American River Parkway Foundation. ARPF supports the preservation and enjoyment of the American River Parkway by caring for the 23 miles, and 5,000 acres along the American River’s shores.  Native trees were once plentiful along the American River with the rich flood plain and ample water supply provided by the river. Between 2007 and 2010, twenty-one oak forest restoration sites were established along the parkway.

The cyclists will then travel southwest along the American River Parkway trail towards the city of Antioch, arriving the afternoon of April 21st. Within the city limits of Antioch is Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge – once a large complex of riverine sand dunes, the site is now limited to 55 acres due to urban development and sand mining activities. Without active, moving sand dunes, invasive non-native plants out-compete two endemic endangered plants, the Contra Costa wallflower and the Antioch Dunes evening primrose. Cows were introduced into Antioch Dunes NWR to control the invasive plants and disturb the soil in a controlled manner, creating ideal conditions for the endangered plants and the naked stem buckwheat to thrive.

The evening of the 23rd in Oakland, Organic Valley will partner with Pesticide Action Network and Seed Matters to put on a GrassUp! forum called “Save our Soil,” during which soil and ecology experts from Pesticide Action Network and Organic Valley will speak about soil conservation and its role in addressing global challenges and its contribution to healthier livelihoods for all people.

The following day the cyclists will travel through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge, then head north to Point Reyes Station. They’ll stay there for the night before completing their journey at Ocean Breeze Dairy, perched in the hills of western Sonoma County, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While there, the cyclists will meet with Organic Valley farmer Jarrid Bordessa and Executive Director of California Climate & Agriculture Network, Renata Brillinger.

For those of us not joining the cyclists on the tour, we’ll be able to follow their progress each day. Armed with video cameras – the teams will post short videos and images of their tour on Organic Valley’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Daily progress and summaries will also be shared by the cyclists each day on Rootstock.coop.

Between now and the start of the tour, profiles of our cyclists will be shared here. Please come back often to learn about the cyclists and hear from them each day throughout the tour.