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Media Release December 15, 2016

Contact: Warren King, Food Commons Fresno, warren@foodcommonsfresno.org (708)760-9605

Christina Vrachnos, Schmidt Family Foundation cvrachnos@theschmidt.org  (650)376- 7109

Organic Pioneers Pass Farming Baton to Food Commons Fresno

Acreage at iconic T&D Willey Farm continues in organic production and supports new community-owned food system model. 

(Fresno, CA, December 15, 2016) – Food Commons Fresno announces the long term lease of the iconic TD Willey Farm. Sustainable farming is a key component in the development of the Food Commons community-owned integrated business model.

“Over the next two decades our country will see an unprecedented, large-scale transfer of farmland and the Food Commons wants to play a role in preserving the high community and ecological values these farms embody,” stated Jim Cochran, Food Commons Fresno President. “Food Commons Fresno is honored to support the Willey Farm succession and maintain their land in organic production.”

“The transition to Food Commons Fresno is a necessary and promising alternative to the all too often elusive succession of farmland and transfer of operational knowledge within families,” said Tom Willey, co-owner and operator of the Madera, CA farm since 1995. Experienced organic farmer David Silveira has joined the Food Commons Fresno team as farm manager.

The Food Commons is a nationally recognized model for a new food economy that builds community wealth through community ownership of for-profit businesses, while at the same time providing broader access to healthy food and improved stewardship of natural resources. Operations in Fresno are proving the concept, which will be replicated in other San Joaquin Valley communities and elsewhere.

“Food Commons has been entrusted with the important legacy forged by Tom and denesse Willey in their decades of diversified, organic agricultural production,” said Michael Roberts, Program Officer, 11th Hour Project, a major supporter of Food Commons Fresno. “We are excited to see how this transition to The Food Commons can be a model for sustaining strong farm economies and stewardship of the land and soil across generations.”

The Food Commons Fresno business includes Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), wholesale and retail operations and with the Willey Farm lease, organic farming. Food Commons Fresno is working to develop a multi-functional retail, kitchen and distribution facility in SW Fresno; which will bring employment, investment and improved healthy food access to the community. For more information about Food Commons Fresno, visit www.foodcommonsfresno.org. For more information on The Food Commons model, visit www.thefoodcommons.org.

Press Kit Available Upon Request Including Tom Willey Farmer Profile Video