About Sierra Valley Farms
Protecting open space and local food production
- 65-acre organic farm at the north end of Sierra Valley
- Protected by Conservation Easement in 2019
- Site of seasonal farmers’ market
- Protected for: Water, Wetlands, Agriculture, Open Space, Biodiversity, Community
- Landowner: Gary Romano
Water & Ecology
Located in the northwest corner of Sierra Valley, the property contains wetlands, open water, and marshes. It is situated just 1,300 feet from the point where the wetland waters of the valley gather into a single channel forming the Middle Fork of the Feather River, a nationally designated Wild and Scenic River. The upland area of the property containing the farm and homestead serves as a significant buffer and protects water quality. Water is an important resource on the farm and most food is produced using water-efficient drip irrigation.
Flora & Fauna
The property is next to the Sierra Valley Preserve, and this contiguous protected area offers extensive wetland habitat for a great diversity of nesting and migratory birds including White-faced Ibis and Yellow-headed Blackbirds (a CA Species of Special Concern). The upland areas of sagebrush and dune habitat support spring wildflowers, native bunchgrasses, and species like Pronghorn, American Badger, Western Meadowlark, Sage Thrasher, Coyote, and deer. No pesticides are used on the farm, making it an important protector of pollinators like Monarch butterflies and Painted Ladies, and their habitat too.
Culture & Agricultural Heritage
Current landowner Gary Romano is the 3rd generation of his family to work this land. Originally set up as a ranch by his grandfather in 1938, Gary acquired the property in 1989 and started a native plant nursery. In 1995, he took the 50 years of composted manure built up in his family’s corrals and began growing vegetables. As one of the only certified organic farms in the area, it is a model for high elevation sustainable agriculture, producing a range of cool-season crops that are sold to local restaurants and regional farmers’ markets.
Working together to protect Sierra Valley Farms
FRLT worked with its partners in the Northern Sierra Partnership, including The Nature Conservancy, to conserve this privately-owned farm. The Northern Sierra Partnership is a collaborative initiative to conserve, restore, and enhance natural landscapes in the northern Sierra Nevada, and sustain rural prosperity. Thanks to the generosity of its partners and FRLT members, the conservation easement on Sierra Valley Farms was purchased with private donations.
Now, more than ever, we need your support
Help us sustain rural livelihoods and protect critical Feather River headwaters.
Stewardship of Sierra Valley Farms
Sierra Valley Farms remains a privately-owned working organic farm that is used for food production, an on-farm farmers’ market, and agrotourism events. FRLT worked with the landowner to ensure that the economic values of the farm are sustained alongside the ecological values protected by the conservation easement. As the conservation easement holder, FRLT meets with the landowner annually to review management plans and evaluate any potential impacts on conservation values and visits the property to ensure that the terms of the easement are being upheld.
Recreation & Access
Sierra Valley Farms is one of a few privately-owned properties conserved by FRLT that is open to the public on certain occasions. With its bright green fields and historic buildings, the farm provides an idyllic setting for its own seasonal farmers’ market and summertime barn dinners. Visit the Sierra Valley Farms website to learn more about events on the farm. The property is located right next to the FRLT-owned Sierra Valley Preserve, which is open to the public for year-round recreation.
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Sierra Valley FarmsConservation Focus
I’m happy the land trust is working with farmers and ranchers who are already taking good care of their land. We’ve been doing it for years, and do it well, so these easements are a great way to promote local livelihoods while maintaining natural resources. That is a good thing.
—Gary Romano, owner of Sierra Valley Farms
You Can Count On Us
As a nationally accredited land trust, we are built to last. We leverage your donations with state, federal, and foundation dollars and strategic partnerships to achieve the greatest possible impact for the lands, waters, and people of the Feather River region. You can count on us to make careful and effective use of your support.
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