Growing with Farmster

March 14, 2016
Farmster logo

Farmster logo

Dustin Dematteo, Allison Jenks, Jamal Edwards and Tomio Endo on stage with Vice Mayor Jake Mackenzie

Dustin Dematteo, Allison Jenks, Jamal Edwards, and Tomio Endo on stage with Vice Mayor Jake Mackenzie presenting their mission statement.

Farmster logo
Dustin Dematteo, Allison Jenks, Jamal Edwards and Tomio Endo on stage with Vice Mayor Jake Mackenzie
Colin Franceschini

I attended non-profit start-up Farmster's launch event. The event was mainly informal, drinks were being served, a live band was rockin' out, and there was a great atmosphere. The event brought many high profile individuals including the mayor, vice-mayor, and eco leadership executives, along with over 150 enthusiastic attendees. It was obvious that this company's launch was highly anticipated and has a lot of promise.

Moments after arriving, it became clear to me why this launch meant so much to so many people. Everyone I talked to was incredibly enthusiastic and talked highly of the organization's founders. Their approach to connecting the environment with community has made a strong impression on people. I learned a lot about the organization's mission, and why it is so important. I left with a stronger sense of just how we are going to take on the challenges we face.

Talking with each of the company's creators, I couldn't help but feeling a sense of excitement and willingness to help out. They talked to me about their dedication to addressing complex issues of food security within diverse sociocultural, economic, and ecological contexts. Since I have a brother who cultivates produce on a farm in Glen Ellen in the heart of Sonoma County, I was able to appreciate the knowledge, excitement, and hard work that each individual had put into this project.

After much conversing and plenty of fun, the event began to take on a more serious tone. On stage, they presented to everyone in attendance their mission which is to "grow diverse communities, share unique places and stories, and innovate local food systems." Their message was simple but packed a strong punch. They explained their goals to bypass the disconnection many people have between where the food comes from what it takes to get to the retail stage. They also shared their new vision of Farmster which is to empower entrepreneurship through job training, service-learning, and leadership. They encouraged everyone to check out the farm, a 5-acre community farm in Sonoma Mountain Village dedicated to empowering our local community in discovering and participating in creating meaningful connections between place, people, and food.

The farm is open to anyone, especially those that want to learn about what it takes to cultivate food. It is located just one mile from the SSU campus. They encouraged everyone to come out and help, stating "even the smallest of help can make a big difference".

After the event I began to recognize the significance of how much these Sonoma State University alumni have invested into their company. Each of them has taken on a high-stakes venture in pursuit of their dreams. I hope that anyone who reads this can understand how truly inspiring this story-in-the-making is. As an SSU student, there is nothing more exciting than seeing my peers take on a challenge to make a difference in such a way.

To get involved, sign up to become a volunteerintern, and even donate to Farmster.

Check out this video that gives a quick look into the Farmster crew.