Donation to California Urban-Farming Initiative

2017: Stark Bro's donates 70 fruit trees and berry plants to help support the city of West Sacramento's urban-farming initiative in California.

West Sacramento to harvest benefits of Stark Bro's donation

Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co., the world's oldest fruit-tree company, is donating 70 trees and berry plants to support the City of West Sacramento’s urban-farming initiative.

LOUISIANA, MO — June 6, 2017 — You could call this a win-win-win-win-win situation.

Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co. this week shipped a donation of 70 fruit trees and berry plants to West Sacramento, CA — a gift that will make the city's first urban orchard a reality, give newly settled refugees farm training and production experience, and provide the local community with fresh, nutritious produce. West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon sees it as another kick-starter for an urban-farming effort he and the City Council have been leading for the past three years. There are currently six farm sites, totaling over 11.5 acres managed by two non-profit organizations: the Center for Land-Based Learning and International Rescue Committee.

"This donation marks a tipping point in our efforts to support the growth of urban farms in West Sacramento through the creation of our first urban orchard," says Cabaldon. "With the generous support of Stark Bro's, we are able to create more opportunities for refugees to have access to land and practice culturally appropriate farming methods. Their efforts will, in turn, increase residents' access to locally grown produce and beautify our community."

The 4.5-acre site is part of the International Rescue Committee's (IRC) New Roots program, run by Community and Economic Development Program Manager Tom Stein. Here, refugee and immigrant groups can learn to become self-sufficient and contribute to their new home through community gardening, nutrition education, and small-business farming. With training, tools and land provided by the IRC, project participants develop and share their agricultural skills, while producing affordable, locally grown produce for markets, as well as West Sacramento residents.

"The fruit trees from Stark Bro's will be used to support farmer and community education activities, as well as crop production activities on the farm," says Stein.

In addition to being a win for the IRC, the refugees, local residents, and the city of West Sacramento’s ongoing efforts to increase the number of urban farms and farming opportunities for beginning farmers — it's also a win for Stark Bro's, which has made a number of such donations over the last several years.

West Sacramento can also thank Mark Twain for the donation.

Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co. celebrated its 200th year in business last year, and as part of its festivities, hired a character actor to play the role of James Hart Stark, the company's founder. Impersonator Jim Waddell is also well known in the Hannibal, MO area for his portrayal of Mark Twain, who spent his early 30s as a travel correspondent for the Sacramento Daily Union.

Waddell's sister-in-law has a nephew, Ian Winbrock — who just happens to be the Deputy Assistant to Mayor Cabaldon.

Waddell was aware that Stark Bro's had made past tree donations to municipalities and non-profits, and suggested to Winbrock that the two connect. The result: West Sacramento/New Roots now has 70 fruit trees and berry plants for its first urban orchard. "It seemed like all the elements fit together too obviously to ignore," says Waddell.

The city expects to see the new urban orchard start bearing fruit in about two years.

About the International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 29 U.S. cities. Learn more at and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.

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