Newsoms celebrate Earth Day on California farm with mugwort, Alice Waters … and a rattler

By Cathie Anderson, April 23, 2023

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On Earth Day, labor leader Dolores Huerta trimmed back the withered blossoms of a mugwort at Rancho Cordova’s Soil Born Farms, breathing in the plant’s heady fragrance as she explained that you could use its leaves for a tea that helps digestion and relieves itching.

Dutch Newsom’s dad, better known as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, boasted that his 6-year-old son had shown incredible focus on his assignment as a volunteer, cutting “70 or 80” irrigation lines that the farm no longer used.

The Newsoms, Huerta and others worked up an appetite with a little volunteerism on the nonprofit interpretive farm in honor of the statewide farm-to-school initiative that Jennifer Siebel Newsom has championed in her role as California First Partner. The Farm-to-School program brings together Soil Born and other small farmers with school districts to increase the amount of whole foods that kids are getting in their diets.

Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who recently celebrated her 93rd birthday, shows Gov. Gavin Newsom a plant she said can help when dealing with certain politicians during an Earth Day celebration at Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, left, and Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, right, stand nearby.

In an interview with The Bee, Siebel Newsom said it’s a win for both the earth and people when produce is grown on organic, climate-smart, regenerative farms and when local districts connect directly to local farms. Since 2021, she said, farm-to-school funding has benefited close to 1.5 million students, 163 school districts and education entities, more than 50 farms and four food hubs.

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