Transition in the Market Garden: Thanks and Best Wishes to Raoul! Welcome and Best of Luck to Emma
by Carol Hillhouse, Associate Director, Student Farm
In August Raoul Adamchak retired after a 26-year-long career at the Student Farm as our Market Garden Coordinator. With
his fine farming skills, the acreage in intensive vegetable production tripled and our sales to CSA members, campus dining services, and catering increased 10-fold. This growth and stability in production helped make the Student Farm a central piece of the campus community food system. Raoul co-taught or taught the popular course Organic Crop Production Practices starting in 1998. He has inspired many young people to work hard, learn carefully, and then go out and try farming on their own. Some have been successful and are still at it! Many folks have said, “If it weren’t for Raoul, I wouldn’t be doing this today!” During retirement, Raoul expects to garden and farm more at his home, kayak more great rivers, enjoy more friends and more family, sing more, and do more other things he hasn’t yet thought of. We wish him the best of luck and hope we still see him frequently.
Emma Torbert is taking Raoul’s place at the Student Farm and we are very excited to have her join the Student Farm team! She and Raoul were able to overlap in August for several days so he could spend time showing her the farm and sharing his experience. Emma was a Student Farmer herself when she was a UC Davis graduate student gaining her Master’s Degree in Horticulture and Agronomy in 2008. After that she went on to be an Academic Coordinator at UC Davis’ Russell Ranch long-term agricultural research project and simultaneously started Cloverleaf Farm in Dixon where she has farmed for the last 9 years. She received the Climate Smart Farmer Award from Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Slow Food Award in 2019. With Emma’s leadership and vision, Cloverleaf Farm has become known for excellent stone fruit and a growing number of row crops. They also were well-known for mentoring UC Davis students and graduates as employees or partners.
In the short time since she started here in late August, Emma has gained the trust of her student staff and colleagues. To quote Raoul, who was impressed after working with her for several days, “The thing about Emma is that she just leans into any new challenge and wants to learn about it and figure it out completely.” We know that is what it takes to be a good farmer and also that there will be new challenges aplenty during these unique times. Please join us in welcoming her and supporting her during this transition. We hope that many of you get to meet her in person very soon.