Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Provides Forum for Professional and Personal Development at Leadership Conference
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) hosted its annual Leadership and Management Conference on November 16, 17 and 18, 2022. The popular, 3-day educational conference provided 250 Napa County vineyard supervisors and fieldworkers the opportunity to gain professional and personal skills, with a goal to help them advance in their careers. All seminars are hosted in Spanish by experts from businesses across the Northern California Bay Area, like UC Davis, Redwood Credit Union, AgSafe, Strategic Retirement Partners, County of Napa, Napa County Resource Conservation District, Inglenook, Pan American Insurance Services, California Highway Patrol, Duarte Nursery, Napa County Agricultural Office, and Nicola Health & Safety.
The agenda for the Leadership and Management Conference is carefully selected by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation’s Education Committee and designed specifically for those who work in the vineyard. For the 2022 conference, the committee created a professional development-rich agenda with seminars like best practices on winterization in the vineyard, water management, road safety, common pesticide violations, and current requirements for pesticide handlers.
Beyond the professional development aspects of the conference, the event offered personal skill workshops. Topics included personal budgeting for the year ahead, multigenerational communication, investing in the future, and fraud protection. The professional and personal components of the conference ensure a comprehensive experience that is distinct to programs offered by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.
Speaker, Miguel Garcia, from the Napa County Resource Conservation District said, “We appreciated being invited to speak on soil health, sustainable farming practices, and erosion prevention in vineyards. It was a great pleasure to mingle with so many nice people and to hear about their experiences in the field. I would like to think that my role in this event each year is to pass knowledge onto farmworkers, but the reality is that I learn just as much from them as they do from me.”
A highly interactive moment from this year’s conference came during a new experience called, Vineyard Table Talks. The talks gave vineyard supervisors a space to exchange their views on four topics: education, leadership, farming adaptations to climate change, and farming for wine quality.
“Attendees were energized by the topics,” said Erika Velázquez, from Pan American Insurance Services and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Education Committee member, “It was an excellent way to introduce serious conversations in a casual setting – and a comfortable way for individuals to share perspectives on the issues facing the Napa County community.”
Finally, attendee, Porfirio Martinez from Carpenter Vineyards, who attended over 150 hours of FWF events and programs in 2022, was honored by FWF Board Vice President and Chair of the Education Committee, Arnulfo Solorio of Silverado Farming Company, with the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Scholar Award. The award recognized his participation in the FWF, and his dedication to education and gaining skills to advance in his career. Martinez enthusiastically shared, “It is always good to learn, and if we are given an opportunity to attend classes, it is to improve as a person. It also improves one's job and broadens one's knowledge and learning.”
Thank you to these FWF Strategic Partners for making the Leadership and Management Conference possible: Pulido~Walker, Martinez Orchards, Far Niente, Circle R Ranch & Vineyards, Vine Hill Ranch, Silver Oak Cellars, MCE Clean Energy, V. Sattui Winery, Hudson Ranch, Yount Mill Vineyards, Oak Knoll Ranch/Lamoreaux Vineyards, Cakebread Cellars, Napa Select Vineyard Services, Green Valley Tractor, A&J Vineyard Supply, Pan American Insurance, Redwood Credit Union, and Servín-López Vineyard Management.
Next year’s leadership program will be hosted on November 8-10, 2023, under the new name, CULTIVAR.