The Shone Farm Story
Shone Farm is a 365-acre outdoor learning laboratory for the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Agriculture/Natural Resources Department. The farm provides students with hands-on experience that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. The farm is located about 12 miles from the Santa Rosa Campus, between the towns of Forestville and Windsor, in the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area). It was named in honor of Robert Shone, a very active leader in Sonoma County agriculture, in addition to being a Santa Rosa Junior College trustee and President of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
During World War II, the property was a military listening post, monitoring radio traffic around the world. In 1972 it was declared surplus land by the federal government, and subsequently, acquired by Santa Rosa Junior College. Since then, the farm has provided broad learning opportunities to thousands of students in many agriculture areas: Viticulture, Wine Studies, Equine Studies, Animal Science, Sustainable Agriculture, and Environmental Conservation. The SRJC Agriculture Department’s vision for Shone Farm is to be a model sustainable, integrated agriculture complex, a showcase for the community and outstanding venue for student learning.
Outdoor Learning Lab
Shone Farm includes 120 acres of forest, 100 acres of pasture, 70 acres of vineyard, 12 acres for crop production, and 4 acres of olive and apple trees, one of the largest agriculture sites in the California Community Colleges system. In addition, there is open space around the farm’s perimeter that serves as wildlife habitat, as well as the farmstead, which includes various buildings and improvements. The farm’s size allows for teaching small commercial scale production techniques. SRJC Ag/Natural Resources graduates are well prepared for the workplace or to continue their studies at a four-year university.
The forested area of the farm is a mixture of soft and hard wood tree species. Redwood, Douglas Fir, Pine, Madrone, Bay, and several species of Oak provide a dense buffer between the farm and the Russian River and provide riparian habitat for many native bird and animal species. The forest, a living lab for the Natural Resources Management Program, provides students with firsthand experience in forest and trail management as well as watershed management and the sustainable management of natural resources.
The pasture supports Shone Farm’s grass-fed beef and sheep for the Animal Science Program, as well as horses for the Equine Program. The animals thrive in a free-range environment where they move about and forage native grasses at will. Irrigation is provided to parts of the pasture using tertiary treated recycled water from Windsor. Staff and students care for the animals. A livestock-handling unit in the James Porter Barn Animal Science Center provides a safe area for students, under the supervision of an instructor or staff, to perform any needed procedures and work with the animals as part of it’s instructional program.
The farm also includes 70 acres of vineyard, which is professionally managed and the grapes sold to local wineries. Some of the Shone Farm grapes are crushed at the Shone Farm Winery and sold under the Shone Farm label. Varieties grown include Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot noir, Merlot, and Syrah. There is also a one-acre student-managed teaching block planted with several grape and rootstock varieties from Albarinio to Zinfandel. While gaining valuable vineyard management experience, the block also provides opportunities for students to learn varietal identification.
Shone Farm’s large crop production area allows students to learn sustainable farming practices on a small commercial scale. These Sustainable Agriculture students are involved in planting, harvesting, packing, pricing, and selling the vegetables and fruit. During the growing season, produce is sold through weekly on campus and local farm stands, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery program, and to several high-end markets and restaurants, including the SRJC Culinary Café. In addition to Shown Grown vegetables and fruit, grass-fed beef and lamb are also available for sale. Packaging and selling value-added farm products provides income to support Agriculture Department programs while completing the educational circle for students through their involvement in all phases of agriculture, from planning and production to marketing under the Shone Farm brand.
In 2006, the Warren G. Pavilion Jr. Agricultural Pavilion was constructed at Shone Farm. Visit our Facilities Web page for information about renting the pavilion and other facilities at the farm.
Shone Farm Winery
The Shone Farm Winery was established in fall 2008. Visit Shone Farm Winery for more information about the winery and to purchase Shone Farm wines.