Our firm is headquartered in the offices of Ag Association Management Services, Inc. (AAMSI) at 1521 I Street in Sacramento. From this location we work closely with Chris Zanobini and his staff who manage over 40 different agriculture associations — many of whom are members of California Grown and its Board.
We’re proud to serve as the in-house social media and public relations firm for AAMSI and its clients. We consider ourselves an extension of the AAMSI staff and are called on frequently to create and implement communications projects of all kinds for products like cling peaches, sweet potatoes, nursery products, flowers, seeds, grain and feed, kiwifruit, cherries, pork, grape and citrus rootstock, eggs, poultry and bees.
Our relationship with AAMSI in Sacramento also puts us at the center of legislative and regulatory activity in California. Obviously, these issues have a huge impact on California food and farming. And they are felt by consumers in ways they don’t understand.
In The Delta, Central Valley and California Coast
Marilyn Freeman is the owner of Farmers Communication Exchange. She grew up in the small Delta town of Rio Vista — where her dad (a rocket engineer) worked to design mechanical tomato harvesters. She attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and her first job was with Sun-Diamond Growers, a cooperative of raisin, prune and walnut farmers. Throughout her long career, she’s worked with a variety of ag industries from peaches, plums and nectarines, to kiwifruit, table grapes and cherries. In 2003, she opened her first public relations firm headquartered in Watsonville. Here she began working with lettuce, vegetable and strawberry growers through her clients the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and the Alliance for Food and Farming. In 2016, she started Farmers Communications Exchange and continued to represent central coast vegetable farmers as well as cantaloupe, pear, cling peach and olive oil growers throughout the state.
In Northern California
Mackenzie Bressler’s connection to agriculture was established at a young age growing up in the rural town of Colusa. As part of this close-knit farming community, Mackenzie developed lasting relationships in the livestock and grain industries. Her love of agriculture was strengthened throughout her youth as a member of 4-H and FFA. Her family was well known to local ag businesses as a result of her father’s long association with the Colsa County Fairgrounds. Mackenzie continues to be a very involved member of her hometown community and she is active with many local fundraising events. After attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Mackenzie learned her place in the industry would be sharing the stories of farming and the people who make up California agriculture. As our Digital Media Manager, Mackenzie works every day to connect consumers and farmers through the power of social media.
In the San Joaquin Valley
Abby Peltzer is the daughter of a third generation citrus and pistachio farmer from Terra Bella in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Her upbringing gave her a deep appreciation for California agriculture and a desire to share the stories of farmers like those in her own family and community. After graduating from Chico State with a degree in Public Relations, she worked for Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella as an assistant in the Grower Relations Department. Abby’s upbringing has made her acutely aware of the disconnect that exists between consumers and their food. Her work at Farmers Communication Exchange has opened her eyes to the opportunity California’s ag industry has to narrow this gap with the use of social media. As Social Media Coordinator at Farmers Communication Exchange, Abby is effectively working to share farmers’ stories across all social media platforms and she truly is connecting consumers with their food.
In Riverside and Back to Sacramento.
Sharlene Garcia grew up in the tiny Riverside County town of Norco. There’s no way a girl from a town nicknamed ‘Horsetown, USA’ — a place where drive-in restaurants were designed for customers on horseback — could escape a future career in agriculture. Although she dreamed of being an orthodontist, she ended up involved in FFA as a place to ‘fit in’ in high school. And fit in, she did. After high school, she spent an unforgettable year as an FFA state officer teaching students about agriculture and leadership. During this year, she traveled the state and stayed in the homes of farm families from Fortuna to Calipatria. Each stay was different, but all with one common thread – a connection to an industry that feeds the world. She knew then that she would use whatever gifts she had to better this industry that she loved. Over her 15 year career, Sharlene has worked at CDFA, as a communications specialist for the California Winegrape Growers Association and the California Farm Bureau and as an account manager at the full-service ag marketing agency AdFarm. These experiences connect her not only with farmers throughout the state, but to the halls of government in Sacramento.
When Joy Rust’s husband, Charley, landed his current job as research beekeeper and manager of the Honey Bee Facility at UC Davis, they relocated from Indiana to Sacramento. At the time, Joy was in awe of the scale and diversity of California’s agriculture. Her work at Farmers Communication Exchange has only deepened this appreciation. As our creative director, Joy is frequently out in fields and farms throughout the state. From here, she is able to see the full circle of her work and the farmers she’s come to know — from capturing videos of farmworkers pruning bare trees in the winter, to sipping freshly made California pear Tom Collins at her favorite restaurant in the summer. Joy excels at using her creative skills to communicate with consumers and her background in marketing for a natural food store provides her with insights when working with grocery stores. There is no other state better for growing the country’s food than California and Joy wants everyone to know about it.