The pride of Liberty, the Liberty High School Marching Band, showcased their new uniforms this Fall at one the home football games thanks to local olive oil sales. After nearly a decade of wearing the previous uniforms, three years ago, the Band Boosters decided it was time to invest in updated uniforms. However, with a price tag of over $50,000, the outlook was dismal.
Brainstorming During A Trail Run
Fast forward to a group of dedicated trail runners on their weekly run at Round Valley Regional Park. As the crew cruised their way through the hills, one of the runners mentioned the dingy state of the band uniforms and the disrepair of some of the larger instruments that needed to be replaced at the high school. The athletes were Liberty Band Booster Treasurer, Jeff Geiskopf and Glen McCauley, Co-Owner of McCauley Agriculture and Pest Services. The runners began to brainstorm how the band could raise funds and a unique, but the ideal plan came to fruition.
Olive Oil and McCauley Ag and Pest Services
Competitive runner Becca Perdue and Co-Owner of McCauley Ag and Pest Services came into the picture next. On another long run, Glen and Jeff pitched the idea of a collaborative fundraising event that could elevate the local band and allow McCauley Ag and Pest Services the opportunity to support a motivated, and talented group of students. The longer they ran, the more they became committed to the idea of supporting the marching band and the community. As their run came to an end, the runners had a plan.
Local Olive Oil From A Local Grove
Glen McCauley, outside of being a local business owner, has been an upstanding member of the local agricultural community. Sitting on his home ranch were 900 uncultivated, but highly productive, olives trees. After hearing the plight of the high school music program, Glen McCauley and Becca Perdue made an offer that the band just couldn’t turn down.
McCauley said that if the students wanted to come and pick the olives from his groves, McCauley Ag and Pest Services would press, bottle and label the olive oil for the students, and Band Boosters, to sell. The profits would be the bands to do as they wished – whether it be for new uniforms or for new instruments. Local community member, Donny LaFlamme, contributed to the community by designing the beloved Olive Our Kids logo that sits on every bottle of olive oil.
The Olive Oil Traditional Takes Hold
Within weeks, dozens of Liberty Band Students and their friends and family joined Glen on his ranch and spent hours picking olives. The process is labor-intensive. Tarps are placed under the trees. Gentle hands rake through the olive laden branches, where olives fall quietly to the tarp. The olives are then gathered by hand from the tarp into a bin for transportation. Over the course of several picking days, the students pick an average of 4000lbs of olives a day. In general, an olive bin with 1000 pounds of olive fruit will produce about 40 gallons of olive oil.
The olives are immediately sent to press. This ensures the high quality of the olive oil. The sooner the olives are pressed, the higher the quality, and the better the taste of the olive oil product. After resting, the olive oil is bottled and labeled with a specially designed label for the Liberty High School Band. There is no doubt that this is a delicious labor of love that has been incredibly fruitful for the band organization.
Local Olive Oil Is Exceptional Fundraising Event
Today you can find olive oil, picked and bottled in Brentwood, that is labeled with a logo designed specifically for the Liberty High School Marching Band. This olive oil is the product that stems from hours of work from the Liberty Band students, Band Booster parents and the generosity of McCauley Ag and Pest Services. Students sell the olive oil at different sporting events, ACE hardware in Brentwood, Dash in Discovery Bay, and through friends and family.
In the first year of the fundraiser, the band was able to raise $18,000 dollars alone. The second year, slightly more. Each year, the band has also taken over covering the costs of bottling and labeling. This year, the band and the Band Boosters hope to sell even more of their high quality, rich, local olive oil to offset the increasing costs of an ever-growing marching band and music program.
The Olive Oil Tradition Continues
In November of 2019, the band spent a chilly Saturday morning at Glen’s olive grove painstakingly picking olives for their 3rd harvest. The work was hard, but the energy was contagious. Students can now see how their hard work pays off. You can also sense an air of the Lion Pride, where students understand they are working to support their program and not just depending on donations from their parents or local businesses to support their passion and program.
McCauley Ag and Pest Control are proud to support the local music program and help students understand a bit of the local agricultural heritage, while also learning the value of hard work to support schools. So often local business owners support local student programs but never have the opportunity to actually work with the students and learn what drives the students to participate. With this program, Becca, Glen and their team at McCauley Ag and Pest Services are able to work closely with the students and their families and see the growth of the students, and the program as a whole. Not only is it fulfilling, but it is a powerful way to serve the community – while also maintaining a strong connection between modern students and the agricultural history of Brentwood.
Liberty Band and Local Business Partnership
To date, the monies that the Liberty High School Band and Band Boosters have been able to raise thanks to olive oil sales and the support of McCauley Ag and Pest Control, have contributed to covering the overall costs of new band uniforms and the purchase of several new costly instruments. The students continue to be motivated – as they have learned that hard work in the fields equates to classy new uniforms they can be proud to wear and new shiny instruments that would otherwise be out of reach.
There is no doubt that there is a lot of hard work from students, their families, and supportive community members that go into this labor-intensive olive oil fundraiser. However, the benefits outweigh the hours of work. First, Glen is proud to share his olives and the history of Brentwood and farming with students. He knows the best way to bring awareness to students who might not have any other chance to work on a farm is to introduce the opportunity to them. Second, the students continue to celebrate the fact that their hard work is paying for their program. The independence and financial awareness that comes with working is also something that not all high school students are introduced to so acutely. Plus, the teambuilding and comraderies that bridge the students, their families, the community and schools together cannot be overlooked or undervalued.
Support the Liberty Band with A Purchase
The Liberty Marching Band Olive Oil is for sales throughout the year. It is a pure, local, and rich tasting olive oil that is perfect for cooking, dipping, or drizzling. Plus, the proceeds support a local music program that can be enjoyed at Liberty school events, sporting competitions, and throughout the town. To learn more about the olive oil, or to purchase some, reach out to the Liberty High School Band Boosters on Facebook, visit their website or call directly at 925-634-3521. You can also find the olive oil for sale at
A Thank You To Our Sponsor
Thank you to our sponsor McCauley Agriculture and Pest Control. McCauley Ag and Pest Service is a family-owned pest, lawn and weed control company based in Contra Costa County. Their 35 years of combined experience in the pest management industry brings superior customer experience and professionalism to residential, commercial and agricultural customers. From bugs, rodents, tree fungus or weed abatement, McCauley Ag and Pest Control provide affordable solutions to our community. Reach out to the team at McCauley Ag & Pest for a free consultation.