An EcoFarm tradition! Learn what these farmers do, why they do it, and what they’ve learned along the way
Lakeside Organic Gardens, Watsonville, CA
Third generation farmer Dick Peixoto grew up farming apples with his father and began vegetable farming with brother Jim, growing green beans in high school on a 55-acre farm in Watsonville. After growing thousands of acres of conventional lettuce and other crops,
that farm became the first land Dick converted to organic, in 1996. Today Dick and his 250 employees grow year round, producing over 45 crops on 50 different farms on 1200 acres in the Pajaro Valley with 600 acres of winter production in the Imperial Valley, the largest family- owned and operated solely organic vegetable grower/shipper in the USA. Dick is an activist on food safety, water supply, open space preservation, and other issues affecting agriculture. Recently Dick and the Peixoto family contributed $2 million dollars to the development of an organic and sustainable agriculture learning center in the Pajaro valley. This center will be a resource for people interested in starting an organic farm, learning about organic farming or those interested in seeing how their food is grown organically.
Serendipity Farms, Aromas, CA
Jamie Collins has been growing organically for 16 years. Serendipity farm is twenty acres in four different microclimates between Carmel and Watsonville. This allows Jamie to grow a diverse array of row and tree crops, blueberries and perennial herbs and flowers which she sells through 6-10 weekly farmers markets, local restaurants, U-Picks, and direct to the community via social media meeting points and a CSA. Extra produce is turned into value added products which increase the diversity of products on her farmers market tables. Jamie is also an organic farm and processor inspector for California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and writes about food and farming for various publications.
Will Allen & Kate Duesterberg
Cedar Circle Farm, East Thetford, VT
After decades as an organic farmer, activist, and rabble rouser in California, Will Allen moved to Vermont where he created a highly loved organic farm that is committed to local production for local use. At Cedar Circle Farm, they produce 75 acres of vegetables, fruits, strawberries, melons, grains, oil sunflower, dry beans, as well as ornamental, perennial, and cut flowers. The farm markets via three CSAs, and through their farmstand, farmers markets, chefs, a certified kitchen producing certified organic products, and organic coffee shop. They host strawberry and pumpkin festivals, dinners in the field, weddings, and farm tours. The farm also hosts an educational department that coordinates visits of more than a thousand school kids. They are now in the fourth year of on-farm research in no-till vegetables. Author of “The War on Bugs”, Will is also a committed activist. He is currently focused on climate change and carbon sequestration through agriculture, and also initiated the GMO labeling struggle in Vermont. Will works with Vandana Shiva to promote indigenous Indian organic cotton, and with the Armenian Tree Project to get nurseries, plantations, and orchards to adopt organic practices.
Kate started her activist career as Sustainable Agriculture program coordinator at Illinois Stewardship Alliance and then at Rural Vermont, two NGOs working to promote sustainable farming. Kate helped establish the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture, worked with the Women’s Agricultural Network at UVM and the Sustainable Cotton Project in California. For the past 15 years Kate and Will have managed Cedar Circle Farm. In 2015, Kate and Will co founded Regeneration Vermont to redirect Vermont agriculture toward regenerative methods that protect and enhance the natural environment, provide economic justice to farmers and farm workers, promote animal welfare, and implement climate change remediation