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Taber Ward

THE GOODS

 ·Uses organic grain to feed goats.

·Uses rotational grazing methods to fertilize the land, decrease off-farm inputs, and create healthy soil.

·Does not treat animals with antibiotics or growth hormones.

·Pays staff a living wage.

·Collaborates with local businesses and nonprofits to build partnerships and increase resilience in the local food system.

·Offers free visiting hours to engage the public in sustainable agriculture and provide hands-on educational opportunities for urban residents.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A FARM?

Taber Ward: Our food system is more than broken – it produces pain, agony, pollution, and injustice for millions of people, animals, and ecosystems. The goal of Mountain Flower is to create an alternative to factory and industrial farming by connecting people to the means of production and by treating the land and our goats gently and with respect. We want to provide dairy products that people can trust.

Providing a transparent and accessible farm in the middle of the city helps connect people back to the land, back to animals, and back to their food. It is our goal to practice humane animal husbandry and educate the community about what it means, what it costs, and what it looks like to raise animals with respect. Every dollar spent on food is a vote for how we want our food system to look and how we want to treat our animals, the land, and our planet.

Photos: Kirsten Boyer

“Every dollar spent on food is a vote for how we want our food system to look and how we want to treat our animals, the land, and our planet.”

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO OPERATE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?

TW: There is no other way to do this. We may not be legally liable for abusing the land or animals when we farm, but we are morally liable. At the end of the day, we go home knowing that we did our best to create a positive product and happy environment for the creatures that we steward.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING OF BECOMING FARMERS OR STARTING THEIR OWN FARM?

TW: Collaborate! Farming was never meant to be a one-(wo)man-show. Reach out to folks who have similar values and work ethics. Reach out to folks who offer different skillsets from your own. Be ready to work all the time. There are no days off in farming. Dig in. Don’t give up. Believe in your vision – even when it’s falling apart, it will come back together.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FARMING INDUSTRY?

TW: I am hopeful for the future of local food and community food security – the movement has started already and we are taking bold steps as farmers, consumers, restaurants, grocers, and policymakers to strengthen and support this sector of food production.

Given the drought in California, I predict that the cry for local food and diversification will become stronger and more robust; not because it is trendy or because of the “foodie” movement – but because our breadbasket state is turning into a desert. This is not a “California problem” – this is a problem that will impact dinner plates and pocketbooks around the nation. California produces a sizable majority of American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: [almost all of our] artichokes, walnuts, kiwis, plums, celery, garlic, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and the list goes on.

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Photos: Kristen Newsom, Wildly Simple

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THE GOODS

·Certified organic.

·Uses sustainable growing methods: no pesticides, herbicides, or petroleum-based products are ever used on the land.

·Member of California Certified Organic Farmers.

·Currently selling everything within two miles of the farm.

·One-woman operation.

·Small carbon footprint.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A FARM?

Andrea Davis-Cetina: While at Hampshire College, I studied sustainable agriculture. I took courses in ecology, anthropology, rural studies, and a bit of art. During the school year, I worked on the college farm, and during summer vacations, I worked as an intern on farms in Maine, upstate New York, and North Carolina. My college dissertation was a nutritional analysis of a local and seasonal diet in the Pioneer Valley. To make this information accessible to the surrounding community, I published a cookbook, “Local Delectables: Seasonal Recipes for the Pioneer Valley.”

After graduating from college, I moved to California in 2005 and quickly got my hands dirty by creating and maintaining edible gardens for restaurants and private clients.

In 2008, I took the leap to start Quarter Acre Farm on a quarter acre of land. Following my passion and enthusiasm toward natural and sustainable methods, I decided to have the farm certified organic through CCOF in 2010. Quarter Acre Farm has grown a little over the years and is currently three-quarters of an acre.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO OPERATE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?

ADC: I look to use regenerative practices on the farm to improve the land and ecosystem instead of just sustaining the land as I found it. It has to do with how I see my place and effect on the world. As a young Girl Scout, I was told you always leave a place better than you found it – take pictures, leave footprints. I want to leave the world a better place for future generations.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING OF BECOMING FARMERS OR STARTING THEIR OWN FARM?

ADC: Do your research, take classes if you can, and read as many books and articles as you can get your hands on. Most importantly, work on established farms for the length of a season so you can see how the farm work changes throughout the year. Working on another person’s farm allows you to learn directly from an experienced grower and learn from their mistakes.

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“I was told you always leave a place better than you found it – take pictures, leave footprints. I want to leave the world a better place for future generations.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FARMING INDUSTRY?

ADC: I’m no fortune teller, but I believe the future of farming depends on young, innovative farmers who face problems by trying inventive solutions.

Growth x3. U.S. farms operated by women have nearly tripled in number since 1978, from 5 percent to 14 percent in 2007. 1,000,000. There are nearly one million women involved in the farming industry in the U.S. accounting for 30 percent of U.S. farmers. Youth. Younger women are entering farming faster than older women are leaving. Sales. Between 1982 and 2007, women-operated farms in all size categories experienced sales growth. In contrast, only the largest and the smallest size farms (more than $500,000 and less than $1,000 in annual sales) operated by men experienced growth.