O U R S T O R Y
In 2008 my husband Craig and I were minding our own business in Long Term Care Insurance, when our son came home from school with a book, Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. With a catchy first chapter I was hooked. Together we finished the book along with a couple bottles of wine and in one weekend our lives began to change. For three months we immersed ourselves into the food industry. We read over 100 books, watched countless videos, attended workshops, worked at farmers markets, talked with farmers, and players in the food industry, from industrial to organic and beyond. These months were intense with learning and became the foundation for Tara Firma Farms.
One particular day our younger son Joe said “Mom, you either have to do something or stop. No one invites us to dinner any more”. As a growing teenage boy, it was important to have quantity of food and he particularly liked going to Kim’s and Linda’s as both families had pools and dad’s with big BBQ’s. I called my friends to inquire as to why we had not been over to dinner the last months. Silence on the other end of the phone. Hmmm. Finally they were willing to fess up “You and Craig are both such fanatics. You only talk about how horrible the food system is; the pesticides, slaughtering, chemicals in everything, the world is going to end kind of stuff...all while we are serving you food. You don’t have a solution for us”. That last comment was a challenge. I hung up and said “Fine, I'll do it myself."
During the next 9 months Craig and I investigated food and land to grow and raise it. We stumbled across Joel Salatin, an internationally renowned farmer and speaker from Swoope, VA. Joel had written "how to"
books that were perfect for us. We began to formulate our vision which in turn laid the ground work for the land that would best meet our goals: raise and grow foods (nothing added to anything ever), educate the community about that food, provide that food to the community and do it sustainably and profitably. We settled on 290 acres just south of Petaluma, CA. It fit the bill for our vision. It was close to populated areas and had easy access.
We moved onto the property in April 2009 and began with 150 meat birds, 10 piglets and 5 Black Angus cows. With the guidance of Joel Salatin, the farm community grew and by the end of the first year, alongside a small crew we were delivering meat, veggies and eggs to 150 families each week. Not a profitable business but a growing one.
By the end of 2012 the farm was feeding close to 1000 families a month, slightly profitable and boasted immense community support.
At present, with farm access 24/7, members come to hike, fish, picnic, BBQ and enjoy the bounty of Tara Firma Farms. By being accountable for their food they are beacons of light to the larger community, walking the walk with their farmer!
The long term vision is to continue to expand the membership, educate the larger community through free tours on weekends, school tours during the week and monthly events like Barn Dances (Contra Dancing), Hog Roasts and the many celebrations our members put on themselves! Eventually we hope to duplicate the farm in other towns to continue access of healthy food and education about that food. Come join us!