Former Staff

>Hop Yard Manager 2012, Givonne

Givonne was our first student intern who took on a project.  When Givonne joined the farm she hadn’t yet finished her environmental studies degree; however, she is now proudly done with San Jose State and out in the field of environmental science.  Last known location: Getting paid to be out in the wild helping a cute creature!  Givonne had been growing hops for years, so it was only natural for her to take charge of our small hop yard.

Givonne helped establish a drip system around the four varieties of hops on our very steep slope.  After sitting among the chickens and hop vines for 15 minutes with a beer, she built cages around the plants to keep the chickens out, and unknowingly the rabbits too.  Because of her efforts we were able to measure our harvest in pounds per vine!  Thanks again Givonne for all your help!


>Child Specialist, Felicia

Felicia is an elusive cat; although, she has always committed to helping our farm with corralling kids into fun activities every time we have asked for her help.  She serves as a nurse by day and a wanderlusting urban camper by night.  One of those WWOOF junkies who just helps out with a smile no matter if she has been dealt two left handed gloves.

She had this to say about her first visit: “Saturday was fun! Got a help a bit, learn a bit, eat and drink a bit and hang with good company. Definitely keep me posted if there is a big project you need people for.”

She left our farm aiming for a farm near Big Sur where she exchanged work for room and board.  Her last known location was somewhere near Fort Bragg fixing up an Inn.  We admire and support adventurous spirits like you!

[she is yet to be photographed, like a leopard…]


>Aviary Ambassador 2012, Cindy

She got a Job! She still wants a better paying one so we will leave this – Replace this paragraph with your company name and link: If you are looking for a published researcher (Psychology, Statistics, Computer Science) who is good with data, (extrapolate, model, approximate – you name it)…give Cindy a job!  While the laws of working in the United States are waiting for a company willing to offer a H1B visa , Cindy will will be visiting our chickens on a weekly basis.  While we are talking about laws, skip to the next paragraph if you are not a lawyer:  Cindy is not a Staff or Volunteer, she is just a guest at our farm who happens to do many acts of kindness without any payment; all eggs, veggies and beer she gets/drinks are gifts not payment.

We couldn’t stop Cindy from helping out at the farm.  Each week Cindy came to the farm she cleaned out all the straw/manure from the chicken coop, filled all three watering tanks, and did general cleanup/health inspections.

Cindy didn’t stop at just the chickens.  She helped out where ever needed that day: seed gathering/planting, gathering/spreading mulch…


>Renaissance Man, Peeler

Peeler came to the Farm already trained at the Culinary Institute of America.  He has had experience making the following things:  various styles of bread, pastries, cookies, tarts, cakes, chocolates and confections, pies(galettes, empanada, etc.), custards, mousse, ice cream, granita and other frozen desserts, etc.   His most popular item at the Farm so far has been his Spent Grain Graham Crackers!  Did we mention that he has brewed up over 20 batches of his own beer?

Urban Foraging is a hobby for Peeler that he would gladly share with everyone!  He has a knack for spotting edible plants, and is not shy about knocking on doors and asking if he can harvest what most people waste.

This is not the first Farm for Peeler, nor will it be his last.  He has a long resume of Farm work including: compost, forming rows, starting seedling, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, feeding/maintaining chickens, building a fence for their coop, harvest, and of course cooking and eating.

Peeler was spotted taking beer notes at a bar by a beer aficionado/writer and now helps publish recipes using spent grains.  What will this Renascence Man do next?


>Chicken Manager 2013, Jessica

Almost everyone knows somebody who will dog/cat sit.  Do you know someone who will chicken sit?  Jessica even has references for her years of remote chicken care!  Besides loving and caring for other people’s flocks, Jessica has been a backyard chicken keeper for over 3 years (last tending a flock of Ameraucanas).  Birds of a feather flock together; she gets together with other chicken enthusiasts at their Yahoo Group meetings, SVChickens. She has given a short course called “Chicken 101″ for a veterinary technician program!  Like most people in the Bay Area, Jessica has worked high tech (BS Electrical Engineering, MBA, Product Manager…).  Also like most people, she has a deep love of gardening!  She’s been hooked since her kindergarten class sprouted seeds in cotton-filled cups!

Jessica does more than the weekly chicken routine around our Farm, she innovates for safer health!  When she found signs of algae, she came up with the eradication game plan all on her own!   Our Barred Rocks are lucky to have such a knowledgeable lady!  She is quick with her chicken chores and loves to help in the garden or sip Ginger Ale with the rest of the crew.


>Hop Yard Manager 2013, Mark

Mark is not your normal 7th grade math teacher.  Sure he did normal things a teacher would do before teaching:  while earning his bachelors in biology he led 917 students in an effort to change the health policy, studied towards a masters at Santa Clara University, four years of substitute teaching…And sure he teaches a few other subjects that are cooler than math…but…

If only our crotchety old 7th grade math teacher was like Mark!  She would have been a lot cooler had she been a home brewer for three years and won an award for one of her beers!

Mark won “Best in Flight IPA” at the Santa Cruz County Fair!  His secret ingredient?  His home grown fresh hops!  He wet-hopped (in the boil) & wet-dry-hopped (in the secondary fermenter) with fresh cones of Chinook and Willamette that grow up the side of his house!  With a resume like that, Mark will be managing our expanding Hop Yard!  It’s only icing on the cake that he attended the beer brewing course at UC Davis with Dr Bamforth (Professor of Malting and Brewing!).

His first day at the Farm, he did all the listed chores – then cleared 1,000 square feet of brush covered land…all before sunset!  His second day, he helped carve a new trail.  His third visit, he surveyed the new Hop Yard area and helped with brewing…and on the seventh day – he rested.


>Strawberry Fields 2013 Protector, Carlo

When we think of Carlo, we often think of his humor first; ask him about “chicken hats”. Our second thought is how serious he is about sustainable agriculture!

He has raised over $65,300 in grants, awards and honors! While teamed up with UC Santa Cruz, Carlo has travelled to a remote Venezuelan Andes community to determine ways to develop sustainable livelihood for small scale potato farmers. With the University of Maryland he studied how collards could benefit from an abundance of “carnivore” bugs who liked to eat the “vegetarian” bugs. He’s even got his name on a couple of publications in Biological Control and the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. If you were to put dots on the map where this guy has given presentations or lectures you would cover every major city from Napa to New York or Quebec to Oaxtepec! As a hobby, he reviews articles for the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.

Lucky for us, besides getting a PhD in Environmental Studies [June 2013] he also enjoys good conversation and great food! While he was a regular Sunday volunteer for a long time before taking the lead on our strawberry fields, he now has his own part of the Farm that he makes better! While maintaining our two original fields, Carlo has expanded two more fields with new varieties. This will give us more fruit and spread the harvest out around different times of the year.

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