Cal and Aubrianne during the tractor driving and implement training portion of the California Farm Academy held at the Western Center for Agriculture
(C) 2016 Maureen Thompson
Meet the Farmers
Cal grew up in the foothills of Tulare County on a small homestead. He was involved in 4-H and took care of chickens and one goat he showed in the county fair. He helped plant and maintain a small citrus orchard with his family. After high school, he joined the US Marine Corps. While enlisted, he visited several countries and gained a wider view of the world outside California. His deployment to Iraq exposed him to a country ravaged by war and centuries of environmental degradation. This experience, more than any other, has imparted to him the extreme importance of careful management of natural resources. He sees farming as a way of continuing that service to the larger community.
Aubrianne was born at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. Her early years were spent living in Downtown Sacramento, until she began school and began living with her Gramma, Anne Bradley, in the suburbs. Family and gardening played a large role in those early years, particularly gardening with her great grandmother, Lucy York (Nana). When Nana stopped gardening there was an evident rapid decline in her health, as well as the health of her husband (Papa). Seeing this near-instant change in her family, Aubrianne was instilled with the importance of access to high-quality food. Aubrianne holds a BS in Rangeland Resource Science from Humboldt State University (2011) and studied Horticulture and Agronomy at University of California, Davis. Because she grew up in a food-insecure household, she is highly motivated to increase food security in the local community by providing high-quality protein to under-served communities, including homeless veterans and youth.
Beginning Our Family and Our Farm
We met in 2008 while attending Intro to Soil Science at Sierra College, and soon began planning our future farm and ranch. We learned about the Center for Land-Based Learning’s California Farm Academy in Fall of 2015, and decided to start the program to make our dreams a reality. After much soul-searching, we decided to start our agricultural career in specialty cut flowers, and are hoping to expand into poultry production and integrated pest management services to support donations of meat and eggs to local non-profit organizations that feed under-served communities.
Flowers and vegetables are produced in an annual row crop system at the Farm on Putah Creek in Winters, California. We are NOT certified organic, however we plan to pursue this in the future.
We are also experimenting with a small area of "Three Sisters" planting that includes our fresh pole beans, some popcorn, and winter squash. We are hoping that this experiment will yield as much produce as it does learning opportunities. Follow us on social media to see how our experiment progresses!