EcoFarm Tour 2011: Windmill Cabbages and Seas of Kale

Jacobs Farm and Del Cabo Cooperative

When we arrived at Jacobs Farm, we could see that some of the greenhouses were transitioning from chemical production to organic, a few were growing basil, and other buildings had been sown with cover crops. Organic controls, like colored sticky strips, were used to help monitor and control the presence of pests, as well as beneficial insects.

sticky strip


Jacobs Farm
Sandra Berlin explained how Jacobs Farm started as a small family operation, and now networks with hundreds of small farmers in Mexico.

cover crops

It was a relief to finally leave the oppressive moist heat of the glass greenhouses as the tour came to a close. The farm graciously gave us several samples of their organic cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs to take with us. By the time we left Jacobs Farm, the air in our bus was thick with a delicious combination of many enticing fragrances.

basil harvest
Fresh organic basil is being harvested by experienced farm workers.

Sharing Food Together

Often during the EcoFarm Conference, the most interesting things happen during meals; sharing good food always helps bring people. During our lunch on the farm tour we learned about the huge precedent setting victory achieved by Jacobs Farm against chemical companies who had contaminated some of their organic crops.

The lawsuit and appeal have finally been settled, and they have been decided in the farm’s favor. It was found that the toxic pesticides chlorpyrifos, diazinon and dimethoate were applied on crops near their organic fields, and that indeed those toxic chemicals had badly contaminated their dill, sage, and rosemary.

UCSC farmies

The last day of the EcoFarm Conference I met up for breakfast with a few of my fellow alumni from the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture program at UCSC. It felt really good catch up and hear about the various worthwhile endeavors that everyone had been involved with in last few years. My cohorts have been working on everything from creating locally sourced organic school lunches, to designing sustainable land reform policies for the entire state of California.Β  I left the conference inspired and reinvigorated by all that I had learned, and full of hope for our future.

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