In my 20s, I found myself in Guatemala, finishing my two year service in the Peace Corps, helping farmers make their land more productive. I witnessed people desperate to provide for their families use extremely harmful chemicals to eke out a living. These chemicals were harming not only the health of the land but more importantly, the health and wellbeing of the people who lived on the land. Those images and the impression they left, burned into my mind and my heart the desire to always care for the land, animals and mostly the people who depend on it.
When I came to Bell Mountain over 20 years ago, my vision was to care for the land and farm organically to preserve the soil and ecosystem that surrounded the vines. However, when the Kincade Fire tore through the property in 2019, it was a wake-up call for me that I needed to do more. New research about regenerative farming was more widely available and I could see that tools and techniques that were cutting edge a few decades ago were being replaced by pioneering ideas on how to preserve the earth and begin to dial back the effects of climate change. It was time to do more.