Ben and Mary Woods, Proprietors
6267 Candy Lane
Somerset, CA 95684
Who is Tending Mother Earth … If it isn’t the next generation?
“Nothing is more rewarding or more practical than taking care of what gives you life.” On this premise, in 2008, Ben and Mary started farming on a small lot. They acquired a bunch of chicks, a bunch of compost they could add to, two boys, Yarrow and Alder, and began planting perennials, trees and plants. In 2012, they found “a very nice acre” to rent close by with good water, full sun and amazing soil. It sounds like a smooth transition from here to there, right? Not as simple as all that. How did all this happen? What inspired these two young people to tend Mother Earth as a lifestyle vs. so many other fields of pursuit and perhaps less strenuous?
Mary grew up in Placerville and the two met in school. Ben attended UC Santa Barbara and Mary, Sac State. Here is where the weather changed. Ben attended prestigious Schumacher College, which has an enviable reputation of cutting-edge learning, with a respect for all living systems and an ecological worldview. They walk their talk on a daily basis in terms of sustainability, keeping that lifestyle at the forefront of all student activities, including horticulture.
Ben went onto holistic science endeavors by working on farms throughout Europe, Hawaii and California. “I saw myself for the first time with people honestly caring… much the same way Mom raised me on healthy food and concern for the earth.
Permaculture as culture and philosophy inspired me to do what I do. My goal is to offer hands-on experience to those under 35, and to high school students, and teach them how fruitful a farm can be. At the same time, the government must answer to the needs of farmers, not impose more regulations.” Sprouting Shed “Farming for us is a way of life,” the couple says. They sincerely believe that organic farming methods have the potential to bring health to our world, and nothing else seems so rewarding. Ben’s mom, Shirley, feels the same way, working with Ben and Mary to tend the enormous amount of produce the one-acre of land produces. Working with the local Placerville Natural Foods Coop, the family also sells through their own CSA, Saturday farmer’s market and local restaurants and events.
Two goats on the property serve to eat down weeds and residue after a harvest. Tranquility doesn’t reign long. “It takes 10 hours to pick for a market, 10 hours for CSA and wholesale, not including the need for planting and rotating crops. We harvest 100 bunches of kale and chard each week alone. A farm like this, only one acre, could easily feed the entire community if more people farmed,” Ben said.