The Future of Organic Farming

Photo of Rich Everett

"The economic viability of organic farming just keeps getting better and better."

- Rich Everett-

Everett Family Farm specializes in growing and selling high-quality organic produce, free-range pastured eggs, flowers, apples, and persimmons. Rich Everett started farming organically after 25 years with West Marine, Inc. in Santa Cruz, CA. His wife, Laura May Everett, grew up in the Napa Valley, where her family grew organic grapes for local wineries.

Rich and Laura started looking for land in the Santa Cruz area and discovered the 125 year-old Leporini farm for sale. They began small, with 5 acres, and have since grown. In addition to tending the crops, orchards, and livestock, they use their farm as a teaching tool. From the beginning, their vision was to give young farmers an opportunity to learn the trade without the huge costs or risks of starting a farm.

They hire on-farm managers, generally graduates of the UCSC Farm Program, who typically stay for 2 years to gain the necessary experience to go on to start their own organic farms. During this time, land, farm equipment, and facilities are provided for hands-on training. Eight of their former farm managers have gone on to start their own organic farms or work in the organic industry. The farm managers handle all of the row crops, while Laura and Rich tend the animals and orchards.

Rich and Laura have also worked with local high school students on their farm, and run a summer day camp providing kids a chance to learn about organic farming, goats, and processing apple cider. On top of providing delicious, healthy organic food to their local community, the Everetts provide the next generation of organic farmers a valuable opportunity to learn, hands-on, the joy of organic farming.