Keep On Keepin’ On
We are excited to announce that the Sunday Keynote address will be delivered by not one, but three illustrious, long time, local icons….Donna d’Terra, gracious designer of Motherland and mentor to hundreds of young herbalists; John Jeavons of Ecology Action Network, world renowned originator of the Grow Bio-intensive method of food production; and Mac Magruder, patriarch of the Ingel-Haven Ranch in Potter Valley where, for 6 generations, his family has been stewarding the land. Our panelists will address the question “How Do We Keep On Keepin’ On?” Linda MacElwee will moderate the discussion.
Donna is a lifelong student of plants and has been teaching herb classes for the past 30 years with a focus on local, sustainable and restorative herbalism. She is the founder and director of Motherland Botanical Sanctuary and Herb School, located in the hills outside of Willits, Ca. Motherland is a 160 acre Botanical Sanctuary located 25 minutes northeast of Willits in the hills of Mendocino County, California. This beautiful, rugged land contains many habitats which are home to a wide variety of plant, animal and bird life. The cultivated gardens contain over 200 species of herbs. Electricity at Motherland is generated by solar and hydro power. Other unique features include a wood-fired hot tub, a composting toilet, and a living “willow wall” used for erosion control along the creek.
Donna’s focus is on Earth-based, local, sustainable, restorative herbalism. For the past 20 years, she has offered a 9-month Herbal Apprentice Class for women. A current passion is helping to train the next generation of herb teachers. Donna is also a storyteller in the Baubo tradition.
Mac Magruder is the fourth generation of his family to manage the Magruder Ranch (aka Ingel-Haven Ranch) in Potter Valley. Mac grew up helping his father with the never-ending chores of an agricultural lifestyle; his father raised pears as well as hay – they had some cattle, but pears were the primary product. Mac studied art in college and just as he finished a graduate program in Ceramic Sculpture at the University of Washington, his father fell ill and he returned to Potter Valley to run the ranch in the mid 1970s. His first decision was to take out the pears (which had always been economically marginal) and build up the cow/calf operation. There was much he didn’t know, and he relied on the wisdom and generosity of older Potter Valley cattle ranchers who helped him learn the business.
For the first several years he was frustrated with the process of raising an animal for a year only to send it off to auction, relinquishing all he’d worked for only to watch it disappear into the maw of the market. He knew there had to be a better way. Rod Shippey, the county’s visionary farm advisor, encouraged him to investigate the concept of holistic ranch management, including rotational grazing and low-input, organic pasture production. He enrolled in a program called Ranching for Profit (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and spent the next few years learning to raise food in cooperation with the land, in a way that enhances not only the health of the consumer but also the health of the soil, landscape, and animals. It became clear that fresh feed, open space, a healthy ecosystem and a low-stress lifestyle are primary factors in the wellbeing of the animals and quality & safety of the meat.
For the past thirty-five years Mac has been raising grass-finished beef, and now lamb, on fertile pastures rich with naturally growing legumes and grasses. Magruder Ranch consists of both irrigated pastures and open hill ground which provides year-round grazing for the cattle and sheep in a holistic rotational system. The land is grazed and then rested an optimal amount of time for proper plant recovery. The cattle and lambs are fattened on the ranch’s lush green pastures and are harvested only when conditions are conducive to proper animal growth. The animals are processed at the closest USDA slaughter house and sold directly to butcher shops, restaurants, markets, and individuals in the Northern California area.
Mac, along with his wife Kate, now manage the Ranch in partnership with their daughter Grace, her husband Kyle Farmer, and grand-daughter June (pictured above).
John Jeavons is the Executive Director of the internationally active 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Ecology Action of the Mid-Peninsula. He is the leading researcher, developer, teacher, and consultant for the small-scale, high-yielding, agricultural method known as GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (GB) Sustainable Mini-Farming, and the author of the best-selling book How to Grow More Vegetables—and Fruits, Nuts Berries and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine , now in its 8th edition in 10 languages, including Braille.
John has authored, co-authored or edited more than 200 publications on the Biointensive approach and related topics, including a peer-reviewed paper published in The Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. Jeavons’ methods are successfully used in 151 countries around the world by organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Peace Corps; he and Ecology Action staff advise students, teachers, farmers, and representatives of private, non-profit and governmental organizations, and they participate in the cross-cultural exchange of agricultural methods.
The comprehensive and sustainable cropping system developed by Jeavons enables people in all regions of the world to grow a balanced diet on a small plot of land. Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland said of his work, “The Jeavons approach…would do more to solve the problems of poverty, misery and hunger than anything else we’ve done.”
A political science graduate of Yale University, Jeavons worked for USAID and Stanford University before devoting 44 years to the development of Biointensive techniques. He has received many prizes and awards for his work, has been twice nominated for World Food Prize, once for the Pew Scholars Award in Conservation and the Environment, and was featured in the PBS documentaries “One Circle” and “The Living Land”. Jeavons has addressed the World Food Conference at Clemson University as the keynote speaker, initiated a “Soil, Food and People GB” Conference at UC-Davis, taught classes at Stanford University and given lectures at Universities throughout Mexico; he is frequently sought to address national and international conferences and university audiences on the important role individuals play in providing solutions to world environment and food challenges.