“Eating is an agricultural act.” – Wendell Berry
Founded in 1977 by Stephen and Gloria Decater, Live Power Community Farm is a 50-acre, solar electric and horse-powered, diversified, certified biodynamic farm. Four acres are devoted to an intensive vegetable garden hosting some 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs. We use a glasshouse and cold frames to propagate vegetable and flower transplants, and grow home orchard fruits and field and forage crops for hay, grain, and pasture. Animal husbandry includes draft horses, dairy and beef cows, feeder pigs, sheep, and laying hens. We butcher and process meat animals, and bake bread in our outdoor, wood-fired brick oven.
The farm is located at about 1,400 feet elevation in Round Valley in Mendocino County, California. The valley, with a local population of about 3,000, has the largest Native American reservation in California and is surrounded by the Eel River and the Mendocino National Forest. Local agriculture includes cattle and hay raising and small organic herb and fruit growing. It is hot and dry during the summer, with winter rains from November to March.
Since 1978, apprentices have been part of our farm community. Just as we once learned from the agricultural visionary Alan Chadwick, we now continue that tradition by teaching adults of all ages from the United States and abroad in work-study programs lasting from three months to three years.
We began operating as a Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) farm in 1988, with 15 families who supported our goals of long-term productivity and soil and environmental health. Over the years we have
consciously developed our farm by encouraging community involvement and interaction. We believe farms must not only provide healthy, nourishing food, but also create an avenue for people to re-enter
the garden and develop the consciousness, strength, and commitment to care for it. Today, our farm is supported entirely by more than 100 families and individuals who carry the operating cost of the farm and share in the harvest, and by our school class visitation program for elementary and secondary school classes.
Our three grown sons—Alexander, Christopher and Nicholas—are busy now with their own projects and land, though they all help us out when needed.
As we look to the future, there are two permanent positions at Live Power Community Farm we hope to find individuals to fill. Under our general guidance, a garden manager would lead the team of 3 to 5 apprentices in husbanding the vegetable garden, and a horse farmer would be responsible for horse work and care, and for growing hay, grain, and pasture for the livestock. Learn more about these positions.
We would also like to secure additional land that would enable us to complete our biodynamic farm organism, that is, producing feed, fertilizer, and energy from our own land base. By adding fields for growing hay and grains and more pastureland for grazing, we would be able more easily to provide enough feed for our animals and to operate the farm as a self-sufficient organism.