Tristan van Stirum is from New York City where he grew up learning little about the natural world, although his favorite place to be was Central Park, which was a few blocks away from his home. His interest in farming didn’t start until he graduated from college in Portland, Oregon. He moved down to California in pursuit of less rainy weather and realized that he wanted to try out living on a farm for a year. Settling in Bolinas, Tristan began by working at Paradise Valley Farm for Dennis Dierks. There he learned the beauty of living on the land at a farm that specialized in organic lettuce heads and cut greens. He later spent a season in Pescadero at Blue House Farm and then moved to Yolo County where he worked for Full Belly Farm. His collected experiences have given him time on farms of different sizes and in different climates. He loves the weather and the amazing variety of plants grown on the farm in Alexander Valley.
When Tristan is not farming, he is hiking, practicing yoga, and cooking delicious food. He also just started to raise a small flock of laying hens!
AJ Johnson’s family moved to Healdsburg in 1984. After high school, AJ spent 3 years living out of her backpack and working seasonally in Alaska and in the forests of Northern California. She spent 10 years working for Evan’s Designs before suddenly finding herself “job-free” when they went out of business in 2007. Instead of looking for another job, AJ’s mom taught her how to budget using a spreadsheet; she got rid of any bill that wasn’t necessary and planted the field with food.
AJ’s pretty sure that digging in the dirt and turning it into sustenance is just about the best thing she can be doing with her time and energy.