Our modern food system cranks out vast quantities of food, but has lost its soul. When you sit down to a meal, do you know whose's fields it came from? Food doesn't grow in factories. It springs forth from an abundant earth, at the hands of hard-working farmers who have given their life to the task of feeding us. These farmers have names and faces, families and stories. By regaining personal connection, we get to the heart of so many of the problems in our contemporary food system. We are very proud of what we do, but at the heart of Farmivore is the people that grow this food. Period. The greatest work we can do is to cultivate relationships between farmers and eaters.
Why does local food matter? It's not simply about fewer food miles. Ultimately, its about community. It's about knowing and looking up to our farmers in the same way we know our teachers, doctor, mechanic, and co-workers. It's about caring whether they can make a living. After all, what job is more important than growing our food and stewarding the land for future generations?
"A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves."
Phil McGrath is the 4th generation of McGraths that emigrated from Ireland to California in 1860. Over 150 years later, Phil's 300 acre ranch on the Camarillo plain is a hub of farm activity, and serves as Farmivore's home base of operations. Phil has served as a mentor to multiple other farmers coming up behind him, and leaving a legacy worthy of the family name!
Mike Robert's biggest mentor is none other than Phil McGrath himself. Mike worked almost 10 years for Phil as an employee, learning the farmer's craft like the back of his hand. Starting in his own backyard, Mike grew baby roots and shoots, and Baby Root Farm was born. His signature crop for Farmivore is his incredible salad mix and radishes! Mike co-owns and operates Farmivore together with Max Becher (see below). Mike works with an impressive group of young motivated farmers and helps them gain the skills and experience they need to thrive as small farmers.
Max Becher founded Farmivore (formerly Ojai Farmstand) in 2014 out of the back of his pickup truck, selling produce gleaned from a local farm he was volunteering on. Max and his wife Deirdre went on to start their own farm in the Ojai Valley on leased land, expanding two years later to include 5 acres of organic olives in Upper Ojai. In 2019, they packed up and moved to Maine to pursue farming there. Max co-owns and operates Farmivore from Maine , and is passionate about expanding market access for small farmers through farm-to-home delivery innovation.
John Givens is a seasoned master farmer, and one of Santa Barbara County's most successful organic farmers. One of the larger farms we partner with, John cultivates approximately 180 acres of diverse vegetables and berries. The farm boasts an impressive fertility program relying heavily on their farm-made compost. Their commitment to soil building and fertility regeneration is just one reason we love bringing John's crops to your table. And if you haven't tasted one of his carrots yet, one bite will suffice to show you that something right is happening at Givens Farm!
Tyler and Emily Staalberg farm two acres of leased land from Dan and Grace Malloy (of Poco Farm) in Meiners Oaks, and grow a variety of vegetables. Max filmed an interview with Emily available above!
22 year old Andre Ryder is exploding onto the Ojai farm scene with energy. Andre fell in love with farming in high school, and now farms 4+ acres in Meiners Oaks. You can find him on Sunday at the Ojai Farmer Market. Farmivore is excited to stand behind young entrepreneurial farmers like Andre, and bring his harvest home to you.
David and Nancy Rydell simply grow the best apples you've ever tasted. They farm over 100 acres of apples and stone fruit in Paso Robles. You can find them at numerous farmers markets around Ventura, Santa Barbara and LA Counties.