In 2000 Elvira DiBrigit moved her family to Capay Valley, where her passionate interest in sustainable living took hold. While teaching she explored curricula surrounding farming, environmental preservation and nutrition – all in support of sustainable living. She is the editor of CapayValleyGrown.net and the author of WHY WE FARM. She also serves on the organizing committee for the Hoes Down Harvest Festival, a fund-raiser for the Ecological Farming Association. Elvira holds a BA in international relations from UC Davis, a teaching credential and a Waldorf/Steiner Teaching Certificate. She lives in Rumsey, CA with her husband and 3 children.
An expert in sustainable living and farming, Elvira has profiled more than a dozen small, family farms in WHY WE FARM, an insightful collection that shines a spotlight on the challenges and rewards of independent farming in the 21st century.
The small/family farm was becoming an anachronism two decades ago, but the surge of public interest in organic and “locally-grown” food has inspired a new generation to explore farming and self-sustainability. The Capay Valley farming culture is a phenomenal example of how this once dying profession has taken on new life; Elvira Di’Brigit and her book, WHY WE FARM: Stories from Farmers of The Capay Valley, highlight the diversity of business models that have brought success to a myriad of 21st century farm.
Capay Valley is a narrow slice of farmland nestled in the mountains of Northern California, just north of Napa. The area is home to more than 60 organic farms, one of the highest concentrations in the country. The rich soil produced by the rivers and creeks in the area provides ideal conditions for wine, fruits and vegetables and a booming olive oil crop.
From Full Belly Farm – a 350 acre farm founded in 1985 as a pioneer in organic and sustainable farming – to the tiny 1 acre Cache Creek Lavender Farm, the farmers in the Capay Valley are a microcosm of 21st century sustainability and provide the lion’s share of organic and toxin-free food and product to San Francisco’s booming farm-to-table restaurants and neighborhood farmers’ markets.
Elvira Di’Brigit has investigated and chronicled the production of Real Food while living in farming communities throughout Northern California and Hawaii. She and her family moved to the Capay Valley seventeen years ago and Elvira began teaching the children of local farmers, which allowed her to gain an insider’s view of farming as a business.
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