After getting her hands dirty creating edible gardens for restaurants, Andrea finally took a leap of faith in 2008 and started Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma (it's since grown to 3/4 of an acre). The farm specializes in heirloom and cherry tomatoes, and only uses natural and sustainable farming methods.
Andrea Davis-Cetina is now a leading figure within the organic movement, hosting a radio show, representing a local committee in Washington DC, and teaching others how to go green. We caught up with her to find out what it means to be a modern farmer and why we should all support farm-to-fork food.
When did you realize farming was the life for you?
Andrea: I applied to Hampshire College in Massachusetts intending to focus my studies on photography but I needed a work study job, so I started working at the Farm Center so I could spend time outside and work with my hands. After my first semester, I was head over heels in love with farming and I changed my study focus to agriculture.
Of course, I was worried I might be romanticizing farm life, so during my summer vacations I worked as an apprentice on farms in Maine, upstate New York and North Carolina. I was working six days a week all summer long, but instead of being scared away from farming the hard work made me want to do it even more.
Why did you choose to farm organically?
A: I use regenerative practices to improve the land and ecosystem, rather than just sustaining it. I was raised to leave a place better than I found it. That’s just how I see my place and effect on the world. The land was here before me and the land will be here long after I’m gone.
What made Sonoma so appealing?
A: I was initially drawn to the culinary vibe, but the vibrant central downtown area and all the locally owned businesses kind of sealed the deal. The rolling hills and hot summer days also remind me of where I grew up. California is home to almost 4,000 certified organic operations - that’s over 1.6 million acres – partly because the locals here love organic produce. I love that I can grow almost anything in Sonoma and know it'll be appreciated.
What do you discuss on your radio show?
A: I focus on living and promoting a local lifestyle, sharing advice for gardeners and farmers alike. My shows range from discussions about vegetables, ranching, school gardens, seasonal menus and much more – anything that I think will benefit farmers and their supporters.