Located just over two hours north of the Bay Area, The Oak Granary is located in beautiful Potter Valley on a 305-acre landbase. The houses, barn, and agricultural land are located on the lush and fertile valley floor, which sits at the feet of 300-acres of rolling hills -a diverse wildland comprised of grasslands, oak savannah, mixed oak woodlands, and mixed conifer forest.
A half-mile from the edge of Mendocino National Forest, the land straddles the edge of domestic and wild, and we enjoy the tule elk, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, and many critters that make a home here on the land with us.
Our 1/2 acre no-till, organic Learning Garden serves as a living classroom for our programs, where we host school groups as well as train young people in the process of growing healthy, ecologically sound food from seed to table. We grow a vast diversity of heirloom crops, and experiment with dry-farming. We are in the process of designing the expansion of our food system to a 4.5 acre field, with a focus on perennial dry-farmed crops, integrated animal systems, and low-input food production.
The Oak Granary explores what it means to be a human in reciprocal relationship with wildness, tending our oak woodlands for biodiversity and the health of native flora, fauna, and fungus, as well as the utilization of edible, medicinal, and craft plants. How do we reintegrate into a landscape that needs human hands for optimal health, utilize and have a relationship with wildness, and aim to give back more than we take to the land and the life therein? How do we regenerate a damaged landscape in the face of climate change, drought, and the arrival of invasive plants? These are the questions that guide our land stewardship practices.
We are involved in active research of the biological health of our 305-acre landbase. Observational and quantitative monitoring of species diversity and abundance is ongoing as we engage in regenerative land use practices such as rotational grazing, prescribed use of fire, thinning of forest understory, and propagation and establishment of native tree, forb, and grass species – all while reintrating small-scale human tending and gathering of food, medicine, and craft plants. Our goal is to document the increased biological capacity of the land through these practices, as well as demonstrate economically viable activities to support these ongoing activities.